At the end of August, the Traditional Cosmology Society held its 2019-20 Annual General Meeting and elected a new Committee. As was announced in the original notice, the minutes from the meeting are now (finally) available for those who could not attend. We especially invite all e-members, as well as those who could not make it to Edinburgh, to take a look, and let us know if they have any comments/suggestions/opinions/cosmological musings!
Please follow this link to access the .doc transcript of the minutes.
G.02, 50 George Square, Edinburgh | 16:15-18:00 (roughly)
Friday 15th November
For our second talk of the season, the Traditional Cosmology Society presents a lecture by Julian Goodare, Professor of History at the University of Edinburgh.
Professor Goodare was Director of the online Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, and has published widely on witchcraft in Scotland. His most recent book is The European Witch-Hunt (London: Routledge, 2016).
In his TCS talk, Professor Goodare will review statements contained in Scottish witchcraft trial records, given by people who presented themselves as victims of witchcraft. As recounted in these statements, bewitchment could take many forms: it sometimes affected the victims’ own health; at other times it was the health of a child or other family member, or the health of their farm animals, or their dairying, ale-brewing or prosperity generally. The bewitchment itself was placed within a wider narrative of community relationships, often involving quarrels, and sometimes including threats or curses.
Professor Goodare will focus on how the narrators explained the concept of bewitchment. The key legal point at issue in their testimony was: were these events caused by the suspect’s witchcraft, or not? On this point, the reported accounts varied greatly: some of the supposed victims explained the bewitchment in detail; others told of misfortune, but avoided saying anything about bewitchment. Some victims seem to have been reluctant accusers. At the other extreme, some victims told stories of their own experience of magical events, or even of having encountered the Devil. Seen together, these narratives reveal much about witchcraft victims’ beliefs, and about the remarkable spectrum of nuances they encompassed, a spectrum in which we come to glimpse a connection between the quotidian and the uncanny.
2.54, 50 George Square, Edinburgh | 16:30-19:00 (roughly)
Friday 4th October
The Traditional Cosmology Society inaugurates its 2019-20 season of talks by presenting a lecture by Jelka Vince Pallua, formerly from the University of Zagreb, and currently affiliated with the Institute of Social Sciences Ivo Pilar, Zagreb.
Professor Vince Pallua is a ethnologist and scholar of mythology whose interests have long encompassed the position of women in traditional cultures (see, e.g. her recent book The Enigma of Sworn Virgins, 2014), as well as issues of Croatian and Slavic ethnography; Mediterranean studies and traditional cultures of the Adriatic; Morovlachs and the phenomenon of morlachism; Croats in Italy and Italians in Croatia.
In her lecture, Professor Vince Pallua will draw upon a number of recent studies from the Croation context, to illustrate how an increasing number of areas in Croatia have been scientifically identified as sites where pre-Christian Croats left vestiges of their most sacred mythical events. In particular, her lecture will focus on the Proto-Slavic divine trilogy (the gods Perun, Veles and the goddess Mokosh), and present instances in which Mokosh appear to have been substituted by the mythical character Baba (the word ‘baba’ in some Slavic languages indicates a hag, ugly old woman).
Prof Vince Pallua will discuss two figurative representations of Baba, the only ones in figurative form known to-date, which she herself discovered in Istria, the southwestern part of Croatia. In Vince Pallua’s view, 15th century Croats in Istria kept alive the memory of the supreme Proto-Slavic goddess Mokosh, herself a female deity of fertility and the patron of female chores and craft (especially spinning and weaving), eventually incorporating Mokosh’s mythological legacy into Marian veneration.
The seventh edition of the annual Thinking About Mythology in the 21st Century Colloquium, jointly organised by the departments of Celtic and Scottish Studies and Scandinavian Studies in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures (LLC) at the University of Edinburgh, has been announced.
Led by Emily Lyle, founder of the Traditional Cosmology Society and author of Ten Gods: A New Approach to Defining the Mythological Structures of the Indo-Europeans (extensively reviewed in a recent issue of Cosmos), the colloquium will focus this year on the interrelations between History and Myth, with keynote addresses by Joseph Nagy (Harvard) and Emily Lyle herself.
The event will take place at Room 1.06, 50 George Square, Edinburgh, on 19th–20th October 2019.
The full programme is available here.
Members of the Traditional Cosmology society are invited to attend our Annual General Meeting on Friday 30th at 50 George Square, Room 2.14, Edinburgh, 15:00 – 16:30. E-members who wish to participate remotely should contact the Society beforehand at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that a video-link can be arranged.
Over the past twelve months, a number of departures have left crucial positions within the Committee open. It is a great opportunity for new and
returning Members to become more involved in the running of the Society, and help to make our calendar of events more diverse and accessible to all.
Now more than ever therefore it is important for all our Members to make their presence felt, and offer their views and suggestions on the future of our Society.
Here is the tentative agenda for the meeting:
- Welcome and Apologies
- Minutes from the last AGM
- President’s (Chair’s) Report
- Treasurer’s Report
- Election of the Committee
- Membership Campaign for 2019-20
- Expansion of Commitee
Minutes will be circulated after the meeting for those who could not attend.