Ancient Mediterranean Witchcraft
Ancient Greek mythology provides stories of princely heroes who seek out legendary sorceresses and their magical power. Witches acted as guides for figures such as Odysseus and Jason; men required to enter the feminine, womb-like space of the Underworld or to journey to the ends of the Earth. In later Roman literature, witches degenerated into cemetery-scouring hags; no longer sending the hero down to the Underworld, but instead bringing the realm of the dead up by performing necromantic rites.
Join Dr Caroline Tully in a workshop on Ancient Mediterranean Witchcraft that focuses on mythological witches, ancient magical techniques, and the inheritance of Egyptian, Mesopotamian, Greek, Etruscan and Roman magic evident in Wicca today. Through discussion and practical ritual, ancient approaches to magic will be revealed.
Minoan Snake Goddess
The Great Goddess was the original, and only, deity of humankind from the dawn of time up until around 3000 BCE, when Goddess-oriented cultures were conquered by patriarchal, warlike worshippers of a sky god. Late Bronze Age Minoan Crete (1750–1490 BCE) is considered to be the Goddess culture’s final flowering. According to Goddess History, Crete exhibits the last gasp of the feminine values associated with Goddess culture before it was wiped out by warlike, patriarchal Mycenaean Greeks. Before this time Minoan Crete was peaceful, worshipped the Great Goddess and her Dying and Rising Consort (who was also her son), and women and nature were respected.
Join Dr Caroline Tully in a workshop on ancient Minoan religion, focussing on the Snake Goddess. On the island of Crete the snake appears in the worship of the female deity more repeatedly than anywhere else in the Mediterranean. Ancient artifacts have been unearthed that portray the Goddess or Her priestesses holding snakes in their hands or with them coiled about their bodies, revealing that they were an integral part of the religious rituals. Through discussion and practical ritual, contemporary approaches to Minoan religion will be revealed.
Death in Ancient Mythology
The cycle of birth, death and rebirth is at the core of Pagan mythology. Many myths deal with journeys into the land of the dead. Often these are stories of descent and return. These myths show us how the cycle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth plays itself out in the seasons. Working with these myths, retelling the tales, and exploring them in guided journeys and meditations can help us deeply integrate our understanding of the circle of rebirth. Initiation rites found in most Pagan mystery religions, both ancient and modern, re-enact or are inspired by myths of descent into the Underworld and approach death through metaphor and ritual. This workshop explores Underworld myths of Inanna’s Descent, Demeter and Persephone, Orpheus and Eurydice, Circe and Odysseus, Aeneas and the Sybil, and others. We will explore ancient mythologies and practices around death, as well as Pagan ways of celebrating and mourning loved ones including funerary rites and ancestor reverence.
Magical Gems and Jewellery, Healing, and the Stars
Witches regularly wear occult jewellery: pentagram pendants, amber, jet, moonstone, coral, or even acorn necklaces; magical rings with special stones or symbolic designs; and lots of silver, the metal of the moon. Wearing jewellery is a form of communication: to the wearer to other people, and to hidden forces attracted by certain colours, substances and patterns.
The Goddess Asherah, Ecopaganism, and the Anthropocene
Biblical bad girl, Queen Jezebel, worshipped a tree goddess called Asherah, mentioned forty times in the Hebrew Bible. Ancient Israelites performed ritual “on every high hill and under every green tree” — an expression that occurs in the Bible fifteen times. Trees feature in the narratives about Abraham, who set up altars under sacred trees, and Moses, who spoke to Yahweh in the form of a burning bush. The most famous trees of the Bible are the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden.
With all this tree worship, how did humanity became so divorced from nature that it caused its own geological epoch called the Anthropocene? Join Dr Caroline Tully in a workshop that looks at the environmental aspects of ancient Mediterranean religion, and ways that we can realign with the natural world today. We will also look at the tree as a conceptual map in Kabbalah, the relationship of the Tarot to the Tree of Life, and how we can return to Eden through scrying the Tarot trumps or pathworking. Participants are encouraged to bring their own Tarot cards (but it’s not essential).