The Witch of Edmonton: A Known True Story

LIVE online | 5 -20 March 2022

https://creationtheatre.co.uk/the-witch-of-edmonton/#1634803979184-feeffcd6-1027

“If every poor old Woman be trod on thus, reviled, kicked, beaten, as I am daily, she to be revenged had need turn Witch.”

In Edmonton, the cattle are dying. The corn will not grow. A local man stabs his wife. A local woman runs mad. A black dog is heard to speak with the voice of the devil. Is the village cursed? And could a strange old woman who lives alone be to blame?

400 years ago, Elizabeth Sawyer was tried and hanged for witchcraft. Now, Creation Theatre invites you to be her judge. Was Elizabeth Sawyer a witch who sold her soul to the devil or simply a lonely, mistreated woman? Was Satan himself at work in Edmonton or were its villagers responsible for their own cruelties and corruption?

Performing live online, digital theatre specialists Creation will stage the ‘crimes’ and punishment of Edmonton’s witch based on a play written in 1621 by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford. Newly interwoven with records of other historical witch trials, The Witch of Edmonton reveals the dangers of being an outsider in a place where to be different is to be condemned.

Book your ticket now to watch this striking early modern drama LIVE online.

 

Medicine, Magic, and Healing

Monday, November 29
Hotel Du Vin Exeter

1:30–3 p.m.  Panel 1:
Emily Selove, “Sleep in the Shāmil of Sirāj al-Dīn al-Sakkākī (d. 1229)”
Bink Hallum, “From Invincibility to Immunity: The Centesimal Magic Square in Legend, Theory and Practice”

3:30–5 p.m.   Panel 2:
Earl Fontainelle, “The Theory of the Pneumatic Vehicle in Late-Antique Platonism and the Islamicate Medical Sciences”
Nahyan Fancy, “Commentaries and the Emergence of non-Galenic, non-Avicennan Medical Theories”

Tuesday, November 30

10 a.m.–12.15 p.m. Panel 3:
Petra Schmidl, “Magic and Medicine in 13th Century Yemen”
Dionisius Agius, “Sellem maurum servum sacre religionis: Magic and the Inquisition in Malta 1605
Catherine Rider, “Christians, Muslims and Magical Healing in front of the Inquisition in Malta, 1600–1605”

BLODDEUWEDD UNTOLD

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/516190/?mc_cid=d7ee6fec89&mc_eid=d862eafb3c#

Exeter Cygnet Theatre

October 9, 7:30 pm

Artemis Storytelling presents Jo Blake and Dr Martin Shaw.

Unearth the unwritten Blodeuwedd, the Frankenstein of flowers. Captured in the pages of a medieval book, the ancient myth of Blodeuwedd describes a woman made out of flowers who was turned into an owl as punishment for adultery. But who was this woman before being confined to the page?

Jo Blake, international contemporary storyteller, irradiates this figure of Welsh myth through word, movement and ritual. The myth is unravelled in this radical reclamation of the untold; intertwined with personal experience and striking observations of the role of myth in our unmythic modern lives. (Blodeuwedd: blod-ae-wuth).

The 1 hour performance will be followed by a chance to hear Jo Blake in conversation with mythologist Dr Martin Shaw exploring trickster, myth and the feminine, and an opportunity for audience Q&A.

Call for papers – project fringe at IMC 2022

Fringe Expertise? Cross-Cultural Readings of Occult Practices in Premodern Eurasia

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 4-7 July 2022

Sponsored by The Sorcerer’s Handbook: Medieval Arabic Magic in Context Project

Organisers: Dr Sarah Ortega, Dr Geoff Humble (University of Leeds)

This session seeks to bring together a cross-cultural comparative reading of occult practices and practitioners. The term ‘Occult’ encompasses a wide range of intellectual, religious, and scientific practices. In addition to the manuals that explain how to undertake these, their purpose and status are navigated through a diverse array of perspectives that includes narrative historiographies, folk tales, miracle stories, and artworks. Such sources may extol the benefits of useful technologies and syncretic or folk wisdom, or they may formulate allegations of deceitful charlatanry and dangerous meddling. Likewise, practitioners were subject to an extremely wide range of patronage, control, and proscription. By tracing the shifting borders of orthodoxy and acceptability across medieval Eurasia and beyond, it is possible to investigate a broad spectrum of experiences running from the quotidian to the extraordinary across diverse social strata. We would like to invite papers that explore how legacies of occult practices were shaped by such influences as gendered ideas, political conflict, social upheaval, and debates in philosophy and religion.

Occult practices most broadly defined, including (but not limited to):

·       Divination

·       Exorcism

·       Astrology

·       Production of talismans

·       Magic

·       Miracle cures and medical magic

·       Shamanic activity

·       Dowsing

·       Alchemy

·       Charlatans

If you are interested, please email Geoff Humble  or Sarah Ortega  with an abstract of no more than 100 words by Monday 23rd August 2021.

The IMC call for sessions and papers can be found at https://www.imc.leeds.ac.uk/imc-2022/

For the IMC’s Proposal Guidelines see: https://www.imc.leeds.ac.uk/proposals/criteria/

Exclamation! Dreams, Visions and Mindscapes

A free digital conference with presentations by Magic and Esotericism research group members Sarah Scaife and Dorka Tamas:

In Panel 2: Fantasy & Imagination, introduced here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocPEhK-pKx0

Dorka Támas – Supernatural Vision in Sylvia Plath’s Bee Poems

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LXcsGtoz2Zs

Sarah Scaife – Dream as vision, dream as well

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p_i10vnxNfU

The whole conference is posted here:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEB4vEetKBhS6GLX91a7a6g/videos

@ExclamationAIJ

Sylvia Plath’s reimagination of the Grimms’ fairy tales in postwar American culture

A new publication by Magic and Esotericism Research Group member Dorka Tamás

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/24692921.2021.1947081

This article discusses Sylvia Plath’s overlooked juvenilia poems and contextualizes them in postwar American culture. The fairy tales were significant cultural products during the 1950s, that also continue to define the culture today through Disney’s adaptations. Plath loved Grimms’ tales; several of her poems show direct engagement with tales. The first half of my article looks at Plath’s juvenilia poems and their reimagination of fairy-tale narratives. For Plath, the fairy tales functioned as a way to retell her life events. Whilst, the second part of my research uses a psychoanalytical approach to link “momism” in postwar America with the evil witch figure. By close-reading “The Disquieting Muses” poem, I demonstrate Plath’s engagement with the ambiguous mother whose food, similar to the witch in “Hansel and Gretel”, function to deceive the children.

Songdreaming for Albion (Songlines) 2021

July 13th-17th

About this event

As long as there have been people on this land there has been song, and as long as we dwell upon this land a timeless, uniquely human melody will sound from the confluence of culture and contour. But what is that sound? From where did those lines of song and story emerge? In what language, to what tune, under what belief and through what gesture? What if there was an ancient indigenous Albion ‘dreamtime’ and what hope have we now in reclaiming any fragments of those tune-trails? Why should we even bother?…

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/songdreaming-for-albion-songlines-2021-tickets-149747999297

​The Witch Studies Reader ​Call for Proposals

Co-edited by Soma Chaudhuri and Jane Ward

Deadline to submit a 500 to 750-word abstract: August 1st, 2021

https://www.janewardphd.com/the-witch-studies-reader.html

“…we are calling for chapter proposals that illuminate how feminists can make sense of the witch—her power and her persecution—in ways that take account of the vastly different national, political-economic, and cultural contexts in which she is currently being claimed and repudiated.  The Witch Studies Reader, being prepared for Duke University Press, will dive deep into this question, revealing the current era to be a time of feminist celebration of witchcraft in many parts of the global North, and a time of continued violence and death for women accused of witchcraft in many parts of the global South. This book will be the first of its kind to hold both realities in view by tracing the evolving relationship between the figure of the witch and the global political-economic and cultural context in which she is located.”

 

Bringing the Complete Book off the Page

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_UYo1bOFLQ

This is a love talisman from a book of lunar mansions, widely circulated in the medieval world. It is meant to be carved out of ebony, which is way beyond my skill, so I stained it ebony instead. I also did not inscribe it with the correct names, address it with the prescribed incantation, perfume it with the appropriate incense, or observe the position of the moon during its creation. So it is only a model for research purposes, and not a talisman… though if it ends up earning me the love of mankind anyway, I won’t complain!

The pictured manuscript is a Persian translation of this Arabic work of talismanic hermetica, which was also translated into Latin. Here is my translation of the spell:

A Nīranj for love in the hearts of men: Take a piece of ebony wood without any whiteness in it when the moon is in the eighth degree of this mansion and make an idol out of it with the face of a bird, with its right hand on his chest, and his left hand hanging on his hips. Then on his back, inscribe these shapes: [symbols], on his chest, inscribe these letters [a string of letters], then inscribe on his right and left thigh the names of the six angels of this mansion. Inscribe only when the moon is in the mansion and conjoined felicitously. When you have finished the inscription, suffumigate it with the incense and recite the names of the angels, and say (but do not inscribe) the following: Spirits of love, affection, togetherness, and harmony among all of creation, you have intermingled in it, spirits of love, in the hearts of the sons of Adam and the daugthers of Eve, slave and free, and all the rest of creation!

Read these words a hundred times and pick it up and carry it with you in a cloth of yellow silk brocade. This is one of the special secrets, so understand it well, O children of wisdom.

Credits:

Music by Pulp (“This House is Condemned”)

Manuscript image from Royal Asiatic Society Persian MS 11

Translation based on an Arabic text of Siraj al-Din al-Sakkaki’s Kitab al-Shamil (British Library, Delhi Arabic 1915b).

The Sorcerer’s Handbook research project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust