Goddesses of Sex & War – Professor Ronald Hutton – Zoom Lecture

This talk is devoted to a particular form of ancient pagan goddess, one who is at the same time associated with love and sex, and with warfare. Though this may seem like a paradoxical linkage, it was actually quite a common one in the pre-Christian European and Near Eastern world, combining two different types of dramatic and often ecstatic human activity, associated with potent bodily fluids. Moreover, some of the most important of these goddesses actually influenced, and helped engender, the others, and the talk considers these in particular, in a divine chain reaction, stretching across the ancient world: the Sumerian Inanna, the Babylonian and Assyrian Ishtar, the Syrian Astarte, the Greek Aphrodite, and the Roman Venus. It considers the development of each one, which can be traced through history, the particular and distinctive forms which each attained, and the powerful influence which they exerted on each other, spanning the most important and pervasive ancient cultures.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.

Here are some of his other talks you might be interested in https://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/digital-events/?cat=ronaldhutton

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

The Holy Grail – Professor Ronald Hutton – Zoom Lecture

Everybody thinks that they know what the Holy Grail is, whether the person in quest of it is one of King Arthur’s knights or Indiana Jones: the cup used by Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, preserved by his followers and hidden until the right hero, with the right attitude, comes to find it. Some believe that it actually exists in the human world at the present day, embodied in particular vessels preserved at Nanteos in Wales, or at Glastonbury, or concealed at Rosslyn Chapel or Rennes-le-Chateau. Others, conversant with Edwardian British scholarship, think that it is a Christianisation of a pagan Celtic tradition of enchanted cauldrons, ultimately representing the divine feminine. This talk is a quest in itself, for the origins of the story, which can be pinpointed quite specifically, and for the process by which an idea with a precise origin grew into a motif capable of taking so many different forms. It also considers the claims of the Celtic cauldrons to be the ‘true’ grails and those of the vessels revered today by many people as the genuine one.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.

Here are some of his other talks you might be interested in

https://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/digital-events/?cat=ronaldhutton

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Robin Hood – Professor Ronald Hutton – Zoom Lecture

Robin Hood is the most famous outlaw in the whole of world fiction, and during the modern period his popularity has only increased. This is largely because he reflects both sides of the traditional social order, as a decent English gentleman, unjustly outlawed, who fights his way back to respectability with the help of ordinary people. In his original, medieval, form, he is actually even more remarkable, as a man of the common people himself, from the greenwood, who blatantly flouts the social and religious order while upholding a basic humanity and goodness. This talk is intended to show what was so different about him that made him so famous in world culture while other outlaws, fictional and real, have disappeared. It is also, however, a quest for his origins. Was he a forest god or spirit, or was there a real, remarkable, human being, who inspired the legend because he did something really outstanding? It will be concluded that there actually is good historical evidence that suggests an answer to this question.

Speaker: Professor Ronald Hutton is a Professor of History at the University of Bristol. He is a leading authority on history of the British Isles in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, on ancient and medieval paganism and magic, and on the global context of witchcraft beliefs.

Here are some of his other talks you might be interested in https://www.thelasttuesdaysociety.org/digital-events/?cat=ronaldhutton

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

The Fabulous Tale of the Fly Agaric Mushroom – Andy Letcher

The Mushroom at the End of Time: the fabulous tale of the Fly Agaric mushroom

There is now considerable interest both within academia and in mainstream culture about the therapeutic and transformative potential of the so-called classical psychedelics, most especially psilocybin and the mushrooms that produce it. Amidst all this excitement, a distant fungal cousin, the Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria, has gone almost unnoticed. Unmistakeable with its dramatic red and white-spotted cap, the Fly Agaric is if not exactly psychedelic then provocatively psychoactive. Its effects are capricious, ranging from visionary ecstasies through to increased stamina, optical distortions, muscle twitches and a coma like sleep. Largely shunned despite its legality in the UK, the very idea of it has nonetheless had a profound cultural impact, from its discovery by Western travellers to Siberia in the seventeenth century through to the present day. No other mushroom has generated so many myths.

In this talk, Dr Andy Letcher discusses the chemistry, effects, history and cultural impact of this strange, eldritch mushroom, and he answers many of the stories that swirl and circulate about it. Did Siberian shamans drink mushroom-infused reindeer piss to get high? Was Jesus a Fly Agaric mushroom? Had Lewis Carroll been chomping them when he wrote Alice in Wonderland? And is the red and white figure of Santa Claus actually a mushroom shaman bringing gifts from the Upper World with his flying reindeer?

Speaker Bio

Dr Andy Letcher is a Senior Lecturer at Schumacher College, where he is programme lead for the MA Engaged Ecology. He is the author of Shroom. A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom, as well as many papers on subjects as diverse as fairies, eco-magick, psychedelic experience, mysticism and animism. He is currently researching the use of psychedelics by contemporary Druids, and the use of the Fly Agaric mushroom in contemporary culture.

Andy Letcter

This Psychedelic series is Curated by Maya Bracknell Watson and Dr David Luke

Maya Bracknell Watson is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, performer, retired cult leader and psychedelic and parapsychology researcher. Having just graduated from Chelsea College of Arts, her work over the last six years has been informed by her concurrent shamanic training, work with the Wixárika (Huichol) tribe from Mexico, and role as a research assistant under Dr David Luke of Greenwich university in the study of the psychedelic compound N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and other worlds. Walking between the worlds of the arts, science and the occult, she combines media and investigative techniques from each to inform and articulate one another in the exploration of ontology, consciousness and altered states, mytholopeia and mythology, ecology, the human condition and its relation to the environment, otherness and mortality. She describes her practise and research as contemporary Memento Mori (‘remember you will die’), and explores what that means in a time of mass ecocide and species extinction.

Follow her on the crooked path on Instagram @maya_themessiah

Maya Bracknell

Dr David Luke is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich, UK, where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009, and he is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, and Lecturer on the MSc Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology for Alef Trust and Liverpool John Moores University. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed., 2019). When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 300 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge, of Sussex.

David Luke

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Spiritual Abduction: ETs, NDEs & DMT – Pascal Michael

Spiritual Abduction: The surprising semblance betwixt spirits and aliens, near-death and extraterrestrial experiences

The relationship between near-death experiences (NDEs) and death/dying is evident. The connection between the psychedelic DMT and the alien encounter similarly so. The resonance between NDEs and aliens, however… less so.

What could be the possible interlacing between NDEs, ETs, UFOs and DMT? Some may be surprised to hear of a phenomenological space-sharing between the experience of dying and that of alien abduction and other UFOlogical motifs, the sometimes reported presence of the deceased during such ET encounter events, and the generally unemphasised (at least in certain discourses) but fundamentally spiritual nature of “alien” beings. This echoes such controversial topics as ancient astronaut theory, and the divinisation of ‘star beings’ – the ‘Aliens as Angels’ analogy – as well as the shamanic, entheogen-ocassioned communing with these entities.

But the most pivotal question in this context remains – Do what we refer to as ‘aliens’ have something to do with human death?

While this subject is firmly within the realms of high weirdness and is of ontological implications – the experience of having a loved one die and the subsequent grief is unavoidable. As such, it simultaneously becomes a subject of the most intimate nature one can explore. In this vein, a personal experience of recent grief will be shared – to complement the far out with the fundamentally deeply within.

Speaker Bio:

Pascal Michael BSc, MSc is a Psychology PhD candidate at the University of Greenwich, comparing experiences from the first DMT field study to the near-death experience (NDE), with a view to establish the NDE as a psychedelic episode – indicated by their phenomenology and neural correlates, as well as their transformative and parapsychological effects. His interests lie in death and dying as an entangled continuum – existing at the levels of the molecular, humanistic, and transpersonal. He has presented at Breaking Convention and the Oxford University Psychedelic Society, and published in Frontiers. He is a coordinator for the ALEF Trust’s certificate in Psychedelics, ASCs and TP, and the 2020 recipient of the Schmeidler Outstanding Student Award.

This Psychedelic series is Curated by Maya Bracknell Watson and Dr David Luke

Maya Bracknell Watson is an interdisciplinary artist, poet, performer, retired cult leader and psychedelic and parapsychology researcher. Having just graduated from Chelsea College of Arts, her work over the last six years has been informed by her concurrent shamanic training, work with the Wixárika (Huichol) tribe from Mexico, and role as a research assistant under Dr David Luke of Greenwich university in the study of the psychedelic compound N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) and other worlds. Walking between the worlds of the arts, science and the occult, she combines media and investigative techniques from each to inform and articulate one another in the exploration of ontology, consciousness and altered states, mytholopeia and mythology, ecology, the human condition and its relation to the environment, otherness and mortality. She describes her practise and research as contemporary Memento Mori (‘remember you will die’), and explores what that means in a time of mass ecocide and species extinction.

Follow her on the crooked path on Instagram @maya_themessiah

Dr David Luke is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Greenwich, UK, where he has been teaching an undergraduate course on the Psychology of Exceptional Human Experience since 2009, and he is also Honorary Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Psychedelic Research, Imperial College London, and Lecturer on the MSc Consciousness, Spirituality and Transpersonal Psychology for Alef Trust and Liverpool John Moores University. His research focuses on transpersonal experiences, anomalous phenomena and altered states of consciousness, especially via psychedelics, having published more than 100 academic papers in this area, including ten books, most recently Otherworlds: Psychedelics and Exceptional Human Experience (2nd ed., 2019). When he is not running clinical drug trials with LSD, conducting DMT field experiments or observing apparent weather control with Mexican shamans he directs the Ecology, Cosmos and Consciousness salon at the Institute of Ecotechnics, London, and is a cofounder and director of Breaking Convention: International Conference on Psychedelic Consciousness. He has given over 300 invited public lectures and conference presentations; won teaching, research and writing awards; organised numerous festivals, conferences, symposia, seminars, retreats, expeditions, pagan cabarets and pilgrimages; and has studied techniques of consciousness alteration from South America to India, from the perspective of scientists, shamans and Shivaites. He lives life on the edge, of Sussex.

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Scandinavian love magic: divination and curses – Tommy Kuusela

How can one find true love? Who will it be and will it be a happy marriage? These questions have been asked time and time again throughout the ages by young unmarried women. I say women as most records mentioning different types of love divination concern women. In a time when much was uncertain and love could be a luxury, many dreamed of a decent marriage, a good partner and supportive husband. Men practiced another, more sinister magical technique. There are many examples, stretching as far back as the Viking age, of how different curses and other magical traditions have been used for love and for forcing the opposite sex into having intercourse. We can find examples of this in early written sources (for example in The Poetic Edda, Runic inscriptions and the Icelandic Sagas). Evidence of similar traditions have also been found in the archeological material. Many later folklore sources, now stored in folklore archives, mention the same tradition. The latter was a magical tradition primarily used by men, while young and unmarried women instead relied on divination techniques and other rituals for finding out who their future husband would be. In this talk, I will present and discuss types of love divination and curses in myth and folklore from pre-industrial Scandinavia moving from the Viking Age up until early 19th century.

Bio

Tommy Kuusela earned his PhD in History of Religions at Stockholm University in 2017. He has written more than 50 articles on Old Norse religion and Scandinavian folklore and is a well-known folklorist in Sweden. Kuusela works in one of Sweden’s largest folklore archives and is a board member of several academic societies. He is also one of the hosts of Sweden’s biggest podcast on folklore, När man talar om trollen (a saying in Swedish for ‘Speaking of the Devil’).

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day

Halloween in New Orleans – Dr Louise Fenton

Halloween is now widely celebrated across the world, often accused of being too ‘Americanised’. However, where did these traditions begin? Dr Louise Fenton will consider how Halloween traditions evolved in America before moving her focus to the traditions within New Orleans. The culture, traditions and society of New Orleans is unique due to an eclectic mix of people and beliefs. This fully illustrated lecture will show some of the historic traditions before exploring Halloween today, a mix of Voodoo, ghosts, decorations, parades, all celebrated to the sound of Jazz. Louise will show how houses are decorated, the range of celebrations and where Voodoo fits into this special time of year. Mixing contemporary celebration with centuries old traditions, Louise will show how the Crescent City will get you in the mood for Halloween.

Bio

Dr Louise Fenton is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and a cultural and social historian. She teaches contextual studies in the School of Art and supervises PhD students; she is also an artist and illustrator and uses drawing within her research. Her interest in New Orleans Voodoo began when studying for her PhD which she was awarded from the University of Warwick in 2010. Most recently Louise has appeared on the BBC Radio 4 programme, ‘Beyond Belief’ and is a consultant on a new drama for BBC 3. Her research covers Haitian Vodou, New Orleans Voodoo and Witchcraft, especially curses and cursed objects.

don’t worry if you miss it – we will send you a recording valid for two weeks the next day