The occultist, artist and writer of international importance, Ithell Colquhoun (1906-1988) showed a lifelong commitment to contesting the distinction between apparently different or opposing states. In this talk I shall explore the significance to her of the boundaries that normally define such differences. As a prime example, I shall focus on one particular boundary, that between land and water, the conjunction of which defines an island. I shall explore the personal significance of islands as a theme in her work and how this came about. I shall identify the spiritual meaning that earth and water held for her as well as their relevance to a specifically female spirituality. I shall give examples from her writings as well as her paintings and drawings.

Speaker: Dr Richard Shillitoe spent his working life in the NHS. Publications include Ithell Colquhoun: Magician Born of Nature (2010), Colquhoun’s unpublished novel I Saw Water, (in conjunction with Mark Morrisson, 2014) a new, illustrated, edition of her first novel Goose of Hermogenes (2018), Medea’s Charms, a volume of her selected shorter writing (2019) and Desination Limbo, her final novel in 2020. He maintains the website

Host: Dr. Amy Hale is an Atlanta-based anthropologist and folklorist writing about esoteric history, art, culture, women and Cornwall in various combinations. Her biography of Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully, is available from Strange Attractor Press, and she is also the editor of the forthcoming collection Essays on Women in Western Esotericism: Beyond Seeresses and Sea Priestesses from Palgrave Macmillan. Other writings can be found at her Medium site and her website

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May 15th 2022 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm

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