Witchcraft is a term with a chilling and contested history – one that has been subject to profound re-visioning in recent decades. Practiced on the margins by the marginalized, witchcraft has simultaneously been excluded from officially sanctioned knowing and placed under the harshest scrutiny by mainstream authorities.
Practitioners of witchcraft have been keepers of the “old ways” – modes of knowing and practice that understood nature as alive, plants and animals as allies, and magic as real. Committed to healing and transformation on both individual and community levels, witches held a form of decentralized, grassroots power that threatened emerging religious, scientific, economic, and political forces that objectified the natural world and the human body. Viciously persecuted during periods of global colonization, witches have gradually re-emerged as touchstones for new ways of being in the world – ways that recognize the underworld as a necessary counterpoint to everyday reality, and value our deep embeddedness within the environment.
Who were the witches when they were the abject, the feared, and disproportionately women? Who are they now when they represent modes of empowering and extending consciousness from the margins?
This conference seeks to give voice to contributions by women and those who have questioned gender-rigid spaces in society, spiritual practices, medicine, and depth psychology.
Diane Purkiss (Keynote)
Ashley (Ashe) Kelly-Brown
Anne Jackson Sator, Arepo, Tenet, Opera, Rotas. Photo credit: Mei Lim
As a result of attending this conference:
Participants will examine the history of marginalization through the lens of witchcraft, and apply new or deeper understandings of marginalization to their clinical and scholarly work.
Participants will relate material from across cultures to the types of trauma experienced by marginalized groups today in order to expand and integrate this knowledge toward more culturally-sensitive awareness, knowledge, and skills.
Participants will evaluate their own experiences and practices through multiple modes of knowing and being, through presentations and workshops that seek to challenge conventional hierarchies of rational knowledge.
Anne Jackson Witch-Hunt: Maleficium (in memoriam). Photo credit: Lynn Noble
Witches in Place: Stone, Fire, and the Dead during the Scottish Witchhunts Diane Purkiss
When we think of those accused of witchcraft, we mostly think of the innocent. By contrast, this presentation focuses on those accused witches of the British Isles who were tried because they really believed that they had done magic. We will look at a group of witches in Aberdeenshire in 1597: Andrew Man and Marioun Grant, who refer to a figure called Christsunday; Andrew refers to the Queen of Elfame (fairyland), and Marioun to ‘Our Lady.’ It’s a world of stone and fire, where death is not the end. What might modern witchcraft learn from their uncanny entanglement in ancient places and half-forgotten stories?
From the Shadows into the Light: the appeal of contemporary Wicca Vivianne Crowley
Magic makers, healers, diviners, environmental activists, feminists, occultists – witches today are all these. They are also priestesses and priests, revivers of Pagan Goddess religion. In The Undiscovered Self, Jung foresaw what the ancient Greeks called a kairos, a changing of the gods. This paper explores the experiences of witches who practice Wicca as a return to a Pagan Goddess worship that encourages personal growth and empowerment and presents a challenge to societal norms. The author draws on academic research and her participation in Wicca to understand its archaic appeal and to explore its meaning for its practitioners.
Green Herbal Witchcraft Ashley Kelly-Brown
The path to becoming a medicine woman and green witch can take you in many directions. For me, it began with desperation to match nature with nature. My path began in the jungle of Costa Rica where I learned about using herbs to heal myself. From that experience, I learned to see plants as allies and spirits that aided in my ability to heal and make magic. From calling in the elements and the cardinal directions, to evoking the spirit world to enhance herbal remedies, to helping women heal themselves by encouraging their own witchy rituals with plants and the phases of the moon, this path has revealed itself to be an ancestral calling that is continuing to reveal itself.
Individuation and the Modern Witch: Reclaiming Power and Wildness Rebecca M. Farrar
Witchcraft can serve as a potent initiator into individuation – specifically through reclaiming power and wildness. For many self-identified witches, of all ages and gender identities, the question of who has power and who doesn’t is paramount to witchhood. In this way, the modern witch often aligns with feminism for its ability to challenge macro- and micro-forms of oppression while simultaneously claiming one’s own power outside of these structures. Through harnessing intuition, sexuality, and other “feral feminine” qualities modern witches connect to inspiration beyond spellcasting to redefine influence and magic. This presentation focuses on how individual and collective identities of witchhood collide within modern feminism.
Malinalxochitl and the Wisdom of the Universe
Malinalxochiltl and her brother Huitzilopochtli were the leaders of the Aztecs during their migration to the south. Malinalxochitl was the spiritual leader of them, although in the stories she is mentioned as a sorceress. What is behind this story, however, is the elimination of female leadership and knowledge, which led to a cosmic imbalance that was reflected in the fall of Mexico-Tenochtitlan at the hands of the Spaniards in 1521. This presentation shows how the wise and leaderful women’s archetype became the witch to be eliminated and how this perception still affects women – specifically wise women guardians of knowledge and medicine.
The Witchcraft Series: History, Magic, and Metaphor Anne Jackson
Anne Jackson makes knotted tapestries inspired by historic witch prosecution and persecution in Europe. She explores the power that “the witch” still holds – as idea, as representation of social injustice, and as metaphor for our fears. Anne uses historical texts and illustrations, and personal references, to commemorate accused women, reflect upon her own life, and comment on our attempts to exert control over our world, our lives, and our future.
“It’s about grasping at strands – of belief, feeling, memory; twisting them into skeins, and knotting them into something solid and material, which I can send out into the world.”
Embodied Magic Erica Mather
Embodiment is the key to accessing our greater capacities. We’ll discuss what embodiment means, do an embodiment practice, and envision the possibilities with embodiment centered in our lives.
The Cat as Familiar: Guilt by Association Debra Merskin
Animalizing humans and humanizing animals has been a strategy of objectification and prejudice throughout history. Women and cats have long been intertwined. Cats in particular are noted witch’s familiars and have suffered from persecution and cruel deaths. Intersectionality is used as lens through which I examine sex and species. This presentation explores the following questions: What have been the consequences for both as a result of their association? Popular culture portrayals will be examined that serve to reinforce the dynamic between women’s alleged magical powers and those of their feline companions.
‘In the Shape of the Other’: Understanding Salem’s Witchcraft Crisis in the Context of Native American Cultural Practices Ann Marie Plane
Historians have long puzzled over the witchcraft crisis at Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. Numerous theories have been advanced for how and why fear about witches overtook the region, including the influence of traumatic conflicts with Native Americans along New England’s northern frontier. But relatively little attention has been paid to the ways in which English and Native peoples engaged with each other over practices that the English dubbed witchcraft, conjuring, and sorcery. This presentation explores these interactions, providing a deeper context for the events at Salem, and exploring the Native traditions that continued in practice well into the nineteenth century.
“It is the witching hour, when Death jumps through hoops”: Witches, Spells and Enchantment from the Margins Susan Rowland
Historically, witches were not evil, but rather supplied of charms and spells to ward it off. So do the witches of New Mexico belong to a mythical universe more potent against the evils of nuclear weapons than those who make them. Historical and fictional witches meet in Shakespeare whose “Scottish Play” provides a healing charm against the cybermagic used in the 2016 US Presidential Election. These are arts-based research, offering spells addressing the dangerous enchantments of technology perpetrated by the unconsciousness of modernity.
The Alchemy of Justice: John Winthrop, Jr., Occult Knowledge, and the Changing Pattern of Prosecution in New England’s Other Witch Hunt Walt Woodward
Before Salem, Connecticut was by far New England’s most ardent prosecutor of witches. That was before John Winthrop Jr., renowned alchemist and himself an occult practitioner, became involved. His careful – but forceful – intervention in the midst of the 1660s Hartford witch-hunt transformed Connecticut from New England’s most aggressive killer of witches to a colony that ended witchcraft executions a generation before Salem.
Historical Huntings and Modern Oppressions: The Legacies of Malleus Maleficarum in Western Psychologies Oksana Yakushko
During the celebrated eras of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, women and girls were hunted as witches for their passions, knowledge, and sexuality. Their untold history is held in rarely discussed records such as the Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), considered by scholars to be the bloodiest book ever written. The legacies of witch hunting were significant to the development of Western psychological sciences, both in demonizing the emotions, sexuality, and the body, as well as in developing “talking cures” that finally paid attention to these historical traumas. This presentation traces the hunting of witches and demonized Others from the publication of the Malleus to contemporary forms of Western psychology that attack diverse emotions, sexualities, minority ways of being, non-compliance, and critical thinking.
FEATURED ON-CAMPUS EXHIBIT
Guiding Spirits: The Radical Witches and Women of OPUS presents an array of materials highlighting explorations of mythological witches and the occult underpinnings of depth psychology. On view are germane selections from OPUS’ leading-edge women scholars, including Marija Gimbutas’ archeological illustrations of bird goddesses and their canine consorts, and Christine Downing and Marion Woodman’s manuscripts on the distrust and endurance of the female body and the magical powers of lunar crossroad goddesses, Hekate, Artemis, and Baba Yaga. Also on view will be OPUS’ most extensive display to date of Judge W. H. Barnes’ rare turn-of-the-20th-century Spiritualist book collection, featuring testimonial accounts and investigative exposés of séances, trance mediums, and spirit materializations—all phenomena influential upon the psychology of C. G. Jung and the Theosophical establishment of OPUS’ neighboring township of Summerland, CA.
Diane Purkiss, DPhil, is fellow and tutor of English at Keble College, Oxford. She specializes in renaissance and women’s literature, witchcraft, and the English Civil War. Purkiss was born in Sydney, Australia, and received her D.Phil. from Merton College, Oxford. She has held teaching positions at the University of East Anglia, Exeter University, and her current post at Keble College since 2000. Purkiss is the author of The Witch in History: Early Modern and Late Twentieth Century Representations (Routledge, 1996) and Troublesome Things: A History of Fairies and Fairy Stories (Allen Lane, 2000), among others.
Vivianne Crowley, PhD, AFBPS, CPsychol, is a psychologist specializing in mindfulness-based interventions and spiritual growth. She teaches Psychology of Religion for the Department of Psychology, Nottingham Trent University, UK, and for Cherry Hill Seminary, Columbia. She sits on the Contemporary Pagan Studies program committee of the American Academy of Religion. Formerly, she was Lecturer in Psychology of Religion in the faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, King’s College, University of London. She has numerous academic publications on contemporary Paganism, women spiritual leaders, and Jungian psychology. She was initiated into Wicca, Pagan witchcraft, when a teenager and has taught Wicca internationally for over 30 years, establishing covens across Europe and beyond. Her experience of Wicca as a contemporary mystery tradition and Jung’s models of the psyche, inspired her best-selling book Wicca: The Old Religion in the Modern World. Her forthcoming book on magick and spirituality, You Were Once Wild, will be published by Penguin-Random House in Fall 2020.
Rebecca M. Farrar, MA, aka the “Wild Witch of the West,” works as an archetypal astrologer and writer in San Francisco, CA. Her astrology readings focus on feminine, witchy archetypes of the natal astrology chart including Black Moon Lilith and dwarf planet Eris. She runs a Facebook Group and an in-person series that invites community conversations on the intersection of sex, power, and creativity. Her article “Pay Attention to the Omens: 10 Signs You May be a Witch” on Elephant Journal has more than 400,000 views. Rebecca completed her M.A. at the California Institute of Integral Studies in the Philosophy, Cosmology, and Consciousness. Her thesis, “Stargazing: Re-enchantment Through Language,” combines linguistics, consciousness studies, and enchantment with the stars. www.wildwitchwest.com.
Maria Veronica Iglesias, MA, was born in Mexico City, Mexico. She has a Bachelor´s degree in Library Sciences and a Master´s Degree in Mesoamerican Studies from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (La Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico). She grew up in a family that honors the Earth, the plants, and all the living beings. Veronica was initiated as a sahumadora (bearer of the Sacred Sahumerio) when she was 8 years old. She also was initiated in the sacred knowledge of Mesoamerican shamanism and she became a Portadora de la Palabra, bearer of the Sacred Word. She is also a Priestess of Ix´Cheel, the Mayan Goddess of Medicine. Veronica is currently researching gem stones and their therapeutic use, Pre-Hispanic medicine, feminine shamanism in Mesoamerica, feminine rites of passage, and Mesoamerican Goddess traditions.
Anne Jackson, MA, is a textile and tapestry artist and writer. Anne grew up in Chicago, and was educated at Vassar College, St. Andrews University, Scotland, and Middlesex University, London. She makes large-scale tapestries on the subject of witch-persecution and historic witch-trials in England, Scotland and Europe. Writing and public engagement are also parts of her art practice. Anne currently resides in England. www.annejackson.co.uk
Rae Johnson, PhD, RSW, RSMT, BCC is the chair of the Somatic Studies specialization in the Depth Psychology program at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Working at the intersection of somatic studies and social justice, their scholarship focuses on the embodied experience of oppression, somatic approaches to research, and the poetic body. Rae is the author of several books, including Embodied Social Justice, Elemental Movement, and Knowing in Our Bones.
Ashley (Ashe) Kelly-Brown is the owner of Pura Luna Women’s Apothecary. She is also a Herbalist, Green Witch, and Peri-steam Hydrotherapist. She is also the owner and lead makeup artist for LunaBella Make-up and Hair in Santa Barbara, CA. Her journey to holistic healing and alternative medicine came about from a desire to heal herself 7 years ago. Looking for the blessing of this challenging time in her life, she sought out healing and education in the jungles of Costa Rica. In the small jungle beach town of Puerto Viejo, she was introduced to the healing plants of the rainforest and their physical and spiritual medicine. The plants healed and transformed her. After 3 years of trips to the jungle, she decided to learn more about plant medicine local to North America and becoming a “green witch”, which led to the Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education where she received her certification as a medicine woman in June of 2017. In addition to healing and learning from the plants, she has several courses in other healing modalities to aid in her quest to help women heal themselves.
Erica Mather, MA, is an author, yoga therapist, Forrest Yoga Guardian, and life-long educator. She teaches people to feel better in, and about their bodies, and to view their bodies as an ally and best friend on the journey of life. Her forthcoming book Radical Body Acceptance: End the Time-Sucking, Confidence-Crushing Pursuit of Unrealistic Beauty-Standards and Start Living Your Life (New Harbinger 2020) is a 7-step spiritual journey helping women befriend their bodies and utilize them as tools and allies on their quest to live their best lives. Her Adore Your Body Transformational Programs help overcome body image challenges, and the Yoga Clinic of NYC supports students, teachers, and health professionals learn about empowered care for the body. Mather is a recognized body image expert, a Forrest Yoga lineage-holder, and was also named one of the next generations’ important yoga teachers by Yoga Journal. She writes for Mind Body Green on the topic of body image challenges, is a regular columnist for Rivertown Magazine and is a popular repeat interview on the SoulFeed Podcast, Hay House Radio’s Angel Club, and more. Mather lives in New York City. Visit her at www.ericamather.com
Debra Merskin, PhD, is professor of media studies at the University of Oregon. She earned her first PhD in public communication from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University and completed coursework toward a second PhD in depth psychology with an emphasis on ecological psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her research and teaching focus on intersectional race- and gender-based theories and examine exclusion or stereotyping by media of marginalized human beings as well as animals other than humans. She is the co-creator of the style guide for journalists and other professional communicators interested in respectful and accurate portrayals of animals in media at animalsandmedia.org. Dr. Merskin is the author of Media, Minorities, and Meaning: A Critical Introduction (Peter Lang, 2010), Sexing the Media: How and Why We Do It (Peter Lang, 2012), and Seeing Species: Re-presentations of Animals in Media & Popular Culture (Peter Lang, 2018).
Ann Marie Plane, PhD, PsyD, is Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is a Training and Supervising Analyst at the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. Ann specializes in Colonial North American history, with an emphasis on gender, colonization, and the lives of Native Americans in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century New England. Throughout her career, she has been devoted to creating learning communities, whether in her initial work in museums, or in her work as Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara. In additional to her teaching and scholarly writing, Ann is also a psychoanalyst, having completed her PsyD from the Institute of Contemporary Psychoanalysis in Los Angeles. She is the author of Dreams and the Invisible World in Colonial New England, and co-editor of Dreams, Dreamers, and Visions: The Early Modern Atlantic World (University of Pennsylvania Press).
Susan Rowland, PhD, is Chair of the Engaged Humanities and the Creative Life Program at Pacifica Graduate Institute, and teaches in the Depth Psychology Program with Specialization in Jungian and Archetypal Studies. She is author of a number of books on literary theory, gender and C.G. Jung including Jung as a Writer;Jung: A Feminist Revision; C.G. Jung in the Humanities; The Ecocritical Psyche: Literature, Evolutionary Complexity and Jung; and The Sleuth and the Goddess in Women’s Detective Fiction. She will be presenting from her forthcoming book, Remembering Dionysus: Revisioning Psychology and Literature in C.G. Jung and James Hillman.
Walter Woodward, PhD, is Associate Professor of History at the University of Connecticut. He is also the State Historian of Connecticut. Dr. Woodward’s research interests include early American and Atlantic world history, alchemy and the creation of New England culture in the 17th century, and the Hartford Witch Hunt, including changing patterns in Witchcraft prosecution.
Oksana Yakushko, PhD, is the Chair and core faculty in Clinical Psychology department at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Her publications and presentations focus on xenophobia, feminism, and social justice from lens of depth and critical psychology paradigms. She has received awards for her work on human trafficking and immigration, including receiving American Psychological Association’s Presidential Citation in 2007 and being named the Fellow of the American Psychological Association in 2016. Her recent publications include articles on indigenous psychologies and women, including on history of witch-burning as a form of suppression of indigenous and women’s knowledge. In addition, she has written on gendered and cultural unconscious in research, on women’s spirituality, on systematic exclusion of depth psychological perspectives in mainstream psychology, and on ideological paradigms in psychology that promote social oppression (e.g., eugenics, “positive” psychology). She has collaborated with foundations and organizations, which address historical and current xenophobia, including the U.S. Holocaust Museum. She is active in psychoanalytic, humanistic, and feminist organizations that focus on lives and experiences of diverse communities.
Pacifica Graduate Institute’s Ladera Lane Campus
801 Ladera Lane, Santa Barbara, CA 93108
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This course meets the qualifications for 9 hours of continuing education credit for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. Pacifica Graduate Institute is approved by the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (#60721) to sponsor continuing education for LMFTs, LCSWs, LPCCs, and/or LEPs. Pacifica Graduate Institute maintains responsibility for this program/course and its content. Full attendance is required to obtain a certificate.
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