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The motif of the white deer has haunted our arts and culture for millennia; however, until my book The White Deer: Ecospirituality & the Mythic was published earlier this year, it had not been subjected to comprehensive investigation. Drawing on interdisciplinary research, this  lecture will focus on what it means when these animals appear – both as living beings and as omens and mythic beings in our cultural representations – and what we might understand from encounters with them. 
When the white deer appears, it reminds us that we have confined ourselves inside stories that are too limiting and that we are over-taxing our ecosystem. This can be observed at the level of deer population genetics: for instance, roads, walls, and settlements can block gene flows, causing related animals to breed and express their recessive genes (e.g. leucism). Turning to the narrative and mythopoetic, traditional tales about white deer have much to say about balancing ecology and gender relations, as well as figuring in reflections on sovereignty, violence, and healing – themes that still resonate powerfully today. Melinda proposes that softening boundaries and becoming receptive to a living world where humans and other beings appear as a result of specific conditions and communicate through symbols and subtle messages is the way we may all help to heal the wasteland and bring it back to flourishing.
There will be time for Q & A at the end of the lecture, and PDF handouts will be emailed to attendees a the conclusoin of the class, that summarize its main themes and remind the audience that, de te fabula narratur: “the story is told about you." The handouts also contain suggestions for revitalizing degraded lands, and tips for connecting with the spirits of place and listening for messages that guide us to rewilding and healing the land and ourselves.
About the Presenter:
Melinda Reidinger holds a B.A. from Williams College in Art History and Literary Studies, and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Cultural Anthropology. She was also a Fulbright scholar, and used to teach anthropology and sociology at a private university in Prague. Currently, she works as a freelance writer, translator and editor. Her interest in the occult goes back to her childhood, and she is a practicing hedge witch and devotee of both fayerie and classical cults. Both her fiction and nonfiction works explore themes that interweave her interest in ecology, healing arts, and occult lore and practices.
By purchasing access to this event you agree to the following Non Disclosure:
This Agreement is between The Salem Witchcraft & Folklore Festival (also know as Salem Witch Fest)(“OWNER”); and the Purchaser (“RECIPIENT”). WHEREAS, OWNER has developed through substantial effort, research, time, and expense certain inventions, design concepts, methodologies, technical know-how, copyrightable material and trade secrets directed and related to this class.  (“INFORMATION”); WHEREAS, OWNER desires to disclose the INFORMATION on a confidential basis to RECIPIENT.  The OWNER wishes to maintain the confidentiality of the INFORMATION and the protection of OWNER'S intellectual property rights. NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the   mutual promises, covenants, and conditions contained herein, the sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the parties agree as follows: I. CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION A. OWNER agrees to disclose INFORMATION to RECIPIENT for the purposes of an online class. B. RECIPIENT agrees to receive such INFORMATION and to refrain from copying, disclosing, using, selling, or offering for sale any and all of said INFORMATION. RECIPIENT agrees to keep confidential and refrain from disclosing any and all of the INFORMATION, and to take all necessary and reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized disclosure or use of any and all of the INFORMATION.  Failure to uphold this NDA may result in legal action.

The White Deer: Ecospirituality & the Mythic with Melinda Reidinger

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