Caroline Tully is an Australian scholar of Classics, archaeology, and esotericism with a background in fine arts:
I am an Honorary Fellow in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art from Monash University, Graduate and Postgraduate Diplomas in Classics and Archaeology and a PhD in Aegean Archaeology from the University of Melbourne. From 1996 to 2010 I worked as a professional tapestry weaver at the Australian Tapestry Workshop, during which (from 1999 to 2005) I also worked as a feature writer, reviewer and news and events editor at Australia’s Witchcraft Magazine. I returned to university study in 2004, started PhD research in 2009 and was awarded my Doctorate in 2017. My PhD, which is on tree worship in the Late Bronze Age Aegean and East Mediterranean (primarily Crete and mainland Greece, with comparative material from Cyprus, the Levant and Egypt), is currently in press with Peeters Publishers and due out this year. I also work on the reception of the ancient world, particularly the ways in which ancient Egyptian and Minoan (Bronze Age Crete) religions have been interpreted by late nineteenth century British magicians such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn and their spiritual heirs, the 20th and 21st century ceremonial magicians, witches and Pagans.
Last year she waded into the job of guest-editing an issue of The Pomegranate: The International Journal of Pagan Studies on Pagan art and fashion, which she is now assembling.
The Wild Hunt had a short interview with her last year, but here is a long version of her interview by Rick de Yampert.
I think Paganism is inherently creative because of its this-worldly, rather than other-worldly, focus. There is a wide spectrum of aesthetic expression that manifests in the materiality of Paganism; in the ritual objects we use, the way we design rituals, our robes (or lack thereof), direct – bodily – contact with deities, ecstatic expression, sexuality, and the general artistic legacy of all forms of ancient pagan religions that we are able to draw upon in order to create our religion and rituals. However, the initial impulse to create this special issue came from the creativity, often aligned with business savvy, of Witches on Instagram; the sex-positive feminist collective website, Slutist.com; and the fact that Witchcraft was appearing in high fashion contexts such as catwalk collections and featuring in magazines like Vogue. Witchcraft has become glamorous – and I’m not talking about its traditional faerie glamour, but fashionista glamour. Bloggers, Peg Aloi (“The Young Ones:Witchcraft’s Glamorous New Practitioners”), and Thorn Mooney (“The HipsterWitch: Aesthetics, Empowerment and Instagram”), have already noted that this is a new kind of Witchcraft, less focussed on deities, Pagan history and community, and more focussed on self-care and characterised, to quote Mooney, by “a strong entrepreneurial streak”. These Witches are also politically active, more multicultural than Paganism has traditionally been, and read magazines like Sabat and Ravenous, and books like Kristen J. Sollee’s Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive. This issue of The Pomegranate is interested in research on these new slick Witches – who are they? Are they really so new after all? What does it mean for Witchcraft to be so distinctively stylish?
5 thoughts on “Caroline Tully on Pagan Art and Fashion”
Comment This comment is both late and very marginally connected with Dr Tully, and just slightly more with Minoan – Mycenaean archaeology. In my late teenage, in mid-Sixties, I read a SF novel, ‘The Sign of the Labrys’, by Margaret St. Clair, that had what I thought in those days interesting elements taken from Minoan-Mycenaean religion. Then a decade ago, when I got interested in Wicca, I realized that in the book there were also lots of Wiccan elements and overtones; furthermore I read that St. Clair was a very early user of Wicca in fiction.
I wonder if anyone can give me more details on Margaret St. Clair’s role in the history of Wicca in the States and information on any publication on St. Clair and Wicca.
As it happens, I published an article, “Margaret St. Clair, Forgotten Foremother of Pagan Science Fiction,” in one of the early issues of The Pomegranate. Here is the link. I think it is a free download, but let me know if you have problems.
Many thanks for your kind reply and information. I followed the link and I found that your article can be accessed only through subscription. At this point I tried on your page in Academia and I saw that the article is listed in your literature but was not uploaded. It seems that my curiosity about Margaret St. Clair and Wicca is not easy to satisfy!
I had meant to upload a number of older pieces to Academia.edu but never uploaded that one. It is there now.
Thank you very much! I also found via Internet your “Letter From Hardscrabble Creek: Chasing Margaret”, 1997. Thank you very much again
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