Folklore and Paganism Folklore


Folklore Virtual Special Issues are unique collections of articles, editorials, and podcasts, handpicked by the journal editors. Each issue examines a particular theme within the discipline of folklore, offering original insights into a range of fascinating and curious topics.

Excerpt from Juliette Wood's Introduction

On the death of Dr Margaret Murray at just over one hundred years of age, her colleague, E. O. James, detailed her remarkable career as a teacher of all things Egyptian, ex-president of The Folklore Society, and distinguished folklorist. The latter interest is embodied in her ‘controversial theory’, based on studies undertaken in the 1920s, that a pagan cult survived into the medieval period (E.O. James, ‘Obituary for Margaret Murray’, Folklore 74, no. 4 (1963): 568-69). Its rituals, presided over by a horned god and his consort (later replaced by a masked priest and priestess) were based on the natural cycle of vegetation. According to Murray, the Christian church equated the masked priest with the Devil and persecuted the cult members as witches. Murray remained convinced that elements of the cult could still be found in folk practices associated with the changing seasons. Despite his admiration for her many accomplishments, even E.O. James was forced to admit that her suggestion that the death of certain English monarchs could be explained by a myth about a dying god who is reborn each spring  was a less than convincing contribution to anthropology (569).

Listen to the full introduction below.

Audio Introduction

Listen to Juliette Wood read the full introduction to the virtual special issue -  Folklore and Paganism

Introduction - Folklore and Paganism