Courses 2020 

The following courses are offered through a chapter of Romance Writers of Amercia, but anyone may register for them.

Sponsor: Hearts Through History Writers Workshops

February 2020

Magic & Witchcraft

Magic is distinguished from religion in that the magical practitioner usually acts for the benefit of one person whereas a priest acts for the benefit of a group or society.

The word ‘magic’ comes from Old Persian, but we are more familiar with the Latin spelling magus or French mage. In this course you'll find out why the magi or mages had such an influence on people outside Persia.

In the Middle Ages witchcraft developed from beliefs and practices from pagan religion. As Christianity spread, new beliefs and rituals were blended with with the old. But there were holdouts such as the Norse who became Christian hundreds of years after the peoples of Britain, and kept many ancient beliefs about magic and witchcraft. In the 12th century the concept of white and black magic spread widely causing the Church to investigate. As a result witchcraft became those beliefs outside Christian belief. A surprising amount of pagan belief was just fine with Christians.

 At the end of the 16th century European elites believed that, just as European nations were becoming better organised, the devil made pacts with witches who organised them into covens. The regimes of the 16th and 17th centuries controlled what they considered the deviance of witches by persecution.

 Scotland became a persecuting nation in the reign of James VI and, between 1590 and 1700 over 1000 people, mostly women, were executed. However, in the Scottish Highlands, isolated from the European mainstream, witches were feared but not executed. They were also useful and older ways of thinking prevailed. Into the 19th century Gaels performed rituals at the rising and setting of the sun, the making of a fire, indeed, before the start of any activity including travelling. Pagan customs.


The course will cover:

1. Greece & Rome

2. Witches & Vikings

3. White & Black Magic

4. The Witch Craze

5. Witchcraft in Scotland


The instructor is not a witch. She is a historian and this course is a wide-ranging history of European magic and witchcraft including events in Greece, Rome, Scandinavia and Scotland.


April 2020

Ancient Celts


  © Sheila Currie  2018