This weekend I attended an excellent multi-disciplinary symposium on Charms and Magic in Medieval and Modern Ireland, organized by the Department of Early Irish at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. Scholars from so diverse backgrounds as religious studies and archeology, linguistics and philology, and from applied disciplines likes herbal healing and veterinary medicine presented enlightening glimpses into their own work, as it related to the topic. I hope to share what I took away from these talks.
Worm and Snake Charms
The first speaker of the morning was Jacqueline Borsje (University of Amsterdam and University of Ulster), who delved into Irish snake and worm charms as export products. She outlined the importance of charms as words of power, and how important context is when seeking to understand them. Cultural, textual, and situational context is everything; in other words, don’t necessarily take them at face value.
Professor Borsje has written…
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