Lecture & Workshop Host
LECTURE: Fallen Fruit: The Devil in English Botanical Folklore of the Autumnal Harvests
While grown worldwide, the blackberry (Rubus spp.) is particularly steeped in folklore on the British Isles. We will explore the fascinating relationships between the Devil and the blackberry in autumnal harvest traditions. Beyond their presence in hedgerows and pleasant jams, blackberries assume a darker persona, imbued with whispers of fallen angels and demonic temptation. We will explore how folktales and harvest customs describe the blackberry as a forbidden fruit, enticing us with its sweetness while being stained by the Devil’s touch. Drawing connections between the wider autumnal celebrations, we will examine how these favorite fall fruits are often associated with the fallen angels. From mischievous tricksters lurking in the brambles to sinister spirits demanding offerings in exchange for bountiful harvests, this exploration will elucidate the complex relationship between fear, superstition, and nature’s bounty. Through analysis of folklore and cultural practices, this presentation uncovers the fascinating layers of lore embedded within the simple blackberry, revealing its unexpected role as a potent symbol of the Devil’s existence in the English autumnal harvest.
WORKSHOP: From Heaven to Hedgerow: A Phytognostic and Practical Experience with the Blackberry
2 HOUR INTENSIVE– space is limited to 15 participants
Blackberries have numerous uses for herbalists and even more uses for occult herbalists. Starting with a general overview of the genus Rubus, we will explore the plant’s various phytochemicals, including the anthocyanins responsible for the blackberry’s rich dark color and the chemical constituents in the broader plant. Using various preparations, we will integrate theoretical and practical aspects of its mysteries and approach the humble blackberry from a phytognostic perspective.
$45 workshop add on fee
No materials fee
BIO: Jeremy Bechelli received his Ph.D. in infectious disease pathology from the University of Texas Medical Branch and his M.S. in microbiology from the University of Rochester. Jeremy is currently an Assistant Professor of Biology studying tick-borne infectious diseases and endothelial pathobiology. Jeremy is a long-time student of European folk magic and studies occult herbalism, folk medicine and the traditional witch-lore and practices of the British Isles. Jeremy also owns Phytognosis, a business focused on plant based spirituality, incense, resins, and botanical curios. https://www.phytognosis.org
Tickets for the 9th Annual VGS are now Available!