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Mystical Transformations: Gender in Mythology and the Occult

Join queer/disrupt for this exciting talk ‘Mystical Transformations: Gender in Mythology and the Occult’

Speakers: Sinéad Keogh, Nate Richardson-Read


Sinéad Keogh – ‘Gender Magic and the Queer Occult’

A presentation centred on the histories of “queerness as outcast” in relation to the occult through the perspective of “normative” Western societies. In particular, the representation and expression of queered gender. In line with the “traditional” framework of gender, queer gendering is frequently aligned to “the other” or a countercultural development of gender otherness, a foreign body. A magical body. Fear of the unknown as always given rise to the need to protect what we know to be certain, the standard navigation of “normative” living. Touchstones in this research include queer exorcisms, the devil as a queer icon, the trial of Joan of Arc and early 2000s “cursed images / cursed videos” demonizing persons of gender otherness such as The Goddess Bunny.

Nate Richardson-Read – ‘The Marriage of Þorr: Violence and (Trans)formation’

Old Norse sources detail transformations leading to a change in gender and its subsequent performance. This paper seeks to re-examine Þrymskviđa (Þrym’s Poem) in the Poetic Edda where transformation in relation to gender takes place, using queer theory and correlation to modern queer experiences. Þorr’s status as the ‘masculine’ is challenged in the act of becoming the ‘bride’ for Þrym, previous interpretations associating weakness with ‘femininity’. Þorr’s anger at being asked to be the ‘bride’ in place of Freyja and wearing the bridal dress culminates in violence, lashing out at a world that mocks Þorr’s feminity. Within this tale are competing elements of desire, anger and repression paralleling modern queer lives and it can be argued that Þrymskviđa contains the elements of queer transformation.

Monday 25th October 2021 – 6.30pm (BST)