Further Understandings of The Burning Times with Elizabeth Glenn-Copeland
When I was a girl, Hallowe’en was a time to stay out late and get lots of candy to squirrel away for those terrible days when your mother served jello for dessert. My favourite costume was the witch, and I had great fun prancing around town screeching and cackling, my teeth blackened, my face painted green. In my twenties I joined a women’s circle and discovered that my costume, worn with such innocence, represented a very dark, rarely talked about period of history: the femicide of hundreds of thousands of women in the days known as the Burning Times. Most of the women accused, charged, tortured, tried and executed were healers. Many of them were old, or outspoken, or different in ways that did not make them useful in the transition from the feudal to the capitalist system. It is interesting that the peak of the Burning Times took place in the Renaissance, also known as the ‘Age of Enlightenment’. It is also interesting to note that these times set the tone for the march of Colonialism into other parts of the world.
At this critical juncture in our evolution as a species, there are important lessons we can draw from the Burning Times. We as women (living in the relative privilege of the West) are being called to fully stand in our power: to reject what Carolyn Merchant calls, “the mechanical paradigm that legitimized the exploitation of women and nature” in favour of a new, life-affirming paradigm that holds all life as sacred.
At this gathering we'll enjoy meditation, song, movement, conversation and reflection, as well as deep learning about The Burning Times.
Lunch made with fresh, local ingredients included
Elizabeth Copeland is a theatre artist, storyteller, writer and arts educator who has dedicated her life to using her artistic practice in service of environmental and social justice issues. She has designed and facilitated innovative arts-based programs for survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse, people marginalized by poverty and mental illness, immigrant women and children who struggle to learn. She has toured with Second City doing improv comedy, played theWitch in Hansel and Gretel with the Honolulu Symphony, and told her original stories at the Toronto International Storytelling Festival. Her novella, JAZZ,won the 2014 Ken Klonsky Novella Prize and was shortlisted for the 2015 ReLit Award. In her hometown of Sackville, N.B., she is currently spearheading three projects that seek to engage community around climate change. The first is the play, Bearing Witness which uses monologue, story and poetry to follow an age-old tradition of using theatre to ‘amuse and disturb’. The second project, based on the ‘Work that Reconnects’, is a workshop series entitled “Eco-Anxiety, Community and Daring to Hope at the Cliff’s Edge.” Lastly, she just finished The Earth Warriors Theatre Project, the first phase of a pilot project designed to build in children and youth there resilience, self-confidence and community connections they will need to meet the unknown challenges that they will inevitably face in their future. She is the 2018 Writer-in-Residence at Joggins Fossil Cliffs. She lives in a cozy house with her husband, composer Beverly Glenn-Copeland and two cats.