General Sessions

Herbalism: Medical & Magical Uses of the Herbs in All Souls

This talk discussing herbalism as it pertains to the world of All Souls will cover a number of topics, including a brief overview of herbalism, its ancient and modern use, and why it’s resurging today; examine the medical and magical properties of herbs mentioned in All Souls, such as Marthe’s tea, Sarah and Diana’s dream pillows, herbs in Sarah’s stillroom and the Bishop garden, and remedies in Time’s Convert; discuss how an herbalist writes formulas and why there might just be a “touch of alchemy” in herbal formula writing; use herbalism for self-care, including popular tisane recipes for health and wellness, such as Immuni-Tea (immune boosting), Sniffle Tea (for cold & sinusitis), Tranquili-Tea (for stress management), Dream Tea (for sleep), Moon Tea (for PMS & Cramps), and Tummy Tea (for indigestion).

The Elixir of Eternity and the Afterlife: Exploring Matthew Clairmont’s Wine Cellar Through the Ages

Following a tantalizing trail of archaeological and chemical clues around the world and through time, Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating odyssey back to the beginnings of this consequential beverage when early hominids probably enjoyed a wild grape wine, along with other animals and creatures. Early shamans, who were likely the winemakers of prehistory, must have marveled at the seemingly miraculous process of fermentation. We follow the course of human ingenuity in domesticating the Eurasian vine and learning how to make and preserve wine some 8,000 years ago.

The history of civilization is, in many ways, the history of wine. As an evocative symbol of blood, it was used in ancient temple ceremonies and is at the heart of the Eucharist. Kings celebrated their victories with wine and made certain that they were well-supplied in the afterlife.

From success to success, viniculture stretched out its tentacles and entwined itself with one culture after another. From Phoenicia and Egypt, the Near Eastern “wine culture” went from east to west across the Mediterranean to Crete, Etruria, and on to France. There, the Cistercian monks of Burgundy A.D. are said to have literally “tasted the soils” of the Côte d’Or [just like Matthew], beginning in the 12th century, and established some of the finest terroirs for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir over the next eight centuries. These wines and many others established in France, especially in the Bordeaux region that is famous for its Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon, became models of vinicultural expertise.

These French varietals together with other notable European grapes (Riesling, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Furmint, even Zinfindel which originates from Croatia) have been transplanted throughout the world. They form the core of Matthew Clairmont’s wine cellar with its memorable and preternatural 18th-20th century vintages.

In short, wine laid the foundation for civilization itself. As medicine, social lubricant, mind-altering substance, artistic inspiration, and highly valued commodity, wine became the focus of religious cults, pharmacopoeias, cuisines, economies, and society. We have this heritage to thank for both the marvelous wines of the Old World, as well as the many “wine cultures” of the New World established over the past half century.

Discovering the Practical Magic in the Research Library

As Diana Bishop discovers, a research library is more than just a repository for the published and unpublished word. There is magic, there is mystery, there are stories waiting to be unraveled. While in reality there are no witches, vampires, or daemons frequenting today’s research libraries (or are they?), these institutions carry a certain mystique. How does the modern day historian of science actually conduct research? How do they manipulate rare books? What are some popular topics among current historians of science? What are the tools of the trade? How do these relate to the practices and research environment described in the All Souls Trilogy? The librarians of the Othmer Library of Chemical History, Science History Institute, will address all of these questions and more in an interactive panel session that will bring attendees up close to historical scientific texts in the library’s reading room. Are you ready to unlock the secrets of the library?

Paintings in the All Souls Trilogy

Step into Phoebe’s world and discover the paintings in the de Clermont art collections. What might she find hidden in the family attics or hanging over toilets in different houses? What would an exhibition of such paintings look like? This session will describe Phoebe’s dream catalog of de Clermont masterpieces for such an exhibition⏤Holbein, Titian, Bosch, Frans Hals and more⏤and will consider elements of the collections while explaining how to look at different types of paintings with respect to historical context, aesthetic principles, and their meaning in the All Souls world.

Breakout Sessions

Queen, Sage, Mystic, Mother, Lover, Maiden, Huntress – Female Archetypes in Shadow Of Night

The witty hosts of the Chamomile & Clove podcast discuss Diana Bishop alongside the other female archetypes in Shadow of Night, including Queen Elizabeth I, Mary Sidney, and Goody Alsop.

Yarn Craft Through the All Souls Centuries: Channelling Your Inner Em

The leads of the All Souls Yarn Conventicle will cover the processes of knitting and felting (dating back to the ancient Egyptians), woolens the characters might have worn at different times and places. They will also share some pieces that members of the All Souls Yarn Conventicle have made, inspired by the television show. The presentation will be followed by a workshop to teach knitting at one setting and crochet at another or do both as knitting. Basic supplies will be available for attendees of this session, so you can slowly get started on a simple scarf pattern.

Vellum and Quills: Making Alchemical Illustrations

Step into the role of scribe-artist and create your own masterpiece inspired by the All Souls Universe. Using period materials, including natural pigments, quills, and oak gall ink, participants will have the opportunity to create their own masterpiece on vellum. Materials, templates, and examples will be provided. No artistic skill necessary!

Unleashing Your Inner Magic: Embracing the Creature In Each Of Us

In A Discovery of Witches, Amira tells her yoga class, “We spend our time striving and straining to be something that we’re not. Let those desires go. Honor who you are.”

In this interactive presentation, we will discuss ways we deny our own reality in order to fit the molds that we believe society has made for us. We will examine characters from the books and how their denials of power, love, and emotions lead them into precarious situations. We will weave our own life experiences into the conversation and discuss specific steps we have taken to honor our true selves. Anyone who has listened to our All Souls Witchy Women podcast will be familiar with the presentation because this is exactly how we frame each episode. 

In A Discovery of Witches, Amira tells her yoga class, “We spend our time striving and straining to be something that we’re not. Let those desires go. Honor who you are.”

In this interactive and fun presentation, we will discuss ways that we deny our own reality in order to fit the molds that we believe society has made for us. We will examine characters from the books and how their denials of power, love and emotions lead them into precarious situations. We’ll come armed with examples but will first do a call-out to the audience to see what they can conjure.

We will weave our own life experiences into the conversation and discuss specific steps we have taken to honor our true selves. Anyone who has listened to our Witchy Women podcast will be familiar with the presentation because this is exactly how we frame each episode. The exciting prospect this time around is that we’ll get to incorporate audience participation into the conversation.

The Hunt for the Secrets of Nature

Atalanta fugiens is a mysterious book. Printed 400 years ago, its lavish illustrations depict an alchemical realm where deities, heroes, and mortals mingle within fantastic landscapes and elaborate interiors, some of which allegorically depict laboratory processes. A discernible storyline around the creation of the philosophers’ stone runs the images, but it is broken up, its pieces scattered across Atalanta fugiens. Participants in this breakout session will become hunters in pursuit of the secrets of nature in searching for clues that the author, Michael Maier, has cleverly hidden within its pages. Get an introduction to the manuscript and its content and then walk through our gallery to examine the pages and uncover the secrets!

Signature and Secrets: Calligraphy in Elizabethan England

Commonplace books, like the one Dianna carried in Shadow of Night, were very popular in early modern Europe. They were filled with everything from recipes to letters, proverbs to quotes, even secrets. Each book was unique to its creator, reflecting the important things they wanted to tuck away. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll learn all about historic inks and pigments while getting a crash course in calligraphy. Practice your signature just like Diana did at the Old Lodge in 1590, and work on illuminating your own commonplace book. What secrets will you tuck away?

Creature Counsel with the Drs. of Daemonosity

Join Daemons Discuss together with the vampire scientist, Dr. Shelli Carter as they seek to solve our favorite characters’ personal problems.
Daddy issues.
Mommy issues.
Identity issues.
Unrequited love.
Sibling rivalry.
Just name a taboo, and our panel of experts will set you straight in an All Souls’ own interactive talk show.