Registration Is Open for 2018 Conference

We have now opened registration for the 2018 conference!

Early bird rates apply until Feb. 2, 2018.

Register and renew membership.

See you in March!


Registration is also open for the 2018 Matriarchal Studies Day, March 18,
2017, 9-5.  Learn more and register for this event.
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Dr. Gala Argent to Discuss Horses and Shamanism at 2018 Conference

“Porous Boundaries: Women and Horses in Eurasian Epic Poetry, Shamanism,  Archaeology and Myth”

Keynote presentation by Dr. Gala Argent

Dr. Gala Argent and friends

“The roles of the horse within human cultures are complex and context driven. Horses may be domesticates whose bodies are eaten or used as products. They may be workers, drafted and indoctrinated into human endeavors and utilized for their strength, speed and power to human advantage. They may serve as metaphors and symbolic proxies for human or cosmic properties. Present-day Euro-American scholarly agendas primarily focus upon these human-generated concepts and in doing so view horses merely as objects or sets that are used by humans.

 This misses the point that horses are large and potentially dangerous creatures to whom riders entrust their lives. The relationship between horse and rider is necessarily based upon the subjective experience of two social beings sharing space, time and experiences.

 In this presentation I detail how horses are conveyed as companions and allies across Eurasia through historical narratives, oral traditions and archaeology. I cover the mutual devotion of Alexander the Great and Cyrus to their warhorses, Persian and Kyrgyz epic poetry detailing the exploits of heroes and their named hero-horses, and archaeological evidence of care in human-horse co-burials. I argue that these individuals and communities saw horses as partners, and recognized their agency by attributing intentionality and significance to their actions.” 

Gala Argent is an interdisciplinary scholar and lifelong equestrienne whose work concerns the relational ways humans and other animals come together. She holds a Ph.D. in archaeology, MA and BA degrees in (human) communication studies, and teaches or has taught in higher education departments of art, communication studies, anthropology and animal studies. Her current interests focus on theorizing human-horse interactions and relationships using models of nonverbal and interpersonal communication, and on the ways in which humans and other animals come together in relational, corporeal, temporal and spatial ways to co-create mutually interdependent selves and societies.


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Dr. Elizabeth Wayland Barber to Give 2018 Keynote

“Waterbirds, Water, Women and Place in Archaic European Lore”

Dr. Barber’s works bring together scholarship from a wide range of sources to discuss such diverse topics as textile history as “woman’s work,” culture and migration, the origins of myth in cosmology, and the evolution of modern folk dance from beginnings in ritual and sacred story. Her books include Women’s Work: The First 20,000 Years; Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times (1995), The Mummies of Ürümchi (1999), When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth (2004, coauthor with Paul T. Barber) and The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance (2013).

The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance won ASWM’s Sarasvati Award for Best Nonfiction Book in Women and Mythology in 2014. Publishers Weekly says of this book,

“Rich with anecdotes and compelling explanations of the origin of many modern customs (such as throwing rice at a bride), Barber’s is an informative and amusing read, often bringing together many diverse sources—traditional stories, illustrations of artifacts, and aspects of popular culture—into an illuminating whole that will serve as a nice introduction for those unfamiliar with the topic, and a valuable reference for scholars of European dance and folklore.”

Dr. Barber is professor emerita of archaeology and linguistics at Occidental College.


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2018 Kore Dissertation Award



The Kore Award for Best Dissertation in Women and Mythology is offered through the Association for Study of Women and Mythology and made possible through the gift of a generous contributor. The Award recognizes excellence in scholarship in the area of women and mythology. It is offered in even-numbered years, for dissertations completed in the previous two calendar years (including defense).  The 2018 award is offered for dissertations completed and defended in 2016 and 2017.


Applicants can be from any discipline, including but not limited to literature, religious studies, art or art history, classics, anthropology, and communications. Creative dissertations must include significant analysis of mythology in addition to creative work. A letter of support from the dissertation director is required is part of the application.  Applicants must be members of ASWM at time of submission. Award-winning dissertations may be included in the ASWM members-only dissertation database.

Applications for the 2018 award may be made between November 1, 2017 and January 19, 2018.  Selection is made by a panel of scholars from a variety of disciplines.



Application for Kore Award for Best Dissertation in Women and Mythology


Deadline for submission: January 19, 2018

Award presentation:  March 17, 2018 at ASWM National Conference, Las Vegas (successful applicant will be notified by February 15, 2018 and award presentation will be made in Las Vegas)




Mailing address:




Field of Study:


Title of Dissertation:


Date of graduation:


Degree granted by:


Dissertation advisor’s name:


Dissertation abstract:



Please submit this form via email to, with PDF or MSWord attachment of dissertation.  Please have dissertation director email letter of support, also in PDF or MSWord, to same address.

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2018 ASWM Conference and Call for Proposals

“Scholarly Speculations:  Animal, Earth, Person, Story”

ASWM Conference March 16-17 2018

Gold Coast Hotel, Las Vegas NV


Our main theme will be explorations of animal and earth mysteries, with an emphasis on Native American and indigenous scholarship.  This year our program will include a poster session for research in progress, in addition to panels, workshops, and plenary sessions.

Keynote presenters include:

  • Elizabeth Wayland Barber: “Waterbirds, Water, Women and Place in Archaic European Lore”
  • Dr. Gala Argent: “The Agency of Horses, Horses as Heroes in Eurasian Poetry and Archaeology”

Join us to celebrate our first decade of inspiring and stimulating scholarly events. Come early for special pre-conference tour to the Temple of Goddess Spirituality Dedicated to Sekhmet (Thursday March 15) and stay over for a day of Modern Matriarchal Studies, also in the Gold Coast Hotel, on Sunday March 18.

See the Call for Proposals, ASWM 2018 CFP-3, for additional information about topics.  The submission deadline has passed.

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About Our First Publication: Myths Shattered and Restored”

ASWM Anthology

The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) is  delighted to announce the publication of the first of our conference and symposia Proceedings anthology, Myths Shattered and Restored.   This anthology, edited by Marion Dumont and Gayatri Devi, features essays in archaeomythology, place-based wisdom of indigenous peoples, feminist and goddess-centered reworkings of western myths, the Dianic tradition, essays on cross-cultural investigations into goddess myths, and collective goddess deities, to list a few of the themes and topics explored in this collection.  As the Introduction says,

Today’s history becomes tomorrow’s myths. This exceptional collection of essays is a valued contribution toward contemporary feminist and womanist efforts to re-cover the herstory of mythology and to ensure that today’s herstory is not forsaken in tomorrow’s myths. The writings presented in this volume serve to strengthen and support the circle of women and men who share a scholarly passion for sacred myths about women.

Authors include Mara Lynn Keller, Joan Cichon, Arieahn Matamonasa-Bennett, Alexandra Cichon, Mary Beth Moser, Denise Saint Arnault, April Heaslip, Alexis Martin Faaberg, Natasha Redina, Savithri Shanker de Tourreil, Gayatri Devi, and Dawn Work-Makinne.

Purchase Myths Shattered and Restored at  Amazon or Goddess Ink

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Modern Matriarchal Studies Day: March 18, 2018

Sunday, March 18, 2018 9AM – 5PM (Registration opens 8AM)

Early Registration $60 until Feb 2, 2018

Gold Coast Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, NV

Priestesses of Pele, by Lydia Ruyle

ASWM is pleased to again work with the US Modern Matriarchal Studies group, who will offer a day of presentations following our conference in Las Vegas.  Stay for this exciting program!

We at Modern Matriarchal Studies Day are excited to offer a full day of Modern Matriarchal Studies following the 2018 biennial Association of the Study of Women in Mythology Conference (March 16-17, 2018).  We had a wonderful program taking shape with Vicki Noble as Mistress of Ceremonies and leading our opening and closing rituals.  We will have a tribute to Lydia Ruyle, the Founding Mother of Modern Matriarchal studies day with Katie M Hoffner, Lydia’s niece, and Isadora Gabrielle Leidenfrost, who is currently working on a film, The Lydia Ruyle Movie.  This year we are pleased to have Heide Göttner-Abendroth skyping in from Germany.  Joining us in person are Genevieve Vaughan, Kathy Jones, Mariam Irene Tazi-Preve, Julie Felix, Michelle Manu and more.  While our official program ends at 5PM, we hope you will plan to stay and join us for a no-host dinner where we can carry on our conversation from the day.  We hope you will join us!
–Co organizers Letecia Layson, Vicki Noble, Joan Cichon and Lin Daniels
For more information contact Joan Cichon at and follow us on Face Book

Modern Matriarchal Studies is the “investigation and presentation of non-patriarchal societies”, and matriarchies as “non-hierarchical, horizontal societies of matrilineal kinship”, effectively defining matriarchy as “non-patriarchic matrilineal societies”. Matriarchy is characterized by the sharing of power equally between the two genders, an egalirarian model.  Heide Göttner-Abendroth

Please note:  Matriarchal Studies Day is presented in conjunction with ASWM’s conference, to the benefit of both groups, but registration for this event is not covered by registering for the ASWM Conference.  Register here for Matriarchal Studies Day:

Early bird registration–on or before Feb. 2 2018     $60

Slightly later birds–Feb. 3 to March 9, 2018            $75

Late birds and walk-ins–March 10-18, 2018           $90

For more information contact Joan Cichon 

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2018 Conference Hotel Room Reservation Information




Thursday 3/15/18 Friday






Deluxe Room Rates     40.00     89.00    89.00    40.00
Tax 13.35% 5.35 11.88 11.88 5.35
Resort fee (17.99) inclusive of taxes 20.40


=$374.06 for a four night stay.


Please be advised that there is also a mandatory refundable security/damage deposit of $100 required at  check-in.

On line reservations can be made via our group link: ASWM Gold Coast Group Link. This page will ask for the Group Reservation ID or Group Code:   A8WMC03.

You may also book by phone by calling central reservations toll free at 888-402-6278. They will need to reference this same ID: A8WMC03, to receive your special, discounted room rates.

Our special rates will be available from Wednesday 3/14 through Monday 3/19, 2018.

Hotel reservation cut off is February 13, 2018.

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2018 Sarasvati Book Award Applications

The Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM)

Sarasvati Award for Nonfiction

The Sarasvati Book Award solicits nonfiction books published during 2015-2017 in the field of goddess studies/women and mythology. Named for the Hindu goddess of learning and the creative arts, the Sarasvati award from the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology (ASWM) honors creative work in the field of goddess and mythology studies. The award will be presented during ASWM’s biennial conference, Las Vegas, Nevada, 16-17 March 2018. Book submissions must be received by ASWM Sarasvati Award committee no later than 15 November 2017.  Books must be submitted by publishers only.  Anthologies and self-published books are not eligible for this award. 

The 2017 deadline for submissions has now passed. Past winners of this prestigious award for the study of women and mythology include:

  • Miriam Robbins Dexter & Victor Mair and Cambria Press for Sacred Display: Divine and Magical Female Figures of Eurasia
  • Elizabeth Wayland Barber and W. W. Norton for The Dancing Goddesses: Folklore, Archaeology, and the Origins of European Dance
  • Adrienne Mayor and  Princeton University Press for The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World

 See the link for submission form.

2018 ASWM Sarasvati Submission Form-2

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Outreach Grant for Native American and Indigenous Presenters

We are pleased to announce that ASWM has received a special outreach grant for our 2018 conference. This will fund presentations and participation by Native American and indigenous scholars and researchers. Proposals will be read by an outside panel of scholars, and applicants may be asked to provide certification of their tribal membership. ASWM will consider successful grant projects and articles for inclusion in our forthcoming Proceedings series.

Our external grants committee invites Native American and indigenous scholars, researchers, artists, and activists to submit critical, creative, and practitioner proposals on topics that address the identity and empowerment of Native American and indigenous women, girls, families, and the environment through women-centered mythologies, earth centered mythologies, story-telling, healing practices, inter-generational exchanges, and traditional knowledge and practices.  We encourage work whose objective is to empower both women and the earth to alleviate violence and suffering in both women and the environment. We invite proposals that demonstrate the application of traditional knowledge and wisdom practices in rectifying social justice issues pertaining to women and the environment.

Grant funded presenters will present their work at the 2018 biennial conference. The final paper or presentation form of approved grant projects should adhere to a 20 minute conference presentation format.

The deadline for submissions has been extended until October 15, 2017.

2017 External Grant Call for Proposals

ASWM External Grants Proposal Submission form


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Reflections: Karadarshanam


By Gayatri Devi


At the first ASWM conference in 2010, my aunt Savithri and I led the ritual called Karadarshanam (“kara” in Sanskrit means “hand,” and “darsanam” means “looking, seeing, witnessing”) as part of the opening ceremonies for our conference. Hindus believe that our hand is an important organ of apperception and action.

Ancestral Midwives by Lauren Raine-2

“A Shrine for the Ancestral Midwives” by Lauren Raine

Practicing Hindus would tell you that when you first awake in the morning, you must not jump out of bed, or start thinking about work or your list of things to do or money or debts or anything of the kind.

When you break the fast called sleep, when you have allowed all of your sensory organs to fall into a state of rest, and you wake up, it is a state change. Hindus would tell you that you should initiate this state change each morning by bringing your hands together and feeling your hands mindfully, perhaps by folding them in supplication or prayer and silently meditate on the following mantra.

It is a beautiful mantra. The essence of the mantra is this: within your hand resides the three divine goddesses – Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth), Saraswati (the goddess of Learning), and Gauri (the mother goddess or Devi, also known as Sakti (energy), Siva’s consort.  When you meditate on your hand, you invoke the blessings of all three goddesses to bless everything you do for the rest of the day.

In western metaphysics too, there is a similar link between hands and divinity. Remember Michaelangelo’s great painting of God and Adam? In the iconographic systems of many religions, supplicating hands differentiate the spiritual being from non-spiritual beings.

Here is the full mantra, first in Sanskrit, then a linear translation in English, followed by a sense paraphrase translation in English.

Karagre vasate Lakshmi
Kara madhye Saraswati
Kara moole stithe Gauri
Prabhate Karadarshanam


Karagre – at the tip of your fingers   vasate – resides   Lakshmi – the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity
Kara madhye — in the center of your palm  Saraswati – the Hindu goddess of learning
Kara moole – at the base of your palm (wrist really)   stithe – dwells  Gauri —the Hindu mother goddess or Devi, the root source of all divine energy and power (Sakti)
Prabhate  — at the break of dawn  Kara – palm/ hand     darshanam – contemplate, look, study


Now the sense paraphrase-


On the tips of your fingers, Lakshmi

In the center of your palm, Saraswati

At your wrist, Gauri

Pray to your hand in the morning.

The divine energy of Gauri or Devi flows outwards from your wrist to your palm and to the tips of your fingers.

When you write, when you cook, when you eat, when you type, when you garden, when you clean, when you lift something, when you play something, when you build something, when you treat something, when you operate on someone, when you touch something, when you drive, when you sow, when you reap, your hand is your primary interface with the world.

By meditating on your hand, and by asking the mother goddess and her incarnations to bless your hand, you are asking for divine guidance throughout the day for your actions.  You don’t have to go to a temple or a church or a synagogue or a mosque. You can pray to your own hand mindfully.

And–here is one more reason never to raise your hand in anger.

Gayatri Devi is a board member of the Association for the Study of Women and Mythology.  She is Associate Professor of English at Lock Haven University, Pennsylvania, where she teaches literature, linguistics and women’s studies courses. Her book Humor in Middle Eastern Cinema (Wayne State University Press 2014) examines modalities of humor in select films from the Middle East and the Middle Eastern diaspora. Her articles and book chapters on South Asian and Middle Eastern literatures and films have been published in select scholarly anthologies and in journals including World Literature Today, North Dakota Quarterly, The Guardian, Ms. Magazine, and South Asian Review.

Artwork:  “A Shrine for the Ancestral Midwives,” ceramic sculpture by Lauren Raine  “The hands in this ceramic piece were taken from a cast I made of a midwife, who was preparing to retire after a long career of bringing babies into the world.  This is the gesture she took, which she told me was the actual gesture, or “mudra”, of midwives.  Inspired by this I made this Shrine, dedicated to the countless nameless ancestral midwives who have brought us into this world since the beginnings of humanity. ” 

See Lauren’s work at Rainewalker Studio

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