Decoding History through Myth and Fairy Tales

Ref: C2225487

The course aims to reveal the hidden meanings of Greek myth. This is achieved by a careful preparation through European fairy tales, examples of Indo-European myth such as the Arthurian myth cycle, sun-snare myths from Polynesia and North America and myths that underpin the sun dance ritual of the north American Plains. We will draw from the structuralist method of Levi-Strauss and consider some recent critiques of this method in anthropology. Once we have an adequate explanation for dragons in myth, we can turn to the Greek mythos of Perseus and Apollo to bring answer the question of how history came out of prehistory.

Course aim

All the world’s origin myths blame women and dragons for expulsion from ‘Eden’. However when studied carefully they also reveal that women and dragons made it. The course explains this paradox.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is for beginners
  • This course is for improvers
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • • Interpret dragon symbolism in myth and fairy tale.
  • • Explain the ritual roots of all myths.
  • • Identify the common characteristics of Indo-European poetics.
  • • Reveal the battle for how to count time conducted within all fairy tales and myth.
  • • Interpret the significance of Perseus and Apollo in Greek myth.

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • You will be expected to carry out a range of activities in your own time
  • We will also be using group simulations to explore some aspects of the themes in fairy tale and myth.

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • There will be a number of tasks appropriate to your course such as written work, creating art or craft, video, photography or small projects. Some of these may be marked to help you progress
  • There will be a weekly self-assessment quiz for each class which we will collectively review at the beginning of each subsequent week. There will also be a requirement to read a fairy tale or myth (supplied) in preparation for each week's session.

What else do I need to know?

  • A selection of materials and basic equipment will be provided but you are welcome to bring additional materials with you
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)
  • You might want to obtain a Philip's Planisphere to deepen your acquaintance with the night sky.

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • Everybody should read Grimm's tale 'Sleeping Beauty' for the first class. Subsequent tales will be supplied before each class electronically.

What can I do next?

Download full course information sheet

Decoding History through Myth and Fairy Tales


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2018
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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