Sixth Mount Haemus Lecture: Working with Animals

Professor Roland Rotheram was the senior lecturer in Myths and Legends and Comparative Religious Studies for 12 years at the University of Staffordshire. In this study he develops a new theory on the relationship between humans and animals in a shamanic and spiritual context, exploring the symbolism of animal figures in early faiths and examining the links between various priesthoods and the animals they invoke in their rituals. Surviving traces of early nature beliefs in modern world religions are examined as well as those in use by those following the shamanic and druid paths.

by Professor Roland Rotherham


During the course of this paper it is my intention to introduce some examples of cultures who work and or have worked with the concept of animals in their religious structure. I believe that during this exploration, giving as I hope it does, comparisons of sacred ritual that we can identify with, that perhaps we can see the emergence in other cultural beliefs that which will become evident as the “dawn” of Druidry in world-wide sacred beliefs as well as sacred structure that has preceded us.
I have wanted to tackle for many years the questions arising from the place of animals in our cultures and the positions held by them in our belief systems, particularly if any such relevance can be found with us today, hence my subject for this offering.
It is my intention to explore some of the more historical aspects of this subject whilst using some examples of “Shamanism” that are still extant in the world today. I do this because I believe that in so doing I will be illustrating that many cultures in the world still practice forms of animal worship and the usage of “Totem” creatures that we may recognise as, perhaps, examples from the dawn of “Druidry” in cultures that remain, to the large extent, still isolated from western culture.

Also available in The Mount Haemus Lectures – Volume One through our bookshop and as a downloadable pdf below.

About The Author

Professor Rotherham has lectured for over twenty years in ‘other-worldly’ studies. His main areas of study are those surrounding relics and their use, and in particular the subjects of The Holy Grail and The Spear of Destiny. He holds doctorates in Ancient and Early Medieval Cultural Studies, Education, and Theology. He was the senior lecturer in Myths and Legends and Comparative Religious Studies for 12 years at the University of Staffordshire, and for 4 years Education Officer to the Walsall MBC Museums Service. He is currently researching the early Byzantine church.


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