The sea is wide and deep with secrets.
And legends are the skeleton keys that unlock them.

Live lectures at 7PM ET on February 15th and 22nd, March 1st, 8th, and 15th - recordings available anytime after each talk!

Our most beloved tales of the ocean ask us to consider the nature of love, home, loss, and who we want to be.

When we speak of selkies, we weigh the force of passion against the rights of sovereignty and self-determination. The ghost ships that drift through stories and songs shed light on our values and fears. And horrors like Scylla and Charybdis ask us to wonder how monsters are made…as do Odysseus’s actions at the end of his journey.

Join us on an odyssey into the wine-dark sea of oceanic folklore and the stories it has washed ashore.

In this 5-week course, we’ll explore sea legends, songs, and poetry from around the world. And we’ll end with a discussion of The Odyssey, a text floating at the intersection of folklore and literature, translated by Emily Wilson.

Why folklore of the sea? A couple of reasons - 

It gives us an excuse to talk about some of the most delightful, profound, and resonant folklore out there. Who amongst us isn’t thrilled by merfolk, moved by selkies, and haunted by monsters made heavy with the past?

The sea encompasses more life and lore than we can ever wrap our heads around. Its scope is too vast to comprehend, which means it’s big enough to cradle all our sweetest dreams and sharpest fears. The folklore and literature of the sea gives us the tools to look within ourselves and outwards to every possibility we could imagine.

The wine-dark sea and its lore is deep and dark enough to hold us, in all our complexities, contradictions, and magic.

The Gates of Carterhaugh Are Open:

(but only until February 9th at midnight ET!!)

Recordings Will Be Available for All Live Lessons!

This course is closed for enrollment.

Please Note:

In order to fully participate in Week Five, you will need to purchase or borrow a copy of Emily Wilson's translation of Homer's Odyssey! We will be looking at this new translation in particular, so please be sure you get Wilson's version!

Our Modules:

Each week of the course will feature a deep dive into one of these FIVE topics
(that's right, we're so excited about this one that we're doing an additional full week of lessons again!)

Love, Lust, and Longing

Nothing kindles desire and fear like the liminal creatures of the sea. Merfolk balance on the knife-edge of beauty and monstrosity, while selkie tales infuse our understanding of romance with melancholy and loss. In this module, we’ll explore why the folklore of the sea teems with forbidden love and evanescence.

Getting Lost & Found

There’s a tension between being lost at sea and finding a home among (or beneath) the waves. How do tales of underwater cities and islands of paradise and danger help us understand the human need for belonging and home?

Ghosts & Guilt

Swashbuckling adventures are a hallmark of oceanic tales, but they cast long shadows. What happens when adventure leads to disaster? What kinds of ghosts haunt the high seas and how do they shape the stories we tell?

Becoming Monstrous

Here there be monsters. The Kraken, Leviathan, Aspidochelone, Scylla, Charybdis. But how are these monsters made and why do we need them? What happens when the line between the monsters and heroes of the sea begin to blur?

The Odyssey

Drawing from all the threads and themes of previous weeks, in the final module we’ll discuss The Odyssey as translated by Emily Wilson, the first woman to translate the epic ocean voyage into English. How do translation and gender impact our understanding of romance, monstrosity, home, and identity in this iconic tale?


We’ve just confirmed a NEW BONUS... the incredible, incomparable Terri Windling is going to join us to do an additional lecture all about SELKIES!!

Terri will present a multimedia lecture on Sunday, February 26th at 1PM ET!

This is an exclusive lecture and - while it will be recorded for enrolled students - will not be available anywhere else!

Terri is one of the most magical people we have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She has been a guiding force for the two of us, and we are so honored by her support of Carterhaugh and her agreement to do this special lecture!❤️

Here's What's Included

  • Five LIVE video lectures with us that you can participate in live or watch later, as you please, during which we'll talk about the week's readings and check in with you! Our lectures and discussions are college-level… but definitely not snooze fests! During these live talks, we'll support you two-on-one, answering questions and diving deep into how the readings can help you re-story your week. These lectures will air every Wednesday at 7PM ET via Crowdcast - February 15th and 22nd, March 1st, 8th, and 15th ($200 Per Live Event = A $1000 Value!)

  • A special BONUS lecture with the amazing Terri Windling - this multimedia lecture on selkie legends is exclusively for enrolled students! (Priceless!?)

  • All course readings as PDFs and/or Links (Minus One!) - We always try to include ways to access the stories that star in our lectures, and we choose our stories with care. Some will be familiar and some will likely be wholly new to you, but they are all worth examining. Prepare to be fascinated and delighted with tales from all over the world in this CUSTOM collection made specifically for this course! (A $15 Value!)
  • NOTE: You do have to purchase or borrow the Emily Wilson translation of The Odyssey to fully participate in Week Five!

  • Discussion questions for learning and self-discovery - Even if you don't want to join the Facebook group, we'll make sure you have access to our discussion questions. These questions will help guide your reflections and determine how the folklore we discuss applies to your own journey and can help you achieve the results you’re looking for. (A $200 Value!)

  • Five Gorgeous "Grimoire Pages" - Grimoire pages are beautifully designed PDFs that you can print and make part of your own spell/course notebook! They also summarize each lesson (A $300 Value!)

  • Access to our private Facebook group just for members of "Folklore of the Ocean" - While participation in the course Facebook group is optional, it really is one of the best parts of the course. We have an amazing community of kind, creative, and very smart students, and the discussions that unfold in this space are always a delight and incredibly supportive. In fact, we learn new things from our students every time! (At LEAST a $600 Value... But Honestly? Priceless.)

That’s over $2000 in value… but you only pay $237!!

Your Teachers

We, Dr. Sara Cleto and Dr. Brittany Warman, are award-winning folklorists, teachers, and writers with a combined 26 years in higher education and over 150 publications. Together, we founded The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic, teaching creative souls how to re-enchant their lives through folklore and fairy tales. In 2019, Carterhaugh won the Dorothy Howard Award from the American Folklore Society.

When we aren’t teaching at Carterhaugh, we're scholars, writers and best friends who have published peer-reviewed articles, appeared on podcasts, sold stories and poems, written book introductions and encyclopedia entries, and written for magazines and blogs. (We’ve also been known to crush “Total Eclipse of the Heart” at karaoke.) We're regular writers for Enchanted Living Magazine, and we also deliver sold-out lectures at venues like the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the Profs & Pints series, the Maryland Renaissance Festival, the Contemporary American Theater Festival, and FaerieCon.

We love teaching. Our classes reflect the joy we get out of the strange and delightful world of folklore, so expect lots of gifs and terrible puns in our lectures. We'll occasionally make horrible faces at each other and laugh like drunken pixies… and we want you to join us!

Curious to see what our videos are like?

Check out this short clip from the first week of our course "Rapunzel's Circle I"!

[The audio/video quality is a little wonky - to get this clip onto this page, Brittany resorted to some very creative tech magic. You can expect clearer sound in our live lectures. In this clip, you can see us responding to our students in real-time. We're reading from the live chat that happens alongside each live video!]


  • "Um, what exactly IS Carterhaugh?" - The Carterhaugh School of Folklore and the Fantastic is an award-winning online school dedicated to classes on fairy tales, folklore, and all things fantastic. It was created by Sara and Brittany in 2016 as a place for those who dreamed of elven battles while studying economics, those who have always sworn they could see ghosts, and those who longed for a school of magic to send them an unexpected acceptance letter. We aim to use our knowledge and passion for these subjects to share their wonder, solidify their importance in society, and spread a bit of magic into the world. Want to know more? Check out our "About" page by clicking here!

  • "When will I hear from you/get access to the first lesson?" - You will hear from us each week on Friday, for 5 weeks, starting February 10th, 2023 - we generally get things out by noon, but sometimes there are evil technology fairies! Rest assured that we'll keep you updated if that happens though. We will send an e-mail and post in the private Facebook group! You'll also get our live video lectures each Wednesday of those 5 weeks at 7PM ET!

  • "What if I can’t look at any of the materials that day / can't come to the live lecture?" - You do NOT have to watch the videos on any specific date – they are yours to view whenever is best for you! This is one of the many reasons why online courses work so well – they can fit everyone’s schedule :). The replays of each live lecture will remain up throughout the course, so you can catch up whenever you'd like!

  • “I’m just a folklore fan. I don’t want to ruin my enjoyment with a bunch of academic stuff.” - We are the last people in the WORLD who would ruin your enjoyment of folklore and literature!! Believe us, we’re just as passionate about the beauty and wonder of these tales, and we know that part of that wonder lies in their mystery. We will never tell you what a tale “means." These tales are meant to be explored, meant to inspire personal meaning. We’ll give you folkloric history, and how the tales have been interpreted in the past, but we’ll never tell you what you “have to” believe about any folkloric story and we’re CERTAINLY not the kind of professors who are gleeful about “ruining” folklore for people!

  • “Guys, I love this, but money is SO tight right now….” - We understand this feel so hard. Money is tight for so many. This is why we’ve made this 5 (yes, 5!) module course as affordable as possible AND packed in all the enchantment, mystery, story, and community you crave right now. We're also offering three different payment plans (and an early bird deal!) to help you find an option that works. Our school is an investment, and it’s one that you deserve - we know our community and the magic we make together is worth it, and we would love for you to join us.

  • “I hate Facebook. Do I HAVE to participate?” - The private Facebook group is really how the course community comes together. Discussion is incredibly active, people are always extraordinarily kind, and it’s seriously like no other discussion form we have ever seen. So while it is absolutely not required, it really does add to your enjoyment of the course if you participate there! We’ve had students make fake names just for our courses before though, so you don’t have to embrace all of Facebook to be a part of our private group! All of this said, if you really, really don’t want to be a part of Facebook in any way, you are free to simply enjoy the community in the live lectures, and talk to us one-on-one via e-mail if you have any questions, want to respond to discussion questions, or have any other thoughts you want to share!

As always, if you have additional questions at any time, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]

Featured In:

Okay, time for some real talk

Our community - the students and friends and magic seekers that have found their way into our courses - have been the biggest surprise and the best part of Carterhaugh. It's not something we anticipated, but it's not an exaggeration to say that it's why we're still here, teaching courses online in a job that's better than anything we could have imagined. It's because of YOU.

If you want connection, if you want to hang out and learn in a low-key way with other wonderful people, this community is for you. If you love folklore, and you're looking for others who are enthusiastic, creative, imaginative, and kind, welcome home. 

Carterhaugh grew from our love of fairy tales and our own friendship with each other. Carterhaugh is still here and thriving because of the what came after: our community.


We are feminists and disability scholars who support the LGBTQ+ community and believe that Black lives matter.


The gates of Carterhaugh are open...

but only until February 9th at midnight ET!!

Recordings Will Be Available for All Live Lessons!

This course is closed for enrollment.

Please Note:

In order to fully participate in Week Five, you will need to purchase or borrow a copy of Emily Wilson's translation of Homer's Odyssey! We will be looking at this new translation in particular, so please be sure you get Wilson's version!

If You've Read This Far...

If you've read this far, clearly something about our school resonates for you. You feel it in your spirit.

You can be the magical soul you want to be.
Art and stories can help you get there.

Dive beneath the waves with us at Carterhaugh - you won't regret it.