“We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art, the art of words.”
- Ursula K. Le Guin
Stories have power. Folklore has power.
We have power.
Sometimes, it’s hard to remember this and even harder to really believe it.
It’s been a brutal couple of weeks in the US - and elsewhere, around the world. When the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade, we were absolutely gutted. As women with a whole slew of chronic conditions and disabilities, reproductive rights and bodily sovereignty have always been incredibly important to us. We’re angry, battered, and, at our lowest points, we’ve felt helpless. Hopeless.
So we turned to story and to folklore. We binged our favorite novels and poetry for comfort. We read personal narratives for perspective and empathy. And we returned to work like Michael Jackson’s The Politics of Storytelling, where he wrote that:
"[S]torytelling [is] a vital human strategy for sustaining a sense of agency in the face of disempowering circumstances. To reconstitute events in a story is no longer to live those events in passivity, but to actively rework them, both in dialogue with others and within one's own imagination."
Folktales don’t have the answer, but they do point to possibilities and strategies. They show us tricksters and boldness, heartbreak and wild imagination. Imagination that can help us recover, recharge, and take action, together.
Will you join the circle?
Much to our surprise, Rapunzel’s Circle is back much earlier than expected!
Welcome to Rapunzel’s Circle: Folklore & Resistance!
Like folktales themselves, we don’t have the answer, but, thanks to stories, scholars, and activists who have come before us, we see possible paths through the dark woods. Let’s follow them, and forge some of our own.
It’s going to be hope-filled and sustaining.
It’s going to be practical.
And above all, it’s going to be magical.
We begin July 30th!
Rapunzel's Circle: Folklore and Resistance is a journey through folktales, folklore, and boldness. Over four weeks, you'll read stories and essays that explore bravery, resilience, fear, and ingenuity. And, through our lectures and quests, we'll help you use these stories to ground you, recharge you, and take meaningful action. We’ll also be digging deep into the fabric of folklore studies to show you how concepts like ritual, festival, and personal narrative can help!
In other words, we'll show you the direct relevance of folklore to your life and this moment. All while being part of a group of fabulous people who are exploring the same thing.
We'll show you how folklore can help "restore our sense of security, sanity, and sense of justice" (Jack Zipes.). You'll use these concepts and stories to inspire your own creativity, reimagine bravery, and see the link between magic and action.
If you want to find the magic, strength, and power in story and the inspiration to fight for what you believe in, this is your chance.
If you're craving:
- real tools for combating emotional exhaustion
- external permission to be really kind to yourself (you have it!)
- unapologetic patriarchy stomping theory and energy
- concrete ways to take action
- re-storying and re-wilding
- a deep dive into folklore studies
- inspiration for your own creative work
- fellowship with really cool, passionate people
...then we've got you.
Week 1: Untellability
What stories can’t be told? How do we find a way to tell them? This week, we’ll explore folktales plus work by Carmen Maria Machado and Rebecca Solnit to explore silencing and ways to fight it.
Week 2: Tricksters, Tactics,
When tradition and authority betray us, how do we fight back? Using trickster folklore and high theory, we’ll see how to fight back against seemingly insurmountable foes.
Week 3: Be Bold, Be Bold
What is bravery? It’s not just fists and swords. What can it look like? How do we tap into it? Fairy-tale heroines, goddesses, and everyday women from tales around the world will show us.
Week 4: Re-Enchantment
Resistance cannot persist without rest. Without joy. This week, we draw from ritual, festival, folktales, and rewilding to find ways to recharge and sustain ourselves as a vital part of resistance.
Week 5: Action & Celebration
We’ll review what we’ve learned, answer questions, share stories of the actions we’ve already taken and the ones we see in the future.
Here's What's Included:
- Four 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 one-on-one, answering questions and diving deep into how the readings can help you re-story your week. These lectures will air on Thursdays (8/4, 8/11, 8/18, 8/25) at 7PM ET via Crowdcast. ($200 Per Live Event = An $800 Value!)
- One LIVE bonus video celebration with us after the four official weeks of the course have concluded (9/1)! Our focus this time is on ACTION. How can we go out into the real world and make a difference? (A $100 Value!)
- Course readings as PDFs and/or Links - We always 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!)
- Four beautifully designed and EXCLUSIVE "quest" pages - these pages outline a special assignment for each week of the course. These vary widely, but they're always fun, related to a weekly theme, achievable, and enlightening. Plus you get feedback from us AND your fellow circle members! ($100 Per Quest = A $400 Value!)
- Four beautifully designed and EXCLUSIVE "fairy-tale incantation" pages - our usual grimoire pages aren't quite right for these particular courses, so, instead, you'll receive printable PDF sheets that will be perfect for keeping each week's fairy-tale incantation front and center! (A $15 Value!)
- 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. Plus, if you send your responses to us, we always reply with personal notes! (A $200 Value!)
- Access to our private Facebook group just for members of Rapunzel's Circle: Folklore & Resistance - 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! Plus, this is a great way to get contact with the outside world, whether you are feeling really isolated or you just really need to talk to someone who isn’t in your immediate household. (At LEAST a $600 Value... But Honestly? Priceless.)
That’s over $2000 in value… but you only pay $207!!
Here Are Just a FEW of the Awesome Things People Have Said About Our "Rapunzel's Circle" Courses!
“Being part of Rapunzel's Circle was an incredible experience. It was educational, entertaining and illuminating. The course material is beautifully presented and the live lectures are inspirational as well as being an absolute hoot! I cannot wait to do another class. Carterhaugh is more than a school, it's your very own fairy tale family.”
– Karen Ravenscroft-Wheeler
“Attending lectures and taking this course gave me the ability to understand why fairy tales and folklore mean so much to me and connect with a brilliant community of like-minded and hearted people. The way Sara and Brittany teach is beyond engaging and makes reading and lectures feel like a privilege. Rapunzel's Circle is sincerely one of the best things I've ever done and I can't wait to learn more from the Carterhaugh School!”
– Danielle Esposito
“Carterhaugh is a magical place and Rapunzel’s Circle has been a light in the quarantine darkness. Brittany and Sara are inspirational and approach each lesson with creativity and intelligence. Their community of students is kind and insightful. Carterhaugh helps people to learn, to grow, to connect, and to create. It is a fairy tale dream come true.”
– Kelly Jarvis
“My day job is frustrating at best and has very little room for creativity or imagination or connection with like-minded humans. The course I participated in brought magic and inspiration and human connection into my world during a time of stress and uncertainty. I love stories and I love learning more about cultures and histories around the world. This course was delightful and worth every penny!”
– Genevieve Oryan
“This [was] an incredible course taught by two of the most inspirational, wonderful women you will ever have the pleasure to learn from.”
– Kara Markley Sterling
“I felt uplifted and held by the people in the class and I think that's the people they attract to them energetically but also the way the course is designed gives people permission to share and connect in a deeper way. Thank you for this wonderful experience. I am pretty sure the course was discounted? I would gladly pay double.”
– Emily Newhouse
“When you take a Carterhaugh class, you're not just learning about fairy tales (although you are), you're also joining a very special family.”
– Amy McCune
“Exactly what I needed during quarantine. An uplifting community, magical stories, and intellectually stimulating conversation and lecture. I learned, and I laughed a lot.”
– Becca Wray
“Even when work and life are difficult, being part of this community makes my life feel a little bit more magical, and that is an amazing gift!”
– Claire Thomas
“Sara and Brittany's classes have provided me with an enchanting escape from the mediocracy of everyday life. Each offering is a powerful cure for the spiritual ills of our unsettling times and have the capacity to amuse and heal.”
– Cherie K. Panas
“I loved Rapunzel’s Circle so much. It was the perfect blend of birds of a feather talking about a fascinating subject, thinking/learning and enjoying, and breadcrumbs for self study and taking the course material further on my own. I am so glad I signed up, and I can’t wait to see what is on offer next!”
– Jacqueline Manni
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 three dozen 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 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 first "Rapunzel's Circle" course in 2020!
[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!]
This course is, above all, about community. It is about coming together during a time of crisis to meet with other, like-minded folk and form a space where compassion is alive, resistance is beautiful, and magic is still afoot. Your spark hasn’t gone out - we will find it together.
Okay, Time for Some Real Talk
We're constantly saying how amazing the Carterhaugh community is, but we don't think we've ever managed to explain what that actually means. "Community" sounds pretty vague, and you might be wondering what this is really like in practice.
But here's the deal. 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 fairy tales, and you're looking for others who are enthusiastic, creative, imaginative, and kind, welcome home.
More than anything we've ever done here at Carterhaugh, these "Rapunzel's Circle" courses are about community. Don't get us wrong, we're bringing our expertise, knowledge, and research skillz to the table too, and we plan each lesson with care and intention, but it's way more dynamic than us just talking at you. The lessons happen live, and we're here in real time to answer your questions, chat, and to see the tales and folklore anew through your eyes.
Rapunzel's Circle lessons are somewhere between a college lecture and brunch with your best friends. You'll be surrounded by supportive, fun, wildly creative people who will open you up to new ideas and points of view. People who are so kind, insightful, and inspiring that it blows our minds.
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.
- "Do I have to have taken other Rapunzel's Circle courses in order to take this course?" - This is our number one question and the answer is a wholehearted NO! You do NOT have to have taken any previous "Rapunzel's Circle" course offered in order to purchase and participate in "Rapunzel's Circle: Folklore & Resistance." All of these courses stand alone, though they will of course complement each other!
- "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 lesson?" - You will hear from us each week on Saturday, for 4 weeks, starting July 30th, 2022 - we generally get things out by noon ET, 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 Thursday of our 4 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 don’t have time for a course!” - We totally get this, everyone’s lives are still completely upside down right now! That’s why we’ve tried our best to make this course the same kind of haven the other RC courses were - i.e. NOT a burden at all. There are no complicated assignments or huge projects (unless you want to make them bigger, which is totally fine!) We want this to be a space where you can reconnect to the magic inside you whether you have 10 minutes a day or 2 hours a day to devote to it.
- “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!! 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” fairy tales for people!
- “Guys, I love this, but money is SO tight right now….” - We understand this so much. This is why we’ve made this 4+1 module course as affordable as possible AND packed in all the enchantment, stories, and community you crave right now. We're also offering three different payment plans 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.
- “Can’t I find all these stories online for free?” - We get it: there is SO much free stuff online for you to peruse at your leisure - articles, and stories, and folkloric material of all kinds. And it’s wonderful to have so much information at our fingertips! But here’s the thing: a lot of it is just terrible or sprinkled around haphazardly. Do you want to have to hunt down everything yourself and weed out the bad information, or would you rather have some fairy godmothers shepherd you through? We really are experts in this (PhDs ain’t just pieces of paper!), and we know exactly how to navigate the trove of stories and information, how to make connections, and how to show you unexpected gems you would never have even thought to look up. Plus, one of the most amazing things about Carterhaugh is the community that grows up around our courses, which leads to even MORE connections and resources. Reading a questionable website, all alone, is a universe away from a bustling, thriving, magical school where you can share your ideas with kindred spirits and insight from professors who have your back.
- “How involved are you guys? Is this just a thing where I get access to a bunch of stuff and then good luck?” - NOPE! We are 100% involved in our courses from start to finish. Our students always rave about how accessible we are, how quickly we respond, and how we make everyone feel welcome in our school. We’re always jumping in to answer questions and offer encouragement in our private course Facebook group, and we’re also available via email anytime you need help with anything (or just want to share an insight privately with 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 email if you have any questions, want to respond to discussion questions, or have any other thoughts you want to share!
- "What if I hate this? Is there a refund policy?" - We truly believe in the magic of what we're offering, so we guarantee our courses. If you participate wholeheartedly in the first week, and if you do the work and honestly don't feel like you're getting any value from the experience, please write to [email protected] by midnight on August 5th, 2022 with your answers to the discussion questions to receive a full refund.
As always, if you have additional questions at any time, don't hesitate to get in touch with us at [email protected]!
Open your mind to tales and your heart to magic.
The gates of Carterhaugh are open...
but only until July 29th at Midnight EDT!
If You've Read This Far...
If you've read this far, clearly something about our circle resonates for you. You feel it in your spirit.
You can be powerful, you can be magical, you can make a difference.
Folklore can help.
Join us at Carterhaugh - you won't regret it.