Course info

  • PRICE: 95€ (approx. $95)

  • LANGUAGE: The course is held in English language

  • SUBTITLES: All videos include English subtitles (closed captions)

  • LEVEL: The course is designed at an introductory level

  • PREREQUISITES: The course does not require any precedent knowledge or requisites

  • SCHEDULE: Lessons will be released weekly after start. Enroll & start following the course any time

  • STRUCTURE: The course is stuctured in 10 Lessons, subdivided in a variable number of Sections plus other studying material (articles, bibliography, audio etc.). Each Section includes one video. In order to proceed within the course you must complete all Sections of each Lesson including a small assessment quiz. Lessons are released one every week after start

  • LENGTH: To complete the entire course are required approx. 15 hours (videos + readings). Bear in mind that each lesson will be available one week from another

Watch a short intro to the course

The course includes:

  • Approx. 10 hours of HD video lessons

  • Downloadable readings & other study material

  • Unlimited access to the course for 1 year (365 days)

  • Full access from any device

  • Step-by-step quizzes to assess your comprehension and progress

  • Community forum to discuss topics & issues with the other students

  • CAMNES Certificate of Attendance upon successful completion

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • Mythology & Anthropology of Plants: Presentation of the Course

  • 2

    Bibliography & Suggested Readings

    • Bibliographical References

    • Suggested Readings

  • 3

    LESSON 1 - Botanical Life in Religions and Anthropology

    • L1S1 - Introduction to the course

    • L1S2 - Life of Trees in History and Anthropology of Religions ‒ Old Animism

    • L1S3 - Life of Trees in History and Anthropology of Religions – New Animism

    • L1S4 - The Social and Religious Life of Plants: some bibliography

    • “Animism” Revisited: Personhood, Environment, and Relational Epistemology (Bird-David)

    • The New Animism and Its Challenges to the Study of Religion (Laack)

    • We Call It Tradition (Hogan)

    • Quiz - Lesson 1

  • 4

    LESSON 2 - The Cosmic Tree and Tree Symbolism

    • L2S1 - The Cosmic Tree and the Tree of Life

    • L2S2 - Trees of Life and Trees of Knowledge: Scandinavian, Celtic and Greek worlds

    • L2S3 - Trees of Life (and Death)

    • L2S4 - Trees of Immortality

    • Sacred Trees and Plant Persons (Perdibon)

    • Scotland's Sacred Tree: The Fortingall (Yew Cusack)

    • Quiz - Lesson 2

  • 5

    LESSON 3 - Sacred Plants

    • L3S1 - Sacred Plants and Deities

    • L3S2 - Sacred plants and deities (continuation)

    • L3S3 - Trees and other-than-human beings: ghosts, ancestors, animals and other beings

    • L3S4 - Places of mystical, spiritual transformations, divine epiphanies, revelations..and the birth of sanctuaries and pilgrimage sites

    • Rituals, ceremonies and customs related to sacred trees with a special reference to the Middle East (Dafni)

    • Quiz Lesson 3

  • 6

    LESSON 4 - Sacred Plants and Material Religion

    • L4S1 - The body of the deities

    • L4S2 - Tree worship

    • L4S3 - Ritual roles: magical sticks, smoldering and ritual bonfires

    • Folklore Fragments Podcast: Sacred Trees in Folk Tradition (University College Dublin)

    • On the typology and the worship status of sacred trees with a special reference to the Middle East (Dafni)

    • Quiz Lesson 4

  • 7

    LESSON 5 - Botanical Personhood I

    • L5S1 - Brief history of the vegetal soul

    • L5S2 - Botanical Sentience and Personhood in Religions

    • L5S3 - Kinship

    • L5S4 - Mother Trees

    • Drawing out the iconic in the aniconic: worship of neem trees and Govardhan stones in Northern India (Haberman)

    • Indigenous Animism, Plant Persons and Respectful Action (Hall, Plants As Persons)

    • Quiz - Lesson 5

  • 8

    LESSON 6 - Botanical Personhood II: Communication and Metamorphosis

    • L6S1 - Inter-species communication(s)

    • L6S2 - Voices & teachings of plants

    • L6S3 - Human like legendary trees and plants

    • L6S4 - Floral Metamorphosis

    • L6S5 - Arboreal Metamorphosis

    • We have to rescue animism (Spiriterritory, Luna)

    • The Concept of Plants as Teachers among four Mestizo Shamans of Iquitos, Northeastern Perú (Luna)

    • Quiz - Lesson 6

  • 9

    LESSON 7 - Sacred Forests and Groves

    • L7S1 - Sentience, violence and sacredness

    • L7S2 - From sacred forests to destruc%on of the forests: Gilgamesh and the Cedar Forest

    • L7S3 - Sacred Groves in pre-Christian/Pagan and Early Christian Europe

    • L7S4 - Forests in Indian literature and tradition

    • L7S5 - Indigenous forest knowledge, preservation and care

    • Tears in the Forest (Haberman)

    • Quiz - Lesson 7

  • 10

    LESSON 8 - Medical and magical plants

    • L8S1 - On the footsteps of herbal/botanical knowledges. Brief history of herbal medicine

    • L8S2 - Magical and medical plants II. Plant spells

    • L8S3 - Psychoactive Plants

    • L8S4 - The herbs of the witch

    • Hypnotica Iranica: Zoroaatrian Ecstasy in the West (Haberman)

    • Chapters of Pscychoactive Botanicals (Shepard)

    • Psychoactives Botanicals in Ritual, Religion and Shamanism (Shepard)

    • Quiz - Lesson 8

  • 11

    LESSON 9 - Plants and Gender

    • L9S1 - Brief history of an ancient motif/alliance

    • L9S2 - Braiding plants and women stories: Europe. Christianity and folk-religion/medicine

    • L9S3 - Braiding plants and women stories: Europe II. Traditional botanical knowledge and eco-spiritualities

    • L9S4 - Braiding plants and women stories: Indigenous North America

    • Do Berries Listen? Berries as Indicators, Ancestors, and Agents in Canada's Oil Sands Region (Baker)

    • Indigenous place-thought & agency amongst humans and non-humans (Watts)

    • Recapping ‘First Nations: Ethical Landscapes, Sacred Plants’ (Humanities Institute)

    • Quiz - Lesson 9

  • 12

    LESSON 10 - Plant Turn in Philosophy, Literature and Science

    • L10S1 - Eco-philosophy I

    • L10S2 - Eco-philosophy II: Botanical Philosophy

    • L10S3 - Eco-criticism of the Plant Turn

    • L10S4 - From neurobiology of plants to ethno-botany

    • Persons as Plants: Ecopsychology and the return to the Dream of Nature (Gagliano)

    • Plants As Persons

    • Recreating a Place for Flourishing (Hall, Plants As Persons)

    • Quiz - Lesson 10

  • 13

    Final Exam

    • Course Assessment Quiz

Main learning outcomes

  • Anthropology

    Understand the mechanics behind the plant-human relationship, the ecology between man and flora

  • Religion

    Discover the symbolic values and ritual aspects of past and present religious traditions

  • History & Archaeology

    Learn about the botanical aspects of ancient and contemporary cultures

Meet your instructor

Senior Lecturer

Anna Perdibon

She is a scholar in the fields of history and anthropology of religions. Her research journey started at Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, where she graduated with a BA in Cultural Heritage, course in Near Eastern Archaeology (2009), and accomplished a MA in Ancient Civilizations (2012). She obtained her PhD in ancient Near Eastern religions and mythology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2019), with a dissertation turned into a book with the title Mountains and Trees, Rivers and Springs: Animistic Beliefs and Practices in Ancient Mesopotamian Religion (2019). She engages with the discussion about animism in the studies of religion and anthropology, ancient and contemporary conceptions, practices and representations of nature, eco-spiritualities, eco-cosmologies, and religion and gender. In particular, her research and teaching deal with mythology and anthropology of plants in ancient and contemporary religious cultures. She started collaborating with SoRS as assistant director in January 2021. Moreover, she is writer for online journals and blogs, where she talks about animism, art, ecology and storytelling.

- Course enrollment -

Begin your knowledge expansion on the relationship between humans and plants in order to better understand past and present cultural and religious traditions