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  • Writer's pictureAlice

FOGO - The congress about folklore and the Gothic that has changed my life

And how to listen to all the synchronicities so they can benefit you


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Image from Marieta Alonso-Collada adapted with CANVA by the author

I could be talking about FOGO all day.


FOGO, the first conference on folklore and gothic, took place over the last 5th, 6th and 7th July at the University of León (Spain). In this conference in which "supernatural environments and presences in Europe and the Americas" were discussed, the attendees were able to enjoy first-hand exceptional presentations and wonderful interventions in person and virtually.


In a hugely profitable conference, cordiality and involvement prevailed because everything went smoothly at the hands of the directors: Miriam López Santos from Universidad de León, Sandra García Gutierrez from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Inés Ordiz Alonso-Collada from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (UNED).


In this post today I want to talk to you about the importance of attending events that resonate with you, your concerns, your research work and much more.

I will also briefly explain how I have interpreted the synchronicities of my Gothic-Jungian journey that have led me here and that have shed light on my project and how they can also shed light on yours.


I will tell you more about the content of the conference itself in July's magazine. For now you can download a previous issue for free by clicking on the following link:


Let's begin.


WHEN LUCK KNOCKS AT YOUR DOOR


In the past when someone said to me "you're so lucky!", I would always get angry.


This is so because thiings are never easy for those of us who spend hours and hours studying, researching, writing, exposing ourselves to social networking and talking with others to publicize our work.


If you think about it, there is a lot of previous work before getting any kind of recognition.


The metaphor that I like the most is that of the seed which, once planted, has to undertake a journey in which the land, water, its own genetics and external elements play a crucial role. None of the elements are more important than the others. They all matter.



I met Sandra García via a Facebook post at least a couple of years ago. Although I don't remember our conversation well, I do know that it was about gothic literature and some contemporary female authors. Here is where we plant the seed.


Since then, we have been following each other on social media. This is the reason why experts emphasize so much the importance of being regularly present showing the world what you do and how you do it. This makes a lot of sense when you think about the amount of stuff that gets posted every day. We could see this as the irrigation process.


I think it was perseverance that began to bear fruit. When Sandra sent me a private message informing me about FOGO and their interest in me being part of this event, I could not have been happier. I immediately looked at what the congress was about and it didn't take me long to put together several pieces of my gothic puzzle.


I had been working on one of the female characters in the series Supernatural for months for a collection of critical essays directed by Susan Nylander and Amanda Taylor called Women in Supernatural: Critical Essays and it seemed to me that part of the research would also help me with FOGO.


The elements I wanted to include: Catalan mythology and folklore, since I am from Barcelona, motherhood, since my own motherhood has been monstrous, and wild nature or the EcoGothic that fascinates me so much. All these led me to choose the work of Mercè Rodoreda's, Mirall Trencat (A Broken Mirror) since not only all these elements and many more converge in it, but her work left a profound mark on me more than fifteen years ago. In fact, it is one of the books that has influenced my own writing style.


The way I see it, the connections are not entirely the result of that fortuitous luck that we could talk about in another entry, but are rather, to a large extent, the result of years of research, work and exposure.


SINCRONICITIES THAT YOU CAN'T IGNORE


It starts from the depths of your being, invading your entire body in such a way that what you desire unconsciously so much begins to show signs in the outside world.


Explained in a very colloquial and simple way, this is for me the synchronicity that Swiss psychologist and psychiatrist Carl G. Jung talked about.


The problem with synchronicities is that we don't always know how to see them for various reasons:


1) Because we think that they are a type of banal trickery that can take away our credibility

2) Because it takes time to decipher its meaning and we don't have the patience to let those seeds, of which I spoke before, grow at their own pace.


The good thing about synchronicities is that you don't have to share them with anyone. They are yours, and yours alone, to decipher.


My synchronicities have been several and have been taking place over the years.


When I started to get serious about researching, talking about gothic and treating it as a job to live off, that's when the opportunities began to arise.


At the beginning of 2018, the mother of two of my students, and also a friend of mine, shared with me her desire to learn to write correctly. At that time, we only taught languages in my academy, but the possibility of being able to teach literature and writing in Spanish seemed like a very interesting opportunity. I would almost say that I had been secretly wanting this to happen for a long time because I have been passionate about writing since I was eight years old.


That's how, while looking for a reading of the national curriculum, I came across Nada by Carmen Laforet, a book that in its day had also fascinated and influenced me. When preparing the sessions I realized all the gothic elements it contained and wondered how no-one had told me about them when I was in college.


In addition to all those dark elements that lead the reader to analyse the anti bildungsroman that makes Andrea's story up, and the weight of the myth of Xoxipilli that plays in the story, our sessions also revolved around topics such as motherhood and our relationships.

Soon my student-friend told me about her desire to write her mother's memoirs. And so we did, although the project was stopped for a year, the pandemic being one of the main causes.


Among many other things, during 2021 and 2022 I began to attend the online sessions of Romancing the Gothic by Sam Hirst where I met my now friend and collaborator Tugce Kutlu. It was precisely Tugce who told me about a CFP (call for papers), for critical essays on the television series Supernatural.


Around those dates, and also a year ago, Félix Gómez, after an interview for his channel, Bitácora de viaje, recommended to me a series of books that could be of my interest for my research. Among them was Goddesses in everywoman; Powerful archetypes in women's lives by Jungian psychiatrist Jean Shinoda Bolen, which has been key to this new phase of my journey.


All my essays, courses and articles began to evolve thanks to this lens that combines so well with the Gothic, and thanks to which, not only have I been able to delve into the psyche of fictional characters, but also help in the elaboration of my own characters, as well as being a great support in my sessions to help my students with their written expression.


Thanks to the identification of the arquetypes that govern our psyche during different moments of our lives and how they are shown through contexts of gothic fiction, we can find possible solutions to transit our evolutionary processes in a more balanced way.


My question to you is do you still believe that everything comes down to luck alone?

HOW MY EXPERIENCE CAN HELP YOU


Throughout this entry I have explained some of the most important steps that have led me to join FOGO, the first congress of folklore and gothic in my country.


With this I have tried to shed light behind each coincidence.


The reason I'm talking about this in this blog post is because Chronos, time, a very Gothic element that was referred to several times in the conference, is also our worst enemy. This is due, in large part, to our impatience for instant, almost effortless results, because we live in a society that does not enjoy the moment, and where everything needs to be done yesterday.


I would like this entry to be an invitation to analyse your own synchronicities, to take a good look inside yourself and observe all the steps you have been taking all your life to achieve what you always return to and that ignites your internal flame.


As you detect all the little steps that have led you to where you are today, you will see that it has all been worth it. It will also give you perspective to continue your trajectory.


Write everything down in a notebook just for the synchronicities and then analyze them. You will discover a lot of interesting information about yourself.


Are you willing to listen to the secrets so well kept within you? Let me know by replying to this entry.


Until next time!


Thank you for reading!


Alicia


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