The present Yearbook of the Traditional Cosmology Society derives from the Society's conference on Contests held at the University of Dundee, Scotland, in August 1989. Some essays that appear in this volume (those of Sharma, Lowry, Hendry, Kehoe, Davies, Ó Crualaoich, and Duff-Cooper) are more or less revised versions of papers given to the conference. The other papers published here were solicited from people who participated in the Dundee conference but read papers they did not wish to publish in the present collection and from people who did not take part in the conference. These writers were asked for a contribution in the main because it was judged that they would say something interesting and because they would expand the geographical and intellectual extent of the collection.
Wide geographical extension--the papers move from India (though for the sake of the conceit that Mr Sharma delivered his paper in Dundee we might say from there to India), east through Indonesia and China to Japan, across the Pacific to Mesoamerica, north to the northern United States and southern Canada, and then back to southern Europe and Ireland, returning finally to Scotland--does not stand in need of justification. It is well established what a worldwide purview brings to any humane study: among other benefits, an awareness of both the variety and the similarity, and of the relativity, of its subject-matter, and a liberation (referred to again below) from the narrow confines of small, sharply delineated parts of the world and equally constricting forms of life.
The intellectual extension of the chapters that make up this volume, though, might be thought by some to require rather more justification. The Traditional Cosmology Society is a forum for the international study of myth, religion, cosmology, and related matters. What is taken to be of interest under these rubrics is very . . .