Hand-coloured woodblock print depicting the goddess Chinnamastā wreaking havoc and destruction. The decapitated goddess stands upon the god of love and his wife, who are making love upon a lotus, and brandishes a knife in one hand and her severed head in the other. Three streams of blood gush from her neck: one falls in the mouth of her own severed head and the other two into the mouths of her attendants.

Event information

12 May 2024

14.30–15.45

BP Lecture Theatre

Price

  • £10
  • £8 (Members)
  • £8 (Concessions)

16+

Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

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How can meditating on a goddess who has cut off her own head, which is drinking a stream of her own blood, while standing on the bodies of a young couple as they make love on a funeral pyre, lead us to the path of ultimate wisdom?

Mashing up performance, lecture and storytelling, Dr Seema Anand journeys through cremation grounds, yogic practices and death rituals, to decode the mysteries of the most fierce and feared of Hindu goddesses, the Mahavidyas.

Expect life, death, creation, destruction and sacrifice, all in search of cosmic truth...

This event is presented in collaboration with the Crick Crack Club, the UK's boldest and busiest performance storytelling programmer and promoter, working with the finest spoken word storytellers, developing audiences, supporting artists and collaborating with venues and festivals across the UK. 

Content warning: This performance includes references to sex, sexual practices, incest, murder, suicide and reincarnation, contextualised within a paradigm of mythic narrative, archetype and metaphor.

Booking information 

  • Book now to secure your place. 
  • Concessions include Disabled visitors, job seekers, seniors (60+) and students. The event is free for Disabled visitors' assistants (booking required).
  • Running time: Approximately 75 minutes, no interval.
  • These storytelling events are created with an adult audience in mind (age guidance 16+), under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.
  • Please allow time to go through a security check, which includes a bag check upon entry to the Museum.
  • Doors to the BP Lecture Theatre will open at approximately 14.15 for the audience to take their seats.
  • Please note only bottled water is permitted in the theatre. No food or other drinks are allowed.
  • This event will be held at full capacity. In line with current government and NHS guidance, face masks are not mandatory but guests are welcome to wear them if they wish.

About the performer

Dr Seema Anand is a performance storyteller, a mythologist specialising in women's narratives and an award-winning author. She lectures on several ancient Indian texts and is an acknowledged authority on Eastern Erotology (the study of sexual love and behaviour). Anand's research on ancient Indian folklore, bringing ancient Indian texts back into the public space, is affiliated to the UNESCO initiative for preserving endangered oral traditions. She also holds the Guinness World Record for the largest rangoli (designs created on the floor, often with chalk and colourful powders) in the world!