A Quick look at my current work in progress , my side project of a book into the female side of Dartmoor’s tales.
After visits to Vixan Tor, and Glassy Well pool ( a pool were witches swam) I found my self down a rabbit hole of story based on the so called witches in the area and the vilified female ghosts. As a result a series of poems and portraits emerged in my sketch book and I though they deserved there own light to shine in a book.
Poems and Portraits celebrating influential women, The modern day Witch !
Our Modern Day “Witches” owe allot to the Wild Women of the past. This modern-day witch book of poems and portraits celebrates the women who should be celebrated for their courage in their time. Our female Doctors, healers, entomologists, herbalists and surgeons would not be practicing their craft if these heroines from the past had not faced their martyrdom.
During times when women were often not allowed to attend universities or publish scientific papers (unless using a male pseudonym) their knowledge and studies into the natural world, healing and botanical endeavours was often seen as a form of witch craft.
They were often forced to hide who they truly were for fear of persecution, and in a particular dark era they were burned or drown as witches.
It is this particular era that originally drew my interest after moving to Dartmoor.
I started to research local legends and folklore for my art pursuits but ended up opening a can of worms.
So many stories of forsaken ladies, tors named after witches and hauntings by vilified females. I felt I had to do something to highlight the plight of these poor forsaken ladies.
After researching their stories, I found old court records showing that some did nothing more than disobey and disrespect their husbands, some endured rape situations by monks and other high profile male historical figures.
There are child brides (a 12-year-old girl marrying 35-year-old men who wanted her inheritance) and witch hanging trees, alongside pagan ladies seeking solace on the torr’s only to be accused of being responsible for deadly magic fog.
Not to say that these women were all innocent and the males were all in the wrong, but I strongly believe that in the majority of cases if we were to look at them through todays eyes a different picture would emerge to that of historic tales.
And so my book took shape with portraits of women who are there to represent the various fields in nature that women have suffered for.
Their modern clothes aim to show these women in a different light. A light shone on there stance of knowledge and learning that was passed on. A strong confident fighter and a poem to honour an aspect of their study.
There is a list of faint names on every poems background, in remembrance of some of their names, so you can follow up with your own study into each lady.