From the Ashes - IWD Memorial Event
On the 9th of March 2022, I held a collaborative event for International Women’s Day with Karen Strang Artist. It was my personal continued vision of remembrance. My way of remembering the accused witches, from a spiritual perspective. A lens that is rarely considered in these contemporary times of disconnection. One that is mostly overlooked by the witch trial academics. Something that is at the heart of what I do, whether that is telling their stories or singing their soul’s home. Sheila Gaul, Chairperson of Remembering the Accused Witches of Scotland, spoke about the work of the newly founded charity. Then Karen Strang Artist introduced her art practice with a short presentation on the materials of traditional painting, how this connects directly with our collective past of the 1600s,
and how through research and the process of painting she set about visualising the trials and the women accused. Her work is powerful, alchemical, and raw magic!
I spoke about singing home the souls of the accused and my vision of remembrance. Before I told the story I had written about the Crook of Devon accused witches, called A MURDER OF CROWS. This was inspired by the spirit of an accused witch who shared her pain with me. It was not an easy place to inhabit while I wrote this story. A story of all accused witches. You can see it on my YouTube channel.
After the performance the audience were invited to take part in a short memorial ceremony for the ordinary folk from the Crook of Devon who were murdered for a crime they did not commit. Before they lit a candle in remembrance, they laid their stones for the cairn and flowers on the floor. This was followed by a minute’s silence for accused witches from all over the world.
The second half of the event began with a brief exploration of the invisible legacy of witch trials, known as the witch wound. With the help of my deerskin drum, I led a shamanic journey to help heal this ancestral trauma by awakening the wild woman archetype within. During the journey, we reclaimed the element of fire and used it to transform any residual trauma. To enable us to break free from patterns of fear that had been past down from mother to daughter since the burning times. I will also be doing more of this work on a deeper scale.
To finish of the event, Karen led a drawing session to create a collective work of art that symbolised a rising from the ashes of the past. Some final words from Karen.
“In this first collaboration with Rowan, I enjoyed the synergy between the different disciplines of Storytelling, Shamanism, and drawing. The audience was hugely responsive and supportive and there was a definite 'connect' in the venue regarding remembering the accused women. I want to thank everyone who took part. A poignant, illuminating, and creative journey.”
We donated £200 to RAWS from the event to help with their campaign. The day after it, I laid all the stones and flowers and am very happy to say that the wee cairn of remembrance is starting to grow.