First we find the Witches, wise women, soothsayers and healers. These are empowered women, many of whom deviated from the ‘norm’ and were cast as evil. Here we find Hecate, Baba Yaga and the icy Berchta making corporeal the fears of men, suspicious of knowledgeable women who might threaten the gender status quo.
Next come the Warriors, fighters, strategists and bringers of justice – women who don’t just crush enemies, but battle expectations.
In Bringers of Misfortune the focus is on the destructors, the havocwreakers and the harbingers of doom. These are the vengeful, the foreboding, the malignant women – the Harpies and Medusa among them – whose names are being reclaimed.
Elemental Spirits hails the wild women – the lightning bolt throwers, commanders of the planet and those at one with the elements. The selkies, the Rainbow Serpent and Mari – these are the women who run free, cutting loose from the expectations and raised eyebrows of society.
And finally there are the Munificent Spirits, the women it’s easy to love. The bountiful deities, generous spirits and domestic goddesses. Maman Brigitte, the Moirae, Bona Dea –these are the women who put all others before themselves. Yet, all have a darker side, those fragments of reality we can identify with, which reflect back aspects of our humanity, and more specifically, female humanity.
There are many versions of each tale – in this sphere facts are fluid – so I’ve cherry-picked the most show-stopping. And I’ve tried my best to use language and names closest to those used by originators, but if I’ve muffed up, do let me know. This is a collaboration.