Click on the thumbnails to see the pictures in context.
HERE CAME A CHANCE for Wayne and me to exercise a number of other hobby-horses, including for me a little-known variation of Tarot and the wonderfully fascinating topic of witch bottles, which I've personally been curious about ever since digging one up accidentally as a kid in Africa. Interestingly, the beliefs over there are almost identical to those prevailing in Europe. Most of all with this book though, it was just a pleasure for both of us to pay tribute to the many wise-women we've come across in life who have helped make it such a rich and varied experience so far. Anyway, here you go, here's a taster of what we learned about these interesting people. Sadly and for complicated reasons the book was never published but it was more or less complete with both text and illustrations and it would be lovely to see it in print one day.
ONCE UPON A TIME when priests were proud and doctors dear, the counsellor most villagers turned to in times of trouble in Europe (as in much of the rest of the world) was the local wise-woman. Usually also a midwife and undertaker, she was the keeper of the community's herbal lore and much else besides - spells and stories and secrets of the soul that most people had no time to explore.
Traditionally this wisdom passed from mother to daughter or granddaughter, growing and being distilled from generation to generation, but with the scattering of families and the diversions of the modern world much of it is being forgotten. So here is a collection of wise-women's lore gathered pretty much at random (if randomness is possible in a study like this) to save it from possible extinction. Thanks to everyone who contributed, generously volunteering any Women's Wisdom that had come their way and asking little in return.
Because that is generally the way with Wise Women - they do what they do more for the sake and beauty of it than any material reward. It is enough for them that the world is made a better place through their intervention.