Waking the Witch
"When the Soul wants to experience something she throws out an image in front of her and then steps into it. "
“You desire to know the art of living? It is contained in one phrase: make use of suffering.”
The burden of the burning times is something that all women ancestrally carry within us. It is a resonating and haunting howl of the psyche, laden with the terror of a patriarchal mindset and religious fear which still exists even in this age.
I began this work from a vision in which the Cosmic Feminine appeared through the story of Geillis Duncan, who was the first accused, and whose tortured confession set the standard for subsequent trials in Scotland (which eventually carried overseas to Salem).
What drew me to Geillis' story was the amount of torture she endured, and her absolute refusal to confess. Over days, she was sleep-deprived, her fingers crushed with "pilliwinkies", her head brutally winched, and still she would not budge. She did not confess until her torturers declared they had found her "devil's mark" - a small mark upon her neck. And that was what broke her.
Her subsequent confession verbally indicted other "witches", all whom were tortured mercilessly by rack and crushing into their own confessions. And thus began the season of the burning times.
What I know: That the divine feminine presence of She was with them all, and weeps eternally for all who are wrongfully condemned for various "reasons", but with one singular root: The crime of being woman.
In this work, she is surrounded by the nature of chaos and storm (for witches were known as the "Tempestarii", or those who create storms). Her hair is undone and feral with the wailing of winds which testify and keep account of the wrong which can never be righted. Her head is bowed in sacred pause and silent prayer, and she weeps tears of gold for each act of misogyny suffered, no matter how slight.
And the spirits of all sisters lost, live on through the voice of her keening.