A Compendium of Witches is an upcoming book, and the result of an ongoing project started in 2017.
It will feature portraits and personal stories of 29 witches from all across the world and in various carefully researched historical settings, ranging from the Palaeolithic to the present.
It will be 150 pages long, in full colour.
But let me tell you a bit more about how this book came to be…
In 2016 my anthropological fieldwork took me to the rural highlands of Bosnia with the objective of researching and learning as much as I could about traditional female tattooing.
I interviewed the elderly women who bear the last of these tattoos, the roots of which are embedded deep within a pre-Christian Illyrian past.
I collected not just symbols, but the stories and wisdom of strong and resilient women that had survived not one, but two wars.
All this made me wonder; if I could talk to the women of the past, what would I learn? And if I could talk to the wise women of the past – those who were familiar with a wider world, that of the spirits and the invisible forces hiding within nature – then what would they tell me?
Women were given little space in historical record, and wise women even less, often being from marginalised fringes of society.
My mind started to spin, and the idea for this book was born.
Through the years I have learnt so much about history, folklore, beliefs and customs, and this seems like the perfect project to put that information to good use.
I wanted to meet these witches, to give them faces and voices.
Weave their stories in the fabric of history.