I made a series of three traditional ink paintings focusing on Witch figures from different countries in an attempt to learn more about strong female figures and folklore outside of the more well-known European and American ideas of witches with pointy hats and black cats. With these images I wanted to explore symbolic imagery associated with different origin stories, as well as bring a bit of creepiness and intimidation back to the figure of The Witch.
Holda is a Germanic witch associated with a multitude of things, including the origin of the well-recognized broomstick we see today. She rode on a distaff (a tool used for spinning flax) through winter nights, collecting the souls of lost children to bring back to her home. Associated with motherhood and the keeper of the home, she wears a belt of house keys as a welcoming sign that she bears no ill-will nor harm to those who come near.
Mawu is a creator goddess from West Africa most associated among the Faun ad Ewe people as a witch of motherhood, protection, and power. It is said she created humans from the clay of the Earth. Afraid that the planet might now be too heavy, she contracted the aid of the giant snake Aido Hwedo who curled up beneath the Earth and suspended it in the sky. She is also associated with the moon. Only Mawu can breathe life into creation - but she also wields the power to take it away just as easily.