Art memorial tells story of persecuted women

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Art memorial tells story of persecuted women
Caren Thompson.

LANCASHIRE.- Thousands of women tried and hung as witches centuries ago will be remembered in a moving art memorial in Lancashire.

I Am Witch - I Am Woman, The Medicine Spoon Memorial Tour, opens at Pendle Heritage Centre for three days - Friday 2 to Sunday 4 September.

The Medicine Spoon Memorial intends to acknowledge women who were persecuted as witches across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales between 1450-1750.

The installation sees almost four thousand fabric prayer flags go on display each carrying the symbol of a medicine spoon and the name of the persecuted woman.

For two years artist Caren Thompson from The Silver Spoons Collective has been inviting others to join her in this creative journey of remembrance. More than 1500 people from around the world have helped create each flag.

For three days Pendle Heritage Centre’s Cruck Barn will be transformed into a beautiful sacred space to come to learn about, remember and reflect on our history of the witch-hunts and how they continue to affect us today. On Friday and Saturday evenings a Collective Ancestral Healing Ceremony will take place.

The Pendle Witches are a big inspiration to Caren as she explored her own witch ancestry and they hold a special place within the memorial.

Caren said: “The Medicine Spoon Memorial is inspired by the story of the Pendle Witches. It’s been my creative vision to connect others with the knowledge that thousands of women were persecuted as witches across the UK - their names and stories forgotten.

“After the success of “I am Witch” exhibition in January 2022 at The Storey in Lancaster, it feels significant to bring the Pendle Women back to their homeland.

“It gives the opportunity for others to experience the memorial and is the starting place of the tour which will continue in 2023. The Pendle Heritage Centre is the perfect location. The Pendle women were once home in this area and surrounding villages.”

Visitors to the Medicine Spoon Memorial can also visit Pendle Heritage Centre itself which has a large display about Pendle Witches, an 18th Century Walled Garden, grounds and cafe.

Between 1450-1750 ‘being a witch’ led to horrific treatment and a gruesome death. Far from the ‘evil old hag’ image we're taught, most were ordinary women, doing their best to raise families and survive during times of intense poverty and hardship.

Cali White, founder of the Silver Spoons Collective said: “The witch-hunts affected everyone, not just the ‘witch’. Fear, suspicion, mistrust and betrayal became the order of the day and set up trauma-based survival patterns rooted in separation.

“Passed down through our cellular memory we continue to play out these patterns of believing and behaving, only now they are leaving us feeling isolated, powerless and stuck.”

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