A ground-breaking exhibition has opened, exploring how intergenerational trauma sparked by the so-called ‘Burning Times’ still affects us and how we can heal and reconnect.
I Am Witch will run until 28 Feb 2022 at The Storey, Lancaster. It Includes a centre-piece Memorial – created by over 1000+ women across the globe – to honour over 4,000 innocent women who were persecuted as ‘witches’ during the Burning Times.
The exhibition was co-created by 33 fellow women known as the Silver Spoons Collective. It explores how the European Witch Hunts of 1450-1750 left a wound in our collective psyche that still affects us today. It looks at how a legacy of witch-hunting continues to divide us, and how the wound can be healed.
Witches are currently hitting the headlines thanks to the Scottish Government’s historic move to pass legislation to pardon the thousands of innocent people in Scotland (mostly women) tried and burnt as witches during the Witch Hunts.
In response to a two-year campaign, ‘Witches of Scotland’, led by Claire Mitchell QC and author Zoe Venditozzi, Nichola Sturgeon’s administration is working to undo the injustices of the so-called Burning Times and clear the names of those unfairly convicted as witches under the Witchcraft Act of 1563.
‘It’s heartening to see a government taking responsibility for the devastating impact of the Witch Hunts and taking action to alleviate the damage done – I hope it will spark ripples of further action across the globe, and help to bring an end to the barbaric witch trials that still take place in many parts of the world.
‘Our educational and experiential exhibition explores the history of the Burning Times, the vital history lesson mostly overlooked at school, how epigenetically inherited trauma from those times continues to affect us, and how creativity, ceremony and collaboration offer a threefold pathway to healing. We also want to dispel witch myths of ‘black pointy hats, devil worshipping, warty-nosed old women’ and tell the untold story of what really happened.
‘Sharing the trauma-clearing personal journeys of 33 women – evocatively expressed through interactive installations, painting, film, music, performance and storytelling – we offer a powerful opportunity for reflection and reconnection, and the chance to be part of a growing movement for social change and healing.’
Lead curator of the exhibition
The Silver Spoons Collective is a sisterhood of UK-based women working to heal their intergenerational trauma inherited from the Burning Times.
The group’s work began after psychotherapist Cali White completed a pilgrimage across the UK and Ireland in 2019.
During that time, Cali gathered women in ceremonies to honour our ‘witch’ ancestors.
Coming together at the beginning of 2020, the group committed to collectively transforming the destructive behavioural patterns caused by inherited trauma, which were negatively affecting their lives.
‘Our exhibition shares the intimate journeys we women have made, confronting our feelings of fear, pain and rage, and building healthy new ways of living’, Cali explains.
‘The Burning Times divided our communities, taught us to play small in order to survive and broke our trust in the people closest to us. The scars we still carry show up in many ways – fears of being seen or heard, experiences of betrayal, mistrust of other women, feelings of disconnection to nature, irrational fears and struggles to feel at home in ourselves. 25 generations on we are left feeling powerless, isolated, stuck, divided, unsafe and unsupported. It is affecting our health and wellbeing in so many ways and we’re tired of it!
‘The Silver Spoons Collective is on a mission to shine a light on the shadows of the past so we may heal, grow and create new ways of being, rooted in healthy connection to ourselves, each other and the Earth. If any of this resonates, please join us as we restore our ancestral connections and the broken bonds of our sisterhood.’
Lead curator of the exhibition
The exhibition’s centrepiece comprises 4,000 individually hand-printed and stitched pieces of fabric in a stunning Medicine Spoon Memorial, co-created by over 1,000 women worldwide.
The project was led by artist Caren Thompson to honour the 4,000 (and more) women from the UK and Ireland whose names lay forgotten in trial records during the Burning Times.
Alongside the main exhibition, a three-night programme of live events will feature spoken word, music and dance performances, plus a series of daily workshops offering opportunities for learning and empowerment.
Highlighting how modern-day witch hunts continue today, particularly in India, Africa and Brazil, the exhibition will also raise funds for charities working to support the growing numbers of innocent women being targeted.
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