title Witches and Pagans

Spinners of fate, threefold ancestral mothers, the distaff as a female wand of power: these aspects of European women’s spiritual culture survived state conversions to Christianity.
In a compelling exploration of language, archaeology, medieval art and literature, Max Dashu pulls the covers off ethnic lore known mostly to scholarly specialists. She shows that the old ethnic names for “witch” signify prophetess, knower, diviner, and healer. Wyrd and weirding-women, chanting over herbs, holy stones, crystal balls, weaving ceremonies, giantesses, sexual politics, and the Völuspá : this book uncovers some of the authentic ethnic roots of wyccecræft, reweaving the ripped webs of women’s culture.


cover Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu  

Delving into the rich Norse orature, Max Dashu fleshes out the spiritual traditions of the völur (“staff-women”): oracular ceremonies, incantations, and “sitting-out” on the land for vision. She shows that their ritual staffs, uncovered in female burials by archaeology, symbolize the distaff, a spinning tool that connects
with broader European themes of goddesses, fates, witches, and female power.

Witches and Pagans also plunges into the the megalithic taproot of the elder kindreds, through Irish legends of the Cailleach and places sacred to her. Drawing on Frankish and German sources, Dashu lays out the foundational witch-legend of the Women Who Go by Night with the Goddess, later distorted by demonologists in the witch hunts. Related tales of Holle, Perchta,
and Swanfooted Berthe reveal sacraments of the Old Spinner Goddess, while the Anglo-Saxon “mystery-singers” shed light on ancestor veneration in early medieval Europe.



The Webs of Wyrd
Names of the Witch
The Völur
Runes and Haliorunnae
Cailleachan, Dísir, and Hags
The Witch Holda and Her Retinue
Witch Burnings


See a fuller outline of contents here

This volume is the first publication in the series
Secret History of the Witches

by Max Dashu
which will be published by Veleda Press

Suppressed Histories Archives | Articles

Witches and Pagans by Max Dashu back cover

Max Dashu founded the Suppressed Histories Archives in 1970. She has built a collection of over 30,000 images and 130 visual presentations on women’s history, cultural heritages,  and the origins of domination. (see catalog). She has presented her visual talks at grassroots venues, universities, conferences and festivals for over 40 years. (Sign up for online courses and webcasts here). See her articles and image Gallery on the Suppressed Histories site.

Visit Suppressed Histories on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Suppressed-Histories-Archives/333661528320

Völva dancing on seiðhjalir