‘Motherline’ by Gail Spiritstar Roberts

‘Motherline’ by Gail Spiritstar Roberts

This poem was written to form part of the Virtual Witches’ Walk Ceremony 2022, an event to remember and honour the women accused and killed in the historical witch trials, in the hope such persecutions may be stopped in the present day and never repeated.


Scottish dress and sackcloth

Image shows, on the left, normal dress for women in Scotland in the 17th Century.  The sackcloth is a reconstruction of ones women were forced to wear when imprisoned on suspicion of Witchcraft.  The photograph was taken by Gail Spiritstar in 2022 at an exhibition by www.calderwitchhunt.co.uk









Sister, Mother, Daughter, Wife.

Bias, intolerance, hatred, strife,

Religion and politics ended your life.


Neighbours pointing the finger with glee,

With the Kirk and the Brodders conspiring, all three.

Watchers and Waulkers collecting their fee,

Protected by Laws and Judiciary.


Grandmother, Aunty, Cousin, Niece.

Quarrelsome dames breaching the peace?

Silenced forever, no chance of release.


Servants and Mistresses up at the Hall,

Brides and Beggars and Burgesses all,

Women afraid to speak out or stand tall.

For scold’s bridles or sackcloth or worse fates befall.


Sister, mother, daughter, wife.

Scandalous, slanderous gossip was rife,

Freedom stands on the edge of a knife.


The stranger arriving, afraid and alone, 

Seeking shelter, a widow, some say a crone.

Shunned and suspected, feared as unknown,

Locked up and freezing, imprisoned in stone.


Grandmother, Aunty, Cousin, Niece.

The Monstrous Regiment on the increase,

All god-fearing men must cause it to cease. 


Tortured and broken, a slippery slope,

To “confessions” extracted when they couldn’t cope

Robbed of all dignity, left without hope,

Knowing their story would end with the rope.


Sister, mother, daughter, wife.

Charmer, Healer, Ale or Mid-wife.

Women, deprived of their natural life.


The shadow of dark times hangs over us still,

The fear of attracting malicious ill-will,

By daring to dream, our hopes to fulfil,

By speaking our minds or showing our skill.


Her, she, you, me.

Healing the wounds of the past to be free,

Together creating true community.


Andy Scott statue

Image is of a statue in Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland created by Andy Scott in remembrance of the 81 women and men from the coastal village who were tortured and executed as Witches during the 16th and 17th Century.


By Gail Spiritstar Roberts, Priestess of Cerridwen

Gwynedd, Wales

You can see Gail performing her poem as part of the Virtual Witches’ Walk Ceremony, 2022 where she also performs her story Skinfast Haven.

Gail Spiritstar Roberts - Priestess of Cerridwen

Gail Spiritstar is a Priestess of Cerridwen and an Awenydd of the Anglesey Druid Order. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Gail has always known in her bones the essential, deep connection with nature and a love of wild places. She has been consciously following a path of nature-based spirituality for 35 years. Gail moved to Wales in 1995 to train with the Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff. She is an experienced actor, singer and storyteller. Gail now lives in Southern Snowdonia, not far from Llyn Tegid, Bala. As a Priestess she enjoys serving by co-creating ceremonies, building community and…anything else Cerridwen may require!


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