“My Nanny is a Witch” by Linsey Tidbury

“My Nanny is a Witch” by Linsey Tidbury

Book review – “My Nanny is a Witch”

Written by Lynsey Tidbury, illustrated by Michelle Catanach

As a child growing up in the 1970s, my love of running free, exploring nature and wild places was only rivalled by my love of reading books.  My father used to read to my brother and me every night, when we stayed at his house, from a book called “Five Minute Tales” by Enid Blyton (published by Methuen, 1933).  My mind filled with images and the stories became familiar and comforting.  Illustrations from story books remain indelibly inked on my mind, decades later, with Margaret Jones and Arthur Rackham becoming particular favourites.

When I had my own children, I inherited the responsibility of reading to them.  I began the journey with joy, firing their imaginations through the power of story.  I searched for books which reflected my own values and beliefs, but they were few and far between, usually safely distanced from “reality” by a fantastical or historical setting.  

Some progress has been made in the intervening years.  A few notable books for children have been written by Pagan authors including “The Last Wild Witch: An Eco-Fable for Kids and Other Free Spirits” by Starhawk, illustrated by Lindy Kehoe (published by Mother Tongue Ink, 2009) and “The Little Hedgewitch” by Jules Cooper and illustrated by Femke van Gent (self-published 2015). 

However, most portrayals of “witches” kept strictly to the patriarchal stereotype. Cerridwen, of course, has not been exempted from this treatment herself over the centuries. Despite the fact She was clearly still of child-bearing age during the brewing of the Awen and the gestation of Taliesin, Cerridwen has often been depicted as an aged “hag”, only relevant at Samhain.

In 2019, Cali White, Ancestral Healing Practitioner, undertook a pilgrimage across the UK and Ireland over thirteen moons, gathering six hundred women with the intention of honouring Ancestors persecuted as Witches and to heal the inherited trauma.  During 2020, this collaboration continued, the women finally meeting in person in 2021 in a Roundhouse at Hazel Hill Wood near Salisbury – the “Silver Spoons Collective” was born. Their creative co-creation resulted in “I am Witch – Tales from the Roundhouse” an exhibition of “Hystory, Healing and Hope”, shown at the Storey, Lancaster during 2022.  

I am Witch

Each of the women involved expressed themselves creatively, through song, craft, art, dance, spoken word, film and live workshops.  The Silver Spoons Collective published a beautiful Programme containing the personal reflections of thirty of the women contributors about the process and the profound and transformative journey they experienced.  One of these women was Lynsey Tidbury.

My Nanny is a Witch

In the “I am Witch” Exhibition Programme, Lynsey tells of her concerns about shining her light too brightly in the world; the fear of reprisals had kept her creativity squashed and her voice hushed.  Through her involvement in the Silver Spoons Collective, she tentatively let go of these long-held self-suppressions and sang backing vocals on other women’s tracks.  

Lynsey says she was “frustrated by the stigma that modern society places upon the word “witch” and the negative messages given to children”, so she set about using her new-found courage to change the narrative.  Lynsey’s main contribution to the Exhibition was her new book, “My Nanny is a Witch”,  with fresh and appealing illustrations by Michelle Catanach.  

My Nanny is a Witch

The story is suitable for children of all ages.  It features a little boy called James and his relationship with his Nanny, who happens to be… a witch.  What does that mean?  Is James in danger?  Does Nanny chop the legs off newts and involve him in hubble, bubble, toil and trouble?  As we turn the pages, we go with James and see his real adventures with his Nanny.  They spend happy hours, Nanny sharing her wisdom and love of life, observing and caring for nature, dancing and drumming and having fun together. 

“My Nanny is a Witch” is really enjoyable to read aloud to little ones. I’m sure by the time you turn the last page you’ll have a glint in your eye, just like Nanny.

To order your copy of “My Nanny is a Witch” from Goddess Temple Gifts for £8.50 plus postage and packaging, email: sales@goddesstemplegifts.co.uk


Gail Spiritstar Roberts, Priestess of Cerridwen

Gwynedd, Wales

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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