Stuart McHardy

Oct 26, 2023

The Nine Maidens

Priestesses of the Ancient World

Luath Press 2023

When King Arthur was conveyed to Avalon they were there. When Odin summoned warriors to Valhalla they were there. When Apollo was worshipped on Greek mountains they were there. When Brendan came to the Island of Women they were there.

They are the Nine Maidens – from the mothers of the Norse God Heimdall, Morgan and her sisters on Avalon, to the nine sisters at the heart of the found myth of the Gikuyu of Kenya or witches battling with the Irish St Patrick, these women stand out in history and mythology.

Triggered by a local story still told in his native Dundee, Stuart McHardy has traced what seems to be memories of groups of nine women across much of Europe and as far as Siberia, Korea, India and Africa. As explored in his book The Nine Maidens: Priestesses of the Ancient World (Luath Press, 2023), McHardy shows that whether as Pictish saints, muses, valkyries, druidesses or witches, the tales of these groups of nine women transcend a vast range of cultural and linguistic boundaries.

This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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Miranda Melcher

Miranda Melcher (Ph.D., Defense Studies, Kings College, London) studies post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with deep analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.

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