The Pregnant Hag

"Lead on with more wrinkled knowledge, Wonderful Hag!"

- Penny Tugman, UK


 "Lead on with more wrinkled knowledge, Wonderful Hag!"

- Penny Tugman, UK

The Pregnant Hag is one of my main allies and I named my on-line school for her (Pregnant Hag Teachings). Who is She? She has many faces and phases...




This painting is about the Winter of Life, aging and greeting Death as a Sacred Companion. It was inspired by a dream I had where I walked into the Forest and my bones became birch trees and my very long hair became lichen growing on those birch trees. There was an incredible sense of serenity: my work in the world was done, it was time to go and I became the Forest I love so deeply.


My time of day is Twilight! When the Sun sets and daylight is fading, many portals open in the land and any animals appear. I go for long walks in the Forest. 

In the Old Norse Tradition both the Sun (Sunna) and Night (Nott) are a female giantess.

Astronomers make the distinction between three different kinds of twilight: Civil Twilight, Nautical Twilight and Astronomical Twilight.


In the pandemic period I have been working on an ever-evolving series of paintings where the main character ranges from a girl with long red hair to an old woman with long silvery hair. People have asked many questions about this: she is my Dreaming Self but all the paintings together show a long soul journey where she gradually grows older. Eventually she appears in her Crone manifestation, as the Pregnant Hag who has Silver Birch Hair.







After my 'rebirth from the Cave-Tomb-Womb of the Bone Mother' I stepped into a magical parallel universe, where animals speak, archetypes live and ancestors tend their footprints.
It is also a place where I am enjoying a second childhood - a different childhood, the childhood of my dreams - a childhood IN MY DREAMS!


The Pregnant Hag is the in-dwelling spirit of the Hagal Rune. Her secret is that she masters the sacred mysteries of Death and Rebirth. After tying the Cosmic Knot in January (see blog) she disappears and rebirths herself as a Maiden. She is forever pregnant with her herself, with every possible phase of being and becoming. Whenever our life is too settled or tranquil, she will tap us on the shoulder and bring upheaval!


Here the Pregnant Hag drops her Hag Manifestation (and her wolf pack backs off).  In Norse cosmology our world is created from the meeting of Primordial Fire and Primordial Ice.This cosmic event repeats when the Sun returns to area within the Arctic Circle. The Ice Maiden is personification of this event (in my dreams and visions).





In this painting Swan Maiden is not depicted as a Valkyrie but through painting I discovered that she has a Fertility Manifestation.

Entry in my art diary:

The first Iron Age people had a female deity or tutelary goddess. Her main form was the White Swan. In her role as patron of childbirth she was associated with the Milky Way where the celestial swan flies (Cygnus) and her mark was the bird’s foot (forerunner of Algiz rune?)

Scottish Western Isle people saw whooper swans (+ greylag geese), migrating North to their breeding grounds in Iceland, as carrying the souls of the dead to Heaven, which lay “North, beyond the North Wind”. Should a person be alive when the birds depart, they will be free of death for another year.

Is this how the circumpolar star constellation Cygnus came to be viewed as a Swan, linked not only with the journey of the soul to the Afterlife but also because it was seen as flying towards the celestial pole?
If so, this connection might have begun when Deneb occupied the position of Pole Star in c. 15,000 BC. Among the people of the Baltic, the Swan replaced the Stork as the bringer of new-born babies....


In Norse cosmology we find several mysterious references to the burning of a heart and a V?lva/Völva or prophetess rising from the ashes, surviving the ordeal by fire. One heart is attributed to a “dark goddess” called Angrboða, also called The Mother of Wolves. She is said to have produced three children with Trickster God Loki: the Fenris wolf, Jormundganðr and the goddess Hel. 

Angrboða lives in Jarnviðr or  the Ironwood Forest. Based on my own work with her I know that she invites us to venture into Jarnviðr and do fearless shadow work. To examine how we ourselves give birth to “demons” (as discussed in the Podcast). Essentially we need to own our ability to unleash monsters in this world (really our own unexamined and unhealed shadow material, personal and collective

I made an art video about the insights I was granted (through working with her) about the Fenris Wolf and our inner wolf - the cosmic balance between Creation and Destruction. 

There is also an issue with fetters and "unfettering ourselves":




On my long walks in the Forest I often meditate on the fact that the trees we see all around us, (even in big cities like London), have many relatives that are less "in our face": the family tree is one example and some cultures think of the placenta as a life-giving tree (and others think of it as our twin who dies at our birth - quite a concept to meditate on!) There are also 'trees' in chemistry (a chain of reactions involving the elements of the periodic table can look like a tree).

My vision was to make visible, by means of a painting, the concept of ancestral mothers literally giving us the Gift of Life, watching over us from the Other World, and the placenta as either an ancestor or tree nourishing us before the world even meets us.

The womb is the ultimate in-between and liminal place! Some cultures believe that in the form of the placenta our ancestors briefly take physical form again, to nourish us and propel us into the world (the everyday world where I am typing this post!) They return to the Land of the Ancestors after our birth. This may explain why in some cultures the placenta is buried, either under a tree, or (I believe) under the threshold of the family homestead. Of course we also have Ancestral Fathers, who are equally important - they may appear in a future painting!