Meet the Mayven!

This month, we go behind the scenes of the Mayven Festival and are delighted to share our gorgeous Mayven image, created for us by artist Rima Staines.

The Mayven is the name and symbol of our 20th year anniversary this year, and is and the force running through it. Here Rima explains a little about our marvellous Mayven.

She rides through the air on a wild hare over the waning moon toward the darker and wiser skies of her sage years. She has seen and known much and yet there is much ahead of her still to be encountered. Jewels of determination and unedited truth sparkle behind her eyes, borne of the pains and transformations she has known already. Hers is a wild and work-hardened strength, a freedom-loving and moment-seizing joy and all of it harnessed in service to an ever-deepening commitment to her own emancipation. 

Between her legs is a creature of ancient and mythic power: a trickster animal renowned in the folklores of many cultures. The hare here is both her familiar and her other self. As witch-woman she can see through these wily eyes and run fast over the hills whenever she needs to.

The Mayven is a woman in her full power who has passed through the initiatory gates of motherhood (or taken her own route around them) but not yet reached her wise crone years.  She no longer cares what people think, and walks tall and queenly in her full whole self. 

In my drawing I have tried to conjure all these things, thinking particularly of the magical shape-shifting nature of hares and witches and the “madness” they get painted with, trying to celebrate rather than mock it.

In seventeenth century Scotland a woman named Isobel Gowdie is famous for having been tried as a witch. In her statement she declares: “And I shall go into a hare…” to describe the words she speaks to turn herself into a hare. For me, this association between woman and hares and the moon and madness speaks of a deep puritan discomfort for the beautifully disordered, uncategorizable wildness in all their natures, and that is the wilding wisdom we should be celebrating and learning from in women as they age rather than disappearing them into insignificance and laughable stupidity.

Here the Mayven is re-crowned and riding, inside you!

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