Tansy Field At Midnight: A 2,000 Year Old Abortion Story | S. 2 Ep. 1
Play • 24 min


Your KnotWork Storytelling host, Marisa Goudy, reads a brief excerpt from her novel-in-progress, Above In the Bog. You meet two women of first century Ireland, Móna and Síle, who are out collecting tansy on a dark moon summer night. Their mission: gather the herbs to help a woman in their village abort an unwanted child.


Marisa wrote this section of the book sometime last year, but it is all the more timely as the US Supreme Court overturns Roe Vs. Wade and the right to abortion is in peril across much of the country. Marisa explores:

  • The original inspiration for this scene: Manchán Magan’s Thirty-Two Words for Field: Lost Words of the Irish Landscape
  • The 2018 referendum in Ireland that repealed the eighth amendment and gave pregnant people the right to abortion in Ireland
  • The 12th century Saint Hildegard of Bingen whose extensive writings describe how herbs can be used to induce abortion (and heal many other maladies)
  • Modern herbal practices, which are similar to the practices from 1000 years ago
  • Her own story, including the safe use of Mifepristone from a local Planned Parenthood
  • Lughnasadh and the riddle of the selfless, sacrificial mother archetype: August 1 is the ancient Irish festival founded by the Celtic Sun God Lugh, in honor of his foster mother Tailtiu. She died after exhausting herself clearing the plane of Ireland.

Our Music

Music at the start of the show is by Beth Sweeney and Billy Hardy, a Celtic Fiddle and multi-instrumental duo based on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The traditional Irish reel we play at the start of the show is called "The College Groves." billyandbeth.com

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Find more of Marisa's writing and get a copy of her book, The Sovereignty Knot www.marisagoudy.com

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