Bonae Mulieres

Literally meaning “good women,” bonae mulieres was a common term by which authorities writing in Latin described various women or female creatures found in many European folk legends who flew or otherwise traveled at night and often needed to be placated with offerings of food or drink.

Aspects of the bonae mulieres are reflected in the women who were thought to ride with the pagan goddess Diana, as described in the canon Episcopi and other sources, as well as older beliefs in malevolent, female, nighttime Demons such as the strix or lamia, or the Germanic concept of the Wild Hunt.

All of these notions came to inform the developing stereotype of witchcraft in various ways, contributing most especially to the notion of the night flight of witches to a sabbath.


Historical Dictionary of Witchcraft – Written by Michael D. Bailey