The Shadow Mothers are the spirits of the women who fled to the woods, as well as Wild Ones who have grown old and died. They are not sentient beings, but rather personifications of The Forest that they inhabit.
The Shadow Mothers are not distinct; they’re a collective entity. When Wild Ones die and become Shadow Mothers, their consciousness and memories are absorbed into the collective. At any given time, there are as many distinct entities as the Forest needs.
Averno Bible Description
The Shadow Mothers are the guardians of the forest. Ever since Aster ripped open a hole between the worlds and became a part of the Forest, the Shadow Mothers have existed. They are not individual entities. They are simply the shape the Forest chooses to take when she needs to be closer to the world. Made of the shadows between the trees, the Shadow Mothers are all one. Or maybe many. They are everywhere and nowhere, simply energy embodied. When they hear someone crying out for help they mold themselves into existence, rescuing children from their bedrooms and girls from dead end roads.
Shadow Mothers are tall and thin. They have long, wispy hair and skin so dark it looks to be made of shadows itself. They have no facial features except for white, glowing eyes. Their faces tend to show no emotion, and yet it still feels possible to understand what they’re feeling. In Wild Ones, Shadow Mothers are described by Ever as being as tall as a tree. This was quickly followed by the appearance of a Shadow Mother, who was as tall as a pine tree.
Shadow Mothers are rather quiet, likely in part to the fact they don’t have mouths. When there is mention of them speaking, it is likely they are doing so in Dreamspeak. Shadow Mothers are pretty benevolent and kind hearted, their sole purpose being to save children from abusive homes. They are very neutral faced and don’t tend to show much emotion, but do show affection, especially to the Wild Ones.
However, considering the existence of The Bone Swamp — where the Shadow Mothers dispose of the bodies of people they murdered — it would not be quite right to say they're completely benevolent.
- Willow - Mentioned when Cassia explains the Wild Ones and her life in the Forest to Grace.
- Wild Ones
- Arcana - Shadow Mothers are mentioned in the second chapter, The Magician, and the third, The High Priestess.
- Aster was the first Shadow Mother.
- Dreamweaver features these spirits in its narrative.