Search results for: cunning-folk-and-familiar-spirits

Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits

Author : Emma Wilby
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In the hundreds of confessions relating to witchcraft and sorcery trials from early modern Britain we frequently find detailed descriptions of intimate working relationships between popular magical practitioners and familiar spirits of either human or animal form. Until recently historians often dismissed these descriptions as elaborate fictions created by judicial interrogators eager to find evidence of stereotypical pacts with the Devil. Although this paradigm is now routinely questioned, and most historians acknowledge that there was a folkloric component to familiar lore in the period, these beliefs and the experiences reportedly associated with them, remain substantially unexamined. Cunning-Folk and Familiar Spirits examines the folkloric roots of familiar lore from historical, anthropological and comparative religious perspectives. It argues that beliefs about witches familiars were rooted in beliefs surrounding the use of fairy familiars by beneficent magical practitioners or

Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits

Author : Emma Wilby
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This book contains the first comprehensive examination of popular familiar belief in early modern Britain. It provides an in-depth analysis of the correlation between early modern British magic and tribal shamanism, examines the experiential dimension of popular magic and witchcraft in early modern Britain, and explores the links between British fairy beliefs and witch beliefs. In the hundreds of confessions relating to witchcraft and sorcery trials in early modern Britain there are detailed descriptions of intimate working relationships between popular magical practitioners and familiar spirits of either human or animal form. Until recently historians often dismissed these descriptions as elaborate fictions created by judicial interrogators eager to find evidence of stereotypical pacts with the Devil. Although this paradigm is now routinely questioned, and most historians acknowledge that there was a folkloric component to familiar lore in the period, these beliefs, and the experiences reportedly associated with them, remain substantially unexplored. This book examines the folkloric roots of familiar lore from historical, anthropological and comparative religious perspectives. It argues that beliefs about witches' familiars were rooted in beliefs surrounding the use of fairy familiars by beneficent magical practitioners or cunning folk', and corroborates this through a comparative analysis of familiar beliefs found in traditional Native American and Siberian shamanism. The author explores the experiential dimension of familiar lore by drawing parallels between early modern familiar encounters and visionary mysticism as it appears in both tribal shamanism and medieval European contemplative traditions. These perspectives challenge the reductionist view of popular magic in early modern Britain often presented by historians.

Gef

Author : Christopher Josiffe
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An exhaustive investigation of the case of Gef, a “talking mongoose” or “man-weasel,” who appeared to a family living on the Isle of Man. “I am the fifth dimension! I am the eighth wonder of the world!” During the mid-1930s, British and overseas newspapers were full of incredible stories about Gef, a “talking mongoose” or “man-weasel” who had allegedly appeared in the home of the Irvings, a farming family in a remote district of the Isle of Man. The creature was said to speak in several languages, to sing, to steal objects from nearby farms, and to eavesdrop on local people. Despite written reports, magazine articles and books, several photographs, fur samples and paw prints, voluminous correspondence, and signed eyewitness statements, there is still no consensus as to what was really happening to the Irving family. Was it a hoax? An extreme case of folie à plusieurs? A poltergeist? The possession of an animal by an evil spirit? Now you can read all the evidence and decide for yourself. Seven years' research and interviews, photographs (many previously unseen), interviews with surviving witnesses, visits to the site—all are presented in this book, the first examination of the case for seventy years. In the words of its mischievous, enigmatic subject, “If you knew what I know, you'd know a hell of a lot!"

Spirit Conjuring for Witches

Author : Frater Barrabbas
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The greatest Witches of folklore practiced their craft by conjuring spirits and employing a familiar spirit. Now, centuries later, these arts—supposedly the domain of ceremonial magicians only—can be perfected by modern Witches. In this groundbreaking book, Witch and ritual magician Frater Barrabbas shares a system of Witchcraft-based magic developed for safely performing invocations and evocations, handling fallen spirits and Goetic demons, traveling in the spirit world, creating a spirit pact, and constructing your own rituals for spirit conjuring. To help you get to know the full breadth of the spirit world, Spirit Conjuring for Witches includes a unique list of spirits as well as techniques for working with sigils and recommendations for classical grimoires. Exploring history, folktales, and personal experiences, this book shows how to magically develop relationships with spirits and ultimately master both the spirit and material worlds. Praise: "A clear and distinct body of tools and rituals for working with a broad range of spirits. If you are a witch looking for a more formal approach to this field, this may be the book for you."—Ivo Dominguez Jr., author of Spirit Speaks and Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans "Frater Barrabbas has made a valuable contribution to the practice of modern witchcraft...This is a very thorough and carefully developed invitation to revive the practice of magical evocation that historically played so central a role in witchcraft and magic."—Jim Baker, author of The Cunning Man's Handbook "Frater Barrabbas shows how modern Witches can also reclaim their ability to conjure spirits in the age-old tradition of evoking beings of the Otherworld to attain knowledge or obtain practical results in this world. With the current revival in the publication, study and use of the classical grimoires, witches who are drawn to the practice of the magickal evocation of spirits now have a detailed guide to the inner preparations and outer practices necessary to evoke spirits safely and correctly."—Jonathan Nightshade, Gardnerian HP, Traditional Crafter and Sorcerer "I wish that there had a book like Spirit Conjuring for Witches back when; it would have saved me any number of missteps along the way. With more than forty years of experience under his cincture, Frater Barabbas speaks with a voice of wisdom, clarity and authority: truly one of the Thirteen Human Treasures of Paganistan."—Steven Posch, Traditional Witch and Host of Radio Paganistan "As Witches we all work with Deity and various spirits; but can you honestly say you communicate with them? This book is a valuable resource for every serious Witch's library. The author has outlined how to truly connect with that spirit realm, which allows us to build a relationship with those we work with."—Lady Adariana, Gardnerian HPS

The Visions of Isobel Gowdie

Author : Emma Wilby
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The witchcraft confessions given by Isobel Gowdie (in Auldearn, Scotland in 1662)are widely celebrated as the most extraordinary on record in Britain. Their descriptive power, vivid imagery, and contentious subject matter have attracted considerable interest on both academic and popular levels. This book, written by Emma Wilby, author of the critically acclaimed Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits, provides the first full-length examination of the confessions and the life and character of the woman behind them. The author's discovery of the original trial records, deemed lost for nearly 200 years, provides a starting point for an interdisciplinary endeavor to separate Isobel's voice from that of her interrogators, to identify the beliefs and experiences that informed her testimony, and to analyze why her confessions differ so markedly from those of other witchcraft suspects from the period. In the course of these enquiries, the author develops wider hypotheses relevant to the study of early modern witchcraft as a whole, bringing together for the first time recent research into Amazonian 'dark' shamanism, false-memory generation, and mutual-dream experience, along with literature on marriage-covenant mysticism and protection-charm traditions. Emma Wilby concludes that close analysis of Isobel's confessions supports the still-controversial hypothesis that in 17th-Century Scotland, as in other parts of Europe in this period, popular spirituality was shaped through a deep interaction between church teachings and shamanistic traditions of pre-Christian origin. She also extends this thesis beyond its normal association with beneficent magic and overtly folkloric themes to speculate that some of Europe's more malevolent and demonological witch-narratives may also have emerged out of visionary rites underpinned by cogent shamanistic rationales.

John Stearne s Confirmation and Discovery of Witchcraft

Author : Scott Eaton
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Between 1645-7, John Stearne led the most significant outbreak of witch-hunting in England. As accusations of witchcraft spread across East Anglia, Stearne and Matthew Hopkins were enlisted by villagers to identify and eradicate witches. After the trials finally subsided in 1648, Stearne wrote his only publication, A confirmation and discovery of witchcraft, but it had a limited readership. Consequently, Stearne and his work fell into obscurity until the 1800s, and were greatly overshadowed by Hopkins and his text. This book is the first study which analyses Stearne’s publication and contextualises his ideas within early modern intellectual cultures of religion, demonology, gender, science, and print in order to better understand the witch-finder’s beliefs and motives. The book argues that Stearne was a key player in the trials, that he was not a mainstream ‘puritan’, and that his witch-finding availed from contemporary science. It traces A confirmation’s reception history from 1648 to modern day and argues that the lack of research focusing on Stearne has resulted in misrepresentations of the witch-finder in the historiography of witchcraft. This book redresses the imbalance and seeks to provide an alternative reading of the East Anglian witch-hunt and of England’s premier witch-hunter, John Stearne.

The A to Z of Shamanism

Author : Graham Harvey
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Explores the common ground of shamanic traditions and evaluates the diversity of both traditional indigenous communities and individual Western seekers.

Historical Dictionary of Shamanism

Author : Graham Harvey
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A remarkable array of people have been called shamans, while the phenomena identified as shamanism continues to proliferate. This second edition of the Historical Dictionary of Shamanism contains with examples from antiquity up to today, and from Siberia (where the term “shaman” originated) to Amazonia, South Africa, Chicago and many other places. Many claims about shamans and shamanism are contentious and all are worthy of discussion. In the most widespread understandings, terms seem to refer particularly to people who alter states of consciousness or enter trances in order to seek knowledge and help from powerful other-than-human persons, perhaps “spirits”. But this says only a little about the artists, community leaders, spiritual healers or hucksters, travelers in alternative realities and so on to which the label “shaman” has been applied. This second edition contains a chronology, an introduction, and extensive bibliography. The dictionary contains over 500 cross-referenced dictionary entries on individuals, groups, practices and cultures that have been called “shamanic”. This book is an excellent access point for students, researchers, and anyone wanting to know more about Shamanism.

Witchcraft the Devil and Emotions in Early Modern England

Author : Charlotte-Rose Millar
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This book represents the first systematic study of the role of the Devil in English witchcraft pamphlets for the entire period of state-sanctioned witchcraft prosecutions (1563-1735). It provides a rereading of English witchcraft, one which moves away from an older historiography which underplays the role of the Devil in English witchcraft and instead highlights the crucial role that the Devil, often in the form of a familiar spirit, took in English witchcraft belief. One of the key ways in which this book explores the role of the Devil is through emotions. Stories of witches were made up of a complex web of emotionally implicated accusers, victims, witnesses, and supposed perpetrators. They reveal a range of emotional experiences that do not just stem from malefic witchcraft but also, and primarily, from a witch’s links with the Devil. This book, then, has two main objectives. First, to suggest that English witchcraft pamphlets challenge our understanding of English witchcraft as a predominantly non-diabolical crime, and second, to highlight how witchcraft narratives emphasized emotions as the primary motivation for witchcraft acts and accusations.

Southern Cunning

Author : Aaron Oberon
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Southern Cunning is a journey through the folklore of the American South and a look at the power these stories hold for modern witches. Through the lens of folklore, animism, and bioregionalism the book shows how to bring rituals in folklore into the modern day and presents a uniquely American approach to witchcraft born out of the land and practical application.