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Craft of the Untamed: An inspired vision of traditional witchcraft [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

21 Mar 2011
The Craft of the Untamed sets out to present the main pillars of traditional witchcraft. Its premise is that a proper tradition is defined as a timeless unity. Outwardly the tradition bears a great diversity across different lands and spirit. Traditional witchcraft is found in various sodalities and groups across the world. Even so it is possible to discern several harmonious, shared themes. These themes are the land, the crossroads, death, night and the mountain of Venus. It is witchcraft where a human and angelic blood mingles to form a special pedigree that has shaped the archetypical image of the witch. Traditional witchcraft is largely a peasant craft. These "black arts" are works of the earth and the black soil with all its mystery of death, growth and change. This book aims to present the craft free for needless obscuration. I have endeavored to reveal the richness of the tradition as it flows down through time and geographical space. The reader will come to appreciate and understand the wise arts both infernal and celestial; the powers wielded by the denizens of the night will be accessible; and you will come to value them for their beauty and power. Contents: Foreword by Shani Oates/Introduction//At the Crossroads of the Worlds/Solomonic Magick//The Blood of the Living Bones/Within the Mountain of Dame Venus/The Vinculum of Eros/The Art of Timeless Tradition/Within the Veil of Night/Against the Current


Product details

  • Hardcover: 184 pages
  • Publisher: Mandrake; Large type edition edition (21 Mar 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906958394
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906958398
  • Product Dimensions: 23.9 x 16.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,041,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
This book by Dr. Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold is absolutely unique. Very much in the line of the book's description it journeys to some of the landscape bearings of the Craft, in the search of the bones that in their whiteness share a universal feature with the different manifestations of Witchcraft. It conveys a real crossroads where the different paths conjoined create a central vertical vortex of wisdom and mysticism. It is a starting point for the development of the search of the True Faith that relays all witchcraft traditions, giving core elements to consider, from which later one is to proceed.

Written from a traditionalist point of view, the book is very well informed bearing in mind the author's knowledge of a lot of different traditions from around Europe and South America, and the literature and philosophy of old times. But he is also an anthropologist and psychologist, so this gives a very unique take on the magic and witchcraft of the book, both in a historical and a metaphysical way.

The book deals with the most controversial elements of Traditional Witchcraft, being the figures of the Devil and the Dame, the Blood, the Sabbath, the Land, healing, malefica and the mysteries of Eros, the Watchers, the Realm of the Fairy, and the traditional Magical Arts. All this in a non-univocal way, i. e. the range of meaning is not limited to one specific tradition each time, but it can be applied to many of them, and still leave the way open for further thinking. This leads to a thirst for knowing more and explore, which in my opinion is a very remarkable feature of it.

His writing style shows at times shades of poetic prose, giving the whole academic discourse a very rich amount of symbols and metaphors, which speak directly to our deeper selves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear... 18 Nov 2012
By Red Fox
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was gently steered away from this book by someone who knows better than me but i wouldn't have it. So, £25 lighter, here is my review. First off, the price is unjustifiable. The print being larger than average means you do not actually get twenty five pounds worth of content. It should have been issued as a cheaper paperback in my opinion. As another reviewer has said on Amazon US, the writer can be quite superb (see his "Pomba Gira and the Quimbanda of Mbumba Nzila", a brilliant exposition of the Brazilian Pomba Gira cult)but it is painfully obvious that this offering was not edited at all by Mandrake; a prerequisite for a non native speaker and expensive tome.

It comes across as being quite a hotch potch of ideas with no guiding thread and meanders down various avenues, sometimes confusingly out of the blue. There are definately some hidden gems in this although they are very easy to miss given the appalling lack of editing. I have given it 3 stars purely on the basis of the last 5 pages (the chapter entitled "The Icon of the Witch" and Mr Frisvold's "Farewell") which are quite superb in identifying and locating the witch as "other" and is not dissimilar to the way Jules Michelet portrays the revolutionary witch in "The Sorceress" and also nods in the direction of Jack Parsons. One small quote from Mr. Frisvold from these last pages exemplifies what this book could have been: "...(they) provoke modern man by their love of wildness, the freedom of woods and springs, rejecting morals and profane law in favour of the freedom given by Venus and the nymphs. Herein we find the true secrets of witchcraft, natural freedom and the realisation of oneself as a fair being."

This book could have been so much better if given a proper "going over" before publishing. However, do not let this put you off reading some of Mr.Frisvold's other works, particularly "Pomba Gira" and "Palo Mayombe".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable.. 12 July 2012
Format:Hardcover
Frisvold approaches 'traditional craft' from a viewpoint that is a little 'wider' than other writers on the subject. this is very refreshing. one thing that did disappoint me a little though is Frisvold presenst himself as a 'an anthropologist and psychologist with an inclination towards the metaphysics of faiths and cults of a traditional pedigree' yet there is *very* little psychological comment or insight in this book.
i'd recommend this book to any interested in the field. *however* there are some spelling mistakes which lead to confusion. the real let down though is the illustrations..or rather their reproduction. one image is more pixelated than printed.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A perfect blend of academy and the metaphysics of witchcraft 20 May 2011
By arboldelfresno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book by Dr. Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold is absolutely unique. Very much in the line of the book's description it journeys to some of the landscape bearings of the Craft, in the search of the bones that in their whiteness share a universal feature with the different manifestations of Witchcraft. It conveys a real crossroads where the different paths conjoined create a central vertical vortex of wisdom and mysticism. It is a starting point for the development of the search of the True Faith that relays all witchcraft traditions, giving core elements to consider, from which later one is to proceed.

Written from a traditionalist point of view, the book is very well informed bearing in mind the author's knowledge of a lot of different traditions from around Europe and South America, and the literature and philosophy of old times. But he is also an anthropologist and psychologist, so this gives a very unique take on the magic and witchcraft of the book, both in a historical and a metaphysical way.

The book deals with the most controversial elements of Traditional Witchcraft, being the figures of the Devil and the Dame, the Blood, the Sabbath, the Land, healing, malefica and the mysteries of Eros, the Watchers, the Realm of the Fairy, and the traditional Magical Arts. All this in a non-univocal way, i. e. the range of meaning is not limited to one specific tradition each time, but it can be applied to many of them, and still leave the way open for further thinking. This leads to a thirst for knowing more and explore, which in my opinion is a very remarkable feature of it.

His writing style shows at times shades of poetic prose, giving the whole academic discourse a very rich amount of symbols and metaphors, which speak directly to our deeper selves. Not enough with this, the author has illustrated the knowledge shared with actual ritual practice of all sorts: to commune with the spirits of the Land, open the ways of the Crossroads, to take flight to the Sabbath, etc. This shifts all the knowledge imparted into the experiential level, all of which allows to crystallize this knowledge in sound understanding.

The text permeates from the highest spiritual form of inspiration to the most mundane level of analysis, in a uniquely harmonized way (a sign of the author's first-hand mastery on the subject), through a very clear discourse, that not only can be read literally, but also in between the lines. All this together with beautiful illustrations throughout each chapter by artist Enoque Zedro. It is one of those books which one knows it needs to be read more than once, to learn new things each time.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It ain't Teen Witch 12 Feb 2013
By Russell Erwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed Craft of the Untamed. Frisvold loads his work up with so many aspects of his own research that beyond whatever his own thesis and assertions are, there are so many interesting threads running through the book that are of independent value. Tons of book marks in such a book, and a valuable bibliography. Though I read a lot, I really think in images and symbols and Frisvold lays out so many of those basic archetypical patterns, images and symbols that it is edifying from multiple angles over time. This author is one of a significant crop of esoterically focused writers who are both pracitioners and academics exhibiting the best of both disciplines.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced & informative look at the philosophy & practice of Traditional Craft 16 Dec 2012
By Radix - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
An interesting overview of traditional craft in it's varying actuality and it's common motives, informed particularly by the the existing manifestations in Scandinavia, Britain, Italy and Brazil, though not restricted to such. The author is obviously educated in traditional astrology and the works of Agrippa and grimoires such as the Picatrix are often cited in reference to his explanations of the stellar and planetary mysteries pertaining to the subject of traditional witchcraft and magic (the Pole star and Venus being the two with the most in depth commentary). A philosophical discourse on the recurring theme of the Devil & the crossroads is included & offers us a mature and initiated perspective. A wide range of subjects and themes pertaining to the 'nameless art' are covered here (including many obscure beings, rites, lore &c), sometimes it feels like the author expects us to be familiar with a wider variety of history & myths one would think generally pertains to the craft, but it is nevertheless lucid and does cover all the major pillars of the art.
The rituals included in the text are quite well written and reveal their deepness in their practice though their usages are not immediately obvious; much mystery is contained therein, in fact much of what is written one must pay close attention to the nuances as there much to learn between the words.
Sadly the much of the artwork in the text is disagreeable to the eye, but such is the bane of some of the greatest books on witchcraft (think Cappall-bann, &c)
All and all a highly recommended text of particular import to a practitioner.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought 5 Mar 2014
By Roberto Quintas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is not another gruesome "witchcraft book". It has not recipes or those fluffy-bunny things. This is a mana for the brain. To those who are students, academic and witch, this book gives some flesh to our theeths and food for our brains.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wholistic view of the sacred and profane 17 Feb 2014
By Caitlyn Davies - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a fascinating and beautiful review of the darker side of the craft- which is to say it is a wholistic view of the sacred and profane. Most books tend only towards the "light" or comfortable sides of magic which neglects the real experience of life. This book guides the reader through the healing power of darkness.
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