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Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic Paperback – 21 Nov 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 317 pages
  • Publisher: Sussex Academic Press (21 Nov. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1845190793
  • ISBN-13: 978-1845190798
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 14.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 429,829 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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"Magic and witchcraft have between them represented one of the most difficult and challenging subjects for modern historians. Emma Wilby's book is a remarkably interesting, timely and novel way of looking at them, and one of the most courageous yet attempted." -- Professor Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol. "Emma Wilby's conclusions and her explanation of how she drew them, laid down here in the commendable modern academic tendency towards plain English that has moved away from the previous generation's overly complex sentence structure, is worth its weight in gold." Ian Read in Runa Magazine, Issue 19, October 2006. "...one of the few books to treat in any detail, and perhaps the only one to treat at length, the topic of the witch's familiar ... these kinds of consideration are very fruitful for understanding much fortean material ... 8/10" -- Fortean Times, July 2006. "This is the definitive study of familiar lore, which should find a place on every Witch's bookshelf." -- Witchcraft and Wicca Magazine, Imbolc/Winter 2007. "...valuably sets the ground for further exploration of the role and character of folk magic within community and tradition and is to be recommeded for that." -- Northern Earth Issue 105. "...a powerful, grounding work for all modern magical practicioners of British magical tradition." -- Pagan Times Australia, Spring 2006. "...fascinating and well-researched. It is a genuine contribution to what is known about cunning folk and lays very solid foundations for future work on the subject. Buy it today!" -- White Dragon, Beltane 2006. "...riveting and downright encouraging review of the magical underpinning of mainstream culture." --Sacred Hoop, Issue 51, 2006.

About the Author

Emma Wilby is an independent scholar and freelance journalist, with a graduate background in Humanities. The present book is the result of research interests developed while working for a masters degree in the History and Literature of Witchcraft at the University of Exeter.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Dr Enoch on 11 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a very fine book and has fast become my favourite non-fiction of the last few months.

The hypothesis is that the fairy encounters described by cunning folk and sourced from the witch trials are representative of a genuine, and very English, modern visionary tradition.
This is revelatory and a refreshing challenge to the orthodox opinion - that witch narratives were either the product of mental illness or a collusion between prisoner and inquisitor. Emma Wilby does an efficient job of addressing the deficiencies in such explanations and delivers what seems to be a very-well argued and sensible alternative.
The quoted source material is almost worth the price of the book alone - spirits with names like Vinegar Tom, Grizzlegut, Pyewhacket and Mak Hector inhabit almost every page!

Anyone with an interest in Magic, Witchcraft or Psychology should have a copy of this book. I found it was an excellent complement to Owen Davies' "Popular Magic". I have already been lending it to friends but hope this review prompts people to buy it!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Celestial Elf on 20 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback
Faery Folk Envisioned, Britain's Numinous Mystics Restored.

This book is a remarkable and in-depth academic study of early modern English cunning-folk and witches involvement with Familiar Spirits such as Tewhit, Greedigut, Vinegar Tom, Jack Robin and Wag At The Wa, with boggles and puckles, hob gobblins, hell waines and firedrakes. Wilby proposes that early-modern witches and cunning-folk had relationships with spiritual beings similar to those of shaman in other traditional societies, such as finding stolen items, curing illnesses or causing it and providing all sorts of advice as needed.
Whilst ''Most people today would consider themselves to have little or no knowledge about early modern familiars. In reality, however, the basic dynamics of the relationship between a cunning woman or witch, and her spirit ally, is easily recognizable to all of us, being encapsulated in narrative themes running through traditional folk tales and myths from throughout the world. Classics such as Rumpelstiltskin, Puss in Boots, the Frog Prince and so on, are representative...These fairy stories and myths originate from the same reservoir of folk belief as the descriptions of familiar-encounters given by the cunning folk and witches in early modern Britain.''

Written in three main sections, the first summarizes the animistic popular world view of early modern Britain. Presenting the illiterate or semi-literate common people as uneducated in the Christian orthodoxy and regarding the earlier 'unintelligible' Latin Catholic rituals and later Christian religious practices as ancillary to their folk beliefs, living cheek to jowl beside and within a world populated with very real spirits of various origin, influence and intent.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Brian Smith on 4 July 2014
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An excellent book, well researched and written.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By NoniePoniePants on 14 Mar. 2014
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needed it for a uni essay on cunning folk and it done the job with very useful chapters, very good.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
40 of 40 people found the following review helpful
fascinating analysis 13 Aug. 2006
By Ian C - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book takes a look at aspects of early modern English witchcraft and cunning-folk practice that have seldom been examined in academic ways. The first section begins with a good summary of the nature of the popular culture of the day - illiterate or semiliterate, land-dependent, and steeped in what she identifies as an 'animistic' world view. Wilby provides an interesting perspective on just how uneducated in Christian orthodoxy the ordinary man-in-the-field was, and how close and real was the world of local spirits and ghosts. The book then offers a selection of descriptions of the spirit-allies of those identified as 'witches' or 'cunning folk' (and makes a clear distinction between the two classes). Wilby uses trial accounts and the descriptions of elite (i.e. literate) observers as her main sources for how English magic-users viewed their 'familiars' or 'spirit guides'. She makes a good case for which kinds of trial accounts make for good evidence, and her choices are entirely convincing.

The second section of the book provides a summary of traditional 'shamanism', especially as practiced in central Asia. The author focuses on the interactions of shamans with spirits, describing the encounter, initiation and ongoing work. This section has little that is new. Those familiar with world shamanic models will find it ordinary; those without that familiarity are given a good summary introduction.

In the final section of the book. Wilby makes the case that early-modern witches and cunning-folk had relationships with spiritual beings similar in many ways to those of traditional shamans. She takes some time to discuss how westerners so 'close' to us in temperment and culture could commonly experience the visionary events required for spirit-contact. She discusses (throughout the book) modern western objections to the stories, and how materialist historians have tried to describe the stories of the cunning folk as 'mutual constructions', fictions created by the interactions of elite witch-hunters with impoverished victims. In my own opinion, Wilby's theories of actual events of spirit contact (whether psychological or metaphysical) fit the evidence much more clearly than materialist skepticism.

Wilby is aware of both neoshamanic and neopagan practice in modern times. The book doesn't spend much time talking about them, but it is filled with a sensibility that takes spirit-contact by modern people (or early modern people...) seriously. Modern practitioners will find many suggestive notions, seeds on which our practice might be grown.

Ian Corrigan
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
Not your mother's familiar 13 Aug. 2006
By Harold A. Roth - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I finished this book a month ago, but I still find myself thinking over much of the information I got from it, and to me, that's the sign of a good book. Its take on the relationship between the witch and the familiar is unique, in my experience. For instance, Wilby shows that familiars were by no means "fetches" for witches and did not act as slaves or pets. They were equals in the relationship and could even act to the detriment of the witch. For me, the concept of moral ambiguity that Wilby posits for the familiar shows the familiar's depth and independence, its realness. It also fits with the position of the witch or cunning folk in their community - they were depended upon for medical help, communicating with the dead, or help in finding things, but they were also feared for the trouble they could cause to someone if they were antagonized.

The treatment of the fairy folk is also unusual. These are not Victorian Tinkerbells flitting around the garden like a bunch of beneficent mosquitoes. These are a powerful people with their own agenda, recognizable to those who've read British folklore or even stories by Arthur Machen. Wilby makes a pretty convincing argument that the fairies served the same purpose for early modern witches that guiding spirits have done for shamans in traditional societies. Like those spirits, fairy familiars helped witches acquire practical knowledge, like where a stolen cloak might be or how to cure (or hex) someone, and they were often friends and companions as well. Witches generally first encountered a familiar while being under extreme stress - broke, family members sick, overworked, hungry, fearing the worst - and Wilby compares this to the sort of deliberate preparation to encounter a guiding spirit that shamans in traditional societies engage in - fasting, depriving themselves of sleep, and creating other physical extremes. This interesting parallel fits with assertions made by Carlo Ginzburg in his work on the Sabbat, Night Journies. Wilby also argues that the concept of traveling to a sabbat is basically the interrogators' interpretation of the witch accompanying a fairy to fairyland, where for instance they might learn how to use plants or feast and dance with the fairy folk.

I was surprised by some of the information given in simple asides, such as that people at this time kept toads for pets or the average number of cats per household in Britain at this time was five. Something that really stuck with me, though, was how often witches described their familiar as being like an animal but not of any recognizable type, such as "something like a rabbit" which appeared in a witch's bed at night and asked him to love it. Even the pictures of them were somewhat disturbing. Other familiars appeared as humans but often wore old fashioned clothing.

This isn't the most engaging book ever written - the writing is just serviceable, and the book feels like it began life as a dissertation. But it does present what in my experience is a unique perspective on familiars. And the information here also goes far to bust up preconceived crusty notions about the good, wise hedgewitch who wouldn't hurt a fly, the Burning Times, Disneyworld-style fairies, and so forth. It presents a world much more complicated than that. The footnotes and bibliography also provide a number of directions for further reading about cunning folk in other countries as well as some interesting books on fairy folk in Britain.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Recommended reading 17 Mar. 2009
By Christopher R. Travers - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book consists of two rough parts (formally three, but the second and the third are discussed together here).

The first portion of the book discusses the lore surrounding fairy folk, demons, etc. and their relationships with cunning folk and witches. This section is extremely well done and covers a wide range of sources. Where some sources disagree with the author's thesis, she explains why she disagrees with them and presents counter-evidence. We are thus left with a very interesting and well-supported picture of how spiritual figures are connected to the practice of traditional magic in the geographic areas the book covers.

The second portion of the book (parts 2 and 3) try to draw parallels between these practices and tribal shamanism surveyed by Mircea Eliade and others. The author's thesis here, that these are "shamanic survivals" in Europe which can be discovered through comparison to unrelated cultures rests on a foundation of sand and suffers from serious methodological problems. Among others it assumes a remarkable homogeneity of pre-Christian religion which is unsupported by evidence from other disciplines. This thesis centers around a broad definition of shamanism that is actually argued against by many of her sources, but the general idea has been picking up steam in recent years.

However, despite these serious objections, the parallels found are interesting because they suggest some universal elements of the human condition. For this reason although I think this portion is flawed, it is still worth reading and considering.

All in all, a recommended book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A flawless performance 21 Feb. 2011
By Prokopton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Shamanism is to spirituality as stem cells are to body parts, a universal beginning. The connections between shamanism and every other area of human spiritual endeavour have seemed clear for a long while now, and I've speculated myself about the pagan side of Europe along with an increasing number of people -- but I never expected to see a study of British cunning folk and witches in the early modern period that shows their universal spirituality in a shamanic light, done quite so excellently as this. Wilby doesn't put a foot wrong, marking her terrain on what has been an academic minefield. I personally have no doubts at all she is pretty much 100% right, but what she has uncovered (especially considering the age and provenance of all the evidence -- witch trials aren't too objective) surprises even me with its strength.

Those with an interest in British magic have long known there is a double culture imposed by Christianity. As in shamanism worldwide, Christian religion can either mix with (think Black Elk) or fight with the local spirits. Where trials of witches and cunning folk are concerned it is no surprise to find two completely different languages being spoken:

"My spirit is a dead man who serves the Queen of Faerie."
"Ah! So you admit you consort with the devil!"

... etc. What Wilby brilliantly demonstrates is that the spirits allied to cunning folk, and the experiences they have with them, are just as spiritual as anything a shaman knows of. (The descriptions of the spirits are wonderful.) She is well aware of all the ambiguities and moral strangenesses involved in the idea, and shirks not one single slippery question, but navigates each with perfect skill in a paradigm-buster of an argument that is very hard to controvert. I'm not about to lay it all out. Suffice it to say, late in the book when she compares Christianity to witchcraft in terms of mystical experiences (with a bit of transpersonal psychology to ease the classifications) the common factors jump out like Spring-Heeled Jack. As for the known ambivalence of "spirits", their capriciousness, how similar it is to that of Old Testament Yahweh, as she points out, and adds that the Christian Saints themselves were seen as similarly capricious by the folk of the period. Things fit together. It becomes far easier to see how a contemporary educated Puritan, who believed in punishment for witches absolutely, could also say some cunning folk were taught by the Holy Spirit, and did "more good in a year than all these scripture men will do so long as they live," as George Gifford did in 1603, and he was not alone.

All the information on the working relationships these (mostly) women had with their spirits is fascinating, but too much to summarize here. I was very struck by how well it all dovetailed with fairy lore in general, and not just British. People like Ginzburg and Pocs have been setting the scene for an appraisal of journeys to Elfland and witches' Sabbaths as OBEs, but I never saw before any of the descriptions of British witches in trance that Wilby has managed to unearth -- she really has been elbow-deep in the earth of this country! I kept expecting the evidence to fall short, if only to account for the fact that no-one has said any of this before, but each chapter seemed only to get *more* conclusive.

And although, being academic and thus 'objective', she doesn't go here, I will -- the sadness I felt at the thought of these lonely people being burned was sharp, especially when considering how some of them said, like Bessie Dunlop whose trial notes open and wind through Wilby's book, that they cared nothing for death if only their spirits would stand by them. If a Christian woman were to say such things, she would be a saint before long! But no-one has been around to recognize the extraordinary spiritual and mystical contribution of these people to their time and place. Until now!

Strongly recommended.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Faery Folk Envisioned, Britain's Numinous Mystics Restored. 20 Nov. 2012
By Celestial Elf - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Faery Folk Envisioned, Britain's Numinous Mystics Restored.

This book is a remarkable and in-depth academic study of early modern English cunning-folk and witches involvement with Familiar Spirits such as Tewhit, Greedigut, Vinegar Tom, Jack Robin and Wag At The Wa, with boggles and puckles, hob gobblins, hell waines and firedrakes. Wilby proposes that early-modern witches and cunning-folk had relationships with spiritual beings similar to those of shaman in other traditional societies, such as finding stolen items, curing illnesses or causing it and providing all sorts of advice as needed.
Whilst ''Most people today would consider themselves to have little or no knowledge about early modern familiars. In reality, however, the basic dynamics of the relationship between a cunning woman or witch, and her spirit ally, is easily recognizable to all of us, being encapsulated in narrative themes running through traditional folk tales and myths from throughout the world. Classics such as Rumpelstiltskin, Puss in Boots, the Frog Prince and so on, are representative...These fairy stories and myths originate from the same reservoir of folk belief as the descriptions of familiar-encounters given by the cunning folk and witches in early modern Britain.''

Written in three main sections, the first summarizes the animistic popular world view of early modern Britain. Presenting the illiterate or semi-literate common people as uneducated in the Christian orthodoxy and regarding the earlier 'unintelligible' Latin Catholic rituals and later Christian religious practices as ancillary to their folk beliefs, living cheek to jowl beside and within a world populated with very real spirits of various origin, influence and intent. Drawing on Christian heresy trial accounts as well as popular folk accounts Wilby then describes these spirit-allies and their differences between those identified with 'witches - the demon familiars, and those who assisted 'cunning folk'- the fairy familiars.
The quality of faery nature is well expressed in this popular rhyme which recorded in 19thC is likely to be much older;
''Gin ye ca' me imp or elf, I rede ye look weel to yourself;
Gin ye ca' me fairy, I'll work ye muckle tarrie;
Gin guid neibour ye ca' me; Then guid neibor I will be;
But gin ye ca' me seelie wicht, I'll be you freend baith day and nicht.''
The rhyme implies that the definition of the faery was dependent upon the actions of their human allies. In other words, the human could choose to employ the same fairy to good or evil ends, and it was the moral position of the spirit's user rather than that of the spirit itself which determined the latter's moral status at any given time.'' Many comments recorded in Emma's study of the confessions of cunning folk convicted of witchcraft suggest that this ambiguous amorality of the familiar spirit may have been standard. The familiars remained cooperative provided their 'contract' was honored - that their human partner would provide respect, or food and shelter, or in some cases promise of the soul...

In the second part of the book the argument is presented that most previous studies of cunning folk and witchcraft in Britain have tended to prioritize the social role, of healing, divination etc, over any thorough examination of the relationship between the practitioner and their fairy familiar or spirit guide. Here the author draws compelling parallels between traditional shamanism as practiced in North America, Central Asia and Siberia, with the British practitioners experience as revealed through the evidence of both witch-trials and folk accounts. ''The relationship between shamans and their spirits is like the relationship between cunning folk or witches and their familiars...'' although they could indeed represent themselves as a man or woman, or an animal such as a dog, stereotypical cat, raven or toad, they also could be entirely immaterial and perceived only in the 'flight' to the other and inner realms of trance states. The ambiguity remains consistent however wherever the spirits may be based as the author quotes Ronald Hutton historian's notes that ''among traditional Siberian cultures some spirits were regarded with 'respect, affection, solicitude' while others were seen as 'groups of efficient but untrustworthy thugs....and would punish with death any human master or mistress who shirked the duties of the shamanic vocation''. That witches generally first encountered a familiar or demon spirit during a pivotal moment of extreme stress, they may have for example family members may have fallen seriously sick - which happened often in earlier times, or they may have lost a farm animal to illness - which could lead to ruin or even death in a poor agricultural farming society. Wilby compares these pressures and threats to the sort of preparation to encounter a guiding spirit that shaman in traditional societies undertake - fasting, depriving themselves of sleep, and creating other physical extremes. Wilby also argues that the concept of traveling to a sabbat is often seen to be the Christian interrogating authorities interpretation of the witch accompanying a fairy into fairyland, where they may learn magical such as how to use medicinal plants to heal, however this interpretation of the evidence as biased by elite intervention may not necessarily be correct due to the peoples own obfuscation of any clear boundaries between the folk faith and Christian church orthodoxy as it was(n't) understood.

In the final section of the book Wilby considers whether the evidence suggests that peoples encounter experiences were primarily visionary and trance derived via a number of diverse methods, or alternately more paraphsyical than psycho-spiritual in nature and presents Paracelsus claim for the latter that ''Everyone may educate and regulate his imagination so as to come thereby into contact with spirits, and be taught by them''....This view in no way negates the reality of Familiar and Faery spirits, but rather places their existence in the shamanic realm of trance and ecstasy, the trance is not necessarily of the ''all fall down...''variety. That similar beliefs may have also existed on a popular level are suggested by Robert Kirk's claim ( author of The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies) that perception of a spirit will continue so long as the seer can keep their eye steady without twinkling. Thus relatively ordinary activities could mask powerful contemplative techniques which developed a sustained 'monotonous focus' in which state the hidden realms all around us may be perceived. Employing 'monotonous focus' and 'psychic destabilization' like the shaman, the common and unlettered folk - women, children and poor men, were capable then of skills as intimated by the sixteenth century German magician Cornellius Agrippa. In support of such views and highlighting the similarities between early modern cunning folk and witches and the encounter experiences of Siberian and Native American shamans, she references Mircea Eliade's claim (author Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy and much more) that shamanism is at root a psychological tendency rather than a religious belief...''we see no reason for regarding is as the result of a specific historical movement...as produced by a certain form of civilization. Rather, we would consider it fundamental in the human condition''. Despite the Victorian, early twentieth century and even relatively recent historiographical tendency to 'pathologize' and thereby dismiss as unimportant the visionary dimension of the familiar encounter, as boastings and ravings of the half crazy, and strange, mad outpourings, nightmares and collective fantasies, of mental illness and schizophrenia, Wilby points out that since the 1950's advances in psychology, ethnography and comparative religion have rendered such simplistic diagnosis untenable. That ''magical cures of cunning folk were effective on many levels...that charms prayers and ritual were effective in curing psychosomatic aspects...divinitary techniques may have led the client to subconsciously reveal their wishes or suspicions...'' Earlier and reductionist views such as those of Sir James Frazer who held that tribal magico-religious belief systems were (merely) an amalgamation of cause and effect magical technologies designed to meet basic survival needs, have been eloquently dismissed by subsequent academics such as the prominent scholar of religion Ninia Smart ''Frazer's theory neglects the perception of the numinous...'' It has become clear that the range of potentially healthy states of consciousness is considerably broader than previously imagined, that there is more to the experience of spirits and faeries than self delusion and misrepresentation, here we discover genuine spiritual experiences of envisioned guides and sacred beings.

To conclude her study ''because there has been little attempt to analyze the 'fantasies' of cunning folk and witches in relation to visionary experience as it is found in magical belief systems and religions throughout the world including Christianity...'' Wilby examines a variety of comparative religious perspectives and their similarities with the narrative encounters of early modern cunning folk and witches. Despite their acknowledged moral ambiguity - they are not characterized by any Christian anti worldly 'moral purity' of action or intent but display the full range of human motivations, their widespread theatricality such as dressing in dark gowns or carrying ominous stave's ''carved with heads like those of satyrs'' and their use of deception, the cunning folk and witch visionaries are portrayed as Britain's 'unrecognized mystics' who experienced spiritual revelations of a higher dimension. In this context Wilby's assessment of Christianity and other religions suppression of unorthodox spiritual perception and practice (outside of their own orthodox canon of wise men, miracles, healing powers and prophecies ) is seen to be about the Church and State avoiding loss of authority and of maintaining a monopoly over all things psychic and spiritual - at any cost. This position was contrary to the common folk belief that magical practitioners skills sprung from a divine origin ''It is a gift which God hath given her...(by virtue of this gift, she) doth more good in one yeere then all these Scripture men will doe so long as they live.'' Indeed, after the Reformation, cunning folk even took on the role previously played by the Catholic Saints and had been compared to Christ himself. The author also portrays the similarities between Christian (and Old Testament) mystics and their visionary relationships with Angels and Christ, and the cunning folk and shaman envisioned encounters, that essentially derive from the same numinous origins and are clothed in the imaginal furnishings of the 'seer' and their psycho-spiritual and cultural environment. In our modern world with the decline of Christianity and contrasting rise of interest in many ancient traditions and folk beliefs, it is indeed fascinating to see how ''a mysticism unsupported by societal organizations and which was upheld by no sacred buildings, no visible iconography, no sacred books, no formalized doctrine or cosmology and no institutionalized ritual...how such formless and invisible constructs could have challenged the Christian Church for the hearts and minds of ordinary people'', yet they have done so and the invisible faery spirits of folk legends, faery tales and the cunning folk-witch encounter narratives, are revealed to be within reach once again.

Wilby's hypothesis then is that the fairy encounter narratives of cunning folk and witches recorded in the early modern witch trials evidence a surviving trend of folk beliefs extending unbroken from a pre christian shamanic world view. Shortlisted for the Katharine Briggs Folklore Award, 2006, the author makes an overwhelming case for the long term existence of an ancient British-Shamanic tradition. She also re-configures our understanding of witches and cunning folk as animist shamans embedded in local communities. This is an iconoclastic reversal of modern academic opinion that witches experience of spirits and their attested narratives were either the product of mental illness or more likely perhaps an enforced or contrived collusion between the often illiterate prisoner and their elite and educated religious inquisitor. That magical practitioners across the length and breadth of Britain had stood up in courtrooms and '' 'persisted in telling long and involved stories about faries' despite the fact that in doing so they often knowingly condemned themselves to death'' demonstrates in a definite way as could be possible the conviction, integrity and respect with which the cunning folk regarded their familiar spirits.

Emma Wilby's book is a remarkable, timely and novel way of looking at them (Cunning Folk And Familiar Spirits ), and one of the most courageous yet attempted. (Ronald Hutton, University of Bristol)
Fascinating and well researched ... a genuine contribution to what is known about cunning folk and lays very solid foundations for future work on the subject. (Brian Hoggard, White Dragon)
Emma Wilby s conclusions and her explanation of how she drew them, laid down here in the commendable modern academic tendency towards plain English that has moved away from the previous generations overly complex sentence structure, is worth its weight in gold. (Ian Read, Runa)
Anyone with a genuine interest in Faeries and Spirits, Cunning Folk and Witches, Shamanism and Native British Spirituality both early-modern and contemporary, should turn off their electricity for a while, take a long tiring walk in the forests, hills and glades - or a series of them, and then by candle bright some magic night should read this book with deep delight, the end. (Celestial Elf).

If Faerie spirit thou wouldst see, look inside the air and be, beyond the realm of earthly need, the magic of divinity ~
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