Jump to content

Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways


Lela

Recommended Posts

For anyone interested in Cornish Witchcraft, there's a new book called Traditional Witchcraft: A Cornish Book of Ways written by Gemma Gary of www.cornishwitchcraft.co.uk. If you enjoy her website, grab of copy of her book. It's packed with wonderful bits of information covering the magical tools, charms, spells, powders/oils/incense, along with, the rites and ritual observances of the year according to the tradition of Cornish Witchcraft.

 

There is no bibliography or index, which is my only complaint, but other than that, a very enjoyable read. I most certainly will refer to this book again and again, and adapt some of the Cornish ways into my own practice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I tried to get this at my local B&N, but, alas, they only carry new age. This is on my to get list. (I jusy never get around to getting - lol).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the book is only available directly from Gemma Gary's website, but don't quote me on that. I purchased my copy from there, and got it within about a week and a half from the time I ordered it. I was surprised how quickly I got it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Cornwall is a couple hours from where I live. Apprantly this end of the country is most densely populated with pagans. But I never thought of Cornwall as being particularly pagan, as one of the Celtic countries (some like to think of Kernow as a country) it would have been the first to loose its old religion. I am often confused why people consider Witchcraft to be Celtic? Anyway, you must go to Cornwall someday, it is a lovely place, lots of good beaches. I was planning on moving down there and joining the coven which the author runs/is part of. Shame I never made the move!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Folks

I just recently noticed this article on WitchVox written by someone called Pellar Crafter from Somerset called “Cornish Witchcraft” which I thought might be of interest. It contains information on Historical Cornish witches (sometimes called Pellar), contemporary witches Cassandra Latham, Gemma Gary (inc her new book) and indeed myself. A bit spooky reading about myself but I think it’s a good article and Pellar crafter seems to have spent time collecting all the information.

 

 

Cornish Witchcraft

 

 

 

Horned_One5424.jpg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

'Ere Jackdaw, can I have your ortegraph now you be famous! Hehehehe

But it is a good article, it's nice to see one that actually takes an objective view of the history.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
Cornwall is a couple hours from where I live. Apprantly this end of the country is most densely populated with pagans. But I never thought of Cornwall as being particularly pagan, as one of the Celtic countries (some like to think of Kernow as a country) it would have been the first to loose its old religion. I am often confused why people consider Witchcraft to be Celtic? Anyway, you must go to Cornwall someday, it is a lovely place, lots of good beaches. I was planning on moving down there and joining the coven which the author runs/is part of. Shame I never made the move!

 

"Celtic" countries, especially relatively remote areas like Cornwall, cling to their ways and there is good evidence that a long line of traditional witchcraft continued there into modern times.

 

I would post links to some of the archaeological discoveries but I think the system will not allow me. Google "Witches of Cornwall by Kate Ravilious" and "Secret Bird Worshiping Cult at Saveock" if you're interested.

 

As to people always assuming Witchcraft to be "Celtic"...I think it's Wicca's popularity. The more modern fluffy brand has adopted plenty of Irish, Welsh, etc., deity names (I comfort myself that they are mere shadows outside of cultural context & when used as archetypes), symbols, holy days, etc. that have contributed to many a false impression about traditional "Celtic" societies and Witchcraft.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This does look good, thanks. Just what I needed, another book! lol

 

Regarding that article on Witchvox, it always tickles me when I see a known bizarre magician mentioned in the context.

In this case, Tony ?Doc? Shiels, who is very well known in the Bizarre Magic community as a founding father of the genre. I have a few of his books on magic, and by magic, I mean, prestidigitation, mentalism, that kind of thing.

I frequently also see his American counterpart, Tony Andruzzi, who used to be a kid's magician, in the same contexts.

 

The line between magic and magick is indeed a fine one, sometimes.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

this arrived in the post today - it looks delicious!! cant wait to get home and start reading it !! :coffee:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As promised, here is my LONG review of Traditional W/Craft: A Cornish Book of Ways.

 

I found this a wonderful little book! It ticked all the boxes for me, in more ways than one. The Contents briefly are: The Cunning Path, The Dead and the Underworld, Bucca (Deity), Places of Power, Tools, the Circle, Hearthside rites, Compass rites, the Trade (spells) rites of the moon, and The Furry Nights (or, sabbats). A few things I noted down whilst reading were:-

 

Cosmology - Nevek and Annown, (above and below, or heaven and the underworld) with the 'Great Pole' or 'World Tree' which runs vertically between the worlds - which heavily reminded me of the Norse cosmology of the Yggdrasil. People seem to be grabbing bits of Norse magic and cosmology and presenting them as 'real traditional wichcraft' these days, but the writer doesnt claim that, she just defines the importance of 'as above so below'.

 

Deities - yes, this type of Trad Craft acknowledges deities!! In the form of Bucca, the goat God, two sided Dualistic form of whom are: Bucca Gwidder and Bucca Dhu, the white and black God, opposing forces as one. I think it was mentioned that Bucca Dhu is the feminine aspect, although the divide between the two aspects was not specifically defined in this way.

 

Walking the serpent path - Now this is something that I'm familiar with, although she uses the term 'Sprowl' to describe the energy or forces which are collected on the journey. The serpent is called The Red Serpent, or 'Sarf Ruth'. I loved reading about this, and it made me want to get out and about and follow some serpent lines myself.

 

Affirmations - It began to bug me that she used 'So Shall It Be' at the end of every otherwise beautifully written chants/verses. This screamed a 'cop-out' of the 'So Mote It Be' affirmation - it felt like she was trying to replace 'So Mote It Be' with something that appeared older or more traditional, IMO. Im not sure how traditional these sorts of affirmations are at all, which is why I started that thread about it a while back. I had the same decision to make with my book, and I went with 'Mote' in the end for this exact reason. Its just Semantics.

 

She calls the quarters, and she also recognises a familiar animal for each one, which I really liked - Toad, Snake, Hare and Crow. She also gives recipies for incenses to make for each animal later in the book, and also references their use in spells during the 'The Trade' chapter. Re: circle directions, she uses the names of Sinistral for anti-clockwise and Dextral for clockwise, the Sinistral for getting into otherworldy states and contrictive magic and the dextral for creative/positive magic.

 

There are alot of words which she uses, Dextral (clockwise), Sinistral, (anti-clockwise) Troyl (libation), Gwelen (stang) etc, which seem to be used instead of words which are now associated with wicca, and I wondered whether these were indeed related to traditional craft or if they were cornish translations being used instead in order to lean away from the practice of wicca - whilst still being able to perform those rites which are common to both wicca and her form of Craft. I havent a clue, as I don't know any cornish! But it would be interesting to find out.

 

Her chapter on 'the hands' was extremely interesting, I have never had a great interest in palmistry as it has always seemed to complicated but here is a system where each finger (and thumb) is ascribed a particular virtue; the thumb for material matters, the ring finger for emotions, etc. Also depending on which hand the finger/thumb sits it has slightly different virtues. The purpose being that one can stir an oil or work magic with a particular finger depending on the outcome required. Although, it was interesting to see that she had used the alchemical symbols for the diagram.

 

Talking about stirring oils, she gives a great recipie for Witch Oil, which sounded so interesting I have already gathered together the herbs required and I'm going to start making as soon as I have finished writing this rather long review... !! she follows with a rowan berry charm, and a blackthorn charm. There is a snail bead charm also, which is traditionally hung whist the following is recieted 'this house be blessed where snails do rest', although I had already decided it would be better for me to use that charm against slugs and snails, as I have far too many of them!

 

Theres a really good exorcism nearer the end of the book, a good change from the usual 'visualise white light' stuff which we are normally fed. She mentions the 9 knot spell, which is obviously a version of Doreen Valiente's (a wiccan..) but says it is an older, traditional version. I am not sure about this, and this was perhaps one of the only parts of the book that made me stop and wonder if the author is ex-wiccan and has carried over some of her old practices. Nothing wrong with this ... but its probably better not to say they are traditional practices when we can be almost certain that some elements, such as the 9 knots spell, are not.

 

But, it didnt wicca bash, something which normally always bugs me about books written about traditional craft (I mean - why mention wicca at all?) She has plenty to say, and its clear that she feels she doesnt have to 'validate' her practice by endlessly debunking wicca, and I respect that.

 

I would give this FAB little book at 9.5 out of 10..!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

OB, you definitely did a great job reviewing the book. I'm not one of many words hence my measly paragraph when I started this thread, but I agree with you 100% that this book is definitely a 9.5 out of 10! I have referenced this book so many times, that it's starting to get a bit ragged around the edges, lol!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

This indeed one of my favourite books on Traditional Witchcraft.

 

Plain and simple and down to earth Traditional Witchcraft no pomp and ceremony here! Just about getting things done.

 

I bought this book when it first was published and Ms Gary has signed it also. I especially find Buccas very interesting also.

 

Cornwall is such a beautiful place and spent many a childhood holiday down there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest Grimr

One of my favorites. I still enjoy re-reading this one, I especially enjoyed the extensive list of powders, incense, etc. What I wish it contained was a.) a bibliography. b.) more of the lore of the Witch in Cornwall, but I could manage - I referred to Kelvin I. Jones and Oakmagic publishing for that. You can tell that Gemma Gary put alot of heart and soul into this book and It's one that I will refer to for ages to come. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i was looking at the site mentioned the other day and found it to be really interesting, im not far from Cornwall and im interested in the traditions from that area,im definitely going to buy the book

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I just finished this book! I found it most satisfying. It arrived on my doorstep from Amazon on Friday and I sped through it like a fiend.

 

It is well written and very accessible without being patronizing. You feel like you are having a conversation with the author as you read. Most enjoyable! I felt like I had a very solid overview of the folk-ways of the area in which the author lives and works.

 

This book, while it introduces the basics of practising a form of traditional witchcraft, also gives a bit of history and discusses the role of the Cunning person in Cornish society of the past and indeed of today. The references at the back of the book are useful and interesting and give the reader places to go to follow up on their interest.

 

I appreciate how the information is 'situated' and it is obvious that the practise of this path is very much tied to location. I must put a caveat on this last observation by saying that I gather this from how the author has expressed herself in this book. She is obviously very dedicated to her practise, as well as to the archaeological, anthropological and 'preservational' aspects of this topic. I read elsewhere that she has spent much time doing research and learning the history and origins of witchcraft in her part of the world.

 

Her love of her topic shows and the gentle presentation is really a joy to read.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...