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Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits


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Table of Contents

Part One: Demon and Fairy Familiars: The Historical Context -- A Harsh and Enchanted World; Cunning Folk and Witches; The Magical Uses of Spirit; Human and Spirit: The Meeting; The Relationship; Renunciation and Pact; Demon and Fairy: The Interface. Part Two: Anthropological Perspectives. The Shaman's Calling; SPirit Worls and High Gods; Part Three -- The Experimental Dimension: Phantasticks and Phantasms; Psychosis or Spirituality?; The Unrecognised Mystics; Greedigut and the Angel Gabriel; The Freedom of Magic; Index.

About the Author

Emma Wilby is an Honorary Fellow in History at the University of Exeter. Her Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic, and The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland, were extensively reviewed and are excerpted on the press website.


"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.

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