Now on its second printing, The Charmers’ Psalter is a beautifully bound book printed in a handy pocket sized tome. Gemma Gary has created yet another wonderful collection of charms and spells. Gemma is an artist and writer based in the South-West of England and has written many books on her own personal tradition and practices. She has helped open the eyes of many people to creating their own traditions not only in themselves but to be inspired by their geographical surroundings.
The collection is a rather mysterious one as it isn’t quite clear what the date or origins of them are, it is thought that they possibly predate Judeo-Christian Scripture. What is bound within these pages has been used by those who practise the folk magic tradition and has served many cunning folk before us. It covers a vast array of both charms and curses, some of which can be muttered quietly hence the pocketbook version which can be taken anywhere you go. From love to broken bones to curses; a practitioner is certainly covered for all eventualities.
As usual, Troy Books have created a beautiful book. It is bound in gold foil-blocked rust cloth and is a very inspirational addition to a witch’s library. Use it as it is or use it to create your own charms. It is highly recommended.
You can buy it here.
There are a great deal of books on the craft out there that often feel rather self-indulgent, I may have just found something that isn’t. Serpent Songs is a book containing fifteen essays from practitioners and those who are well-versed in the craft of the wise.
Put together by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold, the writers will be rather familiar to those of you who have an interest in the traditional craft. The writing runs deep, truthful and is incredibly well written; almost academically so. As quoted on Scarlet Imprint’s website the book contains the works of Cornish and Basque witchcraft, the relatively unknown Swedish Trolldom, the persecuted Bogomils, and the oft misrepresented Italian Stregoneria.Members of 1734, Clan of Tubal Cain, and a member of the Companie of the Serpent-Cross. This isn’t a book for those who wish to pick up a “how to” guide, it is an anthology that lets you take a peak inside the beliefs and workings of their craft. It is laden with history that gives the reader an insight into a world we may not know about or that some have assumed didn’t exist. It is a cornucopia of knowledge and experience that will educate and inspire you.
Controbutors include: Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold;Gemma Gary;Shani Oates;Arkaitz Urbeltz;Stuart Inman & Jane Sparkes;Tony MacLeod;Xabier Bakaikoa Urbeltz;Steve Patterson;Richard Parkinson;Francis Ashwood;Johannes Gårdbäck;Radomir Ristic;Anne Morris;Jesse Hathaway Diaz; and Sarah Anne Lawless.
It is available to buy here
Whilst wandering the streets of Haworth one afternoon searching for the ghosts of the Bronte’s I happened upon a small bookshop. This little gem furnished me with a tome called The Book of Fortune Telling by Madame Fabia. Unfortunately I misplaced the book whilst moving and have only just been able to purchase it again.
The Book of Fortune Telling’s first edition was published by Daily Express Publications in 1935. After an Internet search I wasn’t able to really get much information on who Madame Fabia was. It could of course just be a pseudonym for someone putting the book together. In not so many words, Madame Fabia points out that the reader should not take the book seriously and that it is just for your entertainment; this could be an early disclaimer. In various parts of the world psychics and occultists have been asked to add this as a disclaimer which unfortunately spreads doubt and jeopardises the legitimacy of the service acquired.
This book, if you are interested in fortune telling is actually a really good primer. It features palmistry, astrology, handwriting, dreams, card readings, numerology and phrenology. An all rounder when it comes to the study of the future I’m sure you will agree. The best thing about this book is that it can help you gain interest into a certain area such as cartomancy if you so wished to pursue that field. I have to add at this point that this book isn’t on general sale as it is long out of print but online bookshops that deal in rare or old books will have it so keep an eye out for it. It is worth being in your collection.
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These words were written with the idea that this book was to serve as a charm to the carrier. Whoever would possess it would be able to find a charm to suit their needs.
The Long Hidden Friend first appeared in 1820 and now makes its way into the hands of Troy Books who have made it into a beautifully bound hardback tome. It contains a plethora of folk magic including charms, recipes, bindings, prayers and remedies for healing. It is beautifully illustrated and edited by Gemma Gary (who I am sure some of you will be familiar with), she also helps enlighten us about the author and the history of the book itself.
As a whole it really does feels like you have so much rich history and magic in your hands. In fact, the idea of it being a charm in itself is rather true if you apply it accordingly as each page explains in detail a recipe or a charm for just about anything. Either make it as your very own reference guide in any situation or be inspired by its contents to carry into your own practice. Not only is it a tool of inspirational magic but it is a slice of history that is a real treasure to keep in your library.
Doreen Valiente is quite the name in the craft. She studied and practiced magic since she was a teenager and was one of the first students of Gerald Gardner in his own tradition: Wicca. During her lifetime she moved around the country a great deal, met many important people in the craft and she wrote many books on the subject. The one thing that is rather wonderful about this book is its breadth of subject matter which will be highly useful for those of you who wish to start on the path to witchcraft. This isn’t a spellbook and it is isn’t a “how to” book, all of that is pretty much up to you but this is a great primer for all things magical.
Doreen Valiente is mainly known for her Wiccan works but if Wicca isn’t your thing then don’t fret, this book will still be of interest to the magical scholar and “wayside witch” too.
Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Phoenix Publishing (WA) (July 1, 1988)
As one can imagine, there will be plenty of people that would disregard the job title – witch. Not for Cassandra. She is a village witch and the Inland Revenue are fully aware of this fact.
Cassandra decided to write this book as a way of telling her story. With quite a difficult tale to tell, she opens up her life to the reader and explores the path that led her to being who she is today. The first part of the book is her personal journey from childhood and through adulthood and the second is about her approach to magic. The second half goes way above the usual books on witchcraft, she encourages you to explore it for yourself rather than just reading someone else’s work from a page. It is an encouraging book that allows you to open up your mind, to explore, educate and use your own intuition. The magic is within yourself and all around you, you wont find the answers in someone else’s words.
Paperback: 228 pages
Publisher: Mandrake of Oxford; 2 edition (21 Jun. 2013)
Photographs from villagewisewoman.co.uk
A somewhat forgotten figure of Witchcraft, Cecil Williamson was somewhat overshadowed by the creator of Wicca; Gerald Gardner. Steve Patterson has managed to piece together some of Cecil’s life with as much information that was available to him and as a result we have this absolute gem. The inspiration came from the discovery of a manuscript that was found when Graham King took over The Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle and began renovations. The manuscript that was found was simply titled Witchcraft and contained an array of occult and esoteric material. The idea for the book was born.
Although Cecil is very much associated with Gerald Gardner, the fact is that he didn’t care much for Wicca. His idea of magic and witchcraft sat within the realms of the spirit world and the “wayside witch” – these being the lone witches that performed charms and spells who could heal with sticks, stones and herbs. Not a ceremonial cloak or dagger in sight.
It is a highly enjoyable read if you have a leaning towards the more traditional ways of the witch, if Wicca isn’t quite your cup of tea then this book will be an inspiration to the academic and the wayside witch.
As a lone practitioner of magic or a scholar of the subject in traditional witchcraft you will find this book a useful tool. Within these pages Fiona Walker-Craven has captured a full year in order to help those understand the seasons and what they mean to a witch.
13 Moons is a workbook as it takes you through each month and the corresponding moon. It includes anecdotes from the author plus charms to try. What is most important here is that the author encourages the reader to use their own instincts and intuition which is the absolute foundation to witchcraft.
This tome is a great read and can help someone who is new to the craft grasp what British Witchcraft involves plus it can help those already practising fine tune their skills.
It must be mentioned at this point that the book is rather rare but a regular trawl of the internet or your local bookshop will throw copies up now and then.
Paperback: 136 pages
Publisher: Ignotus Press (30 Jun. 2002)
Steve Patterson is a folklorist who has brought the magic of Cornwall into the pages of this beautifully bound book. If you have been lucky enough to venture down there or even seen some snippets on their website then you may know that The Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle have set up a scene that helps its visitors have a taste of the magical life of a cunning woman. Known as Old Joan, she sits at her table surrounded by jars of herbs, tools of the trade, candles and her familiar spirit animals.
This particular display was the inspiration for Steve Patterson’s book. It features her old book of spells, a detailed guide to the Wise Woman’s Cottage and historical facts on the cunning folk of the West Country. It is a rich tome that takes you way back to when cunning folk were the pillars of the community and it teaches us the nature of the witch and her craft. A valuable piece of work for anyone studying the old British ways.
Hardcover: 152 pages
Publisher: Troy Books 2016