March 23, 2024

Within modern witchcraft, two positions have made themselves apparent in recent years that is somewhat of a  surprise — and is perhaps informed in some small way by the increased popularity of witchcraft and its emergence as a mainstream, and commercialised, endeavour. On the one hand are those who recognise, in historic notions of witchcraft and its power, that this practice and archetype has most often been the recourse of the disadvantaged against the abuses of those in some position... Read more

February 4, 2024

The figure of the devil, the Black Man of the Sabbat, the adversarial force that presides over all witchery, has become a popular topic for discussion of late. The following is an extract from my book, The Witch Compass: Working with the Winds in Traditional Witchcraft, published by Llewellyn. Signed copies are also available from the Surrey Cunning website.    Within the folklore and custom of the common man, we must remember that the Devil manifests a force that challenges... Read more

January 25, 2024

A Defence of Witchcraft Belief: A Sixteenth-century Response to Reginald Scot’s Discoverie of Witchcraft, Edited by Eric Pudney, Manchester University Press 2023 In 1584, the would-be know-all, university dropout and so-called authority on the subject of early modern witchcraft, Reginald Scot published his now famous book The Discoverie of Witchcraft. This tome was dedicated to the intellectual, reasoned pursuit of the Protestant view of early modern witchcraft as naught but a relic of superstition and was contemporaneous with other less... Read more

December 20, 2023

veritas filia temporis The Midwinter, especially around the solstitial event of the sun’s apparent stasis (around the 21st/22nd December), has long held significance for mankind. As humanity developed narrative to bring order and meaning to life’s ever turning wheel, so myth developed around this dark time of the year — winter in the northern hemisphere. It is, therefore, little coincidence that codified within our current apprehension of custom and tradition at this time is a dark robed figure, with sickle... Read more

December 8, 2023

There has been much made in recent decades about the pagan origins of Christmas customs. It is important to note that this idea is not, strictly speaking, an accurate portrayal and is symptomatic of unhelpful reductionism. It does form, however, a broader sentiment in modern Neopaganism to reject anything that smacks of Christianity, and this often throws the baby out with the bathwater. Life, belief, perspective, traditions, customs and accompanying lore form a part of an unfolding spectrum and history... Read more

November 30, 2023

A long time ago, in my early teens, I had a secret and insatiable thirst for knowledge of the magical arts. Growing up in Aleister Crowley’s hometown, the Beast’s shadow loomed over the cultural landscape of the town. However, I instead used the cover of studying magic in Shakespeare’s play The Tempest to learn about renaissance sorcery. Of course, Elizabethan astrologer and polymath John Dee provided an evident influence for the play’s central character of Prospero, who banishes witches, works with... Read more

October 5, 2023

If you have been a student of witchcraft and Wicca for any length of time, by now you’ve heard a timeworn and banal tale that goes something like this: Witchcraft was illegal in Britain until 1951, when the Witchcraft Act of 1735 was repealed and replaced by the Fraudulent Mediums Act. This lifting of the law enabled Gerald Gardner and others –but mainly him — to be more open and birth modern pagan witchcraft into the public awareness. All of... Read more

September 30, 2023

Exploring local folklore and landscape can reveal many things, not least of which is an adventure into the enchantment of the world, touching history and local tradition. Often, we allow our everyday lives to govern our actions and thoughts and we become creatures of habit, following the same routes and patterns of behaviour. This inevitably means that we can move about our days and miss those opportunities for entering the mythic and enchanted world that lies just within a breath... Read more

September 22, 2023

Magic in the Modern World: Strategies of Repression and Legitimization, edited by Edward Bever and Randall Styers Magic in the Modern World is a collection of essays from leading figures and experts in the field of academic and practical study of magic, both its history and with particular reference to modernity. Brilliantly edited and collated by Edward Bever, Professor of History (State University of New York)  and Randall Styers, Associated Professor of Religious Studies (University of North Carolina), these two... Read more

August 30, 2023

First published in 2013, By Moonlight and Spirit Flight: The Praxis of the Otherworldly Journey to the Witches’ Sabbath was written by the traditional witch Michael Howard, forming a part of publisher Three Hands Press‘ ‘Occult Monograph’ series. The 2019 publication is, therefore, a second edition of this compact and thorough exposition of the witches’ sabbath. The design of the book is of a standard one would expect from Three Hands Press, with good quality paper of a nice thickness, while featuring superb and... Read more

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