With November 2018 came ten years since the first publication of Gemma Gary’s first book Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways. This tenth anniversary revised edition begins with a new preface, giving an insight into the backstory of events which informed and inspired this popular title.
Although nestled in the Cornish landscape and its lore, the beliefs and practices described within this book are rooted also in the traditional witchcraft current and an ‘Old Craft’ of multiple British streams. Its magic and charms are comparable also to those found elsewhere in the British Isles and beyond, making this a book adaptable for practitioners in any land.
‘Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways is a 21st century version of traditional Cornish witchcraft, of the kind recorded by Hunt, Bottrell and others. This is no neo-pagan or modern wiccan manual, but rather a deep drawing up into modern times of some of the ancient practices of lore and magic practiced by the white witches, charmers, conjurers and pellars of the Cornish villages. Their presence was still current when the 18th and 19th century antiquarians and collectors recorded them, and, although the 20th century largely put paid to their activities, nevertheless their lore never completely disappeared, and it continues to provide inspiration for practitioners today. Gemma draws on this knowledge, not only from published material, but also from the experiences and workings of ‘wise women’ and country witches living today.
Topics include the Cunning Path, the Dead and the Underworld (Fairy Faith), the Bucca, Places of Power in the villages and landscape, the Tools used by Cunning Folk (working versions of what can be seen, for example, in the Museum of Witchcraft & Magic), Village Cunning, substances and charms, and Rites of the Year’s Round. This book gathers much material together, some of which has not been seen in print before, and thus provides a sourcebook of magical workings in Cornwall today, which will be an invaluable reference.’