SERPENT SONGS

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by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold (ed.)

Paperback edition.
224 pp
Black and white illustrations and photographs.

Prelude: The Other Blood – Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
The Witch’s Cross – Gemma Gary
The Spirit of True Blood – Shani Oates
Lezekoak – Arkaitz Urbeltz
A Gathering of Light and Shadows – Stuart Inman and Jane Sparkes
The Fall and Rise of an English Cunning One – Tony MacLeod
Stregoneria: A Roman Furnace – Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold
But the House of my Father will Stand – Xabier Bakaikoa Urbeltz
Bucca and the Cornish Cult of Pellar – Steve Patterson
Exorcists, Conjurors and Cunning Men in Post-Reformation England – Richard Parkinson
The Liturgy of Taboo – Francis Ashwood
Trolldom – Johannes Gårdbäck
Bogomilian & Byzantine Influences on Traditional Craft – Radomir Ristic
But to Assist the Soul’s Interior Revolution: The art of Andrew Chumbley and aspects of Sabbatic Craft – Anne Morris
Passersby: Potential, Crossroads & Wayfaring on the Serpent Road – Jesse Hathaway Diaz
The Mysteries of Beast, Blood & Bone – Sarah Anne Lawless

Serpent Songs is an anthology of the voices of Traditional Craft: the words and works of those who remain untamed, cunning folk, exorcists, pellars, sorgin, witches and mystics. A collection of fifteen essays, Serpent Songs is introduced and curated by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold through whose contacts we encounter the worlds of lone individuals and tradition holders, from both family and clan, and are allowed a rare glimpse into the workings of the more secretive practitioners of the Craft.

Traditional Craft is intimately bound to the spirit of the land. Thus Serpent Songs contains the accounts of Cornish and Basque witchcraft, the relatively unknown Swedish Trolldom, the persecuted Bogomils, and the oft misrepresented Italian Streghoneria. Members of 1734 and Clan Tubal Cain are among those who choose to share their experiences and perspectives. Light is shed on such important figures as Robert Cochrane, Evan John-Jones and Andrew Chumbley amongst others, but more than illustrious ancestors, traditional craft is revealed as a living throng.

These are the voices of those who work the art and this book details their practices, struggles and wayward journeys. Serpent Songs takes a crooked path through the landscape, from historical studies to practical acts, from lonely stone stiles set between deep hedges to the warm entrails of animals and forays into the caves and woods. It is a wide ranging work that deals with the issues of witch blood, taboo, the other, the liminal state, fire, dream, art and need as vectors of the Craft. What emerges is not a narrow definition of what it means to engage in Traditional Craft, but a set of shared characteristics and approaches which become evident despite the cultural gulfs in place and time. These are the voices who for the most part operate in silence but now wish to be heard.