of Anglo-Saxon Magic
Magic is something special, something unauthorised;
an alternative perhaps; even a deliberate cultivation of dark,
evil powers. But for the Anglo-Saxon age, the neat division between
mainstream and occult, rational and superstitious, Christian and
pagan is not always easy to discern.
To maintain its authority (or its monopoly?) the Church drew a
formal line and outlawed a range of dubious practices (like divination,
spells, folk healing) while at the same time conducting very similar
rituals itself, and may even have adapted legends of elves to
serve in a Christian explanation of disease as a battle between
good and evil, between Church and demons; in other cases powerful
ancestors came to serve as saints.
In pursuit of a better understanding of Anglo-Saxon magic, a wide
range of topics and texts are examined in this book, challenging
(constructively, it is hoped) our stereotyped images of the past
and its beliefs. Texts are printed in their original language
(e.g. Old English, Icelandic, Latin) with New English translations.
Contents include:- twenty charms; the English, Icelandic and Norwegian
rune poems; texts on dreams, weather signs, unlucky days, the
solar system; and much more.
£16·95 252 pages
Early English Charms, Plantlore and Healing
An unequaled examination of every
aspect of early English healing, including the use of plants,
amulets, charms, and prayer. Other topics include: Anglo-Saxon
witchcraft, shaminism, tree-lore, omens, dreams, runes, gods,
elves, dwarfs, and theories of magic.
The author has brought together a wide range of evidence for the
English healing tradition, and presented it in a clear and readable
The three key Old English texts are reproduced in full, accompanied
by new translations.
• Bald's Third Leechbook
• Old English Herbarium
Rudiments of Runelore
The purpose of this book is to provide both
a comprehensive introduction for those coming to the subject for
the first time, and a handy and inexpensive reference work for
those with some knowledge of the subject.
The Abecedarium Nordmannicum and the English, Norwegian and Icelandic
rune poems are included as are two rune riddles, extracts from
the Cynewulf poems and new work on the three Brandon runic inscriptions
and the Norfolk 'Tiw' runes.
Headings include: The Origin of the Runes; Runes among the Germans;
The Germanic Rune Row and the Common Germanic Language; The English
Runic Tradition; The Scandinavian Runic Tradition; Runes and Pseudo-runes;
The Use of Runes; Bind Runes and Runic Cryptography.
Rune tables and illustrations
John. M. Kemble
Kemble's essay On Anglo-Saxon Runes
first appeared in the journal Archaeologia for 1840;
it draws on the work of Wilhelm Grimm, but breaks new ground for
Anglo-Saxon studies in his survey of the Ruthwell Cross and the
Cynewulf poems. It is an expression both of his own indomitable
spirit and of the fascination and mystery of the Runes themselves,
making it an attractive introductions to the topic.
For this edition new notes have been supplied by Bill Griffiths,
which include translations of Latin and Old English material quoted
in the text, to make this key work in the study of runes more
accessible to the general reader.
The Elder Gods
The Otherworld of Early England.
Inscriptions from the 1st century AD provide
the earliest physical evidence for a Germanic presence in Britain.
From at least that time until the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon
kings in the late 600s Britain had, to varying degrees, a heathen
Germanic culture. After a presence of six centuries a new group
of heathens arrived. Scandinavians brought with them beliefs,
attitudes and a world view that were much like those that survived
in Anglo-Saxon England. The Scandinavian arrival extended the
Northern European heathen period to almost a thousand years.
The purpose of the work is to bring together a range of evidence
for pre-Christian beliefs and attitudes to the Otherworld drawn
from archaeology, linguistics, literary studies and comparative
mythology. The rich and varied English tradition influenced the
worldview of the later mediaeval and Norse societies. Aspects
of this tradition are with us still in the 21st century.
70 black & white illustrations
£29 528 pages
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