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Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Magic

by Bill Griffiths
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Many will find the book especially useful for its description of superstitions and heathen practices. Many of these are known to us because they were specifically banned by the Church or recorded in charms that were later given a Christian gloss - e.g. the Earth Mother became Mother Mary.

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.

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Pages: 247 pages
Book Art: Black and White Illustrations
Size: 6 x 9 inch
Publisher: Anglo-Saxon Books
Pub. Date: December 31, 2003
ISBN: 978-1898281665

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