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Scottish witch craft & magic



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Synopsis

This major new book examines beliefs and practices regarding the magical universe of ordinary people in Scotland. This includes details of calendar festivals, healing and divination rituals, and the use of holy or healing wells, stones and talismans. The 'why' is also covered: the concept of transference of illness or ill-luck from people to objects and vice versa. Many of these traditions continue to this day: the visiting of sacred sites, customs such as guising at Halloween, burning the clavie at New Year, divination, and even the use of crystals. The book then looks at maleficium: harmful magic or what we might call 'black magic'. From the end of the 16th century, and the publication of James VI's Daemonologie, the church and the people became concerned with witchcraft. This led to some 4000 people, mostly women, being accused between the 1560s and 1720s. The book discusses accusations, investigations and prosecutions of those accused of witchcraft, including descriptions of spells, the devil and fairies. A section lists places of interest and places which can be visited. This is accompanied by visitor information, and there are also many illustrations of the sites and the objects discussed. Joyce Miller was born in Falkirk, and studied at the University of Edinburgh. Her PhD research examined witchcraft belief and practice, and she was a researcher at the University of Edinburgh for the Survey of Scottish Witchcraft, a database of 4000 accusations and prosecutions (available on the web at www arts.ed.ac.uk/witches). She has written books and articles on the subject, and has made appearances on television and radio.



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