Posts Tagged Cunning folk

Discovering cunning folk

Saturday, December 6th, 2014 | Permalink

Year51JvlAscCPL._AA160_As ago a contemporary of the Wisconsin State Journal‘s Roundy Coughlin wrote an occasional column about things he’d discovered on the way to other things. By the same route, my researches uncovered a group of healers that receive little attention in the reference books: cunning folk.

My forthcoming novel, The New Immortals, contains a number of familiar animals or spirit guides which British historian and folk expert Emma Wilby says “were supernatural entities believed to assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic” during Medieval and early modern times. Her book on the topic, Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Vicsionary Traditions in Early Modern Bristish Witchcraft and Magic, has been extolled by fellow historian, Marion Gibson, for making “a strong case for a British shamanic tradition.”

Given thee subtitle of Wilby’s book and her background, the book also presents a strong case in behalf of shamanism in the Western European cultural and healing traditions. The cunning folk of Sweden, Germany, Italy, and200px-Cunning_Woman A Wales along with their familiars resemble in many ways the shamans of Siberia, India, and South America with their reliance upon power animals to interact with the spirit world and channel those energies into the material world. My novel takes this one step farther by having a psychologist combine the practices of his profession with the shamanic traditions of  the native South American Quechuas to combat the followers of the ancient Zoroastrian god Ahura Mazda. If Furst fails in his quest, he stands to lose not only his wife and family, but his very soul to the race of psychic parasites called the Anausaveds by the ancient Persians which translates as the New Immortals.

Many indigenous cultures disparage Western practitioners of shamanism as “plastic shamans” for misappropriating their ancient traditions. Due to a felicitous bit of research, it appears that Western culture has a strong, healthy shamanic tradition of its own in the guise of the cunning folk of western and central Europe. The realms of the human spirit and the unconscious would seem broad enough to encompass healers from all cultures regardless of origin.Бэликто A