Books

Books by Gemma Gary

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 Devils Dozen Editions

The Devil’s Dozen – Thirteen Craft Rites of the Old One

The operations of magic and witchcraft deal with the hidden worlds of spirit and the powers innate within the natural world; within plant, stone and magical loci. The ‘Old One’, who in folk tradition is often named ‘The Devil’ embodies both the ‘rend in the veil’ and the spanning bridge between the worlds of the material and spiritual, the revealed and the hidden. It is through union with this entity that witches and folk magicians gained access to the powers that reside within the hidden realms and the natural world, and could awaken the potent fire within.

In traditional folk belief, the Devil existed also as an embodiment of the chaotic forces of nature; a belief quite distinct and separate from that of the Church with its ‘Satan’ figure. To the witch, he might also represent the ‘darker’ aspects of the divine; the keeper and the revealer of the divine light, the psychopomp guide of souls, and the sentinel at the threshold unto the mysteries of death and the Otherworld.

Something, it would seem, of the ‘elder divinity’ and the old ‘spirit of the wild’ has lingered through to the present; permeating regional faery lore, the calendar of ritualistic seasonal folk-customs, and traditions attached to ancient landscape features.  The themes of untamed, wild nature; its freedom, its spirits, its power and its magic, so repugnant and threatening to the Church, were grafted onto the diabolical; affording yet greater preservation of the Old One for those who sought to stray from the path of limitation and conformity, and tread instead the hidden ways of the witch and magician.

Historical witch-lore records varied rites of initiatory contact, via which the worker of magic and witchcraft entered into a close, working relationship and union with the Old One and the spirit world. Via such union, would the ways unto curing ailments, exorcising ill influence, the attainment of desires, and the destruction of the oppressive be known, and the old artes of the circle, the spirits, the knotted cord, the pierced candle, the witch-bottle, the magical image and the spoken, inscribed and herbal charms be mastered.

From this wellspring of inspiration ‘The Devil’s Dozen’; a modern ‘gramarye’, or ‘black book’ of thirteen Craft rites of the Old One has been created and is offered by a present day initiate of the ‘Old Craft’

Within its pages there are to be found thirteen rites – for both the ‘lone’ practitioner and the assembled companie – of vision, sacred compact, dedication, initiation, consecration, empowerment, protection, illumination, union, transformation and devotion.

‘They are my own creations all; given in hope that they may provide usefulness or inspiration, and each a personal offering of devotion unto the starlit and smoking altar of the Old One’ (from the introduction).


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Wisht Waters – Aqueous Magica and the Cult of Holy Wells

The sheer diversity of popular magic connected with sacred wells and springs is remarkable. Inseparable from the ancient cults of saints and spirits of place, the natural springs and wellheads of the British Isles have come to be famed loci of healing, divination, and spiritual revelation. Some, possessing long traditions of votive and sacrificial offerings, have assumed powers of spirit-guardianship, or, indeed, divinities of water.  Other such wells are the repositories of eldritch lore connected with the cult of the skull and the Holy Head. Additionally, bodies of magical practice have developed around some wells, serving a variety of magical purposes, including blessings and curses, healings and the dispensation of prophetic power. In almost every case, there is a specific magical relation between the waters as a medium of spirit, and the surrounding features of the land.

Wisht Waters is the fifth book in the continuing Three Hands Press Occult Monographs series, and the first book for Three Hands Press by Gemma Gary. It examines both the lore of holy wells as well as their associated cultic activities, whether religious or earthed in the practical magic of folk-sorcery. While examining many a well in Britain and Ireland, much of the text focuses on the lore in the West Country and Cornwall.

Wisht Waters is available from Three Hands Press in both a standard hardback edition with letterpress dust jacket, and a full goat leather binding with marbled end-papers


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The Charmer’s Psalter

The Psalms, mysterious in their origins and possibly far pre-dating their appearance within Judeo-Christian Scripture, have a long history of magical use. We encounter the Psalms within the rites and talismanic magic of the grimoires, and their prolific employment within Charming, Cunning and folk-magical tradition. Herein the methods of their use are varied and incorporate magical acts of utterance, inscription, bottling, burning, sprinkling, pouring and burial in conjunction with various substances and materials.

Serving a vast array of needs, principally for healing, protection and the averting of evil, but also long employed within acts of cursing, the Psalms are an established feature of traditional operative magic yet also an indicium of engaging with the world of spirit, the divine and the unseen:

Whilst the traditional magical uses of the Psalms may appear to be almost entirely for the serving of material needs and desires, rather than for purposes of spiritual advancement, they are possessed of great beauty, and in one’s recourse to them in times of distress and great difficulty there is to be attained a moment of contemplative comfort, and an acknowledgement of the immanence of the divine presence; turned to for spiritual strength and assistance.”

The Charmers’ Psalter is born from a personal working collection of magical Psalms and other verbal charms, here presented in a convenient ‘pocket book’ format, so that it may always be on hand to the contemporary Charmer for reference should need of it arise.

Psalter New

The first edition of The Charmer’s Psalter, which was limited to an edition of 250 copies is sold out. However, due to the volume of enquiries about this title, a second cloth bound edition has now been released and is available from Troy Books.


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The Black Toad – West Country Witchcraft & Magic With Foreword by Michael Howard

Gemma Gary’s ‘The Black Toad’ explores potent examples of the folk-ceremonial magical practices and witchcraft of the south-west of England; dealing especially with Devon and the author’s homeland of Cornwall. Within the West Country, the popular belief in witchcraft and its attendant charms, magical practices and traditions continued to be observed and survived long after such ways had faded in most other parts of the British Isles.

Described within The Black Toad is a collection of some of the fascinating magical practices and lore of the West Country’s cunning folk and early modern witches;  ways that have survived and evolved within the rarefied Craft of the area’s modern day witchcraft practitioners of the old persuasion. As this book affirms, these ways of the Old Craft and Cunning Arte include a belief in and working relationship with the spirit forces of the land, the Faerie, animal and plant lore, as well as the magical use of Psalms to cure or curse, the invocation of Christ and the power of the Holy Trinity.

“For all those who are interested in learning about the Old Path as it is taught and practised today by West Country witches this book of practical magic and sorcery will be a revelation. As the late Cecil Williamson, founder of the witchcraft museum in Boscastle, North Cornwall and a modern cunning man himself, said and Gemma Gary’s excellent book proves – “It still goes on today.” Michael Howard
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Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways

“First published in 2008, this is a revised and expanded second edition of the author’s well received book on modern Cornish traditional witchcraft. As Gemma Gary says in her new preface, there is no ‘set in stone’ organised witch tradition in Cornwall and folk magic practices have always been unique to their individual practitioners.However in this excellent book she has managed to expertly draw together a workable new tradition from historical sources and the surviving rites, charms and folk customs of Cornwall and the West Country. It provides a valuable resource and guide for beginners interested in practising Trad Craft. However this reviewer is sure that experienced practitioners will also learn from its contents. Very highly recommended.” Mike Howard – The Cauldron

“Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways is a 21st century version of traditional Cornish witchcraft, of the kind recorded by Hunt, Bottrell and others. This is no neo-pagan or modern wiccan manual, but rather a deep drawing up into modern times of some of the ancient practices of lore and magic practised by the white witches, charmers, conjurers and pellars of the Cornish villages. Their presence was still current when the 18th and 19th century antiquarians and collectors recorded them, and, although the 20th century largely put paid to their activities, nevertheless their lore never completely disappeared, and it continues to provide inspiration for practitioners today. Gemma draws on this knowledge, not only from published material, but also from the experiences and workings of ‘wise women’ and country witches living today.

Topics include the Cunning Path, the Dead and the Underworld (Fairy Faith), the Bucca, Places of Power in the villages and landscape, the Tools used by Cunning Folk (working versions of what can be seen, for example, in the Museum of Witchcraft), Village cunning, substances and charms, and Rites of the Year’s Round. This book gathers much material together, some of which has not been seen in print before, and thus provides a sourcebook of magical workings in Cornwall today, which will be an invaluable reference” Cheryl Straffon – Meyn Mamvro

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Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways is available in standard paperback, hardback and special editions from Troy Books

Traditional Witchcraft – A Cornish Book of Ways is also available as an Audio Book from Circle of Spears Productions


Books/Publications Contributed to by Gemma Gary

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Hands of Apostasy Edited by Michael Howard & Daniel A. Schulke

Old-style Craft, also known as traditional witchcraft, endures as a distinct body of archaic magical practices in present-day Britain, North America and Australia. Originally nameless, such bodies are related to a variety of historical magical streams, most notably the practices of the Grimoires or ‘black books’, folk-healing, and popular magic of the early modern era. 

Typically, such groups operate in secret, with strict means of initiatic succession, and practice sorcery characterized by a dual ethos of healing and harming. Though an internally contentious issue, the word witch is accepted as a descriptor for practitioners of this art, as is anti-witching for practices of removing curses and binding magical malefactors.

Though still obscure, even in occult circles, the variety and idiosyncrasy of Old Craft traditions is remarkable. The witches of Cornwall, with their corpora of folk charms and blessings, are one such phenotype. The Pickingill Craft as described by E.W. Liddell, remains despite its controversy one of the most unique and potent Craft persuasions, as do the teachings and practices of Robert Cochrane, founder of Clan of Tubal Cain. The Manx Old Order, the Skull and Bones tradition of Pennsylvania, and the Cultus Sabbati, with the medieval Witches’ Sabbath as an important organizing principle, are yet other distinctive traditions.

Hands of Apostasy is a groundbreaking witchcraft anthology presenting nineteen articles written by both scholars and practitioners, addressing such crucial Old Craft topics the Devil, Initiation, the relation of witchcraft to the grimoire corpus, the mysticism and magic of herbs, folk-charming, the nocturnal flight, the Romantic movement, the witches’ cauldron, and the powers of moon and tide. Representing widely-varying witchcraft traditions and perspectives, the book is a sound testament to the Craft’s history, diversity and strength, as well as the characteristic marks of an evolving and contemplative tradition.

Authors: Andrew Chumbley, Douglas McIlwain, Corey Hutchenson, David Rankine, Cecil Williamson, Martin Duffy, Melusine Draco, Michael Howard, Peter Hamilton Giles, Gemma Gary, Levannah Morgan, Manxwitch, Radomir Ristic, Jimmy Elwing, Raven Grimassi, Gary St. Michael Nottingham, Daniel A. Schulke, Lee Morgan.

Please visit Three Hands Press for full details


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Serpent Songs

A collection of fifteen essays are introduced and curated by Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold through whose contacts we encounter the worlds of lone practitioners and tradition holders, from both family and clan, and are allowed a rare glimpse into the workings of the more secretive proponents of the Craft.

Traditional Craft is intimately bound to the spirit of the land. Serpent Songs contains the works of genuine Cornish and Basque witchcraft, the relatively unknown Swedish Trolldom, the persecuted Bogomils, and the oft misrepresented Italian Stregoneria. 

Serpent Songs 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. This is a book of praxis, beliefs and their own definitions of the art itself rather than those applied to it by outsiders. These are the voices who for the most part operate in silence but now wish to be heard.

Contributors: Nicholaj de Mattos Frisvold; Gemma Gary; Shani Oates; Arkaitz Urbeltz; Stuart Inman & Jane Sparkes; Tony MacLeod; Xabier Bakaikoa Urbeltz; Steve Patterson; Richard Parkinson; Francis Ashwood; Johannes Gårdbäck; Radomir Ristic; Anne Morris; Jesse Hathaway Diaz; and Sarah Anne Lawless.

Please visit Scarlet Imprint for full details


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The Long Hidden friend by John George Hohman

The Long Hidden Friend first appeared in 1820 in German as Der Lange Verborgene Freund, appearing later in English as Pow-Wows; or, Long Lost Friend. It is as a result of this book that the Dutch Pennsylvania tradition of folk-magic known as “Pow-Wow” became so named.

It is a fascinating collection of traditional European folk-magical formulas for a wide range of spells, simple rituals, charms, talismans, bindings, prayers, benedictions, magical folk-healing, recipes and remedies for humans and animals as well as various non-magical ‘tips’ for matters or rural and domestic life.

In editing this edition for Troy Books, Gemma Gary has arranged the formerly scattered and unstructured content into some order, organising the practices into the categories of Curative Arts, Animal Arts, Arts against Evildoers, Protective Arts and Propitious Arts; this final chapter detailing a diverse collection of magical and non magical practices for general success, good fortune, safety and wellbeing in a number of areas including divination, games and gambling, hunting and legal matters.

This edition is illustrated by Gemma’s line drawings, inspired by Dutch Pennsylvanian folk art, charms and traditional hex signs.

Please visit Troy Books for full details


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‘As a keen supporter of the world famous Museum of Witchcraft, it was an honour to be invited to contribute to this book celebrating the 60th anniversary of this vital resource. In ‘The Wayside Witch’ I give my first memories and experiences of the Museum of Witchcraft, which have been complimented by photography of one of my favourite artefacts in the museum’s collection, and one of the items from my own working collection, now housed in the museum.’

The Museum of Witchcraft A Magical History is presented as a limited edition of 250 hardback copies. It is a celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the Museum of Witchcraft. Many well known friends of the museum, including Professor Ronald Hutton, Patricia Crowther, ‘Damh the Bard’, Mike Howard, Nigel G. Pearson, and

Marian Green, share their many experiences and fond memories. The book is generously illustrated with artefacts, tableaux and displays from the past and present, including the devastating flood of 2004. UK postage is included in the online price. Each copy is signed by museum curator and owner Graham King. This title is now sold out.


 

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Gemma’s article ‘Bucca: The Horned God of the Cornish Tradition’, appears in this devotional anthology by Richard Derkes, along with her artwork. She is also photographed at her Bucca dedicated working shrine/altar, by Jane Cox.

Hoofprints in the Wildwood is a devotional anthology for the Horned God in all of his manifestations. It consists of devotional essays, poetry, artwork, and rituals from his devotees all across the world. Individuals from multiple pagan paths have contributed to this work each lending their own individual view of the Horned God as they worship him. Multiple manifestations of this deity are presented including Cernunnos, Gwynn Ap Nudd, Bucca, The Green Man, the Witchfather, and many more. Within you will find heartfelt offerings to this most enigmatic of

Gods, portraying him as a living force in the world that deeply touches the lives of those who are called to his worship. The aim of this work is to bring forth the voices of those who love him in worship and praise. Click here for purchasing details