I had a difficult time giving this book 4 stars. The first half of the book is basically his interpretation of local folklore. Some of what he wrote w...moreI had a difficult time giving this book 4 stars. The first half of the book is basically his interpretation of local folklore. Some of what he wrote was a little um, on the side of what he WISHED had happened than on reality. For example he stated that by the 1600's witchcraft was more accepted, then gave examples. It made me wince as I think if witchcraft had been practiced that openly in the 1600's some people would have been hung. He stated that 'dual religion' was practiced openly... well... that may be a bit exaggerated, maybe a little bit, but I would GUESS what was happening is old family beliefs were just meshed with Christianity but not openly practiced as a defined belief set like he says. I will give him kudos for having the strength to go against the flow and state that swords and knives were not a large part of the practices of East Anglia as most couldn't afford said knives. Since more and more information is becoming widely available, people are starting to think that 400 years ago people had nearly the same access to commercially available items like we do today, when very few people actually had CASH. More wishful thinking than actually was the case. The second part of the book had more modern day application, but in a beginning and vague sort of way. He even stated that he deliberately left out the darker aspects, and as until the 20th century, most was not considered dark and I did not like feeling that I was not adult enough to read that. If he was afraid that some teenager would get hold of the information and misuse it, I think he has highly inflated opinion on who his readership is, which is why I was sort of bothered by the fact that he wrote a more beginnerish book. If you've never read any folklore, this would be an okay introduction, but if you have, you won't learn much here. Some of it was interesting, but if you don't read it, you're not missing much. (less)
This is a mystery with different meanings, with a couple of mysteries threading through out the whole story and the dead bodies are almost incidental...moreThis is a mystery with different meanings, with a couple of mysteries threading through out the whole story and the dead bodies are almost incidental to the true story which is a snapshot of small Icelandic island life during the 1960's. If you're a fan of modern formula driven mysteries, or hard and fast action, this book will bore you to tears. I enjoyed the book because I am an armchair anthropologist and I loved the hints of many different mysteries within the mystery, of the occult and of the ancient mythology. This is a story of a book of ancient sagas called The Flatey Book, that happened to be written on the small island of Flatey which is, in the 1960's of fading glory and population, and which was noted in the book maybe misnamed as it just happened to be written on the island, and should have been named after the fantastic poets and illustrators who made the book. It is also a story of despair, professional greed and national pride, all centered around the Flatey Book. When your roots, even as a poor farmer, go back to the powerful times of the Vikings, how far will you go for this book that keeps this history alive? How much meaning does this ancient book have in their lives? The author painstakingly allows you to find out how each and every islander feels his or her connection to The Book, it's one of the pluses of this story, things unfold, you aren't just TOLD how people feel. You are told how the islanders feed themselves and stay alive, but you are allowed to get to know them and decide for yourself how they feel about The Book. It's difficult to write more as it would be easy to give it all away and that would ruin the mystery part of the book, though dead people are almost incidental to THE BOOK. The only problem that I have with the book is that it is a little slow and I had to keep reminding myself that it's on a very small island in the 60's, that the slowness just mirrors the style of life in a place where getting to the mail boat on time was the most exciting thing that happened in years. But all in all, I've already recommended it to friends who might like it. It's worth the read and I hope to read more from this author. (less)
This is a pamphlet. Wayland Hand is famous for American Folklore, following in Henry Hyatt's footsteps, this is a talk that he gave to the Folklore So...moreThis is a pamphlet. Wayland Hand is famous for American Folklore, following in Henry Hyatt's footsteps, this is a talk that he gave to the Folklore Society. If you haven't read much folklore and are interested, this is a good pamphlet to read, it's much work condensed into a few pages. You get a lot of information without wading through information that you may not find interesting. I've read Wayland Hand so some of this information was not new, but he touched on one of my favorite topics of thresholds, but being a pamphlet, it wasn't indepth, but for those who don't read much folklore, this would be a good start. (less)
This is a very well researched book on the witchcraft practices and history and culture brought from Germany to the Appalachians that still lives tod...more This is a very well researched book on the witchcraft practices and history and culture brought from Germany to the Appalachians that still lives today. This is not about powwow or Braucherei, this is generalized German folklore brought over in the 1700's and forced, due to religious prejudism to inhabit certain parts of the New World. It is REAL, a compilation of study and interviews with live people. There is nothing about the Rede or any other neopagan thing, this is honest to goodness American Traditional Witchcraft and Folklore that is still alive to a certain extent in the Appalachia. I think it's essential in any study of American folklore and way of life, I am very glad that Mr. Milnes spent his time and energy to gather the fast disappearing way of life. It may be gone soon and it will be a huge loss to the United States. Read this before it's gone. You could read this book and watch the movie Songcatcher and feel like you actually live there. (less)
This book is old, and when I got over the racist factor, this book was rather good. I've read other Folklore books written around the 50's that were t...moreThis book is old, and when I got over the racist factor, this book was rather good. I've read other Folklore books written around the 50's that were the same thing "documenting quaint primitive peoples" I guess that was the prevailing idea at the time. Once I got past that, the book was very good. The author must have cared about the subject as he seems to generally understand his subjects, and if he hadn't had shown respect, he probably would have gotten nowhere in Japan. He understood the sense of community that the Japanese have and the desire for cleanliness and order that is a big part of their culture. I think that regardless of his style of writing, it's a good book because I have a feeling that many of the rituals/rites and beliefs that were written down in the book are mostly forgotten. Bon is still celebrated of course, but some of the month long purification rituals probably are not, due to modern time constraints. For example a woman probably can't take a month off from work to make sure she's purified from having a baby. My one gripe about the book is that he mainly touched on major folk practices... there must have been thousands that he didn't even touch on, and it's those thousands that are probably lost now, while the major ones are well documented in other sources, I suppose they weren't considered important to the Average American reader of the time. Our loss.
The author states that he is going to Russia to learn about the dregs of witchcraft in the villiages of Russia, well, if you make that a preface for a...moreThe author states that he is going to Russia to learn about the dregs of witchcraft in the villiages of Russia, well, if you make that a preface for a book, why don't you do that? He goes to the city and stays in the city and follows around some guy to a city PARK who is mostly interested in hinduism. He uses terms like Prana(va) and etc. difficult to believe the guy had much idea of his own culture cept that he knew the mythology, he was more interested in yoga and other New Age Hindu terms and the author seemed stuck on that archetype thing where one deity is the same as another. Also, don't write about a subject that you know nothing about. This author continually drops the word Neolithic and it's very obvious that the ONLY thing that he knows about the Neolithic came from a Marija Gimbutas book... which means it's all fantasy. I thought I'd scream if he said "The Neolithic Goddess Culture" more than once a page. Another seriously irritating thing was when he'd be taught about some spirits, he'd write in a very self righteous manner that "they're really deities" as if us westerners can be told that they're spirits, but we know better. I wanted to slap him, what an idiot. I'd KNOWN that it was a Llewellyn book but I'd hoped that it was early enough to be before the "LLewellyn, Publisher of Utter Fluff" period. I know from reading other stuff, that he was fairly spot on about the mythology, but that's pretty much all the book was, travelogue and mythology and new age fluff and very importantly, it did not contain anything 'dark'.
This book was okay, not much I didn't know, but for someone new to this sort of thing, it's a good grounding. My problem was that the author wrote it...more This book was okay, not much I didn't know, but for someone new to this sort of thing, it's a good grounding. My problem was that the author wrote it in almost the 3rd person. Lots of quotes of very famous Indians, so that I wondered if the author was a white man who needed famous indians to bolster his veracity. I googled but couldn't find out, I didn't want another book by a pretendian, I just wanted ordinary every day information... it was there, but written as if by famous Indians and about many different tribes. I just have suspicions when a book uses many different tribes, how could a real Indian know so much about other tribes beliefs and herbal uses? I would think they were busy learning and using their own, it's white folks that like to borrow from this tribe and that tribe..... But anyway, a pretty good book, even with my suspicions. (less)
This was great EXCEPT for the fact that the authors were the biggest bigots I've ever seen. This book was written in the 50's so they should have know...moreThis was great EXCEPT for the fact that the authors were the biggest bigots I've ever seen. This book was written in the 50's so they should have known how to filter out their own feelings when reporting folklore but I guess they just couldn't, it felt like I was reading a folklore book from the 1800's it was so bad, bad for a folklore society!!!! But I love folklore and so I kept reading....(less)
A great book on Traditional witchcraft in the Balkans that is still alive and well. The author interviewed actual witches for this book so it's the re...moreA great book on Traditional witchcraft in the Balkans that is still alive and well. The author interviewed actual witches for this book so it's the real thing. It is better written than previous books by this publisher and is easier and more interesting to read than other books because it's based upon REAL activities, not supposed ones or reconstructed witchcraft. There is no influence from the Wests neo-nature fads from the 1800's nor the later occult boom of the turn of the 1900's and no Gardner nor Cochrane. This is the real thing folks and I wish that it was a lot more indepth, but as the author states several times that several of the topics could use a separate book on their own. Well, if he wants to write it, I'll buy it! I've you're interested in ceremonial witchcraft, this book will hold no interest as it looks like the witches of old, at least the folk ones were not ceremonial at all... no Tubal Cain, no kabbalah... just pure folk magic. Good stuff.(less)
A lot of great folklore that the author collected from the Suffolk region and very well written for an easy pleasant read. The only drawback is that a...moreA lot of great folklore that the author collected from the Suffolk region and very well written for an easy pleasant read. The only drawback is that as usual for this author, he quotes "The White Goddess" and Charles Leland as fact, but it's because this was written during the 60's before decent research was done on those two.(less)
Lots of old folklore and natural history of the hare. Lots of interviews with people on their local folklore. Really great in that aspect, the only de...moreLots of old folklore and natural history of the hare. Lots of interviews with people on their local folklore. Really great in that aspect, the only detriment is their dependance on Robert Graves as fact, for example it's a little silly to assume that Cornish deities are the same as GrecoRoman ones, but if you can get past that bit, it's a great folkloric resource.(less)
A nice book, a very pleasant read. Not essential, but nice to have in one's library, I wish it was more in-depth, but I suppose that would mean a much...moreA nice book, a very pleasant read. Not essential, but nice to have in one's library, I wish it was more in-depth, but I suppose that would mean a much larger book.(less)
Read this in the 60's or early 70's all through adulthood, can I tell you how many times I've read it? Great books, even though aimed at Young Adult....moreRead this in the 60's or early 70's all through adulthood, can I tell you how many times I've read it? Great books, even though aimed at Young Adult. Based on the Mabinogion and Welsh mythology, people familiar with Welsh mythology will recognise most of the characters, especially the famous Gwydion and House of Don etc. Who wouldn't empathize with Taran? Though even when I was very young, I thought Eilonwy a little silly and empty headed. (less)