Nigel Campbell Pennick, born 1946 in Guildford, Surrey, England in the United Kingdom, an author publishing on occultism, magic, natural magic, divination, subterranea, rural folk customs, traditional performance and Celtic art as well as runosophy. He is a writer on marine species as well as an occultist and geomancer, artist and illustrator, stained-glass designer and maker, musician and mummer. He also writes on European arts and crafts, buildings, landscape, customs, games and spiritual traditions. He has written several booklets on the history of urban transport in Cambridge and London . He is best known for his research on geomancy, labyrinths, sacred geometry, the spiritual arts and crafts, esoteric alphabets and Germanic runic studies. He has written many books in German and has over 50 published books and hundreds of published papers on a wide range of subjects.
The Nameless Art as it is called in East Anglia has no orthodoxy or central text. It is a tradition that is fluid and ever changing yet at the same time remaining quite the same. East Anglia was once home to the Celtic Iceni tribe, the tribe of Boudicca who fought against the Romans. Later on it was taken over by Danes. Their royalty were called "Uffingas" or Wolf people. East Anglian magic is primarily Norse with several key differences. Being situated where it is East Anglia has seen many people come and go. Such people include Romans, Celts, Irish, Romani Gyspies and Jews.
In the earlier days Paganism existed side by side with Christianity. Shrines were shared by both groups and people even belonged to both tradition. Even symbols had meaning in both subset. The Battle Axe of Olaf was key. He was a Christian who died by a blow to the head from a battle axe. In both Pagan religions and Christianity it has meaning for protection. Paganism has never fully died out. Certain traditions have survived and others are being revived.
The Catholic Church tried to snuff out Paganism but was not successful. King John before the Magna Carta re institutionaliszed British pagan practices during his reign. The Protestant later banned Pagan and Catholic practice and labeled it all witchcraft.
Witch hunt in Anglia could be rather intense. Usually it was old women, the infirm, handicapped and other defenseless people that were rounded up and persecuted. The most noted Witch Hunter was Matthew Hopkins. He got paid for every witch he executed so he found as many as he could. He was notorious for his use of torture.
Many different magical groups have been operating in East Anglia. Some of them are closed groups open to initiates only. The Masons were definitely there. Of note is the "Horse Whisperers" they could tame any horse by whispering the magical word. To join them you had to be selected and you went through and initiation and training. Another group that required initiation was the "Bonesmen" they work magic with graveyard dust and bones. Part of the initiation called for the neophyte to examine a set of human bones. His job was was to determine whether they were noble bones, an Earl's bones or a a poormans bones. The Neophyte could not tell and so after death ones station in life meant nothing. Only character development counted.
The Gods and Goddesses are based on Norse mythos with several key differences. The main God is Tergamont the main sovereign. He is like Tyr save that his hand was not bit off by Fenris the wolf. His main day is Tiagunde or January thirteenth.. He is the god of great offense and defense.
Thor is the favorite over in Northern Europe over in East Anglia he is not as important. His bronze hammer or Mel destroy demon. Woden, a derivative of Odin is the God of Seers and runes. He is rather ambivalent so it can be tricky working with him. He is compared to Saint Nick as during the Yule he distribute gifts. He is also called the Devil as for the Wild Hunt that collects the souls of the dead.
Freya is the Goddess of sexuality, sensuality and magic. Drewary is her sacred form of sacred magic. Bale is a god derived from Baldur. May day and Bale fires are sacred to him. Then there is Phoebie the Sun Goddess and Lady moon. Saturn is also in their. Yarth is the name of the Earth Goddess, Way land is the god of technology and eliminating inability. Tom Hitchcraw is a blackened face giant who protects by wheel and axle. He is believes to come from the Celtic origin.
For a short book this volume is very complete. Nigel Pennick teaches the reader how to woodcraft magical materials. Warding your house and making talismans are also convered. East Anglian to this day still make use of witch bottles and herbs. For a good insight into traditional British magic I strongly advise reading this.
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 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.