Three Hands Press. 2009. First Edition, First Printing. Hardcover. Octavo, original blue cloth stamped in gold, the front cover bearing an image of a seal from a charm written on paper found in a bottle buried near Sarn, Powys, Wales. Limited edition of 300 hand-numbered hardbound copies, this being copy No. 66. 182 pp, printed on acid-free, archival paper stock. A fine copy without dust wrapper, as issued. The first book published by Three Hands Press. Fine. Item #311071
¶ Welsh Witches and Wizards is the first in a much-anticipated four-book series on Witchcraft in the British Isles. The widespread belief in witches and wizards in Wales reflects a land steeped in legend and myth since the ancient times. The witch's power to harm people, livestock, and crops was greatly feared; for this reason country people consulted with so-called 'cunning men' and 'wise women' who had the power to negate their spells with counter-magic. Cunning-folk practitioners were also consulted for love spells, to find lost property or missing persons, exorcise ghosts and banish evil spirits. The figures of both witch and wizard for part of a broader folk-magic continuity in Wales. This popular belief in witchcraft bears little relation to modern neo-pagan Wicca, and there is little evidence of its linkage to a nature religion based on a pre-Christian Fertility cult. This book describes the historically-attested Welsh practitioners of folk magic and witchcraft - the Dark Sisters and the Toadmen, the Druids and Wizards, the Cunning Men and Faery Doctors - and the charms and spells they used. Also examined are surviving pagan beliefs associated with holy wells and the cult of the sacred head, and the mysterious and sometimes sinister 'creatures of the night' such as faeries, lake monsters, dragons and Black Dogs. It will be of interest to students of the occult and folklore, as well as those who have followed Mr. Howard's fascinating work of the years.