Serpent Songs are the works and words of those who remain untamed, from Cunning Folk to Exorcists to Pellars to Sorgin and Witches and Mystics. 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 Cornish and Basque witchcraft, the relatively unknown Swedish Trolldom, the persecuted Bogomils, and the oft misrepresented Italian Stregoneria. Members of 1734, Clan of Tubal Cain, and a member of the Companie of the Serpent-Cross are among those who choose to share their experiences. Light is shed on such seminal figures as Robert Cochrane, Evan John-Jones and Andrew Chumbley amongst others, but more than illustrious ancestors, Traditional Craft is revealed as a living throng.
These are the voices of those who work the art and this book details their practices, struggles and wayward journeys. Serpent Songs takes a crooked path through the landscape, from historical studies to practical acts, from lonely stone stiles set between deep hedges to the warm entrails of animals and forays into the caves and woods. These tresses are woven into an undulating nest of serpents.
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.
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.