20/08/2016

The Devil’s Plantation

A review of Nigel G. Pearson: The Devil’s Plantation (Troy Books. 2015)

“Traditional Witchcraft” is gradually being turned into a catch all phrase for any folk tradition believed to be non-wiccan witchcraft, a label adopted by anyone believing themselves to work in a traditional way or set out to create their own traditions. A part of me aches seeing this, another part of me just turn a blind eye to it all because after all I am not the keeper of my brother and certainly not the watchdog of tradition.

Good books about what we understand as ‘traditional witchcraft’ are few and rare largely because those truly involved in the witching ways are rarely interested in speaking about their art and craft directly and even more so when we are speaking of publications like a book speaking about the art and craft. The lack of good books on the craft makes a book like Nigel’s The Devil’s Plantation a joy to behold and read. It is a book breaching this field between sharing and keep silent what shall be kept quiet  in a generous and enlightened way, a book of clarity and kindness that maintain the path direct of the traditional torch that sheds light on the nature and essence of the craft.  

There is much good to be said of this book and for me personally the fact that this book somehow follows in the footsteps on a long time favorite book on this subject, namely Nigel Pennick’s East Anglian Magic (Robert Hale. London 1995) just makes me treasure this book even more. Nigel is giving much attention to the devil, to witchcraft saints and in general to how the land itself with its inhabitants should and could be understood and worked. We are speaking of dual observance, or the worship of both hands as an integral mystery of the very understanding of the art that so naturally is applied and acted upon by the witch traditional in pact and concord with the blood of its land.

The book is not only a generous sharing of the witching ways with is spirits, herbs and mysteries, both diurnal and nocturnal – but it is also a celebration of a land Nigel knows so well and in this the book becomes a testament giving voice to the mighty dead still alive under rocks and creeks, in wind and leaves in East Anglia and with that I praise myself fortunate to include yet another worthy tome in the library of witchcraft and look forward to Nigel’s next offering in praise of land, spirit and night!