The secret book of the cunning man of Denbighshire, a Welsh magical notebook from the 1830s, was published in part in the 1970s but is now lost. Andrew Phillip Smith reconstructs and translates the notebook. The cunning man, or dyn hysbys, straddled two worlds, providing magical services to his community, preserving traditional charms and magical techniques yet eager to discover other techniques or spells that were coming to light.
Smith digs into a lost world of first-hand accounts and folklore in which Welsh magicians had a particular command over fairies, and were regularly sought out for charms against malign witchcraft. Chapters provide a mass of information on the wise women and fraudulent rogues of Denbighshire, the relationship between magicians and fairies in tradition and folktale and the methods of unwitching cattle, and a possible author for this lost notebook.
‘… both a worthwhile addition to scholarship and an easy introduction for the newcomer.’
Dr Ronald Hutton, Professor of History Bristol university, author of The Triumph of the Moon, The Witch, Queens of the Wild
‘This is a remarkable book that offers in-depth insight into the secret world of the Welsh Dyn Hysbys. . . a fascinating study of magic and folklore in Wales that will surely become a classic of its time.’
Kristoffer Hughes, Head of the Anglesey Druid Order, author of Cerridwen & The Book of Druidry.
‘Anyone with an interest in magic, folklore, or even Welsh history in general will find something in this book, read it and revel in the magic of Wales’ traditional folk magical culture.’
Mhara Starling, author of Welsh Witchcraft: A Guide to the Spirits, Lore, and Magic of Wales
‘… a thoroughly enjoyable, as well as illuminating, read.’
David Conway, author of Magic: An Occult Primer
‘In this work Andrew Phillip Smith lifts the veil to reveal a lost Secret Book, a veritable Cunning Man’s cornucopia.’
David Rankine, author of The Grimoire Encyclopaedia