Published: April 2003
This is a detailed historical and anthropological study of the traditions of witchcraft round the world with an in-depth examination of magic and its relationship with religion, from prehistory to the post-modern era. It includes an international survey of ancient cultural traditions, and details the medieval phenomena of witch hunts that still have resonance in modern society. It analyzes the ancient traditions of shamanism, the witches of the classical world and African which doctors, together with the development of witchcraft in popular European culture. It draws on the work of numerous scholars and experts, as well as first-hand research by the author, and is lavishly illustrated with over 340 images. Magic has played a part in most cultures throughout human history. Traditions and practices may differ but the essential elements remain the same. This insightful history examines the roots and foundation of magic, and the way it has helped to shape our view of the universe and our place within it.
The scope of the study is wide, covering a range of traditions from the wise woman of a 16th-century English village to a witchdoctor in Africa, or from the customs of the Native American shaman to those of female shamans of Korea, examining their beliefs, ideas and convictions through the ages. Illustrated throughout with archival material and fine art paintings of legendary magic workers, this volume is a comprehensive examination of a fascinating story.