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The Visions of Isobel Gowdie [May. 4th, 2007|02:27 pm]
Fairy Folklore and Research
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Thanks to those who commented on the earlier post :) I also thought I'd share information about an upcoming new publication by Emma Wilby that I found on another forum. This book relates to this community as Isobel Gowdie was said to have met the Queen of Elphame and dined with her according to the various trial transcripts. Looks like one worth pre-ordering. We'll have to wait for a hundred years or so before this one ends up over at Google Books ;)



Amazon link:

The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Shamanism and Witchcraft in Seventeenth-century Scotland

"Provides the first full-length study of the witch-trial confessions
of Isobel Gowdie.

Explores evidence for the existence of shamanistic visionary
traditions and ecstatic cults in seventeenth-century Scotland, and
examines the relationship between popular demonology and fairy belief
in a European context.

The confessions of Isobel Gowdie are widely recognised as the most
extraordinary on record in Britain. Their descriptive power and vivid
imagery have attracted considerable interest on both academic and
popular levels. Among historians, the confessions are celebrated for
providing a unique insight into the way fairy beliefs and witch
beliefs interacted in the early modern mind; more controversially,
they are also cited as evidence for the existence of shamanistic
visionary traditions, of pre-Christian origin, in Scotland in this
period. On a popular level the confessions of Isobel Gowdie have,
above any other British witch-trial records, influenced the formation
of the ritual traditions of Wicca.

The author's discovery of the original trial records (now
authenticated by the National Archives of Scotland), deemed lost for
nearly 200 years, provides a starting point for an interdisciplinary
look at the confessions and the woman behind them. Using historical,
psychological, comparative religious and anthropological perspectives
this book sets out to separate the voice of Isobel Gowdie from that
of her interrogators, and to determine the experiences and beliefs
which may have generated her confessions. The book explores: How far
did those accused of witchcraft self-consciously practice harmful
magic? Did they really believe themselves to have made a Pact with an
envisioned Devil? Did they ever participate in ecstatic cult rituals?
The author argues that close analysis of Isobel's testimony supports
the view that in seventeenth-century Britain popular spirituality was
shaped by a deep interaction between Christian teachings and
shamanistic visionary traditions, of pre-Christian origin. These
findings confirm the value of witchcraft confessions as unique
windows into the complexities of the early modern religious

This information was taken from the publisher's site.