By Gemma Gary
Silent as the trees is a book exploring the old witchcraft, magical traditions and folklore nurtured amidst the village communities, hills, moors and ancient woods of Devonshire in South West England.
In this, her sixth book, Gemma Gary introduces Devon’s witches and magical folk, examining their lives and their magic; from historical figures such as the ‘white witch’ Caulks of Exeter, the Devonshire ‘toad witches’ and an examination of the trial of the Bideford Witches, to more modern practitioners such as the ‘cunning man’ and witchcraft collector Cecil Williamson.
Old stories in Devon tell of the often troublesome encounters between ordinary folk and the world of witchery. These encounters give valuable insights not only into the strange and fantastical beliefs surrounding witches, but also the traditional methods of beneficial magic and ‘counter cursing’ via the experiences of those who sought the aid of the ‘white witches’ and conjurors to lift the maleficia of the ‘black witch’.
Devon is a county particularly rich in folklore and mythology, in which we also often find the character of the witch, and the heady presence of Black Dog apparitions, the Wild Hunt and the Devil Himself. Many such tales weave their way around the plentiful strange stones and haunting ancient sites of this most mysterious landscape.
Within this book Gemma Gary also guides us through the fascinating witch belies of the region surrounding ‘skin turning’; the old witch-arte of bestial shape-shifting, as well as the tradition of the familiar spirit and the witches’ methods for gaining spirit companions.
Silent as the Trees is two books in one, for included within its pages is a ‘Black Book of Devonshire Magic’ detailing an extensive collection of genuine Devonshire spells, charms and magical rites.
Within this collection we find magical workings for power, spirit vision, cure charms for all manner of ailments and injuries, curse magic, protections and magical defence, love charms, good fortune, charms for animals, and traditional Devonshire toad magic.