This is the only book of its kind on witchcraft that has been written by a practising witch. It is intended to be not merely a history, but a guide to the many strange byways of a vast and fascinating subject. Witchcraft is as old as the human race, and it is actively practised today, by people of all classes. To its devotees, witchcraft is more than spells and charms, or even secret meetings and rituals; it is a philosophy and a way of life. It claims to be the oldest form of religion, that of nature-worship and magic. Since the last Witchcraft Act was repealed in 1951, the revival of public interest in witchcraft has been the subject of continuous controversy. This book is a serious contribution to the study of a subject too long obscured by prejudice and sensationalism.
Traditional symbols form a visual shorthand for ideas, yet their functions and meaning extend far beyond that—for thousands of years they have enabled artists and craftsmen to embody and reinforce beliefs about human life in immediate and powerful images. This accessible and comprehensive guide features more than 2,000 major themes from Absinthe to the Zodiac: figures and symbols found in myth, literature and art, as well as those that have entered into the mainstream of everyday life. Covering classical and other mythologies, Biblical themes and traditional symbols from cultures across the world, this wonderful dictionary has thorough yet concise entries on individual animals, plants, objects, supernatural creatures, mythical episodes, miracles, and many other topics.
A fun, lively, and learned excursion into the alphabet—and cultural history. Letters are tangible language. Joining together in endless combinations to actually show speech, letters convey our messages and tell our stories. While we encounter these tiny shapes hundreds of times a day, we take for granted the long, fascinating history behind one of the most fundamental of human inventions: the alphabet. The heart of the book is the 26 fact-filled “biographies” of letters A through Z, each one identifying the letter’s particular significance for modern readers, tracing its development from ancient forms, and discussing its noteworthy role in literature and other media. We learn, for example, why the letter X has a sinister and sexual aura, how B came to signify second best, why the word “mother” in many languages starts with M, and what is the story of O. Packed with information and lavishly illustrated, Letter Perfect is accessible, entertaining, and essential to the appreciation of our own language.