ASPECTS OF ANGLO SAXON MAGIC
By Bill Griffiths, published by Anglo Saxon Books at £14.99. xxxpp. ISBN: 1-8982810-15-7 (Reviewed by Iain Phillips)
Anglo-Saxon Books have published many titles of interest to the followers of the Northern Path, and this is a worthy addition to their catalogue.
Bill Griffiths presents a scholarly, well-documented account of the spiritual beliefs of the Anglo-Saxons. The research is clearly detailed, and a useful list of source books is given. The book is in two parts, the first being a discussion of the spiritual beliefs of the Early English, the second being the charms, poems etc which are used in the text. The second part is very useful, with the Anglo-Saxon texts followed by translations into modern English. Having the original text helps in following form and metre, for those who wish to speak these verses aloud.
The first part of this book is a refreshing overview of academic research, closely argued for an academic audience. Primarily, this is a source for historians. There are no "how to" rituals, no runic chanting, no horned helmets. In place of this, we are given a picture of how the Anglo-Saxons perceived their world in spiritual terms, as can be deduced from the archaeological and written records. This can be quite at variance to modern Heathenry. The nature of Anglo-Saxon belief in Gods, the preservation of beliefs in Christian manuscripts, the role of elves, the beliefs and practices associated with runes, the views presented here should give a kick up the fundaments to some! And why should this not be so? Instead of regurgitating the views of Thorsson, Aswynn et al, this invaluable book may force some Heathens into critically reviewing their faith. This is good, as by new ideas will the Northern Path develop.