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

The Visions of Isobel Gowdie Magic Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth Century Scotland The witchcraft confessions given by Isobel Gowdie in Auldearn are widely celebrated as the most extraordinary on record in Britain Their descriptive power vivid imagery and contentious subject

  • Title: The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland
  • Author: Emma Wilby
  • ISBN: 9781845191801
  • Page: 370
  • Format: Paperback
  • The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland

    The witchcraft confessions given by Isobel Gowdie in Auldearn, 1662, are widely celebrated as the most extraordinary on record in Britain Their descriptive power, vivid imagery and contentious subject matter have attracted considerable interest on both academic and popular levels This book provides the first full length examination of the confessions and the life and chaThe witchcraft confessions given by Isobel Gowdie in Auldearn, 1662, are widely celebrated as the most extraordinary on record in Britain Their descriptive power, vivid imagery and contentious subject matter have attracted considerable interest on both academic and popular levels This book provides the first full length examination of the confessions and the life and character of the woman behind them.The author s discovery of the original trial records, deemed lost for nearly 200 years, provides a starting point for an interdisciplinary endeavour to separate Isobel s voice from that of her interrogators, identify the beliefs and experiences that informed her testimony and analyze why her confessions differ so markedly from those of other witchcraft suspects from the period In the course of these enquiries, the author develops wider hypotheses relevant to the study of early modern witchcraft as a whole, with recent research into ian dark shamanism, false memory generation and mutual dream experience, along with literature on marriage covenant mysticism and protection charm traditions, all being brought to the investigation of early modern witch records for the first time.Emma Wilby concludes that close analysis of Isobel s confessions supports the still controversial hypothesis that in seventeenth century Scotland, as in other parts of Europe in this period, popular spirituality was shaped through a deep interaction between church teachings and shamanistic traditions of pre Christian origin She also extends this thesis beyond its normal association with beneficent magic and overtly folkloric themes to speculate that some of Europe s malevolent and demonological witch narratives may also have emerged out of visionary rites underpinned by cogent shamanistic rationales.

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      Published :2018-01-25T18:46:13+00:00

    One thought on “The Visions of Isobel Gowdie: Magic, Witchcraft and Dark Shamanism in Seventeenth-Century Scotland

    1. Tara

      I read this over 6 months and I still don't feel that I'm done with it yet. If you liked Emma Wilby's previous book, 'Cunning Folk & Familiar Spirits', this expands upon the ideas about shamanism that she proposed there in relation to one of the most interesting witchcraft cases in early modern history. Fascinating, thought-provoking study that isn't an easy read, but is absolutely essential if you are seriously interested in this subject.

    2. Brian

      Emma Wilby's analysis of the recorded confessions made by accused witch Isobel Gowdie of Auldearn, Scotland in 1662 is essentially an attempt to recover, from beneath the obscuring sedimentations of time and interrogatorial intervention, the subjective experiences that led Isobel to make the fantastic and frequently incriminating statements that she did. By locating the richly detailed but often unbelievable claims of the confessions within the cultural and historical context of war-ravaged and [...]

    3. Charlie

      Following the author’s rediscovery of the original confession transcripts, Wilby reappraises documents so strange and perplexing that authors such as Katharine Briggs labelled them as 'strange, mad outpourings'. Wilby conducts an in-depth analysis of the content of Isobel’s testimony, taking an interdisciplinary approach. She separates Isobel’s voice and beliefs from those of her interrogators and fuses together a hypothesis based on ‘dark’ shamanism, false-memory generation and mutual [...]

    4. Morgan Frey

      A thoroughly well-researched and well-argued text, Wilby's analysis of the confessions of Isobel Gowdie provides a compelling argument for the survival of some kind of visionary dream cult in the Nairnshire region of Scotland. Would highly recommend this book, although I think Wilby places too much emphasis on the fact that Isobel Gowdie recounted none of her confessions as the sole evidence she didn't make anything up, but instead thoroughly believed everything she said (whether through false m [...]

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