This site is intended to collect together information about Cunning Folk and their skills, from the thirteenth century to the present day and beyond.|
Please use the Forum to discuss the topic and add your knowledge to ours.
We are currently forming a coven in Essex UK to practice the old knowledge.
CLAN OF THE WHITE DRAGON
CUNNING MAN: (Anglo-Saxon, cunnan, to know.)
A pre-Christian term that means many things, but usually indicates a leading practitioner of some kind of magick. The Scandinavian "klokman" was a word for the Cunning Man. He was known in France as "Le Devin du village". The term was sometimes also used in reference to an Alchemist. Also used for a fortune-teller, or one who professes to discover stolen goods. Some theorize that the first books on medicine were written by people who could be referred to as Cunning Men.
In times when the Cunning Man was a known and respected figure, the local villagers would often expect their Cunning Man to protect them from unseen dangers, and to provide them with charms and certain medicines; some people have theorized that Cunning Men were familiar with many natural psychedelics. The Cunning Man was also expected to perform rituals and dances that would ensure bountiful hunting or abundant harvests. Even when Christianity began to spread throughout Europe, the Cunning Men were often still heavily relied upon, entire villages were converted to Christianity, but many were concerned that their new God would not know how to supply them with good crops, and so they continued to entreat the aid of the Cunning Men of their area.
Cunning Folk, were usually literate middle class traders, artisans or schoolmasters. They
usually charged a fixed fee, a low one for the poor and a high one for the gentry. And they
usually practised a number of skills
Charmers, were often lower class magical practitioners, who regarded their power as a gift, so usually accepted no payment, only gifts. And they usually specialised in only one skill
Cunning Folk and Charmers provided the same services which are now being provided by the palmist, tarot-reader, astrologer, holistic healer, herbalist or therapist.