The Secret People is a practical book containing a vast range of information from the ‘old ways’ of the British Isles. Including knowledge on growing plants as well as plant folklore, remedy recipes, charms and superstitions – did you know that apparently parsley should always be home grown and never given nor received as a gift? There are tips on cooking, recipes, household hints and advice on the art of ‘using up’ as well as a look into the world of the countryman, foraging for wild food and ‘taking a rabbit for the pot’ and the historical background of lurchers. Plus medicinal herbs and preparations, spell and lot casting, candle magic and much more! A lot of The Secret People would have been Christian, rather than Pagan, so the church calendar is included detailing a long list of saint’s dates as well as seasonal traditions such as Solstice, Beltane etc. and the Country/Farming calendar.
I was disappointed to read a book published in this day and age that still describes people as ‘gypsies’ although elsewhere the author does correctly refers to Romany people. And personally I’m not sure about the differentiation between parish-pump witches, wise-women, cunning men and women and a ‘true witch’ in both ‘Who am I’, in the introduction to the book, and ‘What am I’ at the end of the book.
However, if you are looking for a book stuffed with lots of very useful information about the British ‘old ways’ as well as numerous fascinating practical tips, recipes and remedies, The Secret People is well worth buying.
The Secret People was reviewed by June Kent, Editor of Indie Shaman Magazine
Mélusine Draco. The Secret People: Parish-Pump Witchcraft, Wise-Women and Cunning Ways. Moon Books (1 Sept. 2016). ISBN: 978-1785354441