Sunday, August 12, 2012

P - Pickingill, Old George #paganblogproject

George Pickingill ("Old George" as he was often called) is probably the most infamous Cunning Man of the 19th Century. He lived and worked in Canewdon is Essex (the southeastern part of England, for those of us not brushed up on our British geography). The town of Canewdon has a long association with witchcraft and the paranormal, dating back to the 1500's and a spinster named Rose Pye, followed shortly by another woman named Cicely Makin. In fact, local folklore holds that there will always be at least six cunning folk in Canewdon -- three of cotton (working class) and three of silk (upper class).

Old George was a laborer and is credited with being the founder of 9 covens in the counties of Essex, Hampshire, Hertforshire, Norfolk, and Sussex.

Most of the tales associated with him are incredible -- too incredible to fully believe in a great many cases. The book The Pickingill Papers is the compiled source of most of these stories. You can also read a great deal about Old George, and the book, at

One of the most important things to remember, as you sift through tales of this notable Cunning Man's life, is that he cultivated an air of mystery and magic about himself -- that same air that so many great magicians and sorcerers, priestesses and witches have cultivated. Marie Laveau, Aleister Crowley, and Old George all knew and used a powerful tool in their work -- something many have called Grey Magic.

Paul Huson, in his book Mastering Witchcraft, discusses using half-truths and manufactured secrecy in order to inspire within your target a susceptibility to the magic you are performing. THIS is Grey Magic, for certain -- or one aspect of it -- and it is at the heart of Old George's works.

Now, don't misunderstand me. I am not in any way disputing the man's magic, for I believe him to have been quite the shapeshifter, charmer, blaster, healer, and so on. I just ALSO believe him to be a master of image and branding, to put it in today's jargon. He was a talented publicist, Old George was!

No comments: