Popular Magic Cunning-folk in English HistoryBy Owen Davies
Cunning-folk were local practitioners of magic, providing small-scale but valued service to the community. They were far more representative of magical practice than the arcane delvings of astrologers and necromancers. Mostly unsensational in their approach, cunning-folk helped people with everyday problems: how to find lost objects; how to escape from bad luck or a suspected spell; and how to attract a lover or keep the love of a husband or wife. While cunning-folk sometimes fell foul of the authorities, both church and state often turned a blind eye to their existence and practices, distinguishing what they did from the rare and sensational cases of malevolent witchcraft. In a world of uncertainty, before insurance and modern science, cunning-folk played an important role that has previously been ignored.