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Snake Fat and Knotted Threads:
an introduction to traditional Finnish healing magic.
K. M. Koppana.
Heart of Albion Press. Pb £7.95.

This is a revised and expanded version of a book first published in Finland in 1990, but available in the UK. It provides an insight into the practices of cunning men and women, healers and shamans in a part of the world little known to us in Great Britain. We learn of spells and of the magical and healing uses of various substances, herbal, animal and other. The ancient divinities are looked at, and the lives of certain healers are looked at. There is significantly more about women’s magic and healing than in the original edition. The contrasts and similarities between Finnish and British practices are fascinating.

Kati-Ma, who has a good command of English, has written two volumes of poems that are available from the same publisher (though not mentioned on their Web site) at £1.95 each (plus 80p postage in the UK). Times Past and Times to Be is a well-produced collection of twenty-eight poems. They convey a vivid sense of place, and of the way places may retain a sense of the past as well as the present — this is the main theme of the book. I enjoyed these poems and at times felt as if I were in the place she was describing. Those wanting to sample her work may prefer to begin with her earlier book 23 Cantos for the Goddess, and those who already have the earlier book should definitely get the newer one as well.

Wood and Water 82, Spring 2003
© Daniel Cohen

 

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