Conjuror's Qualifications, what makes a Conjuror, or Magician, or Wizard, Conjurors, Magicians, Wizards in Welsh folklore and mythology, a tale from Wales
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Category: Conjurors, Magicians, Wizards
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Title: Conjuror's Qualifications, what makes a Conjuror, or Magician, or Wizard


It was formerly believed that men could sell themselves to the devil, and thus become the possessors of supernatural power. These men were looked upon as malicious conjurors.| Another species of conjurors practised magical arts, having obtained their knowledge from the study of books. These were accounted able to thwart the designs of evil workers of every description.| There was another class of men supposed to have obtained strange power from their ancestors. They were looked upon as charmers and conjurors by descent.| Those who belonged to the first-mentioned class were not in communion with the Church, and the first step taken by them to obtain their object was to unbaptize themselves.| The process was as follows:—The person who wished to sell himself to the devil went to a Holy Well, took water therefrom three times into his mouth, and spurted it out in a derisive manner, and thus having relieved himself, as it was thought, of his baptismal vow, he was ready and fit to make a contract with the evil one.| The second kind of conjurors obtained their knowledge of the occult science from the study of books. Generally learned men were by the ignorant supposed to possess uncanny power. When the writer lived in Carnarvonshire he was informed that Owen Williams, Waenfawr, had magical books kept in a box under lock and key, and that he never permitted anyone to see them. Poor Owen Williams, I wonder whether he knew of the popular rumour!| Hereditary conjurors, or charmers, were thought to be beneficial to society. They were charmers rather than conjurors.|In this category is to be reckoned:—(a) The seventh son of a family of sons, born the one after the other.|
(b) The seventh daughter in a family of daughters, born in succession, without a brother between. This person could undo spells and curses, but she could not herself curse others.|(c) The descendants of a person, who had eaten eagles’ flesh could, for nine generations, charm for the shingles, or, as it is called in Welsh, Swyno’r ’Ryri.|Conjurors were formerly quite common in Wales; when I say common, I mean that there was no difficulty in obtaining their aid when required, and they were within easy reach of those who wished to consult them. Some became more celebrated than others, and consequently their services were in greater requisition; but it may be said, that each district had its wise man.|The office of the conjuror was to counteract the machinations of witches, and to deliver people from their spells. They were looked upon as the natural enemies of witches. Instances have already been given of this antagonism.|But conjurors could act on their own account, and if they did not show the same spiteful nature as witches, they, nevertheless, were credited with possessing great and dangerous power. They dealt freely in charms and spells, and obtained large sums of money for their talismanic papers. They could, it was believed, by their incantations reveal the future, and oblige light-fingered people to restore the things they had stolen.|Even a fishing rod made by a conjuror was sure to bring luck to the fisherman. Lovers and haters alike resorted to the wise man to attain through his aid their object.|There were but few, if any, matters beyond their comprehension, and hence the almost unbounded confidence placed in these impostors by the superstitious and credulous.|Strange as it may seem, even in this century there are many who still consult these deceivers, but more of this by and by.|I will now relate a few tales of the doings of these conjurors, and from them the reader can infer how baneful their influence was upon the rustic population of Wales.


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