Wyldwood

Wyldwood

Pagan Art, Articles and Wanderings

Book Review: Of Chalk and Flint

Cover of the paperback edition of Of Chalk and Flint by Val Thomas, published by Troy Books
Cover of the paperback edition of Of Chalk and Flint by Val Thomas, published by Troy Books

I have been wanting to sit and review this wonderful book for some time because I was drawn to learning more about the folklore and craft traditions of the eastern part of the UK, having lived for a while on the Fens myself, though I never really got the chance to experience the local magic.

Val writes in a clear manner, describing the places, lore and traditions of Norfolk in a beautifully evocative manner. There is a lot of information stored in this book, honestly, the book itself is huge, but because of the way that Val has presented it, the material is by no means stuffy or overwhelming; quite the contrary, I found it an absolute pleasure to read and it has clear breaks that allow reading to be paused as needed. I am a slow reader so this was great for me.

Overall the books is concise, containing a wealth of information on magical places, spiritual beings and historical figures of course including the indomitable Boudicca who Val explains has for some, been elevated to an almost deific status.

The subtitle to the book is “A Way of Norfolk Magic” and Val stresses that the book is written from her experiences and those of others, but that it is important to remember that it is A way, not the only way.

Alongside entire chapters devoted to the tools, materials and practices of this particular tradition which Val calls the “nameless tradition”, there is a huge section devoted to active working groups which would be of great help to practitioners in the county who are looking to meet others involved in the craft.

For myself, having grown up in the shadow of the Chiltern Hills, I immediately felt a kinship with Val’s descriptions of the God and Goddess, or as they are called in the book, “the Lord of Flint” and “the lady of Chalk”, and they feel as alive in my native region as they appear to do in Norfolk.

I bought the standard Hardback edition directly from Troy Books and as you would expect from this publisher, it is printed on excellent quality paper, produced and presented beautifully. The cover is bound in black cloth with a white, embossed image of the tools of the craft on the cover and the title, author’s name and Troy Books logo on the spine.

At a whopping 380 pages long, and with Val’s wealth of experience, I felt that this book presents a strong grounding for anyone interested not only in learning more about Norfolk traditions, folklore and magic, but also those looking to begin practicing or for the more experienced practitioner looking to deepen their understanding and connection with the county, its spirits, locations, lore and community.

Here is the video from Troy books in which Val introduces her book:


You can buy Of Chalk and Flint on the Troy Books website here: https://www.troybooks.co.uk/of-chalk-and-flint

You can find out more about Val from her own website here: https://www.valthomaswitch.co.uk

And you can find her on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/valthomaswitch