is a British historian who has written extensively on the subjects of occultism, religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...
, the tarot
The tarot |trionfi]] and later as tarocchi, tarock, and others) is a pack of cards , used from the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe to play a group of card games such as Italian tarocchini and French tarot...
The term mythology can refer either to the study of myths, or to a body or collection of myths. As examples, comparative mythology is the study of connections between myths from different cultures, whereas Greek mythology is the body of myths from ancient Greece...
, and English history.
Cavendish was born in 1930 at Henley-on-Thames
Henley-on-Thames is a town and civil parish on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire, England, about 10 miles downstream and north-east from Reading, 10 miles upstream and west from Maidenhead...
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....
, the son of a Church of England
The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...
clergyman. He lived with his partner in the United States for eight years, in New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
and Los Angeles.
Cavendish was educated at Christ's Hospital
Christ's Hospital is an English coeducational independent day and boarding school with Royal Charter located in the Sussex countryside just south of Horsham in Horsham District, West Sussex, England...
and at Brasenose College, Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...
, where he specialized in medieval studies. He has written both on the political and social history of Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...
and on the history of folk magic and occultism in the British Isles
The British Isles are a group of islands off the northwest coast of continental Europe that include the islands of Great Britain and Ireland and over six thousand smaller isles. There are two sovereign states located on the islands: the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and...
and Europe. Among his best-known works are The Black Arts
, The Tarot
, A History of Magic
, and the influential 24-volume set Man, Myth & Magic
, which he both edited and contributed to. He also wrote regularly for the British journal History Today
History Today is an illustrated history magazine. Published monthly in London since January 1951, it is the world's leading, and possibly oldest, history magazine. Its successful mission has always been to present serious and authoritative history to as wide a public as possible...
Cavendish's work is highly regarded for its depth of research and agnostic stance towards its sometimes controversial subject matter. While written for a lay audience rather than for scholars, books like The Black Arts
and The Powers of Evil in Western Religion, Magic and Folk Belief
remain accessible, reputable, and insightful reading decades after their original publication.
- The Black Arts: A Concise History of Witchcraft, Demonology, Astrology, and Other Mystical Practices Throughout the Ages, 1967
- Encyclopaedia of the Unexplained: Magic, Occultism and Parapsychology, 1974.
- Explore Britain's Coastline, AA Explore Britain Guides
- The Great Religions
- A History of Magic
- Images of Britain, W.H. Smith Exclusive Books
- King Arthur and the Grail: The Arthurian Legends and Their Meaning
- Kings & Queens: The Story of Britain's Monarchs From Earliest Times
- Legends of the World
- The Magical Arts, Arkana
- Man, Myth & Magic: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Supernatural, 1970-1972 (24 volumes)
- Mysteries of the Universe
- Mythology: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1980
- 100 Great Wonders of the World
- 1001 Historic Sites You Must See Before You Die
- The Powers of Evil in Western Religion, Magic and Folk Belief, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1975 ISBN 0-7100-8117-0
- Prehistoric England
- The Tarot, London: Chancellor Press, 1975
- Visions of Heaven and Hell
- Wonders of the World
- The World of Ghosts and the Supernatural, 1994