Tarot Review: Mildred Payne's Oracle of Black Enchantment

If there's a bad-ass deck out there, I'm likely to find and own it.  The last three years have been great for tarot with the release of favorites like The Golden Thread, Tarot of the Absurd, Ophidia Rosa and Marigold Tarot.  Is it just me, or has the golden all-seeing-eye become very popular in the current witch zeitgeist?

The latest in my vast collection, lucky number 52 is Mildred Payne's Oracle of Black Enchantment by Deviant Moon.  It's marketed as a "haunted" oracle, made against the wishes of an early 20th century coven called Fenwood.  I don't know about the backstory or how it was created or why, and I don't think it matters to me personally because this deck is fascinating and fun regardless.

Do you want to live and read deliciously?  Then this is the deck for you.  I admit I didn't know a thing about it when I ordered it, but a fellow Riverton witch shared a picture of hers on Instagram and within a few seconds, I purchased my own copy.  They may be high gloss and almost impossible to casino shuffle, but that's because it's not a tarot deck, it's a very large oracle with thick glossy card-stock.  It's essentially a black and white deck, very popular right now; the card faces are all thick black line print on parchment colored backgrounds, and the backs feature an ornate golden eye on a black background.

The illustrations are such a treat, a complete throwback to English woodblock prints, particularly those popular from witch-hunting manuals, witch-trials and manuscripts on black magic.  Dancing devils, wind-swept hags, maidens of the sabbat and skeletons of the dead make this deck truly one of a kind.  I've waited my whole life for someone to adapt the woodblock style well enough for a tarot deck but it turns out the idea is even better suited to an oracle deck. 

The oracle tells a story from the first block print illustration to the last, a story of wicked women dancing with death and the devils, the story of witching herbs growing from our gardens, dreams and bodies.   There's moonlight rituals and wild dances in graveyards, there are night-riders and twisted demons.   Hell, there's even a depiction of that classic moment when the witch must kiss the butt hole of the devil.  Even if traditional witchcraft isn't your vibe, this deck and its haunting occult imagery will be sure to entertain your magical whimsy. 

I think I was afraid at first that this deck was going to be a rehashing of overused motifs but it actually comes across as rather celebratory and humorous, with artwork that only hints at the old woodblock series without directly emulating every scene.  No card is boring, no two are very alike and each one seems like a complete story unto itself.  For me, each scene appears to be a still of the witch's journey to the sabbat, and a good deal of the cards depict night-riding and sabbat dancing and all of it from the perspective of English witch hysteria art.  Never gruesome or violent, and even a little bit cute where the bulbous-headed skeleton familiars are concerned, this oracle strikes a balance between fairytale and scary story.

While I never quite figured out a rating system for my tarot and book reviews because it would require me throwing shade on works that don't meet my personal standards, I always write reviews for the decks I believe deserve to be watched by the witching world and baby, you better keep an eye on these little demons.  Deviant Moon, I give you Oracle of Black Enchantment my full recommendation and thank you for your swift delivery and fair prices.  A PDF download of the workbook is available when you purchase the deck with the link provided in the shipping box.  Luckily, the cards sort of explain themselves, especially if you're already well acquainted with English and New English occult art.  I think I'll be using this deck for a while because it speaks to the plain old witch in me.

Beechnut and Toadflax: Strewing and Summer

Waxing Moon. Day of Venus.
I went to my sacred purple beech in the woods and right as I reached for my first pod, a forked twig broke and landed in my basket below.  This beech has seen me through rituals both alone and with other practitioners for over half my life.  More than 15 years later and this tree is still living up to her generous reputation. She's protected by a ring of ivy at her base and a crown of hornets nests above.  The hornets never ever bother me while I'm billowing smoke beneath the tree, they're rather preoccupied with the wild fields around us.  I pulled up toadlfax and nightshade ans sang in the dry heat, thankful for every slight breeze.
Elder is a Venusian herb.  After taking what I needed for some jam, I gave the rest to the spirits in thanks.

Orange lamp with sugared orange slices, rum and marigold strewing blend.
Six strewing blends from wishes to exorcisms, from dead resting to dead calling, and to love's sweet spirit

Exorcism smells like fern, rosemary and white lilac sometimes...

These aren't for keeping, more on that later... Right now, I'm just enjoying getting into the work of strewing beautiful things in my path.

You can't imagine what this amber opium rose incense smells like.  It's been aging for a couple years now and I'm just so pleased with the sugary floral aroma.

Baskets of Witchlore

The Witch Devours
Local witchlore is pretty gruesome.  There was a big difference between healers, medicine men and “witches”.  Love charms, apotropaic and anathemic charms and even spells with incantations are all found in the story-telling, folklore and traditional medicine of the Coastal Northwest.  Since the Northwest has been inhabited by outsiders for only a short time, syncretic religious systems spawned from shared folklore didn’t really develop here at all. It isn’t extensive, the witchlore, and it isn’t particularly kind to the witch, but just as there are the medicine men and healers the people turned to, there was a real fear of witchcraft and the stories of them in the PNW are usually centered around the idea of cannibalism- speaking to the very real concerns the people held regarding abundance.
It also speaks to the perception of medicine as something neutral that is then corrupted by the personal illness of the individual for good or for evil.  Witchcraft, like in some parts of Africa and parts of the Southwest United States, was seen more as something a person does than a designation of who they are, and some believed one could practice witchcraft without even intending to through bad thoughts and bad actions. Among some Pueblo groups, witchcraft was like an infection and has to be cured, meaning that a witch, much like in Judaic lore, is a spiritual force of destruction that harms the body, not necessarily a person you can vilify.  In the Northwest, both the witch as a person and the witch as a spiritual entity seem to exist depending on the people. Mostly, discussion of witchcraft as it occurred within families was a completely insular mystery and not shared with outsiders.
For a New World witch developing her craft independently in this area, you have to make do with the information available if you want to have a respectful relationship with the spirits here. That starts with regarding the history.  I always figured, if I'm living here, I should probably get to know the land and that includes the lore, the spirit.
"Not only Shamans, but other individuals, too, use plants as special charms, for spiritual protection, and for ritual cleansing, both internal and external, especially those who are in ritually powerful or vulnerable states-"- Nancy Turner, Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America
I’m sure there’s some stories in which the “witch” figure isn’t a “bad” medicine woman up here, but they aren’t as popular as the stories of the witch as a creature of darkness. By Northwest standards, a medicine man, unlike a healer, could use their gifts in any number of ways both for good and for evil, and those who were agents of themselves rather than the people were often looked upon as “witches". The idea of a "good" witch and a "bad" witch are actually pretty standard throughout much folklore and mythology- for every evildoer witch out there is honorable mention of a witch who wasn't so bad, even in indigenous witch-lore from throughout the Americas. This designation between shamans and witches; and bad witches from good witches, can lead to some pretty interesting ideas of what the word "witch" really means in the context of different cultures.
The cannibalistic Witch isn't just a motif of local witch-lore, it's as old as the tales of witches themselves and exist all over the world. In many cases the similarity between the mythical man-eating ogre and the witch was strong. Controversial Celtic mythology scholar John Arnott MacCulloch argued that the European fear of the "cannibalistic witch" was a byproduct of the demonizing the sacrificial rituals of pre-Christian pagans in Europe; instilling fear that the witch is a survival of old paganism and thus perpetuating the act of human sacrifice. This hysteria manifested in many ways and culminated in hundreds of witch trials over the fear of infanticide or cannibalism perpetrated by so-called witches. History is always written by the victors, and blaming witches for every little thing including cannibalism was just as normal for the English as it was for the Southwest Pueblo. On the other hand, the Oceanic Kombai and Korowai peoples used to practice cannibalism OF "suspected witches" called khakhua- so it isn't always the witch that eats the man. To be a witch in the Green River area today is to NOT be associated with cannibalism and child-theft.  Most of us prefer to just keep to the land and the rivers, hold company with the spirits and do our work with as little human-flesh consumption as possible. Gross.  That’s not to say the witch in local lore ought to be overlooked- she is a figure of wisdom, a lesson in the harshness of life and the swiftness with which winter and hunger can take from us.  The magical charms employed in the Northwest, which were usually plant-based, offer the possibility for healing and for hexing, for medicine and for witchcraft. It’s how the individual uses this medicine that determines who is a witch or not.
A New World Cauldron
The woven basket holds a special significance for a lot of indigenous people, but since we’re speaking on where I hang around, lets focus on the Northwest, where basket culture is not only ripe with artistic history and cultural lore, it is also of deep religious and spiritual importance and is associated with a litany of folklore in the Northwest; including that of witchcraft.  Salish basket weaving is an incredible art form, I did get the amazing opportunity to learn about reed weaving and basket culture through Ms. Hilbert.  From her we became acquainted with Lushootseed, how reeds and cedar were used in mat and basket making, the significance of baskets to Northwestern spiritual systems as well as the story of the Basket Ogress (sweyoqu). It had an impact on me. She compiled accounts from all over the Sound into a book, Haboo: Native American Stories from Puget Sound. Baskets were a means of communication, a way of telling stories, and a lesson in history.  They could be symbolic of authority and power; told stories of the family history or helped young women achieve status.  Related to baskets are cedar bentwood boxes which are a staple for some tribes located throughout the Sound.  They could be holding the power of a sacred object or of sacred food (like salal bread), usually of a very important person. Cedar is by far the most common material used in traditional basketry. Pine needle baskets, bitter cherry-bark baskets, cedar strip baskets- they all have different uses and values and were a commodity for Coastal peoples.  Up at Daybreak Star, there is a lot of preserved traditional artwork, the most fascinating of which is often the totem carving and dancing masks, but it’s really the basket work you should take a closer look at. Salish weaving styles are astounding in complexity and sheer volume. It is an art-form in and of itself and luckily, traditional basket weaving classes are offered by a few local tribes, including at the Long House.

The Witch Cooks

While basket weaving may have been one of the most important means of art, storage, cultural expression and production for Coastal Salish and related tribes, it was also the source of storytelling relating to sustenance- and even the witches of Northwest lore were part of this theme.  The Basket Ogress is a terrifying creature who by all accounts recorded, is very much a Coastal parallel to the story of Hansel and Gretel- she lures children, intends to cook them, is (in some accounts) outwitted by the children and cooked over her own fire instead...

As Cory over at New World Witchery put it; "If you think of the stereotypical folktale featuring a witch, she often winds up getting the bum end of the deal She gets shoved into an oven, hung on an old tree, burned in the town square, or swallowed up by the forces of hell."

The story of Basket Ogress wasn’t the only time that a basket-witch story was told to us; we also heard the story of the Snailwoman and Snakebasket woman; in their own ways they could be aptly described as witches even by western standards, though I’d like to note that they are more correctly defined as “bad” medicine men and women.  Medicine (in the indigenous spiritual sense) itself is neutral, but when used to harm, this person ceased to be a medicine person or “shaman” (to use that term loosely since we don’t have shamans here, we have medicine) and became what we identify in Western occultism as a “witch”. Today, when telling the stories in English, even traditional story-tellers use the word “witch” as a descriptor.

Snailwoman is a terrifying witch of local lore; explicitly called a witch in the collected folklore from Arthur Ballard, this witch is a type of ogress known for hunting children and terrorizing neighbors.  One version of the story which is more common to the Green River area is that of a hag called Snailwoman who appears mostly in winter, carries on her back a basket woven in a spiral like a snail; it is lined with pitch and full of rotting sticks, which she uses to chase and batter children before stuffing them into her basket.  In other stories, she walks with a rotting cane. She is often accompanied by her four other sisters, each who die a more horrific end than the last. Often, she dies in a fire of retribution at the end, though sometimes she eats the kids and goes on her merry way. Another version of the story tells of a Snailwoman or Snailwomen who tried to lure children into their snail-spiral baskets: long story short, the villagers trick the witches into putting rocks in their baskets and the witches sank in their canoe; they still bubble under the surface to this day. To hide from her sight, hide behind freshwater clams or mussels. To the East of the Mountains, she is seen as a hag of winter and a witch of great power feared by children. The referenced basket’s snail shape is likely alluding to the Salish spiral-weave style of basketry.

"The snail shell and the basket are symbolic of the womb, but the hag’s is a carnivorous womb, devouring life instead of producing it.  She is the Earth in Winter when the leaves fall to the ground and disintegrate and salmon die in their streams.” -David M. Buerge, Roots and Branches: The Religious Heritage of Washington State

When researching witchlore of the Puget Sound, it’s the storytelling that is by far the easiest, most accessible and accurate way to obtain first-hand knowledge on the folklore of Indigenous peoples.  There’s no shortage of storytellers here, I had the blessing of being well acquainted with some of the most prolific storytellers alive through my family and through my involvement in the 1990's Huchoosedah program and I can tell you that even though stories change from person to person, from clan to clan and tribe to tribe, the common elements are almost always unchanged, and the lore of the “witch” or bad medicine woman/man is a pretty solid theme.  The cannibalistic witch/woman is a common magical motif in Northwest local lore, including Canadian and Alaskan tribes who also had stories of a Cannibal bird woman, a kind of child-eating witch of great terror. Just across the Sound, the story of a witch with a terrible magic basket changes from that of a Hag and Snailwoman to that of a Snakewoman with a basket made of living serpents.

“There was a bad old witch who would steal children and roast them.  She had a live snake basket, woven of snakes, to carry the children in."- M. Terry Thompson, Steven M. Egesdal, Salish Myths and Legends: One People's Stories

In many ways, the basket is like the symbolism of the cauldron which both bestows greatness or creates diabolic consequences when in the hands of a witch.   The maidens who weave the baskets bring creation, sustenance, and wellness to the people while the witch (who is often a hag figure) has baskets that bring harsh lessons, destruction and decay. However, I must note that a "basket hag" could also be a figure of goodness, as was the case in the story of Stormwind and his basket-maker Grandmother; who wove a magic basket to help him defeat Northwind (Thelma Adamson, Folk-Tales of the Coast Salish). I enjoy the idea that both represent a different facet to a practitioner's life, that good and bad medicine, just like good and bad magic, coexist simultaneously in the mystical world around us.  The parallels of the witch in English folklore, Zuni mythology, Akan story-telling, and Coastal folklore is pretty fun to see- the witch really is universal.

“Many Indian modes of bewitching paralleled those reported in Europe and New England.  Native witches sought locks of hair, nail parings, saliva, urine, or fragments of perspiration-stained clothing from their prey so that these might be employed in occult treatments to produce disease or misfortune.  Among tribes of the Northwest Coast, witches made images of enemies, then tortured those parts of the body in which they desired to instill pain." -Marc Simmons, Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande

My people are actually from the Southeast United States, where the Owl is the herald of death and witchcraft, and just like in the Southeast, the owl is seen a symbol of witchcraft, death, and magic in the Northwest as well and you’ll be hard-pressed to see owls represented in standard artwork here as often as allies like Raven and Bear.  The snail, snake, and owl all seem to share a common witch-lore here, and I think it’s pretty fascinating that the animals of the menagerie of the witch is the same almost anywhere you go around the world.
In the Witching Basket

The lore of magical plants in concerns to witchery is also pretty standard; roots treated as witches and cared for like those of the alrauns and charms of philia and luck like "thistle and red columbine root" (Douglas Deur, Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America, 2005). According to ethnobotanists, plants were often employed as charms by practitioners- often just the root itself like false hellebore or horsetail.  I wrote about the indigenous plant lore a while back in my post A Riverton Magical Herbal and how many plants were utilized by the peoples of the Puget Sound for magical purposes, including love magic, strengthening before battle and exorcism. Many samples of these charming plants grow at the Erna Gunther Museum up at UW, it's a nice stroll through Indigenous medicine.  

When it comes to the plants associated with bewitchment; we have the bulb of the trillium, pond lily, and vetch- all of which have been recorded to have been used in romantic/erotic charms and spells by locals in botanical ethnographies like those of Nancy Turner and Erna Gunther.    Other herbs notably used in charms and spells were the famed Devil’s Club- according to the recorded stories of peoples like the Haida and Tsimshian, this was a plant that could be used to destroy bewitchment and bad medicine but its needles were also a talisman for luck in gambling, while its flesh was eaten for the same.  Also, yellow tiger lily (and other lily types) which were supposedly used to draw love and luck especially to women who rubbed themselves with the bulb and fed it to their intended. Bitterroot appears to have been viewed in a similar fashion to the European mandrake; as a semblance of a man or woman and thus meant to be treated with anthropomorphic sensibilities.  Some tribes further North of here treated Devil’s Club similarly.

a trillium specimen at a local ethnobotanical garden
A modern witch of the Green River looking to work her necromantic work may offer Symphoricarpos Hesperus "Ghost berries" to the dead and to your salmon or snake allies, decorate the altar in red elderberries, wear a false hellebore root around their neck (Turner) and ally with the owl, snake or snail.  She may perform love spells with a staff from a bitter cherry tree, or use a wand traditionally employed for love drawing like huckleberry (Gunther). A Green River witch today may want to avoid certain herbs while performing hexcraft, those herbs that tend to diminish her work such as juniper berry wash, devil’s club spines hung in doorways, rose tea and nettle wash.

Baskets of witchlore, full of bewitching plants and snails and sticks and snakes... I like the image of the local cannibal witch, she has style.  My world is a basket of mysterious roots and I am a witch hungry to devour whatever I catch.

"...There are... three kinds of witches; namely, those who injure but cannot cure; those who cure but, through some strange pact with the devil, cannot injure; and those who both injure and cure. And among those who injure, one class, in particular, stands out... those who, against every instinct of human or animal nature, are in the habit of eating and devouring the children of their own species."
- Heinrich Krämer and Jacob Sprenger, The Methods of the Devil

Consulted Resources
  • Keeping it Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America by Douglas Deur
  • Roots and Branches: The Religious Heritage of Washington State by David M. Buerge, Junius Rochester
  • Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge: Ethnobotany and Ecological Wisdom of Indigenous Peoples of Northwestern North America by Nancy Turner
  • Salish Myths and Legends: One People's Stories by M. Terry Thompson, Steven M. Egesdal
  • Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande by Marc Simmons
  • Haboo: Native American Stories from Puget Sound by Vi Hilbert
  • The Childhood of Fiction: A Study of Folk Tales and Primitive Thought by John Arnott MacCulloch
  • Modern Witchcraft and Psychoanalysis by Mel D. Faber
  • Witches of Normanby Island by Géza Róheim
  • Folktales of the Coast Salish by Thelma Adamson
  • Mythology of Southern Puget Sound: Legends Shared by Tribal Elders by Arthur C. Ballard, University of Washington Publications in Anthropology, 1929

The New Moon Above the Riverton Witch

I am Via Hedera, the Riverton Witch.
For a lot of witches; myself included, I celebrate the New Moon over a series of days, from Dark to New moon.  For me, this started off Friday, my most religious day and ended on the day of Sun, as the first solar light hit the moon.   In Pomona's orchard before the New Moon, reading the entrails of sun-baked apples.  It smells incredible you know?  There are plums and Italian prunes, crab apples and chestnuts- all of it baking in this incredible summer we've been having and it smells like a pie from the gods.  It's the perfume of the Queen of Summer, it's the aroma of fruition.  If you look where the apples fall, you can see the progress of the seasons written in the fermenting flesh.  I like to take the seeds, you never know when you'll need a love charm... Oh who am I kidding, I always find a reason for a love charm.

The shrine of the Neon Venus is always lit on Friday nights, no matter the moon.  Visitors will usually kiss their fingers and place them on her breasts or stomach.   Others leave shells at her feet.  She got a whole cauldron of apples and cherries and plums as an offering for being present with Hekate as we went root-cutting.  My partner isn't a witch, but they worship Aphrodite too.  She binds the love that makes this place so safe and blessed.  I have good luck in my life, I have her, and Fortune to thank.

and so we the witches of the Market fed her apples and plums and cherries and spiced rum and kissed before her goblet.

Since I was hosting the Dark Moon Witch Market this round, I offered up love magic for bargain.  I wound up trading most of the sugar-box starters and cacao teas for seeds like spicebush, ground cherry, and others.  

Dark love draw.  I had traded 10 of these earlier this year at a psychic fair in Georgetown, and I offloaded the last bit on the New Moon.  It is a blend of herbs you should use as a floor wash before your lover comes over.   Yohimbe increases passion, rose deepens desire, and the others.. well they have their uses indeed.

A few of the soaps were traded for dressed candles and my whole stock of locust flower strewing blend was taken in exchange for a box of Haitian tobacco.   I took us on a nature walk through the botanical garden and we talked wild roses and other indigenous plants and their relationship with introduced species. Then we grabbed a coffee, and went back to our individual work.  I spent three days deep in my spirituality and I feel better for it.

We took some time to put together lavender, sage, rose, tobacco, eucalyptus, and thyme offering bundles, because you should never root-cut empty-handed.  They were made to honor the Glittering Star as we dug in the warm, dark earth.  I love the smells bundle-making leaves behind in your hands.

This summer I've been sitting with Arbutus menziesii.   I've learned a lot from watching how she towers in the woods or creeps inconspicuously along the roadside.  I chose one madrona- or maybe the choosing was mutual, who was exhibiting a full force of life; green leaves, pale fresh flowers, berries and fresh peeling bark all at once.  Bees bounce over her singing songs in the wind.  Her texture is smooth, her scent is earthy with a floral and slight musk to it.  Her leaves are broad and fat and plentiful all year round.  Her berries are a vibrant high-orange red which are bland to our tongues but integral to the diets of local allies like raccoon, and jay.  When I think of madrona, I think of water and earth, sun and neutral energy.  Her sacred colors are green, white and red.  She has a pleasant woody scent in incense and smells sweeter as she ages and her smoke invites the spirits and opens the world.  She also tastes alright in tea; a tad bitter, chicory like, but goes better when flavored with licorice root.  It goes into a lot of Northwest wild herbal smudge blends.  We spent some time discussing anxiety and stomach upsets relating to love issues and made some tasty, sleepy tea.

My vetch plants on the patio had reached the end of their lives, as did many of the smaller poppies.  Vetch root is used in local love charms as a body wash herb with the medicine to draw a lover back or keep a lover faithful.  It was also believed to provide beauty, just like trillium bulb, when rubbed over the body or soaked in water which is then used as a personal wash.  I took all of these up on the Friday before the new moon, because vetch is beloved by Venus.  The poppy roots will be ground up for dream powders, but the roots will be used whole for love charms.  I gave V and N three giant vetch root and three hairy vetch roots each after our discussion on vetch folklore in the Old and New World and how to employ this root magic in the new era.

The more impressive roots we dug up on the eve of the Dark Moon rising were three herbs of Venus who all hold local lore in traditional love charm application- most notably the trillium bulb.  The trillium in my mom's yard is old and hearty, so digging her up took a very long set of love songs.   We poured rose water over the soil as we dug with our bare fingers to coax her out.  With a sudden twist, she pulled free.  You have to be careful with trillium, according to local lore; she brings bad weather and bad luck if picked improperly and without intention.  You have to tell her what her medicine is for.  After cleaning and cutting, she'll be dried and powdered.  I already have a few of my mom's trillium dried and stored, so having a fresh one to compare during the discussion was fun.   The bleeding heart and oxalis practically crawled into my hand when I touched them, rising up from the earth with a sigh.  There are traditional medicinal applications of each one locally; oxalis and bleeding heart both being associated with the treatment of toothaches.  In magic, all three are used as a charm to draw or keep love in one fashion or another.

Lemon honey poppyseed bread.  I got these seeds from my homegirl in the horticulture program, and from my own garden and that of my mother's.  I'm so happy with it.  It was made with all the love of Hekate in mind.  Praise the one before the Gate.
As the darkness set in, a storm arrived too.  Ninety-degree weather for weeks, and right just now a storm arrives with the new moon.  Imagine what's to come...  As the rain fell in the warm summer heat, I baked a lemon poppy honey bread for Hekate.  It is her dinner after all.  I serve it with water, egg, garlic, and storax.  The way is opening, like an eye that just shut for a second, opening back up to the world.

I'm trying to understand the changes going on around me, like in the workplace, my family, my friendship circles... it's all so fast but necessary.   So please Hekate, mother of witches, guide me through.

New World Folk & Our Witches Too

Words have power,
Never speak ill of the dead,
Thank the creator and the ancestors;
are things my mother said.

She raised us to believe in fairies;
she brewed teas that caused sleep and keeps frogs by her bed
she taught us to believe in Stick-man-
it was things my mother said.

Sage is always in the home-
and you always keep pennies overhead,
it will bring you good luck and banish bad luck;
I think my mother said.

My siblings and I differ in religions,
and now learn from the books that we've read;
but I imagine I'll have passed on to my child, 
All the things her grandma had said.
-Via Hedera, The Riverton Witch

     Folklore and folk magic are steeped into the spiritual sensibilities of Americans regardless of their denomination and faith.  It has always been part of the narrative of our history, it has bonded together communities and defined regions.  It is more than the haunts and urban legends; I'm talking about the magic that was born when the Old World, Motherland, and New World met, where the traditions of magic- and witchcraft- of the Americas was born.  Depending on where you are and who you live among in the states, you may have absorbed more magic into your life than you ever credited.  For some American witches, folk-magic has been part of their life, their families and is only recently becoming acceptably associated with witchcraft itself.  And for many American witches, the New Age movement is not where they draw the sources of their practice from; but rather from the folk magical traditions that developed right here at home by our ancestors, and often these traditions of magic represent the syncretic nature of witchcraft in the New World.

  Morgan’s post on Reconstruction of Early Witchcraft Resources got me thinking, got me writing.  I feel like it’s where witchcraft is headed right now.  We are headed away from the New Age of witchcraft and into the Reconstruction and Traditionalism era, where more witches are foregoing the contemporary and reach back towards history.  Many witches are beginning to find themselves drawn towards their ancestors again, back towards animistic spirituality and in doing so are also rediscovering the inherent folk-magic many of us have lived with our whole lives.  We are studying the folklore and oral traditions we’ve become familiar with and following those threads back to their furthest sources, and from those sources, we draw the outline of our modern practices.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with New Age witchcraft or the neo-witch movement, I respect it all. But my interest lies in the transmission of traditional witchcraft from around the world as it manifests in the Americas. I feel a personal investment in the preservation of folk magic and witchcraft lore in general because of my mixed raced, folk religious upbringing here in the states; where observing veneration of the dead and land- the pillars of my faith today, had a deeply cultural, and deeply spiritual meaning. To this day, I'm still practicing the charms, my mom, my tias, my grandma taught me; from pennies over my door to lucky clovers, spirit-plates and careful words, smudging and prayers and the rule about ill-speaking the dead. It was all medicine and spirituality, and it was undeniably magic; and while they weren't all witches, it did form traditions for us that stand to this day. A lot of American families have been touched by folk magic, but my upbringing was culturally complicated and very influenced by the folk faiths of those around me.

For American witches, this is becoming of deeper importance: we are finally embracing our syncretic heritage and the folklore and “superstitions” and customs it has wrought here in simple and complex forms.  Given the difficulties many here face of feeling set-apart from a particular culture of their ancestry, we are no longer feeling as displaced from our sources while trying to forge ahead with this new culture we’ve made from the best and worst of all cultures we've encountered. This is because wherever you go in America, there is the folklore of those who lived there and the legends and "superstitions" they left behind which are still ingrained into our ever-evolving culture.  And where there is folklore, there is always, inevitably, witchcraft. We are starting to embrace the idea that the New World has its own traditions of witchcraft, ones that have their own folklore, history, charms and rituals and nearly all of them are descended from two or more cultural-spiritual elements combining into new traditions of magical practices specific to the Americas.
Traditional American witchcraft in New England is most commonly known as Salem Witchcraft, and most Americans become well acquainted with witchcraft lore itself through the legends of the Salem trials. While heavily Christianized traditionally, many witches in this region have embraced the pagan and Christian aspects of colonial witchcraft folklore and it's easy to find long-standing traditions of magic celebrated in Salem itself. Today, the witches of Salem reflect the exact image of the witch that the early settlers ingrained into American folklore through their famed trials.  The folklore that influenced the perception of witchcraft in New England was a byproduct of English, German, Dutch, Irish and French settlers primarily and reflected the lore of the witch as she appeared throughout Western Europe- a diabolic being with powers of foreknowledge and in congress with familiars who do their bidding.

It was also strongly influenced by their perceptions of African and Indigenous spiritualties which they saw as devilish and occult. The witch in New England became known as the black-cat loving, pumpkin-patch haunting night-flier we as Americans recognize today. All of this because the superstitions of witchcraft in New England reflected how different European peoples perceived the mystical world around them. As we move inland, Mid-Westerners have their own extensive folklore regarding witchery in German settled territories like Pennsylvania. Entire manuals on how witchcraft was viewed and dealt with, were published about these territories and it is the birthplace of the all-American folk magical tradition of the braucher and other German-colonial folk magicians, some of whom are witches.

Aside from that, the Voodoo of New Orleans, which is not inherently witchcraft, also wound up impacting the American idea of the practitioner and has bred an entirely new generation of Afro-diasporic religious interest. This has led to the rising popularity of L.A voodoo, rootwork, conjure, obeah and other rural folk magical traditions found throughout the American South and Southeast, which only exist as they are due to syncretism. Hoodoo, much like brujeria in the Southwest and New York and other black/Latinx/mixed-raced epicenters is becoming really popular now, representing a return of African spirituality while maintaining a link to ones additional or surrounding culture.  Some of it is pure eclecticism from an Afro-diasporic perspective, and some of it is just folkloric magic based on early America’s convergence of African, Indigenous and European religion, stories and superstitions. Thanks to the works of beloved African American folklorists like Zora Neale Hurston, we have access to some of the earliest vestiges of Afro-diasporic folklore in the Americas.
 The Northeast feared witches for dancing with the devil, the Southerners feared the same. The witch in America even among Indigenous peoples in the Southwest, Southeast, and Northwest, was regarded as a fearsome creature with specific gifts, just as the Old World regarded witches; their identifying gifts being that of conjury of spirits, poisoning of victims by plants, objects or by evil intent, knowledge of herbs medicinally and magically, abilities to change shape or fly at night to dance with great spirits, capable of great good or evil.  “The tradition among the Zuni crediting witches with dissemination of both good and evil suggests the Old World differentiation between white and black magic.”- Marc Simmons, Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande.  For some tribes in the Southwest, notably the Navajo, witchcraft involvement was a serious offense but could also lend prestige and mystery; a certain air of respect to a lower class person looking to move up socially in even a somewhat negative regard. The concept of "good" and "bad" witches supersedes the idea of witchcraft as an inherent negative and was present on American soil long before colonization.

The Pueblo, Spanish, English, West Africans- they all had witches, and the witch always had at least those things in common, and it made them identifiable cross-culturally. In the Ozarks and Appalachia, in swamps and bayous, there is folk magic and even fully formed traditions of magic to be found, and wherever there is talk of magic, there is talk of witches- for better or worse. These areas had famed witches and witch trials and hunts, there was real magic practiced and real witchcraft spreading, and as the lore of the American witch spread, our traditions around the idea became something unique.
The most fascinating aspect to all of this regional witchcraft and its racial history is the fact that each of these regions share deep commonalities in their folk magic and witchlore: apotropaic charms, lucky amulets, agrarian charms, and wives tales, amulets and talismans of protection and health, healing prayers, jinxes, haunted/spirited heirlooms, love magic charms, nightmare and dream charms, divination and acts of exorcism are all defined as practices that can define witchcraft itself, and that’s exactly what you can find everywhere in American regional folklore- magic most don’t even know is magic.  Charms, amulets, rituals, and beliefs common to the folklore of different American regions vary but are wonderfully similar throughout the country and are shaped primarily by the majority ethnic populations that settled and their history.

Traditions of magic in America, like all others in the world, have their own sets of values and taboos regarding almost all facets of life. The folklore of the South; notably Tennessee, North Carolina, Louisiana, Virginia, and Florida have some of THE most fascinating and well documented folkloric customs that permeate the cultures there, of every heritage. Some pockets of the American South were very insular and deeply rooted in traditions brought over from the Old World. Southern tales in Tennessee alone vary in cultural roots and is the basis for most of the charms, rituals, taboos, and jinxes that are commonplace throughout the county's tall-tales. Some American folklore is cute, modern, and based on simple misunderstandings of science. Other veins of American folklore are descended from the spiritual beliefs and "superstitions" of the Africans, Europeans and Native Americans and how they perceived the mysteries around them.
Below are all common, and in many cases culturally ingrained charms that you can find throughout the country.  This, of course, is just a generalization of the major populations at the time in the area who would have disseminated this lore into American culture. It is based on where I’ve been able to trace folk magic within the States through historical literature and books of American folklore.
Key: NE- Northeast region; SE- Southeast; S- South; SW- Southwest; NW- Northwest; MW- Midwest;  G-General (meaning so ancient that it has likely unknown origins but remains popular today and likely found in all regions of the States), TA- Traditional American Symbolism/Art
Rabbits foot (SE,S), gators tooth (S), lucky birth-date or heads-up penny (G), mojo bags (S, SE), “medicine” bags (S, SW), sachets or magic pouches (NE), four-leaf clover or clover rings (NE, SE, S), marbles (G), animal bones or shells (G), lucky numbers (G), fairy gardens (NE, MW, S, SE), avoidance of black cats (NE, S, SW), avoidance of rainy weddings (G), avoidance of crossroads at night and black dogs and blackbirds and black-clad strangers (S, NE), prayer before a funeral procession for luck (NE), burial without flowers inside coffin (NE), opening a window for the deceased souls to fly out (NE, MW, S, SE) avoidance of birds in the home (G), avoidance of black at weddings and white at funerals (G)
Eggs- used for rubbing (SW) rubbing stones (G), poppets, healing dollies and wax figures (NE, MW, S, SW), lightning water (S, SE),
Lodestone (SW), wax or wool curse dolls “Pierced with cactus thorns, they brought excruciating pain and ultimately death upon intended victims”- Simmons (SW), jinx rhymes (G), graveyard soil (S), poppets (NE, S) volt-filled dollies (NW) hair-balls/witch-balls "A small bunch of hair from a horse or cow is rolled between the two hands into a small round ball, and this ball is used as a bullet."-Journal of American Folklore (S, MW), black cat bone (S, SE)
Love Draw/Marital
Planting roses (G), heart-shapes with banners, roses or doves (TA), doves at weddings (NE), love elixirs and philtres (S, SW, NW), love root charms (NW, S), diamonds and gold (G), the colors pink and red (G). red thread magic (SW), feeding a crush enchanted food or parts of the self (G), somethings old, blue borrowed and new on a wedding day(G), jumping the broom (specifically Black American), apple seed charms (S, MW), picking-flowers/counting petals/blowing love wishes (G), rubbing a root on the body to draw love (NW, SW) laying sugar on the floor of a quarreling home, sweeping it up and burning it (MW), sugar boxes or honey jars (S, SE, MW)
Apotropaic Charms & Fetishes of Protection
Witchbottles (NE,SE,S,SW), lodestone (SW), grisgris (S), poppet (NE), rattles (G), white candles and memorial pictures (G), spirit plates (G), garlic sacks, onion stockings, pepper wreaths (G, SW, NE), crucifix (G), blessed medals (MW, G), prayers on parchment (NE, MW, S), prayers embroidered and hung in homes, bible verses on walls, horseshoes over doorways, additional 3, 7 or 13 nails in door frames (G), red brick dust (S), salt (G), hex signs (MW), sage bundles (G), tobacco (SW), palo santo (SW), sweet-grass (SW, S), calaveras (SW), High John (S), anhangsel (MW), magic rings (NE, MW), tree bottles (S, SE, NE), wind-chimes, dreamcatchers (MW, SW), button blankets (NW), spirit offering baskets (NW, SW), feet of the dead facing East to rise with the dawn of Judgement Day (NE), lucky coins over the eyes of the dead (G, and of Greek American origin), covering mirrors after a death (NE, SE, S), milagros(SW; small metal charms used as spiritual charms and tokens of prayer in Southwestern folkmagic, they are delivered to holy sites or nailed to wooden crosses to symbolize a prayer to a saint, and are used as charms of protection by Christians and brujas and curranderos alike)
Flight (witchcraft folklore throughout the country recounts the methods by which witches leave to gatherings and deeds, and the transport varies by region and peoples and reflects English, Indigenous Southwest, Spanish and West African witchcraft lore)
Broomsticks (NE), gourd (SW), pumpkins (NE, SW), eggs (SW), fireballs (SW), swamp lights (S), fairy lights or wisps (NE, SE, S), flying ointment (NE), Witch Butter (S), key-holes (S,SE), Clothing (Judaic American, MW), by shape-shifting into an insect or animal (NE, SE, S, SW)
Spirit boards (NW), obsidian glass (SW); tarot, palmistry (brought by the Roma), star wishing, dandelion blowing, eyelash wishing, coin-flipping, coin-in-well tossing, well-mirror skrying, soot/fireplace skrying, augury, fire-gazing, yarn-spinning, flower-petal picking (G) telling the bees (N, NE, SE, S) apple-seed fortunes (S, SE, NE, Canada), yarn-winding fortunes (G)

We already have so much here to build our traditions from, so much to reconstruct and traceback, why do we so often skip our own culture in favor of embracing distant ones?  Why not both? Why not appreciate and be knowledgeable of the ways of your ancestors wherever they came from by embracing what they brought and left behind right here, all around you?  I’m not interested in being someone else’s idea of a witch or arguing the legitimacy of traditional forms of American witchcraft practices; only my own. The sources I draw much of my work from already exist right here, and that folklore is my way of connecting to my ancestors in the way that they intended when they came here and got to mixing.

Do New World Witches need to do more to embrace traditional witchcraft through the vast folklore in America?
I think so.   I think it is absolutely necessary for witches who pursue the traditional or reconstructive roads to know the origin and context of their practices, I also think it’s incredibly important to celebrate the fact that so much folklore, legend, rituals, charms, and taboos have shaped the "superstitions" and spiritualities of all Americans of different backgrounds and we need to account for how much environment plays a role on spirituality.
Folklore plays a particularly important role in the studies of traditional witchery and pagan religious practices too.  Folk magic, cunning, kenning and folk healing is the basis for most witchcraft as we know it; things gleaned from the spiritual praxis of community and ancestry. Folkloric witchcraft is the craft of the layperson and is epitomized in a special connection to mythology and folktales, local lore, ancient lore as kept through oral history and the figures of legend. It can belong to any cultural background in which the folk beliefs, fairy-tales, and local legends are still intact. I know that a practice can be extricated from those sources.  What we can clearly see from American folk magic are the practices of:
Agrarian rites
Funeral rites
Apotropaic charms
Anathemic charms
Philia/Eros charms
Healing rites
All of these aspects of folk magic/religious practice aren't just innocuous gestures, they are also defining practices of the witch (for those pursuing that craft).  Just as Jules Michelet speculated in his works on traditional witchcraft in Europe, all of these were the defining traits of one who practices witchery in many Indigenous faiths as well- notably those of the Zuni, Pueblo, Coastal Salish, Seminole and others; as well as being a common motif in most West African spiritualities that came to the Americas.  It's one thing to practice these magical arts in congruence with one's Christian faith which is the more usual affair, but to do so in a purely pagan way, calling to old gods through their old practices reborn, that is becoming the new normal and is an expression of the move towards traditional practices.

Is there such a thing as traditional forms of American witchcraft?  
Traditional witchcraft has three definitions that I’ve come across and there is a big difference between being a witch and a traditional witch.
The Watkins Dictionary of Magic defines traditional witchcraft as; "regarded by most authorities as a folk religion that blended with superstition, fortune-telling, folklore, and herbalism with remnants of various pre-Christian religion beliefs (e.g Celts and Druids)."  

Other Common definitions I’ve come across:
1. The reconstructed practices of magic originating from Pre and Post Christian Western Europe as well as those traditions formed by Mystery cults in Europe.  British Traditional Witchcraft is the most recognizable tradition within this definition.
2. A magical practice that traces its roots before New Age Occultism (e.g Wicca); based on the practices of magical or mystical faiths of various cultures before the influence of the New Age Movement. These traditional forms of magical practice and mysticism- some of which is witchcraft can include; Stregheria, curanderismo, conjure, (some) hoodoo, rootwork and brujeria and various other magical practices that reflect the cultures from which they came. These practices may also not always be considered witchcraft.
3. Family tradition witchcraft; a magical system of beliefs that has been passed on through a family for more than two generations.  This type of traditional witch is rare, though it has become increasingly more common in the last 100 years to find witches or magicians or charmers who claim to descend from a long line of witches- most claims are fraudulent.  Usually, hereditary traditional witches are those who picked up folk magic practices and beliefs from their family, extended family, insular community and cultural upbringing and continue the same or similar practices in their own homes as a matter of familial or cultural identity.  This is not uncommon and most who come from families like this do not often consider it inherently witchcraft (myself included).
Now, America may not have a specific tradition of witchcraft to define it, but that's because there are a lot of regions to this huge country and each region has its own traditions of magic and charms based on the superstition, religion, and spirituality that came to settle there.  No matter the difference in the folklore or charms, the legend of witchcraft is absolutely abundant, and it was so-- long before the colonizers came from Europe, long before they dragged slaves to the New World. When all three worlds met, they had at least one thing in common: the very real fear of very real witches.
Christianity was the great catalyst that shaped a good deal of America's perception of magic and metaphysics; with much of our common folk charms being tied to Christianity in some fashion, like; our use of holy water, marking crosses, psalms in charms of conjury, Words of Blessing in homes, or blessed charms as was common in Catholic areas of newly settled America.  To these practitioners, their actions were not witchcraft, but the work of holy spirits and god himself. To some others, however, it was deeper than that, it was veneration of the ancestors and the gods of the Old World and New. It depended entirely on a hundred factors. Some customs became ingrained into families as simple superstitions while others were parts of the family fabric. I’ve been to Salem and seen what hundreds of years of witch-hysteria related mythos, storytelling, and folklore has done to the culture there; creating a distinctly American tradition of magic in New England that is easily identifiable by its almost stereotypical atmosphere- but it’s a stereotype because the American idea of a “witch” descends in part from the culture of New English witch hysteria, made most infamous in Salem.  
“Europeans knew about witches- the earliest settlers of America- Spanish, English, Dutch, Swedes, French, German, etc, all had a “working knowledge” generally speaking, of religious backgrounds, especially respecting good and bad- angels and witches.”- A Monroe Aurand Jr., The Realness of Witchcraft in America (1942)
I’ve also been to the South and Southeast and experienced just a bare taste of the incredibly rich Afro-diasporic roots of magical traditions down South.  It’s the other large half of the American Traditional Witch identity alongside New English. Southern magic isn’t always witchcraft and it’s important to distinguish mystics and magicians from witches themselves.  That being said, the South is ripe with witchery and it’s all thanks to the same blend of Old World, New World and Motherland mysticism synchronizing and being passed generationally. Take the mask of Catholicism and Christianity away from the practices and you’ll see the deep struggle of black and Indigenous roots as they fight to stay alive under oppression and assimilation.   It’s a crossroads; a four-way street between clashing cultures; and when these paths met, the synthesis of spirituality was immediate.  In some cases, the adoption of foreign beliefs was a survival mechanism and a method of preservation under oppression. Such as was the case with many groups of West African slaves who adopted Catholicism as a mask and even addition to their native beliefs, the product of which spawned traditions of Afro-diasporic religious expression like rootwork, conjure, Santeria, lucumi and voodoo.    When speaking on the richness and foundation of American folk magic and folk religion, none was likely more instrumental than that of African spiritually. While many of us who descended from those brought over here early on often have no way of knowing where in Africa our ancestors came from during the slave trade, there were aspects of African spirituality- wide swaths of it in fact- that ingrained itself into the American spiritual identity. The culmination of (forced and voluntary) Christian conversion, exposure to Indigenous lore and African spiritual values resulted in the vast array of Afro-diasporic faiths we have now, and the entire movement of American folk religion. It is well documented, especially in the American South and the Caribbean, how much of African storytelling, agrarianism, and animistic spiritual values transmitted across the seas and became conflated, identified, associated and synchronized with Ingenious stories and folklore; think on the stories of Br'er Rabbit and Anansi- both the mythical figures of the trickster rabbit and spider are prevalent in the folklore of Indigenous Americans like the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Seminole, and the stories as we know it are believed to be an amalgam between certain ethnic African and Indigenous American myths which eerily resembled each other in theme and ideology. Anansi, though originally an Akan spiritual entity, to this day, is a symbol of black American rebellion and cunning and a spiritual figure in Afro-diasporic magic. Whether we descended from Cameroon, Fon, Benin, Akan or Yoruba peoples, Anansi has become a symbol of black spiritual strength.

As Africans were forced to work the land alongside Indigenous people, herbal and agrarian information and folk medicine was exchanged and the tradition of Afro American root-working and herbal medicine was born from this synthesis of necessity.  Coupled with the information given to, and forced upon them by their European owners who had brought to the Americas their own folklore from the Old World, new, and completely all-American syncretic spiritual systems emerged. Maybe we as American witches should focus more on celebrating and reconstructing the folk charms and rituals and stories that we’ve never really lost, the ones that are part of Regional American Folk Magic, ones that express what could only be created under the circumstances from which we came. So, for an American practitioner of occult arts seeking to reconstruct and preserve the practices of their ancestors, maybe starting with rebuilding and honing traditions of magic evolved in our place of birth. We could be readily embracing what is local and familial to us rather than trying to mimic far distant traditions from far-removed cultures.
I’m not implying that reconstruction of Old World beliefs is at all problematic for an American; I’m saying that it isn’t the only legitimate path to traditional forms of magical practice that exists, nor is it by any means a more “pure” or better or righteous path. It’s a path for people who have invested most of their spiritual identity with one culture’s particular spiritual point of view, and that’s just fine.  For some of us, however, we can’t feel comfortable ignoring facets of our ancestry that are crucial to our cultural identity.   I know my faith doesn’t lead me to choose between the cultures of my ancestors and follow only the religion of that chosen ancestor; that's a path for other witches and I respect it deeply, it is just as meaningful as my own path.   For those of us witches and pagans who are mixed raced and American, the option of embracing our own traditions found right here is an imperative option. Ending on A Personal Note... I’m not a reconstructionist of an ancient pagan religion or tradition of magic- my goal lies in reconstructing the works, charms, rituals, and beliefs of all my ancestors as it relates specifically to land and spirit veneration in the Americas.  I’m mixed-raced and American, my ancestors are many and their paths are vastly different, requiring a lot of dedication and education on my part in order to understand and reconstruct the plant and spirit related practices of my West African, Western European and Indigenous American ancestors.   One thing I know; I am descended from people who worked the land or lived off the rivers on all sides, and I intend to honor what they have to teach me Luckily, I have a laughably large family that extends over many countries and continents.  They give me the connections I need to grow, also, working for the college system comes with a level of access to materials that comes in handy.  And because my family has handed the folklore and superstitions of their own homes and cultures down to me and my siblings, I get the unique experience of seeing the magical world from a dozen angles.   I got to learn some fundamental rules of the craft; silence, ancestor veneration, service to the dead, land-veneration from birth as a matter of household and social responsibility. There were always spirits, there were always spiritualists, and there was always a path to both.

Sourcing and Resourcing:

Start with primary source material and historical references and see how they relate to the present or what their present value may be.  When it comes to sources and resources on American folk magic, witch-lore, and traditional charms, the options are actually plentiful. If you check your local library, you’ll find it’s a lot easier to find historical literature on the region you live in, older books which contain some of the first written examples of oral history and folklore in the Americas.  American folklore collections are actually pretty easy to find in the right library and are usually not easy to find online; they are collegiate level resources that are often compiled in the form of a contemporary ethnography in American studies and can be crucial in establishing how magical traditions transmitted across the continent. The perspectives can be a little dated, but the information can be instrumental in understanding the magical roots of the country. Most literature regarding magic in America will focus on the voodoo of the South and the New English witch-lore of the upper East Coast. The libraries at colleges like the one I work for have hardback book series published in the 19th and 20th centuries regarding the folklore and legends of each state and region, there are ethnographies of Indigenous tribes and small minority communities that detail how their folklore transmitted throughout the country. Try to find dissertations and compendiums compiled by graduate students, it can be invaluable because much of it is gathered first hand through interviews with actual subjects. In my library you can learn about the spiritual systems of the Menominee, the wildflower folklore of the deep South and the roots of Hispanic witch-lore in Texas all in a single bookshelf.  Some of the best sources you’ll ever find are in college-level books, ethnographies as well as books of nursery rhymes and simple folktales. Truly, any book is valuable as long as it can back its source material. Next to that, visit every museum you can in every state possible, especially in smaller towns.  I learned a lot about the spiritual history and related folklore of Rhode Island, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts just by visiting small local museums.  If you can, get an access pass to the back rooms where additional literature is often stored, or where more rare manuscripts are kept to get a glimpse at information that is otherwise harder to get.  Many museums offer exhibits with old maps and letters that detail how our foremothers and fathers viewed the mystic, how they personified myths. Get some linguistic skills as well because there are some things that just don’t translate to English accurately. Call it New World witchcraft, or maybe Traditional American Witchcraft, or even American folkloric witchcraft.  Argue the semantics and start a conversation about what things like tradition or witchcraft even mean, about what it means to reconstruct from old sources and what it means to be a witch in the New World.  We are at a good place to begin a new conversation for the modern era with witchcraft as it reaches for its ancestral identity. Now is a good time for us to start looking back, in order to move forward.
Literature Consulted:

  • Magnalia Christi Americana by Cotton Mathers
  • Black Magic: Religion and the African American Conjuring Tradition by Yvonne P. Chireau
  • Every Tongue Got to Confess: Negro Folk-tales from the Gulf States by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Handbook of American Folklore by Richard M. Dorson
  • Native North American Shamanism: An Annotated Bibliography by Greenwood Publishing Group, 1998
  • Witches of Pennsylvania: Occult History & Lore by Thomas White
  • A Collection of Folklore by Undergraduate Students of East Tennessee State University by Thomas G. Burton and Ambrose N. Manning
  • Witches of the Atlantic World: An Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebook by Elaine G. Breslaw
  • Witchcraft and Sorcery of the American Native Peoples by Deward E. Walker
  • Working the Roots: Over 400 Years of Traditional African American Healing by Michele Elizabeth Lee
  • Witches & Neighbors: The Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft by Robin Briggs
  • Witchcraft in Early North America by Alison Games
  • Roots and Branches: The Religious Heritage of Washington State by David M. Buerge and Junius Rochester
  • American Witches: A Broomstick Tour Through Four Centuries by Susan Fair
  • Witchcraft Myths in American Culture by Marion Gibson
  • Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande by Marc Simmons
  • Magic and Mysticism: An Introduction to Western Esotericism by Arthur Versluis
  • The Realness of Witchcraft in America by A Monroe Aurand Jr.
  • Cunning Folk and Familiar Spirits: Shamanistic Visionary Traditions in Early Modern British Witchcraft and Magic by Emma Wilby
  • Jambalaya: The Natural Woman's Book of Personal Charms and Practical Rituals by Luisah Teish
  • Folklore on the American Land by Duncan Emrich

Blogs of note by some practitioners in North America:

Interesting Sites:

Update: Edited June 2019
© VIA HEDERA • Theme by Maira G.