ozark folk magic

Types of American Folk Magic

Appalachian “Granny Magic”

Summary: A mix of Scotch-Irish and Native American practices from the Appalachian Mountain Region (Much of Pennsylvania down through parts of Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, The Carolinas, Tennessee, and Alabama).

Appalachian magic tended to revolve around herbal healing and and superstitions, many of which are still in practice today (Horseshoes of door ways, Rabbits’ feet for good luck). Part of the culture of Appalachia tends to be a level of distrust of mainstream medicine, so many home remedies, herbal or otherwise, have been passed down generations. Some of these include rubbing whiskey on a baby’s gums when teething to sooth the pain, placing a bit of salt on your head to ease a headache, and placing a sharp knife under a bed or mattress during childbirth to cut the pain in half.

Many spells are done through song and dance done in Irish or Scottish.

Hoodoo

Summary: A historic branch of folk magic originated by African slaves in the Southern states of America. (Note, not the same a Voodoo, which is a religion). Also called “Root-work”

Hoodoo often involves the use of candles, stones, roots, herbs, and powders. Many hoodoo practices include everyday magic such as to draw money or to keep spouses and lovers loyal, or ways to keep evil energy and people away. Elaborate candles are not uncommon and often in the shapes of men, women, crosses, skulls, and genitalia.

Many consider hoodoo to be a regionally or ethnically exclusive practice to those who have ties to the Deep South and the original African American practitioners

Ozark Folk Magic

Summary: Also based around a mountain range, the Ozarks this time, and include the states of Missouri, Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma. It is similar to Granny Magic in that it also includes everyday, house hold items, however the two are not the same regionally and thus have different practices.

Ozark magic it usually regionally exclusive and deeply ingrained in the communities of the area. Much of the beliefs revolve around avoiding bad luck and catastrophe. For example if you come across a black button in the street, you should never pick it up because it means someone it trying to curse you. If you drop a comb, step on it to avoid bad luck.  Women should read the lines and patterns in a cracked egg shell to tell the future. Other key symbols in Ozark magic is dolls, brooms, psalms, and dowsing rods.

Poww-wow Magic, or Braucherei

Summary: This form of folk magic is preformed almost exclusively by the Pennsylvania Dutch and follows a book called the “Poww-wow”, which is a European book of magic with detailed spells, rituals, and superstitions. However, Braucherei is also deeply rooted in Christianity and mixed with the paganism from German immigrants. Practitioners are said to be able to quote Bible passages and heal people with their words.

A more popular sign of Braucherei is the use of colorful and ornate Hex Symbols used to protect homes, cattle, and loved ones. They care often painted on barns or public buildings, or crafted into home crafts such as carved furniture, knitting, or other easily carried methods of protection.



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