Magick Monday: Thoughts on @LlewellynBooks’ Ozark Folk Magic by Brandon Weston

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Discover the Healing Power of Plants and Prayers

Bring traditional methods of healing and magic into the modern world with this impressive book on Ozark folk magic. Providing lore, verbal charms, healing plants, herbal recipes, magical tools and alignments, and more, folk healer Brandon Weston sheds light on the region’s secretive culture and shows you how to heal both yourself and others.

Ozark Folk Magic invites you to experience the hillfolk’s magic through the eyes of an authentic practitioner. Learn how to optimize your healing work and spells according to the moon cycles, zodiac signs, and numerology. Explore medicinal uses for native Ozark plants,
instructions for healing magical illnesses, and how modern witches can feel at home with Ozark traditions. Combining personal stories and down-to-earth advice, this book makes it easy to incorporate Ozark folk magic into your practice.

Includes a foreword by Virginia Siegel, MA, folk arts coordinator at the University of Arkansas

While I was born in the hinterlands of the Hoosier State, my roots stretch back to the Ozarks. Both of my parents were born in Arkansas, as were their parents, and their parents before them. They came from towns like Poughkeepsie, Evening Shade, Batesville, Jonesboro, and the like. I spent my summers swimming in the Strawberry, hiking the foothills and backwoods (with the snakes, ticks and chiggers), and even, in my later years, tracked dogmen through the Ozarks. I had great-grandparents who still maintained stillhouses. They were all dirt poor. My dad was born in a dirt floor shack. My mom picked cotton, barefoot, until they moved north when she was a teen. I grew up on a farm here in Indiana, but the Ozarks were in the blood of my folk and they passed a lot of that on to me, especially the folk tales.

I guess that was a long winded way of saying that I was excited to read Brandon Weston’s Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers, & Healing. I’ll be honest with you, if you’re looking for traditional Ozark Folk Magic, such as found in Ozark Magic and Folklore by Randolph Vaughn, this may not be the book for you.

Vaughn’s book is a tougher read in many respects, but it captures that mountain spirit. As it should. It was written in 1947. I am lucky enough to own Isaac Bonewits personal dogeared copy, and it has been a cherished favorite.

That said, if, as I suspect you are, looking for a bit of that old school mountain magic that has been drug into the 21st Century, that blends the old and new because it’s a living tradition and not some stale and stagnate anthropology lecture.

Folk Magic is a living and breathing art by its very nature. Weston really grasps this and you see that evolution in his writing and exploration of those Ozark charms. I suppose most people are more familiar with that Appalachian flavor, but the magic of the Ozarks is every bit as potent and flavorful as anything you’ll find out east.

Settlers, bringing their folk ways with them from across the ocean and the wilds of these new lands, incorporated native lore along the way, and the indigenous peoples of the Ozarks, like the Caddo and Osage, were teachers before they were forcibly removed by the advance of American expansion.

Weston does an admirable job of dissecting the traditions, presenting them with reverence and with a respectful interpretation of yesterday, while bringing it forward, showing the evolution of it as a practice and an art.

I am really thrilled to have had a chance to immerse myself in this, and to see its growth. It’s comforting to know that traditions of my ancestors are alive and well, and in such good hands.

Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers, & Healing by Brandon Weston, released in January of this year, is available wherever books are sold. I recommend it highly.

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