Doctoring the Devil: Notebooks of an Appalachian Conjure Man

Jake Richards. Weiser, $18.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-57863-733-1
In this keen handbook, Richards (Backwoods Witchcraft), an Appalachian native and practitioner of folk magic, elucidates his techniques of healing, conjuring, and herb (“yarb”) doctoring. Part anthropological survey and part manual, the book pays tribute to Richards’s own family line of healers, dowsers, and witches, as well as to lore of other healers and seers throughout the mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. The charms, spells, and healing recipes show the influence of different cultures, with Cherokee herbal practices blending seamlessly with Christian scripture. For instance, Richards recommends a Cherokee conjure bag of tobacco, powdered clay, mustard seed, and ginseng root for luck in hunting, and Christian verses to bless the spirit of the dispatched animal. Richards emphasizes charms that help practitioners connect to rhythms of daily life (such as “Spiritual Bathing” to connect to the natural world), earn money, fall in love (by secretly crushing and sprinkling heart-shaped leaves on the object of one’s affections), and keep children healthy. Richards’s encyclopedic knowledge of the subject and deep commitment to it make this a great starting point for those hoping to practice Appalachian folk magic. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 01/29/2021
Release date: 04/01/2021
Genre: Religion
MP3 CD - 978-1-6620-8363-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-6620-8301-3
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