Posted 17 November 2011 - 04:14 AM
I too do not find this concept so strange. If one interprets it as divine or simply spirit communication, it seems a reasonable explanation to me. Just because one does not believe in divinity doesn't mean the author's method is 500% terrible. Maybe she met an entity that she interpreted as deity and you or I may have interpreted as a spirit.
There's also always that pesky mountain lore about witches being initiated by "the devil" and learning their witchery from him.
"The people who live in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently, the most deliberately unprogressive people in the United States. Descended from pioneers who came West from the Southern Appalachians at the beginning of the nineteenth century, they made little contact with the outer world for more than a hundred years. They seem like foreigners to the average urban American, but nearly all of them come of British stock, and many families have lived in America since colonial days. Their material heirlooms are few, but like all isolated illiterates they have clung to the old songs and obsolete sayings and outworn customs of their ancestors." Ozark Magic and Folklore