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Ozark Witchcraft, Magic and Folklore


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#1 The Exile

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:42 PM

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Ozark Witchcraft, Magic and Folklore


I thought I start a thread on the above subject. Today I got the book "Ozark Magic and Folklore" by Vance Randolph.


As my interest grows in the areas of Witchcraft and Hoodoo, Aloe recommended to me on reading this book so I got it.

I will read through it and post some excerpts from the book. And if anyone wants to add to the thread about the Ozark region of Missouri and Arkansas traditions, witchcrafts, Magic, or Folklore please do so.


"The Ozark region of Missouri and Arkansas has long been an enclave of resistance to innovation and "newfangled" ideas. Many of the old-time superstitions and customs have been nurtured and kept alive though the area's relative isolation and the strong attachment of the hillfolk to these old attitudes...."




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#2 Anara

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:10 AM

Looking forward to your thoughts on this book. I have it on my bookshelf but haven't gotten to it yet. It looks like a really interesting book, though.
"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#3 The Exile

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 03:33 AM

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Ozark Magic and Folklore by Vance Randolph

This interesting book was published in 1947 by Vance Randolph of Galena, Missouri the preface signed and dated June 10, 1946.

So the first thing learned by that date is that for the witchcraft section of the book, there is no possibility of any Wiccan influence or contamination in this.

The chapters are full of information but I cannot copy them all here so I just mention a couple of highlights that stands out or very interesting.



Chapter 1. Introduction

The author says:

Page 3

"The people who lived in the Ozark country of Missouri and Arkansas were, until very recently (book dated 1946), 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."

Page 4

"My own feeling is that most of the hillman's folk beliefs came with his ancestors from England or Scotland. I believe that a comparison of my material with that recorded by British antiquarians will substantiate this opinion."

"I have first visited the Ozark country in 1899, and since 1920 I have spent practically all of my time here, living in many parts of the region….."




Chapter 2. Weather Signs

This chapter covers weather signs.

"Signs and superstitious about the weather naturally seems important to a people who live by tilling the soil, and are taken very seriously in the Ozark's country.

There is no denying that some old hillmen are extraordinarily acute in their short-range predictions of rain and frost".


It covers many belief of these people of the Ozark. They can make predictions of the weather base on certain pre-weather conditions such as heavy dew.
And many observations of the way animals and insects behave before a storm or drought. Even the way the sun looks at sunrise sometimes determines if there is going to be rain later or not. Also base on observation of trees and their leaves and of flowers too.

Then also if certain weather conditions on certain days on the calendar, it will according to them decide that there will be rain or drought etc. later in the year.




Chapter 3. Crops and Livestock

Page 34

"The changes of the moon and the signs of the zodiac are very important in determining the best dates for planting certain crops. What the Hillman calls the "dark" of the moon is the period from the full moon to the new;… the other half of the lunar season, from the new moon to the full…. Is known as the "light" of the moon.'

In general, it is said that vegetables which are desired to grow chiefly underground…. Are best planted in the dark of the moon. Garden crops which bears the edible part above ground… are usually planted in the light of the moon."

Many activities of crop growing cutting or planting is depended on if the moon is in the dark or light.


Page 34-35

"Instead of using the names of the twelve constellations (of the zodiac) as the astrologers do, the Hillman usually designates the portion of the human body with which each is associated. …. when the sign's in the feet - that is when the moon is in Pisces

If a Hillman wishes to indicate Aquarius he says "when the sign's in the leg"

Capricorn - the knees
Sagittarius - the thighs
Scorpio - the sex organs or "privates"
Libra - the kidneys
Virgo - the bowels
Leo - the heart
Cancer - the breast
Gemini - the arms
Taurus - the neck
Aries - the head

Depending on the type of crops they usually plant them in certain signs, etc.







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Edited by The Exile, 12 November 2012 - 03:34 AM.


#4 Aloe

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Posted 12 November 2012 - 08:38 PM

I love this book. Of course, Galena, Mo is my hometown and Randolph interviewed some of my ancestors so I'm biased in my opinion. :)
"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

#5 Anara

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:06 PM

I haven't gotten through this one completely yet (maybe about half way through), but from what I have read, I really like it. This book is another one that I will definitely keep and go back to. I have come across one item, in particular, that I haven't seen in writing up until this book, which is very interesting-not something I wish to go into on the boards here-but I am glad I came across it.

Plus, I think I said this before, Aloe, but I think it's really cool that you have that connection to the book. How wonderful it must be to be able to read some of the things some of your very own ancestors shared with the author (or even possibly just from your own hometown). Not only is the book a good piece of history for someone like me to read, but maybe it is a bit of a piece of personal history for you and your family.

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#6 Aloe

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:15 PM

Plus, I think I said this before, Aloe, but I think it's really cool that you have that connection to the book. How wonderful it must be to be able to read some of the things some of your very own ancestors shared with the author (or even possibly just from your own hometown). Not only is the book a good piece of history for someone like me to read, but maybe it is a bit of a piece of personal history for you and your family.


I think it's pretty awesome! Unfortunately the majority of my family has gone so fundamental Pentecostal they're embarassed by the "silly superstitions" of their ancestors, but there are still some of us who respect and take pride in our heritage.

"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

#7 Anara

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 02:19 PM

I think it's pretty awesome! Unfortunately the majority of my family has gone so fundamental Pentecostal they're embarassed by the "silly superstitions" of their ancestors, but there are still some of us who respect and take pride in our heritage.


oh, that's too bad that some of your family can't see the value of what your ancestors might have thought/believed, even if they don't personally share the views. I think it's great that at least you and some of your other family members take pride in where you come from :)

"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#8 The Exile

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 11:52 PM

Recently I came across a picture in Facebook, that reminded me of something I read in the book Ozark Magic and Folklore

 

This is a painting that came from the 15th century

 

 

Zodiac-Man-15th-Century-0924-2013.jpg

 

 

 

From the book Ozark Folklore and Magic

Chapter 3, Crops and Livestock

 

Page 34

 

"Instead of using the names of the twelve constellations as the astrologers do, the Hillman usually designates portions of the human body with each is associated.

 

Some very successful farmers believe that underground crops, such as potatoes, should be planted "when the sign's in the feet" - that is when the moon is in Pisces."

 

"If a Hillman wishes to indicate Aquarius he says "when the sign's in the leg."  In the same way Capricorn is connected with the knees, Sagittarius with the thighs, Scorpio with the sex organs or "privates," Libra with the kidneys, Virgo with the bowels, Leo with the heart, Cancer with the breast, Gemini with the arms, Taurus with the neck, and Aries with the head"

 

 

 

 

Of course there were almanacs or calendars where they show the zodiac symbols. 

 

But the interesting thing was that the Ozark people connecting the signs to parts of the human body matches the information given in the painting from the 15th century.

 

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#9 Jevne

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 11:55 PM

Who is the artist of the painting?



#10 The Exile

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:15 AM

The source didn't mention, will try to find out



#11 The Exile

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:39 AM

It appears that the name of the artist is not known it just says "Medieval illumination of a Zodiac man"

 

There is a bunch of medieval illustration at the is web site including the image mentioned above http://buchmaler.tumblr.com/

 

it goes on for several pages. 

 

 

Concerning Zodiac on body images, there are some on this page that goes back earlier in time too

 

http://www.completeh...diac-health.htm

 

 

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Edited by The Exile, 25 September 2013 - 12:39 AM.


#12 Anara

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 12:25 PM

Hi Exile,

 

 

Your post made me think of this almanac I have from the year 1800, found as I was combing through a local antique/thrift store not long ago. The store had a whole stack of them but I just bought this one, as it was the oldest and most interesting one to me. I took a quick snapshot here a moment ago with my laptop camera-hope it came out ok.

 

I wanted to show you because, although the almanac is written in german (as far as I can tell this is german anyway), you can clearly see the astrological associations and parts of the body. I remember when I was flipping through the stack seeing the same image on the back of every almanac. Most of them were in English (the  later editions) and the earliest ones in German. So, for every year they had-from 1800-mid 1900's, this same image was on the back.

 

I don't know for sure, but seeing this makes me think it was a typical thing to associate the parts of the body with the zodiac signs in other areas too. Wish I could translate this right now, but I don't speak or write german, and I don't have the time to try and decipher it-it would take too long. But, if I go back to the store anytime soon, I will see if I can look at a later copy, in English, to see if it says anything about planting specifics and the zodiac signs. Since these are old almanacs, I am assuming it does. I could be wrong though. :smile:

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"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#13 CelticGypsy

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 06:28 PM

Oh what a cool find Anara, I can't help but think.... that's gotta  odor unto itself.  LoL !

 

 

 

 

Regards,

Gypsy


" The last thing you wanted a Witch to do is get bored and start making her own amusements, because Witches sometimes have erratically famous ideas about what was amusing "

 

Terry Pratchett Legends 1 


#14 Anara

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 06:54 PM

Oh what a cool find Anara, I can't help but think.... that's gotta  odor unto itself.  LoL !

 

 

 

 

Regards,

Gypsy

 

 

LOL!!

 

 

Some kind soul apparently saved this one from making it to the outhouse. I looked-no pages missing! LOL! :lolol:

 

(it does smell kinda musty though...well it is 200 yrs old..lol)


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return." ~ Leonardo Da Vinci

#15 The Exile

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 09:40 PM

That is an interesting find Anara.  An almanac from 1800 !

 

It does show how the adding of the signs to the body may have been known to the people in the Ozark and has English and European origins.  Just like the witchcraft stuff in the Ozark has English origins some of it.



#16 Jevne

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Posted 27 September 2013 - 11:40 PM

I was looking around for reference to that picture and all I could find was something about a book (in French, so I could be wrong).  On the other hand, it did get me looking at other illuminations, which are beautiful and complex.  Thanks.

 

Plus, that book from the 1800s is awesome.  I would love to have something like that in my collection, even if I do not know what it says.