I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see a bible verse on the first page in a book called Backwoods Witchcraft. The book is more about Mountain faith and mixes Christianity beliefs with rituals, conjure, and lore. If you are expecting a straight witchcraft book of the occult, this may not be for you. There is quite a bit of Bible references, verses and the like.

The book is more like an Appalachia family heritage of stories, lore and folk magic. Readers may not be aware that much of American Folk magic are traditional Christian based. The book Backwoods Witchcraft is more of a family tradition that has been handed down in written form.

For those readers with an open mind, the chapters have some fascinating stories as well crafts, rituals that can be performed. After the introduction, author Jake Richards dives into the Terrain and Culture of the Appalachia. If you have never been, he provides in great detail what it is like and paints a picture of the setting these traditions were created from.

My favorite chapter was Down Devil’s Run, where he covers stories and superstitions. I have always been fascinated with the culture and history of places, and I loved reading these the most.

The next few chapters cover how to connect with the land, connecting with the ancestors, omens, spirits, fortune telling and spells and magic. Towards the end is the folk remedies and recipes for things like healing, protection, cleansing, love, success and more.

The book gives a great insider look into the Appalachian folk beliefs that typically aren’t shared with outsiders. (Outsiders meaning those who aren’t living in the Appalachia/Tennessee hills). For those looking for a shamanistic pagan book, this may not be for you. The book comments heavily on the Christian faith with a mixture of magic. It is an interesting read for those who have ever wondered about Backwoods traditions.

~review by Amber Barnes

Author: Jake Richards
Weiser Books, 2019
pp. 240, $18.95

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