Folkloric American Witchcraft is a fascinating account of the diversity and richness of multicultural witchcraft. Told by a woman who is herself, a tapestry of many cultures, Hedera weaves in her experiences as a witch and a folk magic practitioner into the text, all the while examining the complexity of American witchcraft which has been influenced by every culture on Earth.
Witchcraft is a reaction to fear is the main theme of the book, and Hedra takes us through numerous cultures to examine how witchcraft is viewed and the reactions to it. The predominant idea throughout nearly all cultures is that witchcraft is evil, witches are consorts of demonic forces and are to be avoided at best, and destroyed at worst. However, she also examines how some forms of witchcraft are acceptable and are used nearly every day in the terms of folk magic, divination, superstitions, and charms.
This is not a primary source document, but Hedra does an excellent job of providing secondary source information, and does so in an easy to understand non academic format. Her own experiences make the book feel familiar and interesting, like visiting with an old friend. It does tend to be a bit dry and rambly in places, but don't let that put you off. It's a must have for those interested in researching multicultural witchcraft.
~review by Patricia Snodgrass
Author: Via Hedera
Moon Books, 2021
p. $16.95, pp. 184