Llewellyn's Complete Book of North American Folk Magic

A Landscape of Magic, Mystery, and Tradition

Academic, expert, and spiritual, the essays of Llewellyn’s Complete Book of North American Folk Magic take a compelling trek through a variety of magical traditions.

The essays are organized geographically, beginning in the northeast and moving west. The coverage is thorough, including an examination of Sorcellerie in the French Canadian territories, where superstitions and magical practices blend with Catholicism; of the African roots of conjure and hoodoo in the Deep South; and of the varied Slavic traditions that traveled with immigrants to the Upper Midwest. Historical context, immigrant ancestry, environmental and economic conditions, and prevailing religious traditions are examined to explain how practices developed and changed and how they continue to be practiced today.

Extensive research is evinced in each chapter, with recommendations for further reading, resources, and places to visit. Written by practitioners, the essays also include personal insights that go beyond the academic, illuminating how and why traditions continue to be meaningful. There are also interesting spells, crafts, and recipes in their pages, as with instructions for creating a house charm according to Ozark folklore and a ritual for a Curendera’s cleansing that anyone can adopt into their own practice. Notes sections appear at the end of each essay, introducing additional interesting facts and stories, as with himmelsbrief or the heaven letter, the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition that is a historical version of chain mail, and the folkloric roots of Wile E. Coyote, demonstrating just how ubiquitous folk magic is in contemporary society.

Llewellyn’s Complete Book of North American Folk Magic is a fascinating introduction to contemporary North American folklore that reveals an abundance of magic in everyday life.

Reviewed by Catherine Thureson

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. No fee was paid by the publisher for this review. Foreword Reviews only recommends books that we love. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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