285: Witch Animals

Witches have long had associations with certain animals. In the Ozarks we inherited a folk tradition from European, African, and Native sources, so when we talk about witch animals we have a wide variety to mention. First we can talk about white and black animals and their supernatural associations. Often black animals, like crows, ravens,... Continue Reading →

281: Circumlocutory Language

Circumlocutory and euphemistic language are both often very important within the context of certain folk traditions. It’s the idea that a certain “thing” can’t be called by its actual name, whether out of fear or respect, so instead another word or phrase, often descriptive, is employed. One theory links the use of this language back... Continue Reading →

280: Black Draught

Black Draught, famed laxative known throughout the Appalachians and Ozarks during the late 19th early 20th century. My grandpa mentioned having it in the cabin when he was growing up. Dolly Parton even sang a jingle about the medicine: Smile from the inside out, Smile from the inside out, Black Draught makes you Smile from... Continue Reading →

268: Down to the River to Pray

The river is a healer. The rushing river. The gentle river. The cleansing river. Seven rivers flow down from around the Tree of Life in Heaven. Seven rivers to bless us, seven rivers to heal us. Let’s go down to the river to pray. The symbol of the river goes across cultures here in the... Continue Reading →

Ozark Jig and the Stomp Dance

“Within the Ozarks cultural exchange drastically transformed the Scotch Irish customs of song, dance, and story. I have often defined story and storytelling as the cultural and emotional core for a people. This is most evident in the intertribal realities of the Ozarks. For southeastern tribes and the Shawnee and Delaware, the stomp dance lies... Continue Reading →

Day 214: Rappahannock Folk Medicine

I recently got a copy of Frank G. Speck’s article Rappahannock herbals, folklore and science of cures from the library and it’s interesting to see how many commonalities there are between the Rappahannock beliefs and that of the Appalachian peoples and later the Ozark peoples. Most of the cures and folklore collected by Speck and... Continue Reading →

Day 211: Cross-Cultural Materia Medica

Ozark medical knowledge isn’t a uniform set of traditions and practices. It was born out of a sense of necessity, and has always incorporated new knowledge into the repertoire as it was discovered. It’s never been a closed, protected tradition (for the most part) but instead has represented an ever-changing materia medica that has incorporated... Continue Reading →

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