Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience

As a reader who lives in the U.K., Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience is a fascinating insight into an American culture which is rarely read about or featured in the media. The author, Via Hedera, herself is a woman of colour, who lives and works on the traditional territories of the Coastal Salish people and whose ancestors “have lived on this land so long the roots get lost in the changes of time”. Her approach to the work, therefore, is from the point of view of those who are multiracial in America. As she states “our small voice remaining unaccounted for widely in the occult literary world – a true shame given that witchcraft in the Americas was an inherently multicultural experience”.

The magical traditions of America come from Africa, Europe, Asia and from Turtle Island and blended traditions can be controversial, raising many issues. Hedera aims not to rile controversy by saying what is right or wrong but instead shares information about the multicultural experience that built the folk magical traditions across the United States, while also sharing her thoughts on the difficult questions faced by spiritual practitioners of mixed descent. She speaks as a practitioner who seeks to promote the traditions of all her ancestors because for Americans like her, “this is who we are and all we know”.

Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience is a rather long title given to an interesting, succinct book (only 149 pages, excluding footnotes) which is crammed with fascinating facts and thoughts, eloquently shared. The intriguing stories of the many folk traditions, the culture of their origins and the areas of contemporary America the superstitions were practiced in. Plus a generous sharing of the author’s own thoughts on the issues she faces as a woman of colour and practitioner of mixed descent. Highly recommended reading: a little treasure!

Book Details: Via Hedera. Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience. Moon Books (26 Feb. 2021). ISBN-13 : 978-1789045697

Review Details: Folkloric American Witchcraft and the Multicultural Experience was reviewed by June Kent, editor of Indie Shaman magazine and this review was published in Issue 48.

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