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Spiritus Arcanum

Killing the Moon: Lore and Methods for Learning Folk Witchery with Cory Thomas Hutcheson

Killing the Moon: Lore and Methods for Learning Folk Witchery with Cory Thomas Hutcheson

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Killing the Moon: Lore and Methods for Learning Folk Witchery
with Cory Thomas Hutcheson

A part of the Voices of Folk Magic Series
This class was livestreamed via Zoom in May 2022 and is now available as a video download. 

Where does witchcraft begin? Or folk magic for that matter? The call to and practice of magical work is the stuff of story: initiations round a burning mountaintop bonfire while cavorting with all manner of devils, or the signing of Faustian pacts for power and fame at the cost of one’s soul.

Yet folk magical practitioners often find their callings through less dramatic means. They emerge from the womb veiled in a thin membrane known as a “caul,” or are born the seventh son of a seventh son. They wander into a river to find an eddy flowing backwards and wash a knife or plate while speaking a few words to remove their baptismal protections. They fire a silver bullet at the moon, and watch for it to bleed and announce to the world that they are a WITCH! Still others find their way into magic through the close guidance of family members, and others gain their art through the acquisition of magical tomes (which may be powerful enough to bring in a witch or magician solely through possession, regardless of whether they read the book or not).

This course will provide an overview of the initiatory rites, folkloric spirit compacts, superstitions, signs, and omens that appear within traditional magical practices of North America. A survey of beliefs, practices, lore, and texts associated with these folkways of sorcery will show attendees how magical workers of the past found their way into folk witchery. We will then work through some methods for practitioners to try their own hand at finding and learning witch lore from their own communities, and how to respond to the call to magic in the contemporary age in ways that still resonate with the folklore of the past.

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Cory Thomas Hutcheson (he/him) is the co-host of New World Witchery, a podcast and website dedicated to uncovering and recovering traditional North American folk magic practices. He is also the author of New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic (Llewellyn Publications, 2021). Cory has his doctorate in American Studies with specializations in Folklore & Ethnography and Religion & Ethnicity from Penn State. He also holds a graduate certificate in Folklore and Ethnography and has had his academic work published in Midwestern Folklore and Contemporary Legend among other journals. He is a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife Studies and American Myths, Legends, & Tall Tales: An Encyclopedia of American Folklore.

Twitter: @NWWitchery
Facebook: newworldwitchery
Instagram: newworldwitchery
TikTok: newworldwitchery

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