Thursday, April 1, 2021

New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson


New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson

Publisher: Llewellyn Publications

Publication date: April 8th, 2021

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Publisher's description: 

Featuring nearly 500 samples of folklore, including stories, artifacts, rituals, and beliefs, New World Witchery is one of the most comprehensive collections of witchcraft and folk magic ever written. This treasure trove of witchery is designed to help you integrate folk traditions into your life and deepen your understanding of magic.

Folklore expert Cory Thomas Hutcheson guides you to the crossroads of folk magic, where you'll learn about different practices and try them for yourself. Explore chapters on magical heritage, divination, flying, familiars, magical protection, spirit communication, and more. This in-depth, accessible book also provides brief profiles of significant folk magicians, healers, and seers, so you can both meet the practitioners and experience their craft.

My review:

I received a free copy of the ebook from Netgalley in exchange for my review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The world of witchy books resides heavily in the pantheons and lore of the eastern half of this globe. I can’t recall another book I have seen that even made much mention of western folklore and folk magic. Of course, the author admits, this book misses the western mark a bit too, as it focuses on the stories and tales passed down on the North American continent so it isn’t even the entire “new world”.  At 480 pages, that’s okay! Someone should definitely take up the gauntlet and give South American folklore focus as well. 

I’ve always loved folk tales and stories and this book is a veritable treasure trove. It’s definitely a book worth having as a physical copy. I particularly liked the herbal healing stories. While there are some rituals and remedies to lace the past and present together, those aren’t really what the book is about. There is definitely fodder there for a second book to go into far greater detail on some of the information shared there. Dr. Hutcheson is a folklorist and an academic - an interesting combination - and I learned a lot. If I lived closer to Pennsylvania, I would love to take one of his college courses. In the meantime, I do enjoy listening to his podcast, New World Witchery, and recommend it. 

This book is jam-packed with stories and information and still doesn’t dive deeply into any one story due to just how rich and colorful the story of North American folklore is. (The book would be 1200 pages long if it did!) There are definitely places where I was left wanting more information. Thankfully, there are recommended reading sections for every chapter with some words on what to expect to find from each recommendation, not just a strict bibliography (though there is a sizable bibliography too). 

This book is not a quick read. There’s just too much to digest. It is as much a reference book as it is a storybook. While there are rituals and spells throughout that relate to the folklore shared, it’s not really a ritual or spell book so I don’t recommend getting it for that purpose. If you are interested in North American folklore and spirituality and the melting pot that helped shape it, then this book belongs on your bookshelf. 

Fun stuff:

New World Witchery podcast

About the author:

Cory Thomas Hutcheson is the cohost of the popular podcast New World Witchery. He has a doctorate in American Studies with specializations in folklore, religion, and ethnicity from Penn State. He is a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of American Folklore and Folklife Studies and American Myths, Legends, &Tall Tales, and he has written for popular occult publications, including Witches & Pagans. Visit him online at

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