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As a somewhat traditional Appalachian woman, I cooked collard greens, black-eyed peas, and pork roast and cornbread with cracklings for the New Year's Day dinner meal. And because I'm a sign-and omen-reader from way back, I've been reading those subtle and not-so-subtle natural visions since the day after Christmas. It's gotten me thinking about some of the things I want to set up for the new calendar year and I thought to share them with you here. We always feel like the fireworks that scare the dogs on New Year's Eve mark a big shift from one time to another, making it a powerfully liminal time and one to which we should always pay some attention. But we set so much stock on how that ...

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The Ozark Mountain Region has inherited much of its cultural identity and folk practices from older European tradition, especially from the British Isles and Germany. These stories, languages, religious beliefs, and even some magical methods, developed amongst isolated families in the heart of Appalachia before being carried to the Ozark Mountains around 1820 after the forced removal of the Osage and New Settler Cherokee to Oklahoma. Ozark culture would further develop into what we see collected in the early twentieth century by famous folklorists like Vance Randolph in his Ozark Magic and Folklore and Mary Parler in her multi-volume collection entitled Folk Beliefs from Arkansas. These ...

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Midwinter solstice. Yule. Christmas. However you chose to honor and celebrate this season, the darkest and coldest time of the year (in the Northern hemisphere), the time when the year grows ancient and bids farewell… there are feelings and experiences common to all of us. Happiness, certainly, and anticipation—but also, often, a sense of exhaustion and overload on many levels. And perhaps, this year, more than most—for we come to the end of 2020 reflecting on a year that has certainly been, let us put it politely, memorable on so many levels (and not all of them positive!). I don't think there are many of us anywhere who have not been affected, either physically, ...

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Over the past year, due to the pandemic, many people have transitioned to working at home, and to home-schooling their children. This hearkens back to the days when most folks lived on their small homesteads, or kept an apartment above their workplace. The butcher, baker, candlestick maker, as well as farmers, weavers, potters, and yes, folk healers and other "witches" did much of their work at home-based businesses. Children were taught how to manage a household, and how to help their parents with a profession, right alongside their reading, writing, and arithmetic. Thus, people came up with ways to spiritually protect their homes, workspaces, and their families. People shielded ...

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FEATURED ARTICLE
Divination: Using Palms, the Tarot, and the Dictionary to Tell the Future
by Beleta Greenaway
Throughout the centuries, divination has been used to investigate future events. Here, Catalog of the Unexplained co-author Beleta Greenaway details a bit about using palmistry, the tarot, and even...
        
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