New World Witchery: A Trove of North American Folk Magic by Cory Thomas Hutcheson and published earlier this year by Llewellyn is a must-have for your personal occult library, and this book review will try to convince you of why.
The text is subdivided into Twelve Rites, from defining witchery and discussing initiation to coverage of common practices in North American traditional folk witchcraft, with exercises and practical work, all the way to commentary on witchcraft in pop culture.
That is one ambitious scope, and Hutcheson pulls it off– this is quite the hefty tome of a book!
Let’s start with defining who is a witch. I appreciate Hutcheson’s acknowledgement: “Whatever image pops into your head when that word passes by in conversation–whether whispered reverently or barked in anger– that will be the definitive image for you.” That kind of has always been my own bone to pick with the term “witch.” What does it even mean? How is the label useful today? He continues, “Many magical practitioners reject the term ‘witch’ either because of its negative or its religious connotations.”