Folk Magic is probably the oldest form of magic, at least known to us. It incorporates things that the everyday person may know more as superstition instead of an actual practice. It is so interwoven into mundane life that it easily hides from unknowing eyes. From the kitchen witch mixing and cooking up their spells, to the Justice Witch using magic when societal systems fail. Every type of witch can be found in folk magic because it is a blending and mixing of various modes and styles. Most born out of necessity and desire, even in today’s age.
Their tools are ones that they create from what is around them. A cooking pot becomes a cauldron. Herbs and weeds found in nature become their allies. The way they clean their homes and what they use to clean it with are all imbued with dual purposes – magical and mundane / spiritual and physical.
Overlapping cultures due to the movement and blending of people across the world. Blending traditions and magical workings. Always in a state of flux, evolution, and change, just as the people who practice it. Altering from generation to generation as society changes generation to generation.
Folk Magic is a practice that does not have a boundary between the mundane and spiritual world. Folk magic comes about because of the challenges and needs in the mundane world. It is the magic of the common people. Their magic and practices do not just vary from region to region, but all the way down to witch from witch. It is rooted in experimentation and a cunning mind. Born from a place of need and necessity. Taken to a place of individual power.
It is called “low magic” by occultists who hold more stock in ceremony and structured ritual. I have often heard the reasoning for this is because occult magic or “high magic” as they call it deals in the spiritual realm, while “low magic” deals in the earthly, but that never resonated with me personally, as both deal in both. I think it had more to do with the people themselves, at least in the beginning. Most occultists in the beginning were rich men, while folk practitioners were poor women. Even today, occultists require a lot of special “equipment” to perform their magic which requires a good amount of disposable income to acquire. Could I be wrong? Sure. I could also be right though because none of us lived in the time where this started and only have what has been passed down. In all reality, most traditions now seem to be a mix of both. Now don’t get me wrong, to each their own and I am not discouraging those who want to go that route – just pointing out something that has always itched in the back of my mind with these terms.
Today’s folk magic may mirror old practices but I see distinct differences as well because these are living practices. Evolving and changing just as the world and society they reside in evolves and changes. Changing with each person experiencing and adding in their own flare just like a storyteller does. There is beauty in that. There is freedom in that.
My type of Folk Magic is a magic of place and time. Where I am physically, mentally, and spiritually. What I need and what I want to create in my life. I am shifting to using what I can grow and what grows here already. Finding allies in the plants, trees, animals, and spirits that inhabit our valley and lake. Building understanding and partnerships. Creating what is needed when it is needed.
My ancestors, especially my Ozark Women, have been directly guiding me through various spell works and the effects have been surprisingly powerful. I say surprisingly because it has been a process. Learning from the dead and allowing them to direct the work, how to put it together, the elements to weave and how to do that, requires a lot of trust on my end. There have been many times where I did not know exactly where we were going or what the end result would be, but I trusted them, followed the instructions, and have been amazed at the results. I have been creating some of the most powerful magic that I ever have before and it brings a new level of awe to my practice.
Folk Magic isn’t just one thing, it is many. Each practitioner has their own ways and blending. Blending of the past and the present to shape the future. Each has their own specialties and draws. Not just one culture but a blending of many, for we are a blending of many, and culture itself is not static but always changing with time. Where the rules are based on you and those of nature. Where anyone can participate even if they do not have a penny to their name. Where our allies can be found all around us and just waiting for us to connect.
This is what Folk Magic looks like to me.