An interview with an Appalachian songsmith

IRONSBURG, Tenn. – Whether he is tending the land on his farm in the mountains of eastern Tennessee or performing his songs at a Pagan gathering, Louis Garou is a man who is truly grateful for all that he has and all that he can do. “Every morning, without fail,” he explained, “when I wake up I thank the Goddess, and whatever wayward god that might care, for all the blessings I have received. And the biggest blessing is living on this land, in these mountains.”

 

He refers to himself as, “just a witchy, mountain farmer,” and he takes his calling as a steward of the land seriously. “It is a privilege and a responsibility to care for this sacred ground.

Column: Stand by Me

Columnist Clio Ajana writes on the celebration of Pride month and the need for solidarity between queer individuals and their allies in securing justice for the transgender community.

The great hunt for Witch bottles project

LONDON – The United Kingdom Arts and Humanities Research Council is currently funding a project based on witch bottles, in an effort to understand more about this type of practice. It’s being helmed by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), “an experienced and innovative archaeology and built heritage practice” and MOLA’s finds specialist Nigel Jeffries is in charge, along with Owen Davies, and Ceri Houlbrook from the University of Hertfordshire – both experts in the history of witchcraft and magic. Witch bottles still turn up in older houses across Britain, dating from earlier times: they are typically filled with pins, coils of wool, tangled threads, nails, needles and, sometimes, human urine. They are supposed to attract negative spells, which become tangled in all the mess in the bottle and can’t get free – a bit like a dark dream-catcher. You can make a specific witch bottle for a person: put their name in it, fill the bottle with pins, wool, and ideally something intimate from the intended target.