May 19, 2021 - Shiloh Museum of Ozark History (Virtual)
Description: Lunch hour talk on Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers, and Healing. More details forthcoming.
July 16-19, 2021 - Viridis Genii Symposium (Virtual)
Lecture: Cleanin’ the Blood: Ritual Emetics and Purgatives in Ozark Folk Medicine and Magic Description: “Strong medicine forces sickness down and out. If you ain’t throwin’ up, it ain’t workin’.” An Ozark healer once told me. This lecture covers the often taboo topic of vomit, piss, and poop. We will be looking in depth at the use of emetics and purgatives within the medical and magical tradition of the Ozark Mountain region. This includes medicinal plants like sassafras, mayapple, and blackgum, all used as spring tonics to “clean the blood,” a euphemism for a strong laxative. We will also look at the ritual use of purgative plants in Ozark folk magic to clean out evil spirits, hexes, and other malign work from out of a patient’s physical and spiritual body that might be causing them serious illness or harm. Emetic plants from the talk include: sassafras, dandelion root, burdock, Solomon’s seal, pokeweed, mayapple, tobacco, and more.
Workshop: Methods of Purifying the Body and Soul in Ozark Folk Healing Description: Working off of themes presented in the lecture, we will be looking at the three major methods of magical cleansing and purifying in Ozark traditional healing: water, fire, and purgatives. Water includes washing the body in herbal mixtures chosen for their quality to remove malign curses. Fire and smoke uses traditional Ozark fumigants like red cedar, tobacco, and asafetida to purify both the body and the environment. And with purgatives we will look at gentle purging plants like sassafras, burdock, and dandelion root, often mixed with soothing plants like horsemint or catnip. Participants will learn a simple and non-vomit inducing cleansing ritual that they can easily replicate on their own. Other methods covered by the workshop include: tying off curses with string, counting down rituals, sweeping off hexes with a broom, and more. There is an optional workshop kit that can be purchased for $15 plus shipping which will include Ozark native plants for cleansing baths, drinks, and fumigation, as well as a detailed booklet of the recipes and rituals covered by the class. A simple pdf guide to the workshop will be provided to participants for no additional fee.