Podcast 62 – Pregnancy and Birth Lore

Posted April 16, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Podcast, Shownotes

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Shownotes for Podcast 62 – Pregnancy and Birth Lore

Summary:
In this episode we’re trying out the wedding ring test, asking about spicy foods, and trying not to scare any birthmarks onto Laine’s baby as we talk about the lore and folk customs surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.

Play:

Download: New World Witchery – Episode 62


-Sources-

We mostly mention various lore we remember without citing sources, but I do mention a few books:

Pagan Podkin Super Moot 5 is going to be in Chicago! Watch Fire Lyte’s page for more detail to come.

Cory is going to be moving to Pennsylvania in the Fall, which may impact the show and blog a bit (but probably for the better in the long run)

If you have feedback you’d like to share, email us or leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter! And check out our Facebook page!

Promos & Music

Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.

Promos:

  1. Lamplighter Blues
  2. Welcome to Night Vale


Episode 62 – Pregnancy and Birth Lore

Posted April 16, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Episode, Podcast

Episode 62 – Pregnancy and Birth Lore
Tonight we tackle the  many interesting and unusual tales and traditions surrounding pregnancy and childbirth.
(complete shownotes at http://www.newworldwitchery.com)

Blog Post 187 – Magical Hats

Posted April 10, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Blog, History & Lore, Practice & Technique

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cowboy hats for sale in Austin, TX (photo by Nika Vee, via Wikimedia Commons)

There’s a line from the classic (well, sort of) movie Smokey & the Bandit in which Burt Reynolds’s character explains to his lady of the film that he only takes his hat off for one thing, to which his female companion (Sally Field), of course, replies: ‘Take off your hat.’

Costume is frequently a reflection of ceremonial, ritual, or even magical operation, an outer manifestation of inner desire or power. A nun’s habit or a burqa can both represent a commitment to religious life, and inspire reactions from those around them. The ceremonial robes of a Thelemic magician frequently conform to specific standards to enhance invocations and rituals. The Encyclopedia of American Folklore notes:

Folklorists who discuss adornment have concentrated on costume’s socializing force and its relationship to the maintenance of individual and group identities. According to Don Yoder (1972), folk costume expresses identity in a symbolic way; functioning as an outward “badge” of community identity and expressing an individual’s manifold relationships to and within that community (Brunvand 341).

One of the items frequently associated with magicians is the magic hat—whether it’s the shiny tophat of a stage magician concealing a rabbit in its depths or the pointy, star-spangled adornment of a fantasy wizard. In American lore the hat has a special place as a magical item, frequently providing either symbolic guidance, otherworldly taboo, or a method of deployment in spell-casting.

When people think of American hats, possibly the most iconic is the cowboy’s ten-gallon hat (which, of course, does not hold ten gallons, but the galon hatband worn by Southwestern vaqueros). I remember teaching overseas and asking about impressions of America, and the most common response was that we tend to wear cowboy hats and smile a lot.

The cowboy hat—as well as a number of other elements of ‘rugged’ American folk costume—was borrowed from other cultures:

Many specifically American types of costume emerged from the interaction of diverse costume traditions in dialogue with indigenous materials and environments. Recognizable forms in Western regional costume, for example, are creolized forms resulting from the interaction of different traditions of dress. The costume of mountain men who charted new Western territory—fringed buckskin coats, breeches and shirts, fur “coonskin” hats, and thick, colorful blanket jackets—was an adaptation of Native American costume forms suitable for native environments and constructed with indigenous materials. The occupational costume of the American cowboy was also the result of the interaction of various cultural forms in dialogue with the demands of occupation and environment. Many of the recognizable elements of the classic American cowboy costume, such as spurs, hat, boots, and chaps, were the result of cultural exchanges between working Anglo and Mexican cowboys, known as vaqueros. Vaqueros were known by their wide-brimmed hats, short jackets, colorful neckerchiefs, red sashes, elaborate spurs, and protective leather leggings (Brunvand 343)

Given the emblematic nature of the Stetson and its kin and the frequently superstitious nature of life in the Old West, it is hardly surprising that lore has arisen surrounding this headgear. Probably the most common belief surrounding the cowboy hat has to do with what to do when you’re not wearing it. There seems to be an absolute taboo on placing a hat on the bed, which appears in everything from Southwestern rodeo lore to Oregon folk belief.

In both the American South and West, a particular custom of hat-burning following the birth of the first baby (or sometimes only the firstborn son) of a miner prevails. From Vance Randolph’s Ozark Magic & Folklore comes the following account:

In some clans, when a baby boy is born, a sister of the babe’s father comes to the house, looks at the child, and then burns the first hat she finds. No matter whose it is, nor how valuable, she just picks up a hat and throws it into the fireplace. Many people laugh at this and pretend to take it lightly, but it is never omitted in certain families. I know of one case where there was some doubt about the child’s paternity, and the husband’s family were by no means friendly to the young mother, but despite all this one of the sisters came and burned the hat; she did it silently and grudgingly and most ungraciously, but she did it. This practice is never discussed with outsiders, but it is sufficiently known that a series of funny stories has grownup about hats being burned by mistake, strangers’ hats missing, doctors leaving their hats at home, and so on (Randolph 205)

This practice was also found in California by folklorist Wayland Hand, where “[o]n occasion of a miner’s first trip to the mine after the arrival of the firstborn, his comrades simply seize his hat and burn it despite any resistance or protests offered” (Hand 52). This act functions both as an initiatory rite and as a method of preventing bad luck for the child. Hand also notes that the baby was usually made to touch the hat if possible prior to its cremation. A soldier’s hat could also be worn by a woman in labor to give her strength during the birth, furthering the link between children and hats.

A number of traditions from African American folklore have been attached to hats. In most cases, headgear serves as a method for the transference of contagious magic, sometimes almost in a medical sense: “if one borrows a hat from a diseased person, and the wearer sweats round the forehead where the hat rests, he will take the disease” (Steiner 267). Harry Hyatt recorded a string of beliefs among African Americans surrounding hat lore:

9750. If a girl puts a man’s hat on her head, she desires him to kiss her; if a man puts his hat on a girl’s head, he desires to kiss her.
9751. A girl should never put a man’s hat on her head; it will cause quarrels with him.
9752. The girl who tries on a man’s hat will not get him for a husband.
9753. If a woman throws her hat and gloves on a man’s bed, she wants to sleep with him; if a man throws his hat on a woman’s bed, he wants to sleep with her.
9754. A girl can strengthen a sweetheart’s love by laying his hat on her bed when he comes to see her.
9755. The significance of a beau refusing to hand his hat to his girl when he calls on her is love growing cold. 9756. A girl stepping on a man’s hat will soon marry the owner.
9757. “The girls did this when I was young: in the spring stamp with your thumb in the palm of your hand the first twenty-seven straw hats you see and you will meet your beau.”
9758. If a girl takes the bow out of the hat of each man liked, she will marry the owner of the seventh hat.
9759. Let a girl take as many bows as possible from the hats of men liked and wear them on her garter; the bow staying on longest will reveal who among these men loves her best (Hyatt 231)

Clearly some of these are contradictory, as in the piece about one gender wearing the other’s hat breeding either contempt or desire. There does seem to be a very strong connection between hats and sexuality, however, perhaps because the hat sits so close to the brain and retains the warmth of the head, it may be seen to cause ‘feverish’ behavior, such as love, lust, or even fighting. The divinatory rites surrounding hats are also interesting, although I suspect these performances have less to do with any direct effect upon the mind and more to do with other counting rituals related to love forecasting. Several tricks in the practice of old-style hoodoo involve acquiring the band from a man’s chapeau and using it to deploy any number of tricks, mostly designed to influence him in love (or occasionally business).

A bit of lore from the Southern mountains tells about how a person can reverse bad luck caused by unfortunate omens (in particular a fearsome rabbit crossing one’s path): [If a] Rabbit runs cross yur path, turn yur hat ‘roun’. (Wear your hat with the back part in front.)” (Duncan 236). This is not much different from the idea of turning around if a black cat crosses one’s path or even turning a key or coin over in one’s pocket after seeing an unlucky sign. In an era when hats are frequently worn backward (if worn at all), this sort of act is probably much less out of place today than it would have been half a century or so ago.

Hats, then, can be deeply magical objects to those that wear them. It’s hardly surprising that Lyle Lovett sings of his size-7 Stetson, “Well if it’s her you want, I don’t care about that/ You can have my girl, but don’t touch my hat.”

So what about you? Do you have any hat-related lore? What kinds of hats hold particular magic for you? The pointy costume ‘witch’ hat? A trucker’s cap owned by a favorite grandfather? I’d love to hear what makes your hat special and whether you ever ascribe anything magical to it.

Thanks for reading!

-Cory

Podcast Special – Ice Cream

Posted April 1, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Podcast

Tags: , , , , , , ,

SHOWNOTES FOR PODCAST SPECIAL – ICE CREAM

Summary
We return to the little town of Blackbird Falls for some April Fools fun. We learn about cherry pie, taxidermy, backwards day, and hazardous internships. Plus, someone new has arrived!

Sources
NIGHT VALE (Welcome to…)

Also, because it might be fun, you should read the stories of H.P. Lovecraft and Lemony Snicket, which both have some influence on this show.

WELCOME TO BLACKBIRD FALLS.

Play
Special Episode – Ice Cream


Music
All music by Disparition, except for the Sports section.
Sports featured song: “Early One Morning,” by Kellianna, feat. Wendy Rule, from the album Traditions.

Special Episode – Ice Cream

Posted April 1, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Episode

Special Episode – Ice Cream
We return to the little town of Blackbird Falls for an April Fools’ visit.
(complete shownotes at http://www.newworldwitchery.com)

Podcast 61 – Mardi Gras!

Posted March 4, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Podcast, Shownotes

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Summary:

We look at the various traditions, festivities, and delights of Mardi Gras and Carnival, and then explore Lent with a special guest. We’ve got articles, cocktail recipes, conversation, and music! Laissez les bon temps rouler, y’all!

Play:

Download: New World Witchery – Episode 61


 -Sources-

  1. We hear a bit of history on Mardi Gras from Jack Santino’s All Around the Year
  2. I read a segment of “The Election of the Pope of Fools” from Victor Hugo’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame
  3. You can read the quotes from Mark Twain on Mardi Gras here
  4. I describe a country Mardi Gras as found in Richard Dorson’s Buying the Wind
  5. I share recipes for a Sazerac and a Hurricane (with my own magical twist)
  6. I cite our article on “Magical Cakes” to talk about King Cake
  7. Please check out our guest Scarlet’s site & show
  8. If you have feedback you’d like to share, email us or leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!

Don’t forget to follow us at Twitter! And check out our Facebook page!

 Promos & Music

Title music:  “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues.  From Magnatune.

Song List (all songs found at Archive.org’s Audio Library):

  1. “Zydeco Stomp” – Clifton Chenier
  2. “Bourbon Street Parade” – Louis Armstrong & the Dukes of Dixieland
  3. “Orys Creole Trombone” – Dutch Swing College Band
  4. “Hey Pocky Way” – The Grateful Dead
  5. “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” – Dutch Swing College Band
  6. “Dixie” – Louis Armstrong & the Dukes of Dixieland
  7. “Basile Mardi Gras Song” – A. Michot (misattributed in the episode)
  8. “Sweet Georgia Brown” – Louis Armstrong & the Dukes of Dixieland
  9. “Look at my King”- King K Damon
  10. “Morning Has Broken” – Kaar Norge
  11. “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” – Louis Armstrong & the Dukes of Dixieland

Episode 61 – Mardi Gras!

Posted March 4, 2014 by newworldwitchery
Categories: Episode

Episode 61 – Mardi Gras!
We look at the various traditions, festivities, and delights of Mardi Gras and Carnival, and then explore Lent with a special guest.
(complete shownotes at http://www.newworldwitchery.com)


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