Old Style Conjure: Book Review

I’d been wanting this book for quite a while now and finally decided to get my hands on it. I’ve read many of Mama’s self published works which I simply adore because her personality practically bleeds through each page! Just from reading her first book, I knew this woman was the exact person she portrayed herself as: true, loyal, down-to-earth, and kind with a bit of iron in her backbone and no fear holding her back from protecting her own. A true Southern woman!

When I got this book my feelings were questionable. Big publishers change things, sometimes for the better and sometimes not. My fear was that her unique and potent personality would be hindered through the publisher’s editing.

Boy, was I wrong! That southern twang still came through just as strong with the same common sense and flare about it all. Through this book, her passion for Southern conjure still blazes after all these years and there ain’t no putting out that fire!

Throughout this book she gives an updated course in Southern Conjure, where things are explained more for the new generation of Hoodoos and Conjurors, such as safe graveyard practices and the ill-effects of using hotfoot powder in the wrong way. She explains, with hotfoot powder you could possibly be sending the poor bastard off to wander and never be able to settle down for unknown reasons.

In Appalachia, our works to get folks to leave never really had a name other than the occasional mention of “uprooting” someone. No further thought was ever cared to be had here, they just needed to get gone and stay gone, God could handle the rest for all we cared, especially when it became a possible hazard to our family or homeplace. However, Appalachians never really used the same recipes for this work as the Deep South did with hotfoot powder. We’d nail your footprint in a rag and toss ya down the river or burn lightning struck wood on your property, among a number of others.

Further on, Mama Starr gives some of her stories which are always my favorite! Of client and family troubles alike, Starr always tackles ’em just right to take care of the mess, but with much thought given into each action, as she says Every action has a reaction… and (in conjure) you have to take responsibility for what you do! There’s much wisdom to be had here from this conjure woman.

Throughout the book, Mama Starr hands out precious pearls of wisdom for the new conjuror and doesn’t shy away from explaining the dangers of working certain roots or with certain spirits. She leads you through the kitchen, to the field, down the road, and into the waters on the path of a Conjure Man or Woman. It ain’t all pretty and it sure as hell ain’t all clean neither.

She reminds you constantly of the sacrifices of the ancestors and how important it is to remember them. She also shows you some old spirituals and how they were used as code during the slave trade. From there, she shows you how to decipher old Southern folktales like Brier Rabbit to find conjure wisdoms. We did the same in my home with old bible stories like Daniel in the lions den or poems like Footprints.

She instructs you on how to build an altar, commune with your ancestors, divine with the Bible, set lights, and work roots through waters, dirts, and even trees! Whether you’re wanting to silence your gossipers, give your enemies a taste of their own medicine, bring lasting love into your life, or simply learn some old remedies, I’m sure you’ll find much of what you’re needing in this book.

I honestly don’t know another person who is as authentic in their works as Mama Starr is. She doesn’t practice any of this, she lives it. Like me, she grew up in the ways and how’s of Southern folk magic, and although our regional traditions are different, the Southern wisdom and teachings from the old folks are much the same, and she’s done amazing in keeping that blaze a’goin and handing this wisdom down further.

So if you’re looking for a possible lost bit of heritage, a bit of power to get you through life, or simply an empowered way of living, I’d bet you’d find all of these and possibly more in Mama Starr’s book.

Buy Old Style Conjure here.

Author: Jake Richards

Jake (Dr. Henny) follows family practice as a Yarb Doctor and Conjure man in the Appalachian Folk Magic tradition. He follows the legacy of his mother (a seventh daughter), that left behind by his grandfather, a baptist preacher who was a blood stopper, wort doctor, and thrush doctor; his grandmother, who was a knowledgeable woman in these works before Alzheimer’s set in; his great, great grandfather who witched for water in Washington County and his great grandmother who taught and worked from her roost at the foot of Devil’s Nest Mountain. Jake is the author of Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia, available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. When he's not writing, blogging, reading the bones or trying for clients: he is either traveling, gardening, sewing, book binding, reading, or sculpting. For questions, readings, recommendations for future posts, interviews and the like, you are welcome to email him below: Littlechicagoconjure@yahoo.com

One thought on “Old Style Conjure: Book Review”

  1. Greetings Jake, I simply wanted to praise you for defining the phenomenal woman Mama Starr Casas is. Your words have touched and reminded me that Mama Starr is what you see or read is what you get. I graduated her Conjure class in February and she has opened my eyes to beyond the Granny Women and Folk Witches that I descend from and I am and will ever be grateful my path and hers crossed.

    I can’t wait to get my hands on your book.

    Thank you for being you and keeping Appalachian Magicks alive and simple for those who know not yet what they want. You as well as Mama Starr are a legacy within yourselves and will always be remembered for keeping it real and humble.

    Infinite blessings to you and yours. I hope you have a wonderful Holiday Season.

    Aliene Edge

    On Fri, Nov 16, 2018, 9:09 PM Holy Stones and Iron Bones wrote:

    > Jake Richards posted: ” I’d been wanting this book for quite a while now > and finally decided to get my hands on it. I’ve read many of Mama’s self > published works which I simply adore because her personality practically > bleeds through each page! Just from reading her first book” >


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