When the Bones are calling

Recently, there’s been a lot of folks hopping on to the “trend” of bone divination and treating it like tarot cards and pendulums. Now before these people start spreading false information, I’m going to set a few things straight. While I can only speak for my way of reading the bones, there’s some givens in this divination method. In the past month, I’ve seen a sad handful of folks go from asking me about reading them to reading them for clients!!! This is a red flag. The bones take months, even years to get a good handle on them. So I’m gonna learn you a thing or two today.

First and foremost, you need a strong connection to your Ancestors in order to receive valid messages through the bones. Not just honoring them and remembering. You must feel them inside you, resting in your veins and seated in your bones. Learn to speak with them, visit their graves often, and give your offerings. And say please and thank you, yes ma’am and yes sir. They may be dead, but they still expect some manners.

I was always taught that you must be led to the bones. Otherwise, you won’t have an eye for them. It’s like art work. There’s gotta be something already to you for you to click with the bones.

Most folks collect things over the years seemingly for no reason, until their Ancestors show up and advice them to begin throwing the bones. The more traditional way among the mountain folk is that you have to be taught and learned in person with someone, and your set must be gifted to you or found. The Cherokee believed that bones or parts bought or sold was bad juju. The spirit of that animal would seek revenge for the meaningless treatment of its parts. When things are found, thanks is given and an offering left. Sometimes flesh for flesh.

If you must buy bones or pieces, respectfully sit with the animals spirit and offer thanks and give offerings. You must make this meaningful, not some half assed “thanks man” thought up in ten minutes. This is a ritual itself. Think of how you would like to be asked of the same, and follow suit from there.

I was very fortunate to receive an extensive collection of possum bones from a friend. At the time, I was simply in love with collecting odd things. Always an odd bird.  Then I learned this technique from a friend of the family. I first began with a few bones, stones and shells. I’ve recently decided to keep my bones in the set instead of switching them out with stones or shells when reading for clients. Not sure why I did that. Perhaps the bones were too special to me. But I got the feeling they were ready to stay and speak full time.

Each bone piece will have a special meaning or code between you and your spirits. It is through this code that the client’s messages will come through from their Ancestors. For this reason you should start off with at least 15 pieces that represent different aspects of human life, to give the spirits more ground the work with. Most pieces will have two marked sides to represent the polarity of each aspect: either increase or decrease, love-loyalty/cheating-lies etc. While not every piece will speak during the reading, you can make this easier to see by assigning certain “one-side” pieces with another side that just states it is silent and not speaking for the client now.
There will be bad news sometimes. Do not refrain from advising them, but word it in a respectful manner. It’s very rare that either party is cheating; most often the communication between them has diminished or one of them is simply closed off. I had a client who thought her husband no longer loved her, until she found out that he was dealing with personal health problems and didn’t want to worry her, which explained his depression and low-interest in intimacy.

I would also add pieces to show time: past, present, and future. This will help tell the client “when” during a reading.

Other meanings would be a piece to designate a warning or “pay attention”. This is then paired and read with the pieces around it: the health bone next to the “warning”, conjoined with a twisted path foretell of many health issues to come than will get in the way of the client’a path.

Clients name has been blotted out for privacy.

Now possum and raccoon bones (sometimes chicken bones, which were readily available to those farming folk) were traditionally used here due to these animals frequent sightings in graveyard at night. For good reason, as they are closely associated with the Dead.

Bone throwing is an ancient technique, practiced on every continent in one form or another. In China, the bones are broken pieces of Ox bone with symbols on them, while down in Africa the most popular is by reading cowry shells, chicken bones, etc.

The Norse have a similar practice in the throwing of runes, and still in Europe was the infamous Scapulomancy (the reading of shoulder bones in animals). Reading patterns is fixed into the chemistry of the brain. Man recognizes things in seemingly meaningless patterns, textures and even in reflections. This has brought forth divination methods such as palmistry, crystal gazing, etc.

When the bones are thrown, there’s many ways to read the lay out. You can read past, present and future by going from left to right; or near to far. Others will “scry” the bones for significant images, designs with meaning in this tradition, and initials. The spirits will assist you in finding a layout to read through.

By tradition, the animal the bones belonged to is thanked and honored during the process of blessing the bones. Some people work with the spirit of the possum or other animal, but I prefer to just let their spirit rest after blessing and working the bones.

Bone throwing is done on the ground instead of on a table. While some readers do it this way, I prefer the stability of Mother Appalachia. This way you and the client are connected to the earth, where the bones of your Ancestors are. The bones are cast on a rug, cloth or skin and read. Sometimes I cast them on the earth Herself into a circle drawn in the dirt. Usually anything that falls outside of the mat or circle is not read.

I collect these pieces first and place them in a pile to be added with the rest for cleansing when the reading is over. When cast on an animal hide, based on where pieces land (head, left paw, tail) then there are additional meanings paired with what the pieces are saying.

I also pay attention to the sounds as they fall as well as how scattered they get when throw. A good “clink” sound is best; a “thud” isn’t good. All cluttered up means the client has a lot on their plate and it’s your job to help unweave the tangles. Really scattered shows stress and that they feel “at the end of their rope” most of the time.

When not in use, the bones are stored in a burlap bag, a basket (which I don’t recommend as some pieces like to get stuck in between the grooves of the basket weaves). They are also kept by the Ancestor altar and fed every month with tobacco smoke. If you don’t smoke or prefer not to smoke the bones, you can sprinkle them with natural water, as in water from a lake, creek etc.

Now if I am doing a distance reading, I will have to clients name paper in the center and will call upon their Ancestors to guide me during the reading. I will not start until I know they are there. If it is an in-person reading, I don’t feel a need to call them as everyone generally has ancestors with them. They “know” when the person is going for a reading in order speak with them.

I recently had a client who, after the reading explained she was adopted and wanted to know if it was her adopted ancestors or biological. From what I felt, I advised her it was a mixture, as her adoptive family’s spirits seem to have adopted her also. There was love regardless.

     Grounding is extremely important with this kind of work, as you will be speaking with the Spirit world. This can have a negative impact on your personal reservoir of energy if you’re not grounded.

     Protection is also essential as you’re dealing with other people’s spirits, spirits foreign to you. If you don’t know someone from Adam, you won’t be running around naked. It’s the same here. Make sure you are guarded and protected.

One thing, I’ve learned in my time with the bones is that not everyone’s spirits wish to speak with you. Some will refuse to unless told by the client it’s okay. Even then, they are reluctant. And one simple prayer won’t always reach them if your the only one calling them. I’ve waited 20+ minutes for them to finally show up for the reading.

After doing so many readings, you should have a “sense” built up so you can feel if they are present. Because we are human and sometimes wrong, I use casting shells to tell if they are present. You may sometimes get images if it’s two men and a woman with a small child, for example. At these points, I make sure to let the client know this. They won’t always know who some of them are, as many of us are guided by family we never knew of life. But I still prefer to let them know, especially if a child spirit comes.

There are many precautions to take when reading for others, but start off with grounding and protection. You can also ask your other spiritual allies to help guide you. And make sure to keep your Ancestors happy with offerings as thanks for speaking to you through the bones, it ain’t just you doing the work.

Now when you have your bones gathered, they will need to be blessed and awoken. Before we Mountain folk borrowed Florida water from our Hoodoo cousins, they’d take the bones down to the Nolachucky or some other big river. They’d go down and petition the “Long Man” to cleanse and purify the bones. The bone were taken in a basket, with a cloth or towel inside. From then they are baptized and dunked in the river 4-7 times. An offering of tobacco was given to the River. Once home, the bones were then smoked with Tobacco while calling ones Ancestors.

The Cherokee viewed tobacco as the most sacred plant. It was believed that an offering of the crop to any spirit in creation would guarantee the spirits help. As man was the only one given the plant by the Creator, the other animals were envious and would do almost anything to possess a piece of it. The plant was also believed to be a “tree of life” of sorts, as the roots of the tobacco plant grow deep and sturdy while the plant growing high and tall. The tobacco connects us to our Ancestors. It is the life of the Red Man, which is why the bones are fed with the smoke. We sometimes awaken our dolls this way as well, to breath life through the sacred smoke.

Calling on the Ancestors in this manner is best. Once they are present, you and your spirits will determine the meaning for each piece and bless it with natural water or Florida water before placing it in its bag. This bag will be the one you use until your set outgrows it. Don’t constantly change the bag as this will affect the spirit of the bones as this is their “home”.

When you first begin, make sure you have a cloth thick enough so the bones don’t break if you’re working on hardwood floor. But also thin enough so the bones will tumble when thrown and not get stuck in the fabric. A lot of folks want to rush into this and cast the entire set, which is overwhelming and you’ll just get confused or frustrated. It’s best to cast a couple at a time and practice reading these first to gain an understanding of how they relate to one another.

Now y’all can continue with looking everywhere on YouTube on how to do this. But I recommend you follow what’s here so 1) you’re not cheated and lied to by someone who has no idea what they are doing, 2) so you can better pace yourself and work WITH your spirits. If you just start throwing and reading for people “professionally”, you’ll be doing a disservice for you and them. For you, because they’re gonna listen to your advice and make shitty life decisions which will come back and hurt your name. For them, because you don’t know what you’re doing and now they’re stuck with the consequences of your shit advice. People do follow your advice. Be aware of that.

For a thorough explanation on the ethics of doing readings please see May Auryn’s blog post Ethics of the Physic Witch

Now you have some guidance to read the bones. Trust the spirits, trust your gut, and be patient with yourself. It may seem simple at first, but it can get tricky. Build your relationship with the land and with your Spirits. Meditate with your bones before reading them. “Where has this leg walked?”, “How much did this vertebrae support?”. Build a relationship with them, let the bones become an extension of your own.

“I am a body of bones reading the bones of other, smaller bodies and calling out fates yet unnamed; twirling fingers through Secret’s hair; ears hearing ungodly tales of the folks in town, and feeling the hands of spirits upon my hands upon those bones.”  These Conjure Hands

I will be doing online video classes soon on reading the bones prices may be between $50-$80.

We will also begin carrying bone sets in our shop. Each piece of the sets will be gathered or traded, blessed and awakened in the Appalachian tradition. So be sure to stay in touch with us at Little Chicago Conjure.

Trees in Appalachian Folk Magic

These mountains wouldn’t be what they are without the numerous species of trees covering these hills. Most are native, while others, like the Tree-of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima) and the Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) emigrated with people, either from outland or across seas. The Appalachian mountains are one of the great gatherings of flora and fauna on earth, and as such, they are a mainstay of Appalachian folk magic.

In the Appalachias, trees are respected and looked upon with wonder. Well, they once were before the urbanization and mountain-top strip mining started. Folks use to know what it took to build their houses and boats, what it took to give warmth in the winter. Our relationship with trees, and nature in general, is almost non-existent amongst the electric heaters and lights, barred from the torrents of winter storms and summer’s tantrums. Now the only admiration they get is from the northerners and those who only stop and look at a calendar picture.

But they are integral to our work and life. The grannies knew this. They knew the medicines and magic of the giants that surround and shade us. In Appalachian Hoodoo, all parts of the trees are used: leaves, bark, flowers, branches and roots. And if it’s provided, the sap as well. It’s mostly the bark and branches though, with the occasional use of the root if your patient enough to wait and get it.

There’s an old technique of harvesting from the Cherokee that most of us still use today.  Remember, each family is taught and does different. What I show here is a variation of what I do. Can’t show all my secrets now.

Whether herb, bush or tree, we always harvest from the 4th or 7th plant of the species. This way there will be enough left for 7 generations to come. Now the actual process differs among Mountain workers. Some make sure that their back is facing the wind so as not to “scare the spirits”. That one I never really figured out. Others will talk with the spirit of the plant first and ask permission (which I highly recommend! Don’t be a jerk).

Now, it’s best to go early in the day before daylight or at dawn, during the waxing or full moon to harvest leaves or twigs. If it’s an up ground plant, you harvest during the growing of the moon. If it’s an underground crop or you’re harvesting roots, do so in the waning or the dark of the moon. The reason being: the moon pulls on moisture. When the moon is growing or full, the plants essential qualities will be drawn up the plant into the leaves and stems. Beneath a waning or dark moon, the majority of this recedes back down to the roots and bark.

You don’t want to harvest leaves or such when the sun is shinning and it’s hot cause this can put the plant in shock. Another thing, if you’re harvesting for medicine, the best time is waxing/full moon, before sunrise. Because when the sun rises most of these oils recede into the stem so as not to fry the leaves by the light magnifying inside the leaves.

You get the point. Upground or leaves/twigs = waxing moon/warm season; roots and bark = waning moon/cold season.

Now when you’re asking permission, ask out loud and tell the spirit what you need it for. You will get the feeing of “yes” or “no” following. If the plant says no, either pass 4 or 7 more plants and try asking another one; or wait another day. If they say no, give your offering to thank them anyway for the medicine they carry. When you do harvest from a willing plant ONLY TAKE WHAT YOU NEED. So many plants are on the brink of extinction due to the greedy paws of man. Ginseng and Goldenseal are just a couple among many. Due to others desire for them and my distrust for people, the places I harvest from are my secrets and will go with me to my grave. It’s not fair to the plants.

The Cherokee have a story about this. When man forgot to thank the live he took to survive, when he kept taking more than he needed, the animals met in council led by Bear. They determined man is ignorant and deserves punishment. So they cursed man with many diseases.

But the Standing ones (plants) felt compassion for this bald monkey tumbling around the forest. They said “he may trample on us and take more than we offer, but he’s the youngest of us and just needs to learn. So for every disease you animals give them, we will offer a cure for everyone.”  Recent scientific studies are showing that the Standing Ones have kept their promise.

It’s very benefiting to build a relationship with the trees on your own land. Doing so will befriend them and they may even offer to help protect your property and yourself from those who wish harm and things that go bump in the night. Spend time with them and bring gifts for them as well as the Good Folk.

Possible offerings differ from plant species. Bearded iris’ seem to enjoy milk, water, and bread crumbs; Oak enjoys a good shot of rum with some tobacco, and the occasional gifts of silver change; Willow loves seeds, honey and cold water. As practice a give and take with the land. Man is the only animal who no longer honors this unspoken law.

A lot has changed since the times of the Cherokee and Chickasaw, but we still hold true to one thing: plant, animal, people or mountain, this is a family. Family doesn’t use, it gives and takes and gives again, continuously. While this may only hold fast with half the folks here now, it still grows in the heart of this land, nourished by the soil our Ancestors layed their bones in.

So now that you’re a bit prepared for dealing with these Spiritual giants, here is a list of trees worked with in these mountains.

Oak is the strong grandfather, standing tallest in these hills. The champion oak (Quercus rubra) can grow to an exceptional height of 140+ feet. The people of the Irish Moors saw the oak as sacred and powerful. Grandfather oak lends his power for protection, strength and healing. This is why the twig charm (see We Hold Our Own) uses oak twigs with your hair and red string, to protect.

Willow is the beloved sweetheart of every southern hick. Her fronds brush against Mother Earth and “sweeps the footprints of those recently dead.” Growing up, I was told allot of lore surrounding the Weeping Willow. All the trees branches reach up toward the Creator to give thanks for the rain and for life. While the Willow is always overcome with gratitude that her branches droop and she cries. This makes her the purest Sitting Soul in these mountains, which explains why she is used for healing (medicinally and magically), for love works and bindings. If there’s any tree that embodies Mother Appalachias spirit more, it’s the Willow.

Walnut is like the grumpy old man people are best not to mess with unless they need him real bad. He’s wise and doesn’t sugar coat things. He also embodies a sense of justice, “eye for an eye”. For this reason, we use walnut for wisdom, court case work and crossing up someone who did you wrong. Now when you cross with walnut, make sure it’s justified or it won’t help you. It works somewhat like High John, make sure your on the side of justice.

Tree-of-heaven. Found on Pinterest

Tree-of-heaven is used for cleansing, protection, and removing blockages (flowers). The roots are harvested in the fall and carried to bring the blessings of heaven.

Maple is the sweet gal who can break a bone when she needs to. She lends her assistance primarily through her leaves (which, depending on the species, can grow bigger than your head). The twigs and bark are sometimes paired with Yellow Dock Root when making love dollies. The leaves are added to incense, oils and sachets to draw love and sweeten situations up. The sap is gathered on the full moon to act as a resin for love drawing incense. It also packs a punch when gathered on Beltane if you can find it.

Apple is the go-to for love and protection. Her reputation has traveled continents and time, mostly stemming from European witchcraft. For offerings, she loves a cold glass of milk sweetened with honey. The leaves, bark, flowers and fruit are used. For protection, cut an apple in half to reveal the pentagram formed by the seeds. Take a bay leaf that has soaked in whiskey for a moon and place it ever the seeds and pin it. This Old World trick is to protect against haints and to keep people from throwing at you. For love works, bore the stem out of the apple, and load it with cinnamon, Willow leaves, Queen Anns blooms. You can also add your sexual fluids to this. Stop the hole up with a white, pink or red taper candle. If need be, cut off the bottom of the apple so it sits firmly.

Magnolia is that large woman who loves to cook for her family and anyone else with a growling tummy. She is chief (chieftess? I think it’s gender neutral) among trees when it comes to the heart and home. The leaves, bark and flowers are used for matrimony, to incite fidelity, and to keep a marriage happy. The flowers smell amazing, but fair warning, they smell aweful when the flower starts to die.

Crepe Myrtle is a non-native, short tree (or bush, depends on who you ask) that has been embraced by the mountain traditions. The peeled bark and flowers are used to incite passion and lust. But Myrtle is a feisty gal who’s always after someone else. As it can be imagined, Crepe Myrtle is used to attract sexual lovers and it’s well put to use in a love working. Her fire burns out as quickly as it’s lit.

Birch (especially Paper Birch) is used for a safe pregnancy and delivery. She stands tall and proud in her unique bark among these hills. Her energy is strongly connected to the Irish Brigit, so it’s leaves and bark are used for healing, creative inspiration, and to smooth out situations.

Poplar is one of the youngins of the forest. He’s particularly good in dispelling nightmares, money works, and to gain the attention of others; in particular to create a glamour for others to see. He’s a simple one, enjoying a cold glass of water on his roots and an offering of tobacco.

Mimosa is used for spirit communication, healing and protection. The root is carried to protect from haints and accidents. Paired with yarrow, mimosa flowers are soaked in water while sitting in the sun (even better if it’s raining while the sun is shining) to make a healing wash that’ll take off worts, clot blood, and settle cramps.

Pine is a watchful grandfather who provides what is needed. He lends his needle leaves for money, healing, cleansing and protection. In Cherokee mythology, Pine is one among many who did not sleep during the days of creation, so the Creator bestowed immortality upon him. Pine holds a sacred medicine. A medicine that holds hands with Endless time and the spiral of life and death. It’s said that if a pine tree, or any evergreen tree dies suddenly, then there has been evil worked there or evil has touched the ground.

Holly is another evergreen here. His thorny leaves are used for protection and his berries carried for fertility and love. If for love, the berries will ensure a long lasting bond. Another tree sacred to the Celts, Holly symbolizes hope and life everlasting. The berries can also be pulverized and dried to be added to an oil or salve to assist in speaking with the Good Neighbors.

Paw paw tree. Asimina triloba

Mountain Laurel is a lonely old man, only to be found high in the mountains usually. He lends his wisdom through his leaves, which are carried for protection and victory. If anybody is trying to mess with you or trip you up, the leaves create a wall for them. Laurel is one tree that is the most inhabited by the Good Folk so be sure to bring them an offering of corn, cream and tobacco.

Redbud is the littlest sister in these hills, being the first to perk up her dark pink blooms in February. She’s an attention seeker and always wants to be the first to be noticed. Because how can you miss pink flowers among a forest of brown, dead bark. For this reason, her blooms (only the blooms) are harvested each year to be added to works that are done to get another’s attention, such as Come to Me Boy. The leaves and bark are rarely, if ever used.

PawPaw ain’t got a mean root at all. The strips of bark are bound to the feet of the ill and rubbed each night of the full moon for healing to happen. The fruit not only taste delicious, but also makes a good “bed” to put the locks of hair belonging to the ill paired with a tree-of-heaven root; this is said to act as a petition for heavens help. You bind the two halves of the fruit, with the hair and roots inside, together and place in under their bed. As the fruit rots so will the decease or sickness until it is gone.

So now you have a good idea of how we work with these Giants of the Hills, I’ll leave the rest to you. I may do another post on this soon. Not sure yet.

Y’all be good to one another.

Love magic in Appalachian Hoodoo

Image from http://www.gardeningknowhow.com

If there’s one thing mountain folk enjoy, it’s being in love. How could one not fall in love among forests of honeysuckle, oak trees, fields of goldenrod and the babble of the creek down hill? These hills have known so much love, long before the white man met this soil.  By common sense, the mountain folk have many old sayings and tricks to attract love and keep it good.

The old folks had a traditional outlook on love, therefore most of the following circles around new love and keeping love. But sometimes a person likes to wander. And the grannies knew exactly how to keep him put and sat in one place.

Now, when a young person finds another that they wish to settle with, there’s a handful of charms and techniques they can pick from. The obvious and most common is to cook for them and spike it with either semen, menstrual blood, or urine. This is said to make them head over heels for you.

Another choice was to take two strips of clothing, one of yours and one of the other persons, and walk through the forest to find honeysuckle. They would pass three bushes until they came upon the fourth; at this bush they would tie the two strips of clothing with the vines. Don’t cut ’em off, just tie it to the bush using only the vines. Tie them there while saying, “knotted us, knotted we. Knotted now, forever be.” As the bush continues to grow so will the love and bond between the two lovers. Some people go back each year to check the bush, especially in times of trouble in love. If the bush has come undone at some point, they’ve either been worked against in order to fight and separate; or the love wasn’t meant to be. There’s tricks for figuring those messes out.

To guarantee a proposal from the man, the woman would carry a raccoon balcum wrapped with locks of the couples hair. And of course tied with red string.

You could also use an apple. During the harvest, make sure you get the second to last apple left. The last one was left on the tree so the devil won’t cause trouble. The woman would take the apple and cut it in half. She would take the seeds out and hollow out the core. Save the seeds for later. She would then load it with parsley, rosemary, strawberry leaves and the mans name. She’d put the halves together and bind it with that red string.

Over the course of five days, she would eat one seed early morning, before sunrise. While eating the seed, she would roll the apple towards her on a table or on the ground. This was said to get his tail over to you to bend on one knee. After the fifth day, she’d burry the apply in the front yard at sunrise.

Folks also used a “sugar bottle” to catch the eye of a lover. They’d use old medicine bottles or coke bottles (it’s gotta be glass). In it they’d put the name of a possible lover who may have eyes for you. With that they’d put sugar, cinnamon, honeysuckle flowers, rose petals and a bit of dirt from the front yard (to get him over there). The bottle is then capped and rolled from one corner of the room to the next, starting at the corner closest to the east and ending at the opposite side of the room. This is done from dark to full moon, at which point the bottle is either buried in the front yard or sat by the front door.

To attract a lover, make a sugar jar by putting rose petals, powdered sugar (because it gets EVERYWHERE), honey, flowers from the garden and a lock of your hair. Say your prayers over this jar every night for one moon cycle and burry it under your front door.

Now say that that boy don’t pay you no good attention, and he best starting seeing you. They would make an apple head doll. The head would be loaded with names, knots, cinnamon, flour, and rose petals and thorns. This was then named for the man to draw him to her. He can’t think of nobody, but. This doll was talked to you and kissed, even put to bed with you until he made the move. Once that happened, the doll was kept in an undergarment drawer until marriage. Once married, it was properly disposed of. Back then, it was taboo to have a divorce, so once you’s married, it was a done deal.

Now folks often wander off and mess with others. When this was discovered, the man or woman’s “nature” was tied totheir spouse, so they couldn’t find sexual pleasure with any others or wander off.

To tie a woman’s nature, you would get a red string that has been anointed with her “fluids” (I’ll leave it up to you about how to acquire that). This string is then knotted 9 times while saying her name and the petition on each one. This is then carried with the man, so when need be he can take it out and repeat his petition periodically. This string can also added to a sachet with kudzu root, walnut root, yellow dock root, moss, and whiskey salt to fixed their nature to you. This is to be tied up in a honeysuckle bush, just enough so the charm won’t fall. Make sure not to break the vines. As the vines grow, so will their inability to find pleasure elsewhere.

The same is done as above to fix a man’s nature, except the red string must be the same length as his member and soaked in his semen for three days (again, your choice on how to do that). The only difference is for the woman, the sachet must be a bag and for a man it is a packet.

If you think your nature has been fixed by a lover, get a silver dime (one before the year 1964, because you need the silver for this) and soak it in equal parts of salt water and whiskey with three caps of ammonia. Soak it for 13 days, beginning on the first day of the month. This is best if the first day  of the month falls during a waning moon.

This dime is then rubbed on the genitalia for 9 days, between the labias or on the left side of his member. The dime is then thrown into a river. Most folks here use the Nolachucky (thought to mean “Black swirling waters”, “Dangerous waters” etc.). Many folk have die in this river, so it is the place to “end” things or kill works out on you.

To keep a wandering lover home, take a piece of their undergarments and a railroad spike and nail it down in the back yard. You can also bind it up with red string around a yellow dock root, and hide it under the bed. We’re all about tying things. And duct taping things. We make due.

Now, this all of this is ,but a fraction of the mountain knowledge regarding love; but I’d say it’s enough to keep folks informed. Our roots may not swim in the bayous of Louisiana, but that don’t matter much. They are made strong, tough, resilient and sturdy by the red clay, wildfires, frost and thunderstorms that charge these mountains year after year. Our hands are worn in the summer by the earth and garden, and bit by the cold in the winter from foraging the dead lands and forests. Mountain folk know how to hold their own. I’ve said it once before, but that won’t be the last.

Far from it.