The traditional Ozark view of the spiritual Otherworld has always surprised outsiders and folklorists because of the general religious conservatism of the area. Despite this, a worldview that includes the existence and constant presence of spirits of the dead is common to find within more traditional communities. These spirits can take many forms, from helping angels to trickster haints. When ghosts become troublesome, hillfolk in the old Ozarks knew to call the local Power Doctor who specialized in folk exorcisms (amongst a wide variety of other charms and spells.) In the modern world, many healers have changed their view of spirits and exorcisms, influenced mostly from the Spiritualist and Spiritist movements of the 19th century, whose literature and teachings entered the Ozarks in the early 1900’s. This has created what one of my teachers called “a kinder exorcism,” whereby spirits are healed rather scared away. In this lecture we’ll be examining both the older Ozark traditions of exorcising rites as well as this “newer” way of approaching the spirit world and its inhabitants.This is a 120 minute, foundational level lecture.About the Presenter:Brandon Weston is a folklorist, spiritual healer, and writer living in the Arkansas Ozarks. He is author of "Ozark Folk Magic: Plants, Prayers, and Healing" and the forthcoming "Ozark Mountain Spell Book." He is owner of Ozark Healing Traditions, a collective of articles, lectures, and workshops focusing on traditions of medicine, magic, and folklore from the Ozark Mountain region. As an active healer, his work with clients includes everything from spiritual cleanses to house blessings and all the weird and wonderful ailments in between. He comes from a long line of Ozark hillfolk and works hard to keep the traditions that he’s collected alive and true for generations to come.
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