Ozark Paganism

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For a while now I’ve been working on creating a family pagan tradition.  I strive to give my children a sense of identity and heritage.  I am very inspired by my cultural ancestry, especially my Irish ancestry.  Yet, my ancestry is much more diverse than that- I cannot draw from one ancient culture and be an authentic person.  I also have English, German, and Native American ancestry.  I have often pondered- how am I to honor all these cultures?  I am from them, but no longer of them.  I think it is the complaint of many Americans of mixed descent that we don’t have a specific cultural tradition to look back to for inspiration.  Also, many people move around a lot and can’t even specify one place as their regional culture.  This is where my situation is different.  My family has lived in this area of the country for many generations.  The Ozarks is my identity and culture.  So I decided to make Ozark Paganism my spiritual tradition.  Just so happens, Ozark culture is an amalgam of my cultural ancestry- through a little bit of research (via wikipedia), I found out that Ozark families from which Ozark culture derived tend to have lived in the area since the 19th century, many coming from the Southern Appalachians, and of Scots-Irish, English, and German descent, often including some Native American ancestry. 
Like I said- the Ozarks is my identity and culture.
So, turns out that I can look to old Ozark culture to see how all those “old world” cultures and traditions combined into one.  I have seen tantalizing little bits of surviving Paganism in Ozark folklore, but for the most part Ozark Paganism is a remodeling job.  I would say reconstructing, but that doesn’t quite fit.  The task is to imagine Ozark culture how it might have evolved in the absence of patriarchal monotheism…

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2 responses »

  1. I think most of us face the same dilemma. We come from a mixture of backgrounds, but we have a different identity. Ozark Paganism sounds good to me. I guess I would be an Appalachian Pagan. Both regions have their own rich cultural heritage, and that heritage is a mixture of all the people who settled there. Really, it’s just like we are – an amalgamation, a mixture of different backgrounds in the same place. I’m interested to hear what develops from this. 🙂

  2. Just ran across your blog doing a search for Ozark folk magic. Both my parents were from the Missouri Ozarks (Taney County, Swan, Forsythe area). My Mom’s family emigrated from Virginia in the 1800s. I was born and raised in Washington state, so have little connection to the area. Since embracing my own paganism, I’ve been interested in my cultural heritage. My Dad never claimed religion of any kind, but as a farmer he relied on moon phases and other “paganish” ways of growing things. The earth was in his soul. I’m not sure where he learned this; perhaps from his mother. I’m going to read more of your blog and probably bookmark it for reference. Your ancestry sounds much like mine; German, English, Native American. Mom’s family has been traced back to Germany in the 1700s. As you say, I am convoluted on what “kind” of pagan I should be: Germanic, Celtic, Native American..? When I lived in Washington state (I now live in Idaho) I was within 100 miles of 3 Indian reservations, and spent a lot of time there soaking up the vibes and finding my own ‘sacred’ places. I feel a strong connection to Native American spirituality, but, not having grown up in the culture I didn’t feel it would be honorable to claim it. I still incorporate many aspects into my path. However I am very interested in learning about Ozark folk magic and paganism… your blog is a good start. Thanks for the great information and insight!

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