Interview with Cory Hutcherson From New World Witchery

So grab a comfy chair and coffee, or tea which ever is your beverage and let’s dive in. If your not familiar with Cory he is an author a host with his friend and co-host lane on the successful podcast New World Witchery were they dive into American Traditional Witchcraft along with other great topics as well. I personally stumbled across them looking for podcasts on folk magic and became in grossed with the show, and I can say they are one of few I listen to on a regular basis because the chemistry, topics, and laughs I got while listening. I am very grateful to have gotten this opportunity and without further a do here is the interview.

When you all started this podcast in 2010 did you all have any idea 12 years later, did you think you’d still be going strong?

I really and truly did not! I remember the original vision for the show was to look at each regional system of folk magic for an episode and then discuss it, and maybe have a few extra episodes along the way. Then we added in the interview components, and I thought that might double the total episodes we would do. At that point I thought we might have enough fuel for maybe 24-36 episodes, and we might go a little further than that and keep things going for a few years. But we very quickly realized that this is a Pandora’s Box (in a good way) and that magical systems here are much more complex, nuanced, and dynamic than simple categories would imply, and that there were multiple perspectives I needed on any type of folk magic we discussed, so the doors were wide open at that point and we still are nowhere near an endpoint for North American folk magic.

This is also true as for me personally as well North American Folk magic in itself as so many nuances that you can start down one path, and end up taking may more side ones along the way, but I believe that is because it’s steeped in tradition and folklore each bringing there own stories to tell.

With being a successful podcast are there any favorite episodes that you could circle back on easily?

It’s hard to pick one, of course. I always love doing our October All Hallows’ Read episodes—scary stories drawn from literature or folklore that I get to have some fun with. I also really love the episodes Laine and I did on Magical Occupations, which look at jobs in folklore and fairy tales that have magical connections (think millers, bakers, scholars, sewers/weavers, etc.). The episode with Becky Beyer about Appalachian plant lore was incredibly informative, I thought, and I got to do a sort of guided pathworking of walking through the woods, which was fun. And, of course, I love our Yuletide Cheer and Yuletide Fear episodes (at least in part because I did my dissertation on Krampus parades, which ties right into those).

I don’t know about anyone else but Halloween is my favorite holiday, and as a studying herbalist I very much enjoyed her knowledge as my family lives in Appalachia and so did I for a time so hearing her explain it was very informative.

Is there any advice you would give for someone wanting to may be getting into podcasting knowing what you all know now?

There are really two things to remember: 1) plan as thoroughly and as far ahead as you can, and 2) make sure you’re still having fun. If you try to wing it and do one episode at a time with no planning, it gets easy to miss an episode or two, and that’s when people “podfade” or disappear from the airwaves. I recommend planning at least four to six episodes in advance, have a fairy consistent recording and editing schedule, and commit to upload days you can make (like two a month rather than every week). And you have to make sure you’re doing something you love, too. If being in front of a mic scares you, or if you feel overwhelmed by the topics, get a friend (that’s what we did and it worked so much better!). Or find something fun that you like to do in each episode—reviewing a book or talking about a movie tied into your topic, answering a listener email, whatever it is. Find something you’ll look forward to every episode and it will help keep you motivated.

I definitely agree here and it is very sound advice if you are someone who has listened to podcasts over the years these are real people ,and yes real life is a thing, but every detail matters when you want to do something successful and as long running as this show is for example.

Are there any projects you all are working on that your excited to announce soon?

We are very excited to be writing a book together! The tentative title is Conjuring the Commonplace: A Guide to Everyday Enchantment and Junk Drawer Magic, which will come out from 1000Volt Press in 2023. It covers something we both love, which is the magic that hides in plain sight all around us. We look through an imaginary “junk drawer” full of coins, buttons, old pieces of broken pottery, etc. and we find folkloric or modern magic tied to each one. We talk about using subway tokens to help with Otherworld work, lighting matches and seeing which way they burn to answer divination questions, and why you should drink the bubbles that show up on top of your mug of coffee (hint: they bring you good luck and money!). It’s been a fun one to write and we’re closing in on the end of it now, so we hope people will enjoy this sort of pocket guide to a witch’s cottage full of magical odds and ends.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I will be super excited to pre order this book when it comes out because I am one of those witches that has a junk drawer, and so did my grandmother and great-grandmother. Literally you can find any little trinket of unknown origin in there so having a way to utilize that will be fantastic also using everyday objects is the fun magic itself.

In this part of the interview we get to know Cory a little more.

In your years of writing, podcasting, and Teaching do you have a practice/practices that play a role in daily to help you along this journey of life?

I have a few little bits of folk magic that have been blended into how I practice daily and also that assist me in all my other work, too. For example, I have an academic bundle spell made with things like Solomon’s seal, sage, and a peach pit to help boost my academic work, and I keep a little spell scroll tucked into one of my favorite writing pens to make sure when I write I’m doing the best work possible. It’s nothing terribly obvious to anyone who sees me, but there are little echoes of magic pinging off of me pretty much all the time.

I love this because it shows you can use magic to help in even the most mundane things, and bring magic into everyday life to help you along whether it’s writing, painting, or creating pottery whatever your muse there’s always a little bit of magic that can be thrown in.

When you all are interviewing other practitioners or authors etc. is there a few that have stood out for you over the years?

Oof, this is a tough question, really. I have interviewed a lot of incredibly knowledgeable people about their practices, but one of the things I’ve really loved are the friends I’ve made in the podcasting community. Many of them, like Don Martin (formerly Fire Lyte) of the Head on Fire Podcast or Kathleen Borealis of Borealis Meditations have been both great interviewees on their topics (pop culture and sociology for Don, geology and nature for Kathleen), and beyond that they’ve been amazing friends, too!

That is what I love about what I do and he does is you can meet amazing people who in return end up becoming friends where you can learn and grow from each other. It is also about community sharing and learning knowledge from ones who are well versed in there practice.

In your studies of Folk magic from all over the world and here in the United States have you celebrated or do celebrate some the Sabbats/ Esbats i.e., Lammas, Samhain, or Mabon?

We’ve talked on the show a good bit about creating a “wheel” that works for you, mostly because it’s tied to the actual environment you live in. Temperance Alden has a good book on this, too, called Year of the Witch. I do what might be seen as Esbats really regularly, celebrations when the Moon is full with offerings of poetry or libations, and divinatory work during the dark of the Moon, plus I follow the lunar signs for things like gardening. I don’t really celebrate the Sabbats as they are put down in a lot of broader Pagan contexts, but instead follow the seasonal arcs where I live. So for example, I lived for a long time in Pennsylvania, where local tradition is heavily connected to the Groundhog (or “Grundsau” in Pennsylvania German dialect), and Groundhog Day became something I paid a good bit of attention to, tying it to St. Brigid and St. Blaise (because of my folk Catholic background and their place in that seasonal space). I love celebrating Halloween, too, although not quite in the way a lot of people celebrate Samhain. I lean into the kitsch of it, enjoy the costumes and candy and spookiness of it all, and then do my midnight divination rites and leave apples and candles out for the dead over the next few days. So it’s not that I reject the Wheel of the Year, but that I work with one that fits me and my immediate world better.

I have to agree here as I celebrate the seasons and more on the Esbats so to speak as I personally do things by moon cycle or by seasonal cycle, and really it is about what works for you personally. For example my favorite season is Autumn so on the Autumn equinox or near it I get out my fall decorations, and give the house a good once over to reset and recharge the energy in our home along with decorating for Halloween/Samhain having fun and having magic can be as simple or it can be as grandiose as you want it to be.

here we get into just some good olé’ information from Cory.

What tips would you give readers for ones who are seriously thinking of stepping out and writing a book or teach a class etc…?

What do you have to offer that is distinctly your own? If you can answer that question and you see that people want that, there’s nothing wrong with starting a group, teaching a class, offering a workshop, or writing a book. We need those unique, fresh, original perspectives to enrich the world of magic in which we immerse ourselves. Once you know what you have to say, you need to connect with an audience. This is less about you teaching to them, and more about you serving them through your knowledge. Remember they may know more than you on some things, too, and so your gift might just be providing the space in which your audience can thrive and share their experiences and wisdom. If you have a clear idea, and a connection that feels genuine and joyous, then you’ll probably feel the next steps are almost inevitably before you: writing a book, going full bore with teaching, etc. At that point, it’s a lot like podcasting: plan ahead as much as you can and have fun along the way. Stay flexible so you can adapt as you need to, but beyond that, you got this!

For someone who has stumbled upon your podcast and is new to paganism etc., but interested in the Traditional Folk Witchcraft or just witchcraft in general what would be some pointers on how they can get a good foot into it?

I’d probably quietly whisper over their shoulder that they already have a foot in it and just don’t know it yet. Folk magic appears in virtually every community in some form, whether that’s Mexican American brujas working a amare charm or a rural farmer hanging a horseshoe above the barn door or a professional baseball player keeping a cheese sandwich in his back pocket for good luck (true story!). So what I say is, start learning and stay curious, but also spend a lot of time listening. Listen to the communities you’re a part of: family, friend groups, occupation/job connections, regional or local neighbors. You belong to those, and you probably already have folk magic hiding in there if you just listen closely enough. There are some great books and podcasts out there on this: Roger J. Horne and Judika Illes both do folk magic writing from different angles and do great work. We’ve been lucky to have authors like Jake Richards, J. Allen Cross, Aaron Oberon, Laura Davila, and Via Hedera write books about their specific folk practices. Podcasts like FolkCraft, Southern Bramble, and Invoking Witchcraft have wonderful folk magic in them. And, of course, you can come check out our website to help unpack some of that material and get some pointers on just when and where the listening will do the most good.

I will put links at the bottom of this page to Cory’s podcast and others mentioned here as I personally listen to them as well.

For our readers and your listeners in “the broom closet” are there any tips for if they want to attend a class or festival like Pagan Pride that would help keep them out of the spotlight with the ones closest to them or what would you suggest?

This is kind of hard, especially in the age of social media. When you go to events like this, everyone has a camera, so one thing to do is scope out the event online first, and get to know the people who will be there. If they’re likely to draw a lot of people interested in posting on Instagram, you may need to think hard before attending that. But if it’s a local group getting together to discuss Tarot or playing card reading, that’s a much lower risk scenario. I always recommend caution and self-protection as much as possible, not just for broom closet issues but because there are predatory people everywhere, and our openness as a community can sometimes make it easy for them to show up in our circles. But I’ve found almost everyone I’ve met at events to share a love of magic, a curiosity and wonder about things that feels like kinship, so if you want to go to an event, definitely go! In terms of a practice you can manage while in the broom closet, most of the magical things you might use on a daily basis are things that can be hidden in plain sight: a lucky coin, a bit of paper with a talisman drawn on it tucked into a wallet, a perfume that you’ve blessed to carry a specific spirit’s essence to you, etc. So don’t be afraid to lean into that sort of “everyday” magic to keep your witchcraft charged up, too. Good luck, happy witching, and be well!

We have now come to the end of our interview with Cory and have gotten a lot of great information if you want to listen to Cory & Lane on there podcast you can go here:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/new-world-witchery-the-search-for-american/id349625395

They also have a Patreon page where you can support them:

https://www.patreon.com/newworldwitchery/posts

and you can find Cory’s books on Amazon

Here are other podcasts to listen to as well

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/southern-bramble-a-podcast-of-crooked-ways/id1562928235 – Southern Bramble

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/invoking-witchcraft/id1543485536 – Invoking Witchcraft

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/folkcraft/id1584591227 – Folk Craft

I hope you all enjoy this along with hopefully finding some new binge worthy podcasts as we are sliding into the cooler months of the year so find a cozy spot and blanket and curl of up with a good book or listen to one of these great podcasts. Until next time.

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