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The Red Church or the Art of Pennsylvania German Braucherei Paperback – April 10, 2009
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Every so often, amid the glut of rehashed popular culture that too often passes for originality in the occult field, something genuinely different and worthwhile comes along. Christopher Bilardi's 'The Red Church' is a fine example. At a time when the word "tradition" has become little more than a synonym for "brand name," Bilardi has pursued the study of an authentic occult tradition -- braucherei, the Pennsylvania Dutch system of magical curing -- and crafted a solidly researched, readable guide to this fascinating amalgam of archaic Germanic lore, Rosicrucian symbolism, and Christian folk magic.
Contemporary occultists, students of alternative healing methods, and readers interested in a colorful field of American folk culture will all want to make room on their shelves for 'The Red Church'.
John Michael Greer author of "The New Encyclopedia of the Occult" and "The Druidry Handbook" --John Michael Greer
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Few words of warning: This is a book of folk magic, but it does have some theology, history, sociology and many other fields of knowledge here. It upsets a few potential readers to know just how "Christian" this book (and yes, this practice really is). If you are a practicing Wiccan / neo-pagan type, if you are practicing heathenism, or any other form of traditional witchcraft, then this book will have places that will offend you. This is a Christian book explaining a Christian practice within a Christian culture. Once you realize this, then if you can overlook that, then this book will still have a lot to offer. Just keep in mind -- this is a system of folk magic that can be historically proven to have been nurtured by the Christian religion. Any claims that there are unbroken lines to the pre-Christian past must be recognized as unverifiable and highly, highly unlikely. True, some rituals and charms may have originated over 2,000 years ago, but it is impossible to tell. What we do know is that Christians have been practicing this folk tradition.
I did have this book in the past, but that copy was lost. I was real disappointed when I found that this book went out of print. Now, it is republished and I bought my second copy. All is great in the world! Definitely worth twice the price, easily!
I live in PA and figured it would behoove me to learn about this style of folk magic as it is geographically pertinent to me. I would recommend this volume to anyone interested in folk magic in general or any occultist living in Pennsylvania.
On a side note I found it pretty neat that the author devoted several paragraphs to informing the reader about the Rehmeyer's Hollow Hex Murder which took place in 1929 in Winterstown (in York County, PA) just a few miles from Red Lion where I live. It's a very interesting story and I would recommend anyone interested read "Hex" by Arthur Lewis. Used copies of "Hex" are relatively easy to find on Amazon and Ebay, etc.