Witchcraft in the Southwest: Spanish and Indian Supernaturalism on the Rio Grande

July 22, 2016 - Comment

“Occasionally a truly remarkable book appears-one that takes a topic in need of discussion, thoroughly researches it, and presents credible results in a fascinating and extremely well manner. Witchcraft in the Southwest is such a volume, and as such, is a must for all readers, be they scholars, students, or others. . . . The

“Occasionally a truly remarkable book appears-one that takes a topic in need of discussion, thoroughly researches it, and presents credible results in a fascinating and extremely well manner. Witchcraft in the Southwest is such a volume, and as such, is a must for all readers, be they scholars, students, or others. . . . The volume devotes equal time to Spanish and Indian supernaturalism along the Rio Grande. Opening with a succinct review of the meaning and evolution of witchcraft in Europe and Spain, Simmons establishes the existence of many similar beliefs among native inhabitants of the New World. Moving chronologically to Spanish colonization, the author vividly conveys Spanish reactions to Pueblo life and religion, the fears of witches and other supernatural forces that plagued Spanish colonists. . . . Emphasizing the beliefs and nature of witchcraft rather than the actual mechanics (which are secret), he follows Hispanic communities into the late 19th century. . . . Readers learn how witchcraft fits into the Pueblo world view and how it compares and contrasts with European and Spanish varieties in such areas as motivation, types, powers, beliefs and means of acquisition. . . . Simmons’ study provides a needed overview and one that is carefully based on available ethnohistorical documents and credible anthropological data.”-American Indian Quarterly A professional historian, author, editor, and translator, Marc Simmons has published numerous books and monographs on the Southwest as well as articles in more than twenty scholarly and popular journals.

Comments

Enrique Torres says:

When worlds collide The subject of witchraft usually creates images associated with evil, a potent brew conjured in a cauldron, pins in a effigy and various other images dating way back in time. The author, Marc Simmons, known for his scholarly investigation into the culture surrounding New Mexcio and the southwest wrote this book in 1980 and continues to stand as one of the most concise books on the subject. Simmons begins his investigative narrative with a brief history of witchcraft prior to and including…

M. F. Lucas says:

a good choice for the curious, or as a starting point for research Other reviewers have mentioned that this text is getting to be out of date (it was written in 1976), and that it is not perfectly academic–both of which are true. However, when researching folklore, it would be unwise to discount the importance of rumor, or the ubiquitous “traveller’s tale.” Simmons evaluates all his material seriously in this book, and I’ve found that helpful, even in an academic context. He explains sources meticulously, which is crucial. And this isn’t a subject that…

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