Southern Witch: Exploring Pagan Beliefs and Practices in the Rural South

I’m a lifelong southerner. I’m also a witch. I assure you that it’s possible to be both. Paganism is alive and growing here in the land itself and in our folk traditions that have been passed down for generations. This blog explores the unique joys and challenges of being a witch and priestess of the Goddess in the Deep South, a place where the crossroads meet.

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Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller

Jen is an inspirational writer, musician, eclectic witch, tarot reader, and priestess. Her passion is exploring and celebrating the Divine Feminine through creative arts, shamanic ritual, and intuitive readings from her home in southern Alabama.    
Samhain in the South: Honoring our Beloved Dead

As the Wheel of the Year turns and I begin to feel the veil thinning once again, I’m reminded of one way the beloved dead are honored throughout the South. Drive through the countryside, and you’ll likely see church signs announcing “Homecoming and Decoration.” It’s an invitation to those with relatives buried in the church cemetery to spruce up the graves, put flowers on them, and enjoy a potluck meal, sometimes referred to as “dinner on the ground.” Though meals are usually served in a fellowship hall now, that term originated from spreading out picnic blankets and dining on the cemetery grounds.

I’m sure you can see some parallels with our Samhain traditions and Dia de los Muertos. A major difference is that southern churches tend to hold decorations in May rather than October. I find that interesting, since May is also a time when the other side is more accessible. Beltane and Samhain are opposite each other on the Wheel of the Year, and both carry that liminal, otherworldly energy in different ways.

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All My Roads Lead South

I’ve had so many people encourage me to leave the South over the years, because they think I don’t belong here. They’re sure I’d be happier somewhere above the Mason-Dixon, despite my aversion to cold weather. I’m not convinced that my journey would be any easier, just different.

I was born and raised in the mountains of North Georgia near the southern terminus of the Appalachian Trail. I spent 17 years in Atlanta, six years in Savannah, and I’m currently residing in lower Alabama. If anything, life keeps pushing me deeper into the South instead of carrying me away from her. I have to believe there’s a reason for that, so I’ve decided to embrace the two aspects of my identity that don’t seem to go together at all: witchiness and southernness.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    I (mostly) grew up in the South, too, and still live here -- 13 years in Georgia, 8 in South Carolina, and soon we'll be moving to
  • Ariel Aron
    Ariel Aron says #
    I'm so glad I'm not alone in this. I live in southeast Georgia I look forward to the Savanna pagan pride days every year to social
  • Jennifer Miller
    Jennifer Miller says #
    You are definitely not alone. Savannah Pagan Pride is a blast. I really enjoyed it when lived there, especially with all the color
  • Suzanne Tidewater
    Suzanne Tidewater says #
    Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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