I was expecting interviews with rootworkers and those who utilize their services. I was expecting more discussion of regional differences and an attempt to strongly substantiate the practices. The author’s intent was to elevate Rootwork beyond narrow stereotypes and association with evil. McQuillar defines Rootwork as “folk magick that uses the elements of nature to create change in ourselves, others, or our environment. It is an African-American form of shamanism that makes use of herbs, stones, rocks, and other organic material to heal the body or the mind, or to solve a problem.”
McQuillar, Tayannah Lee (2010-05-20). Rootwork (p. 3). Fireside. Kindle Edition.
The knowledge came with the surviving Africans during the slave trade and mixed with like minded knowledge and traditions of Native Americans. Its strong hold and practices developed in America where largely in the South, particularly in areas McQuillar offers as being impacted by Catholicism, i.e. Louisiana. I’ll add to this by offering in areas where the African population significantly outnumbered whites. Although McQuillar points out that Whites were also known to use African/African American Rootworkers as well and notes some famous Rootworkers.
Overall, it was a very quick read. The book is straightforward and to the point and includes some practices for those who wish to partake of Rootwork Magick. Nothing quite took hold for ideas for quilts but to continue on the path I started Sacred Symbols of the Dogon: The Key to Advanced Science in the Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics by Laird Scranton.