Protestantism & Mysticism Come Together For Powerful Healing
The burn spell, a cherished Appalachian healing practice passed down through generations, holds a place of significance in the tradition of women like Ballard. Rooted in the practical wisdom of their foremothers and their close-knit communities, this spell wasn’t referred to as a mystical ritual; it was simply the words spoken when someone suffered a bad burn, resulting in the burn’s miraculous improvement. It didn’t require elaborate attire or specialized tools; it was accessible and rooted in everyday life.
All it entailed was repeating a simple chant three times while making a counter-clockwise motion with one’s hands over the burned area without making direct contact. The words of the chant—”Come! Three angels from the North, Take both fire and frost”—reflect the intriguing blend of mysticism and Protestant Christianity often found in Appalachian culture. It was a down-to-earth form of witchcraft, an inherent aspect of their lives that used readily available materials and resources. It was born from generations of living close to the land, making do with what was at hand, and being resourceful in the face of adversity.