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1. a magical ceremony of certain North American Indians, usually accompanied by feasting and dancing
2. (among certain North American Indians) a medicine man
3. a meeting of or negotiation with North American Indians
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Term for a wise man or woman in Pennsylvania Dutch country and in the Ozarks (where they are also known as "Power Doctors"). The term is also used for the folk magic performed by these people. The appellation derives from the early settlers' observations of Native American powwows. Guiley suggests that the early settlers learned about healing herbs and roots from the Native Americans, who also employed charms and incantations in their healing work.

A powwow, or powwower, is in many ways similar to a Hedge Witch, although most of the former profess to be staunch Christians. Followers seek them out for anything from removing warts or tracing lost property to dispelling curses and curing major diseases. Powwowers are often proficient astrologers and are knowledgeable about herbs and their uses. Many have claimed to be the seventh child of a seventh child. Such a person is believed to have inherent psychic and magical powers.

As in Wicca, a male powwower is trained by a female, and vice versa. Often, they exhibit healing proclivities at a very early age. Hohman's book presents another parallel to Wicca, through its insistence that the contents are intended for healing, not harming. Hohman himself was a powwower, living near Reading, Pennsylvania, in the early 1800s.

While Powwowers generally do not receive money for their services, they do accept goods and services as payment.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.