Friday, May 12, 2017

And, Here They Come...

Although it does not appear that we'll be dealing with freezing temperatures in the Deitscherei over the next three nights, we still observe the end of the Wonnezeit and keep an eye out for the first attack of the Reifries (Frost Giants).

There are at least two full variants of this story exist along with several additional tidbits and remnants turning up in other areas. The versions of the story that make a complete tale are those of the  Oley Freindschaft and the Harrity-Palmerton Freindschaft guilds of Braucherei, and their versions complement each other, with the Harrity-Palmerton version containing many details that the Oley version lacked. There are some clashing points between the versions, such as one stating that each Butzemann defends only his own property and the other referring to the Butzemann army taking the battle with the Frost Giants into the north.

This is the first, raw, harmonized version, which includes features of both principal complete versions as well as aspects of the remnants of others. The final version will be published in the near future.

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Der Reifkeenich (King Frost) heard that the Wild Hunt had returned to Mannheem (the home of humanity) and that his armies were in retreat from Hexefeld as the Wonnedanz revitalized the land. He first ordered Dreizehdax ("Thirteen-Badger") to go to Mannheem to reclaim his lost holdings. The next day, he dispatched Vatzehvedder (or Vatzehfedder, which may be a dialectic reference to "Fourteen-Porcupine"), and on the third day, he sent Fuffzehfux ("Fifteen-Fox"). Each took with him an army of Giants and allies.

Dreizehdax and his soldiers journeyed twelve nights from the Naddbledder ("Northern Leaves" of the World Tree). As they arrived in Mannheem, they brought the temperature down so much tender plants that could not withstand the cold. Dreizehdax and his soldiers feasted upon the spirits of the dying plants. Dreizehdax led his army down from the north, eventually arriving in the farmlands. 

Suddenly, he caught the gaze of a large, powerful, reddish-haired man, and he immediately recognized Him as Dunner. Dunner stood between Dreizehdax and the farmland, which Dreizehdax greedily wished to devour.

The Butzemann (spiritually activated scarecrow) on each farm prepared to fight to protect their children, though they were young and were not sure that they could defeat Dreizehdax and his powerful soldiers. As the Frost Giants stepped forward, Dunner lifted his mighty Hammer and slew one soldier after another, leaving only Dreizehdax, who fled in terror back to the north.

Dunner spoke to the Butzemenner (plural), telling them that He would teach them how to fight the Frost Giants. 

The next night, Vatzehvedder and his armies arrived in Mannheem. His army drenched the mountains in freezing rain, which stung the tenders, and the soldiers devoured the spirits of the dying plants. As the army approached the farmlands, Dunner raised His Hammer and commanded the rain to stop. He told all of the Butzemenner to come out of their shells to fight alongside Him. 

The spirit of each Butzemann stepped forth. Dunner fought the soldiers of Vatzehvedder with His hands, using His breath to warm the air and exerting His Megge (main, megin, life force energy) upon them, which caused them to melt. The Butzemenner followed suit, using the power of their Megge to surround the army so Dunner could destroy it. Vatzehvedder realized that his army was doomed, and he retreated to the north, joining Dreizehdax.

On the third night, Fuffzehfux and his army arrived in Mannheem. He and his soldiers froze the mist in the air, which dropped deadly dew onto the leaves and stems of the tender plants. The dew tortured the tender plants and harmed even many hardier plants. The Frost Giants began to eat the spirits of the damaged plants. 

Suddenly, the Butzemenner emerged from their shells and rose up from the farmlands, coming into the north and destroying the soldiers while they feasted. As the Butzemenner stepped forward the frozen dew turned to a warm mist, and the plants rejoiced.

Fuffzehfux soon found himself standing alone facing the Butzemann army, and he retreated to the north, joining Dreizehdax and Vatzehvedder. The three returned to the Naddbledder to bring the unhappy news of their defeat to King Frost.

As each Butzemann returned home to defend his own land, Dunner appeared before them to congratulate them on their victory. "Your children may now safely take root in the soil of Mannheem."

This is why the tender plants may be brought out after sunrise on May 15.


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Contributing work:

Tobin, Jesse. Der Braucherei Weg (course). Kempton, PA: Three Sisters Center for the Healing Arts, 2007.

Robert L. Schreiwer and Ammerili Eckhart, original research, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Article on Frith Forge / Germany Sacred Sites

Dr. Karl Seigfried's latest article on The Wild Hunt discusses the upcoming Frith Forge conference (October 5-8, 2017, in Petzow, Germany) and Germany Sacred Sites Tour (October 8-14).

Frith Forge is sponsored by The Troth and several other organizations, including Distelfink Sippschaft. The Sacred Sites Tour is a separate, but related project, being run by Haimo Grebenstein, Ewart of the Verein für Germanisches Heidentum. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Preparing for Wonnezeit

Wonnenacht is coming (sundown on Sunday, April 30), which starts the Wonnezeit ("Time of Joy") observance! Here are ways that you can prepare for Holle's return and the end of the Wild Hunt!

1). In Urglaawe, we strive to stay attuned to the cycles of life, particularly the seasons. Around this time, we are seeing some plants grow from infancy to young adulthood, and this matches the phase of the year that we are entering. Young adulthood brings with it increased reasoning and logic abilities, which may be one reason that Holle carries an association with reason. Ponder the evolution of your mind over the course of your life, and continue to work on any resolutions set at New Year's Day.

2). Finish your Spring Cleaning. Clear pathways from the front to the back of your house on all floors.

3). Prepare signs welcoming Holle into your home ("Wilkum Holle"). The signs may be as plain or as elaborate as you wish them to be. Tradition is to place a sign outside on each window or doorway starting in the morning on April 30 and leaving them there until after sundown on May 1.

4). As far as it is safe and doable, open all windows and doors from sundown on April 30 into the daytime on May 1. Along with the signs, this is an old Deitsch/Braucherei tradition that appears also in our Wonnenacht myth. If you can only open a window or two, do so, but be sure a sign is on the windows that are open. 

5). Set out or plant offerings. May lilies (lily-of-the-valley) have an association with this time. Elder branches are acceptable offerings (do not burn), particularly if the flowers have not appeared yet; however, I tend to allow the elder to grow unless I have to trim it back from the sidewalk, in which case the branches become offerings. Mugwort (burned or otherwise) is also acceptable and traditional, as are molasses and honey. A linden branch or two in honor of the hero, Gedreier Eckhart, would also be acceptable. Various offerings to the returning Landwichde (landwights) are always appropriate.

6). Remember that in Deitsch myth and in our folklore, Berchta plays a major role in Wonnenacht, too. She is closing out the Dunkelheft, or the Dark Half of the year, and offerings of evergreens to Her are also encouraged.

7). If you are able to make a visit to Hexenkopf, the sacred seat of Holle in the Deitscherei, ask me for contact info for the owners and request permission to visit the site. Be respectful and honor any time limits that they may implement.

8). Celebrate life! This is a time of joy. Life is springing around us everywhere!

9). Do not put tender plants out yet. Three Reifries (Frost Giants) attack at the end of Wonnezeit (overnight on May 12, May 13, May 14). May 15 is the traditional date for all plants to go out.

Hail Holle!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Reviving an old site...

The Urglaawe Ning social group has been relatively idle since Facebook arose, but, as more people seem to be fleeing Facebook, our Ning group has become active again. The Facebook groups still are very active as well.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Synchronicity

Today I was driving up to the Urglaawe cemetery on back roads. It was a nice day to drive after several days of heavy rain. I noticed that the Hollenbach (the Deitsch name for Jordan Creek in Lehigh County, PA) was flowing particularly strongly (and it normally is pretty fast to begin with), so I pulled onto a side road, got out of my truck, and walked onto a bridge that looks over the creek.

While I was standing there, an old man walked up from the side road carrying fishing gear. He greeted me, and we struck up a conversation. Through the course of the chat, I mentioned the Urglaawe Folklore Research Project, which interested him immensely. This part of Lehigh County is Blobarrick (Blue Mountain) country and is thus Ewicher Yeeger's stomping grounds.

I asked him if he knew any folk stories from the region, and he replied that he did. When I mentioned Ewicher Yeeger, his face lit up, and he said that he knew a few stories. One that he told was very similar to the Ewicher Yeeger story of Allemaengel, but then he told me an anecdote that I found interesting.

He said that when he was a boy, his brother, some friends, and he used to fish in the Hollenbach, and there was an old man, whose name he could not recollect, who used to fish in the creek as well. He said the old man was very mysterious and he was not sure of much about him other than that he was from Werleseck (Werleys Corner) and that people considered him to be a hermit. The old man would talk to the boys and would tell them stories about the area (some of which he related to me).

He said that what he recalled vividly was that he thought some of the man's actions were peculiar. He would throw beans, corn, worms, flowers or plants, cheese, or other items into the creek before and/or after he fished, whether he caught something or not. He said that when the old man would catch a fish, he would utter a word of thanks to the Eternal Hunter for giving him a meal that night. He would then throw some food into the creek for the fish.

When I remarked on only having heard of Ewicher Yeeger in the context of the hunt, he replied, "Fishing is a bit like hunting, gell?"

He then remarked that he thinks of the mysterious old man occasionally when he is fishing or when he walks past the area where the old man used to fish. We continued to to talk as we walked along the creek so he could show me where the man used to fish, and he admitted that he on occasion whispers a thanks to Ewicher Yeeger when he catches a fish or has a successful hunt.

The description given to me about the mysterious man indicates that he was a Braucher or a Hex and that the man relating this story to me was witnessing the hermit's rituals. The man with whom I was speaking was born "during the time that the people were depressed" so he is likely at least in his 80s, and he said the hermit was very old when he was about age 11-15 or 16. This would put the hermit as being born sometime, perhaps during the 1850s-1870s.

The man said he would ask his brother if he remembered any other stories that the old man or anyone else told when they were boys and he'd contact me if he learned anything.

Thursday, March 16, 2017


Frith Forge is the space and time on an international level to build alliances, understanding, and friendships among us instead of compartmentalizing further in an industrialized world. Lets learn from each other with respect for one another, and in frith instead of in isolation. Together we can enjoy this opportunity to discuss inclusion in religion and to promote cultural, religious, and educational exchange.

Frith Forge
October 6-8, 2017
KiEZ Inselparadies Petzow
Zum Inselparadies 9-12
14542 Werder/Petzow
Germany

Each organization that will be represented at this conference will have featured presentation time. All attendees are invited to submit paper summaries of presentations they would like to give to IREP@thetroth.org. We encourage vendors/organizations to set up a table. There will be time for lectures, group discussion, workshops, ritual, and more!

There will be a strong Urglaawe presence at Frith Forge, and the Sacred Sites tour will visit locations  in Germany that are very much of interest to the Urglaawe communities.

Early arrivals may join us for unstructured meet and greet time starting October 5th.

The conference is immediately followed by the Sacred Sites of Germany tour, which runs from October 8-14, 2017. Pre-registration is underway between now and March 31 for the tour. The conference and the tour are separate (but related) events, so you may participate in one, the other, or both!


Information on each event is available on the Frith Forge website:

http://events.thetroth.org/frith-forge/2017

Hope to see you in Germany!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hailstones, Haagel Rune

Yesterday's hailstorm across much of the Deitscherei drew out the topic of Hailstones and the Haagel rune within the Guild of Urglaawe Practitioners of Braucherei and Hexerei.