Urglaawe . The word is difficult for non-speakers of Pennsylvania German.
The "Ur" component sounds like and "oor" or like the "our" in the word "tour." The primary stress falls on this syllable.
The "aa" sound does not exist in English, but is pronounced almost like the word "awe" (or like the "aw" in "paw").
The "we" is sounds like "veh." and there is a secondary stress on this syllable.
So what we have is: OOR-gl(awe)-veh.
So what does this convoluted word mean?
The prefix "ur" carries the connotation of "primal." In fact, it is related to the "or" in "original," and Asatruar will immediately see the relation to the prefix "ør" in ørlög ("Urleeg" in Pennsylvania German).
"Glaawe" is the Pennsylvania German word for "faith" or "religion."
Therefore, the two components together form "Urglaawe," the "original faith."
The religion of the Teutons (or the Norse/Germanic people) is known by a variety of names, each with some differences based usually on the particular region or tribal focus of that group.
While the Pennsylvania Germans did not exist as a distinct people prior to the Christian conversion in Europe, we descend from those who did practice the original faith. As with our kin in other regions, some traditions continued on after the conversion, and many traditions were brought by our elders to the Americas during the diaspora.
Once in the Americas and out from under the more oppressive arms of certain church bodies, many of the Heathen undertones of our culture were allowed to flourish, to the point that many people do not even think twice about the pre-Christian origins of some of the practices.
Our task is to identify the practices that have been handed down to us by our forebears, to recognize them, to understand their meaning, and to share them with the wider Heathen community.
In addition, the goal of the Pennsylvania German Heathen Alliance for the Urglaawe is to use what we learn from our own culture and glean what we learn from Heathens with different cultural roots to produce lore and bodies of knowledge in our own language and cultural contexts.
One certainly need not speak Pennsylvania German in order to be a part of achieving these goals. English is an equally-used medium, but the survival (advancement!) of our unique language heritage is extremely important to us.
Please make no mistake about it. We do not consider ourselves to be a faith separate from Asatru; we consider ourselves to be weaving our own particular threads into the larger Asatru tapestry, much as those who are focused more on Anglo-Saxon or Continental Germanic religious practices are doing.
We are geared towards esoteric aspects (Braucherei, Hexerei, runes, meditation, etc.), but anyone who has a knowledge or an interest in exploring Heathenry in the Pennsylvania German context is invited to work with us.