Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Did you ever awaken from a dream with a particular name or circumstance on your mind? Well, that happened to me this morning. While I am not sure exactly what my dreams were about, I woke up with the name of Wieland on my mind.

Wieland is perhaps better known as Wayland the Smith. No, I am not referring to Waylon Smithers from The Simpsons. The mythological Wieland is hardly a sycophant like the cartoon character!

Badhild in Wieland's Smithy - Source: Wikimedia Commons

Known from Continental German, Scandinavian, and Anglo-Saxon sources, Wieland has come to represent what images come to the minds of many of us when we think of a smith.

In German lore, he is known as the father of the hero Witige in the legends of Dietrich von Bern.

In Norse references, in which he is known as Völundr, he and his two brothers lived with three Valkyries. The Valkyries eventually left the brothers. Other versions contain references to Völundr marrying a swan maiden.

He is known to have made many powerful and magical swords and rings, and he is credited with having made Beowulf's mail shirt.

I have been pondering reasons for which I might have awakened with his name on my mind. I have some inklings. In these lean times, we are seeing large segments of society working to master old, traditional skills.

Just within Distelfink Sippschaft we have several practicing herbalists, two Brauchers, several who are adept at soap-making and candle-making, a few who engage in canning, several who can knit or crochet, and at least two who can spin thread. I am sure I am leaving some of the traditional skills off of this list.

With the passing of one of our kinsmen, who was a smith, in October, we still have two in our fellowship who are skilled at smithing. I am not one of them. Smithing is a skill about which I know completely nothing.

So today I would like to hail Wieland and to hail all the folks who have taken up the old trade and skill of smithing. Hail!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Butzemann Naming Convention

In Urglaawe tradition, the naming of the Butzemann follows an old-era Deitsch convention that includes a surname derived from the Butzemann's eldest known ancestor. He then is also given a patronymic as a middle name.

Still small, yet powerful!

Here is an example of how the process works!

At the Kannsege (Ceremony of the Corn) yesterday, we activated the first Butzemann of one of our kinfolk. A Butzemann may either state his own name or be given a name by his landlord. This Butzemann was given the name of Arnold.

Next year, when the material of Arnold's children form a new Butzemann, the new Butzemann will have the surname of Arnoldsen. Yes, the -sen ending is an old Deitsch tradition (appearing even in Lambert's Pennsylvania German Dictionary). While the -n or -in ending is still quite common among Deitsch speakers, the practice of referring to children with a -sen ending is seldom witnessed since the end of the Suppression Era.

So let's say that Arnold's son tells you that his name is Besereis. His full name would be:

Besereis Arnold Arnoldsen

Besereis is the first name, Arnold is the patronymic (name of the father), and Arnoldsen is the name of the clan as it relates to offspring.

Here's where it gets a little muddy!

Around Hoietfescht (late July or early August), Besereis Arnold Arnoldsen's children will be "mature" enough that Besereis will drop the -sen ending from his name. Until his task is done, his name will be such:

Besereis Arnold Arnold.

Now let's assume that Besereis has a son named Deffel. Deffel would take on the patronymic of Besereis:

Deffel Besereis Arnoldsen

The -sen ending is again added until Deffel becomes a full adult around Hoietfescht.

The naming is typically conducted at the moment of activation at the Kannsege. The community bears witness to the lineage of the Butzemann.

So, the four Butzemenner that were activated this weekend bear the following names:

Arnold (technically Arnold der Nei, or Arnold the New)
Otto Eirich Henrichsen
Kunraad Aamet Aametsen
Muunyaager Schtoffel Müsselmansen

Heel zu de Butzemenner!

‎"Es Butzemannslied" (Deitschi Fassing)

‘S danzt en Bi-ba Butzemann
In unserm Haus herum, dideldum,
’S danzt en Bi-ba Butzemann
In unserm Haus haerum.

Er riddelt sich, er schiddelt sich,
Er waerft sei Seckli hinner sich.
‘S danzt en Bi-ba Butzemann
In unserm Haus haerum.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day is a multi-faceted observance, both in the Elder tradition of Braucherei and in Urglaawe. February 2 presents us with a thinner "veil" among the realms/worlds, and that the first of the land spirits/wights take this opportunity to return from the Wild Hunt. The groundhog represents the "otherworldly messenger," who (in a manner similar to Ratatosk on Yggdrasil) runs through his burrow, which has openings in each of the nine worlds. Thus, the groundhog brings reports from the other worlds.

For an agricultural people, the upcoming weather would be of primary importance, which is perhaps the root of the reason that the groundhog and his weather prediction has lived on. However, this is typically only one small part of his message. Anyone who has ever been to a Grundsau Lodge on February 2 will know that the groundhog delivers numerous prognostications. Granted, in the Lodges, most of these are in jest, but journey-work done on February 2 or other, more esoteric works, are said to be more revealing.

Second is the tradition of February 2 celebrating the Hearth goddess, who would be Frigg, as well as the feminine creative energies. Female ancestors are also celebrated on Feb. 2, which is consistent with some other Heathen groups' Disir blots at this time of year. As a result of these creative energies, the Butzemann (an activated scarecrow) is ceremonially given birth (more technically, he is given "rebirth" through the remnants of last year's crop). There are ceremonies that Urglaawe has inherited from Braucherei for his rebirth and appointment as protector of the land. He sticks around until he is burned sometime between the autumn equinox and Allelieweziel (Halloween). There are some great stories about what happens after Allelieweziel.

One other thing that is to happen on February 2 in relation to Frigg: we are to clean out our hearths, fireplaces, candlestick, or whatever place we use as our primary spot for fire. After the site or item is cleaned, we are to light a new fire using birch. If there is a central hearth through a community celebration, ember pots may be used to take the new flame from the central fire to the home hearth.

The cleaning of the Hearth is the beginning of the time of Spring Cleaning. We have from now until Walpurgisnacht (April 30) to get our homes in order in preparation for Holle's return. :)