Friday, October 10, 2014

Specialized Guilds

The Guild of Urglaawe Braucherei and Hexerei Practitioners has opened up three new "specialty" or "sub-guilds" toward the goal of advancing the understanding and utilization of Braucherei and Hexerei in the Urglaawe context. These guilds are designed to remain true to the spirit of the practices and to the  cultural context from which they have emerged.

All of these specialties have discussion groups that are currently housed on Facebook. 

There are other specialty guilds planned, plus a method for reasonable and meaningful apprenticeships must be devised.

These guilds are designed to remain true to the spirit of the practices and to the  cultural context from which they have emerged.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Retrospective on the Landnemmung (Landtaking) Rites of Urglaawe

As of September 26, 2014, the Alder Zimmerman Graabhof (Old Zimmerman Cemetery) and the Lüsch-Müsselman Graabhof (Lusch-Musselman Graveyard) came under the full legal control of Distelfink Sippschaft Ziewer, Robert L. Schreiwer. The description of the landtaking rites below emanated from discussions within the Urglaawe Braucherei/Hexerei guilds on Facebook on October 5.


Urglaawe landtaking ceremonies are based partially on Braucherei/Hexerei practices, partially on overarching Heathen ways of relating to the land, and partially on the individual claiming the new land.

I was asked a bit about today's ritual, and I realized that there are quite a few steps to it. In the current era, it is rare that one purchases or acquires land so close to his/her earlier residence that a parade of humans, cattle, wagons, etc. could be timed so that the leaders of the migration are arriving at the new destination just as the last of the participants are departing from the old residence. We have had to adjust that practice to fit longer moves, the lower likelihood of cattle, etc. The advantage to this adjustment is that we can avoid having to worry about days where there are superstitions or even Verbots (bans or taboos) on driving cattle or positioning cattle within a move. 

Today I brought with me many items to be included in the ritual, including a Thor's Hammer for burial, several food offerings that have significance in the Deitsch culture and customs and elemental items, which is where the topic starts to relate to the guilds a bit more closely.

The connection of the hearths (or any primary location of fire) plays a major role. In my response to Amy's question, I cited an old Deitsch adage or superstition that homesickness begins when one can no longer see the smoke from his/her mother's chimney or fire. This sentiment is addressed in the transfer of fire. I burned a fire in Bristol this morning. I took the hot embers out, and placed them in an ember box. Ember boxes have a long history of being used to carry "shared" fires within communities, particularly at Groundhog Day. 

In this case, the embers are split at the new site. Some are allowed to cool and are strewn about the new property. The rest are to be used as part of a new fire there (started with birch), thus connecting the two fires. Since I am retaining the house in Bristol, the ember box had a role on the other end, with embers and ashes from the new fire being brought to the fire pit here at home.

Water is one of the easier aspects to transfer. The water from home is poured as part of a verbal claiming of the land, but it is also used to water plants and to clean some objects, etc. 

Earth is also easy. Soil is brought from the first property and used in transplanting, etc.

Air is the interesting one. We have discussed in some threads on the Fiber Arts Guild's site the concept of cloth being used as sources of static energy, etc. Here we see something similar. A cloth is dampened at the first location and is hung out to dry (reflecting a permeation of air). The cloth is then taken to the new location and hung out to allow the air to exude over the new territory. If I had a structure at the cemetery, I would have had that cloth in the middle the kitchen or family room. As part of the return, I dampened the cloth in the dew of the cemetery property (there is no spigot there), allowed it to dry, and brought it back to Bristol. It is hanging outside now.

I think most of us can get the concept of the importance of transplanting herbs or crops to a new location. I have no animal herds to take with me (ten indoor cats do not count), but I ensured that the soil I took and spread out had worms and other critters in it as part of the transfer. I also brought some soil back from the cemetery to here. 

The best I could do with water on the return was to collect some dew on the wet grass and to bring it back in a bottle. lol

Some of the herbs I took happened to be conveniently already in pots. The soapwort, in particular, falls into that category. I had a lot of yarrow in pots already, but I would have gone out of my way to dig some of it up if I did not already have it available. I took up four elder cuttings that recently rooted. Elder is extremely important due to its association with Holle. It is not uncommon to find Elder at cemeteries in this region anyway (in fact, there apparently used to be American Elder on the cemetery grounds but the plants are gone now). 

I had some Mugwort that grew in a pot this year, and that most definitely has importance in Urglaawe spirituality and Deitsch herbalism. Dotted Mint (Monarda punctata) is one of my favorite plants, so I took some of that, and I had some Catmint from the big cutback I had to do earlier this year. Now it has a nice home at the cemetery. I also had some Boneset, which is great for attracting pollinators (and has some highly effective herbalism properties). Last, but not least, I put some Catnip in the ground. If all the farm cats up there don't get it, it will produce a nice crop next year. All of these herbs (particularly Elder, Mugwort, and Yarrow) carry energy from the land they sprang from and will add it in to the soil at the new location.

Landtaking also includes other aspects: walking the perimeter, scattering ashes and salt, offering a portion of the last meal in the old location to the spirits of the new location, and eating a meal at the new location. If there were a permanent structure at the site, I would have done a house blessing, which can take several hours to do. lol

The cemetery is now taken and is connected to my home here in Bristol, and the central section is now dedicated Urglaawe land.