Saturday, May 9, 2020

Urglaawe Live Gebt Acht (#8)

Urglaawe Live Gebt Acht is the eighth in our Facebook Live chatroom broadcasts. This weeks topic will be the Nine Sacred Herbs of Urglaawe / Neine Heiliche Gegreider, which are derived from Braucherei. 

Sunday, May 10, 2020
19:00 / 7:00 PM EDT


Presentation File: https://tinyurl.com/ycyhjcob



Friday, May 8, 2020

Wonnezeit Night / Day 8: American Chestnut and Blueberry/Huckleberry Pruning

Deitsch: Amerikaanischer Kaschebaam
Tax: Castanea dentata

The American Chestnut was once considered the finest chestnut tree in the world. The wood was highly prized among the Deitsch for use in furniture construction, and, of course, the nuts were widely roasted and consumed during the winter months.

Unfortunately, the American Chestnut was nearly obliteated by a blight that came in 1904 with introduced chestnut trees from East Asia. Thus, the American Chestnut, which is believed to have been 1/4 of the total tree population in the Appalachian Mountains prior to the blight, was reduced to a total population of about 100. 

American Chestnut
Source: https://www.illinoiswildflowers.info/trees/plants/am_chestnut.html

Alas, the blight is still here in the eastern US, so the trees numbers are not recovering except in some areas where conservation efforts are active. There are also pockets of the tree farther west in the US, where the blight is not present.

The tree is listed as endangered in the United States and Canada. There is a stewardship lesson in the tale of this beautiful tree. 

Since most of us do not have access to the American Chestnut, this is also the night/day when we prune back second-year blueberry and huckleberry bushes. 

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Wonnezeit Night / Day 7: Magnolia

WONNEZEIT NIGHT/DAY 7: MAGNOLIA

Deitsch: Maagnoli
Genus: Magnolia

Several types of Magnolia grow throughout the Deitscherei, and the Deitsch communities in Virginia, North Carolina, and other southern areas have certainly taken on some of the lore of the South that relates to the tree, such as representing nobility and strength.  In the Southern Diaspora, the flowers have come to represent the very land in which the people live, and white magnolias often are features of bridal bouquets to represent purity.

Magnolia acuminata
Image source: https://canr.udel.edu/udbg/?plant=magnolia-acuminata
Across the Deitsch culture, magnolias will turn up in artwork, often adorning the edges but sometimes also serving a the primary subject of the work.

Purinton Pennsylvania Dutch Honey Jug
Image source: https://tinyurl.com/y9veymlu

Medicinally, tea from magnolia bark has long been used as a remedy for anxiety. People chew the bark as an alternative to smoking. Even to this day, some people snuff the warm tea to aid in sinus issues, or they put a poultice of magnolia tea around the site of a toothache. Older uses also include serving as a replacement of quinine in the treatment of malaria.

If you have magnolias on your property, today is an appropriate time to pour libations to the tree in order to encourage strong blooming of the flowers. Folklore states that, if you honor the tree properly, you might get a second round of blooms within the same season. Indeed, some species of magnolia do sometimes bloom twice.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Wonnezeit Night / Day 6: Hawthorne

Deitsch: der Schpellebaam; die Weissdorn (specifially white hawthorns; several variants in spelling)
Genus: Crataegus

Hawthorn trees are common across the Deitscherei as ornamental trees with beautiful, fragrant flowers. During Wonnezeit, the tree is honored in its budding or blooming stage in order increase the yield of flowers and berries. Hawthorn is used as a medicinal herb by traditional Deitsch herbalists.


Hawthorn
image from: www.quickcop.ie

In Deitsch folklore, the tree's spirit can sense danger to itself or to one who bears the wood of the tree, and the tree's spirit will intervene to thwart energetic attacks. Hawthorn, therefore, is considered to have proactive defensive properties, which is consistent with some of its traditional medicinal uses.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational and discussion purposes only. Nothing in these posts is intended to constitute, or should be considered, medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider. 

Contraindication: Patients taking digoxin should avoid taking hawthorn.

Hawthorn has served as a hedgerow plant for Germanic peoples from the ancient times to the present. Earlier uses included the herb as a remedy for kidney and bladder stones, but the primary medicinal use to this day is to aid in keeping a healthy heart and circulatory system. Hawthorn increases blood flow to the heat and can help to restore a normal heartbeat.

The parts used in traditional Deitsch herbalism are the berries (fresh or dried) and the flowering tops (fresh or dried). Most common methods are tinctures or decoctions, though the flowering tops can be ground into pills, too. 

Many studies have supported the versatility of Hawthorn use in addressing many different diseases and conditions. Please see the National Institute of Health's article on the "Effect of Crataegus Usage in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention: An Evidence-Based Approach."

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Hawthorn image viked from https://www.quickcrop.ie/product/common-hawthorn-bare-root-hedging-plants

Monday, May 4, 2020

Wonnezeit Night / Day 5: Crabapple, Apple

WONNEZEIT NIGHT / DAY 5: CRABAPPLE, APPLE 

Deitsch: der Holsabbel, der Abbel
Genus: Malus

Deitsch "rural legend" says that we are the "Pie People," who have more distinct variations of pie than any other cuisine in the world. Whether this is true or not, I cannot say. However, we really do have a lot of pies counted among our traditional fare.

http://www.welcome-to-lancaster-county.com/amish-pies.html

On Day 3, I could have written an article similar to this one about Pawpaw, of which I have three trees on my cemetery property, but I was otherwise engaged. So, tonight, as Night 5 has begun, I'll write just a bit about the Crabapple and Apple.

Image from Home Depot
https://tinyurl.com/yb5blxoo

Although Crabapple is a particular type of Apple and the whole of the Apple Blossom Blessing description could just have been listed under "Apple." However, the lowly Crabapple has a special place in Deitsch cuisine because the three species of Crabapple that are native to Pennsylvania were the only apples to which the earliest settlers had until trade and orchards became more established. Crabapple pies and Crabapples used as flavoring in meals my reach back to that time of the Colonial Era.

Apples play a large role in Deitsch food production and industry. Even today, many of the larger applesauce producers are Deitsch or stem from Deitsch roots. Apple Butter is a very traditional Deitsch food, and the vast majority of those producers are Deitsch.

Apples are a major component of Urglaawe Erntfescht celebrations in September, and, although Idunna is not known in Deitsch lore, the importance of apples most certainly is. The apples on the tree that cried to be shaken off provided one of the tests that the heroine of "Fraa Holle" passed, and there are many other references to apples' benefit throughout our lore. 

Apples play a large role in traditional Deitsch social practices. "Schnitz parties" were (and still are) multi-family or community events in which people cut the apple harvest to prepare for the processing of the apples for applesauce or apple butter. Similar community harvests were common for other crops as well.

http://www.lynnheidelberg.org/schnitzingshooting.html

In order for us to enjoy all the foods and social aspects that surround Crabapples and Apples, we have to have a bountiful Apple harvest. To that end, ritual blessings of Apple trees take place throughout the region, frequently during the beginning of May. The original article about the Wonnezeit blessings (https://urglaawe.blogspot.com/2020/05/wonnezeit-tree-shrub-and-plant.html) describes a few methods of blessing, but we are still working on taking a few of them and creating some Urglaawe rituals.  Since we have not yet finished that process, we suggest that folks who do not have other plans utilize one of the straw methods:

The more practical (and somewhat common) ways to honor fruit-bearing trees includes straw in the following manners: 1. tying straw around its trunk; 2. strewing straw among is branches (which I think is a contributor to tree garlands); 3. tapping the trunk of the tree, particularly toward the base, with wisps of straw. I have used option 3 during Wonnezeit in the past.

We will continue to write about the Wonnezeit blessings and to work on the rituals, and we'll post them to Urglaawe fora as soon as they are completed.

Hail to the Crabapple! Hail to the Apple!

Wonnezeit Night / Day 4: Linden, Basswood, Lime

WONNEZEIT NIGHT/DAY 4: LINDEN, BASSWOOD, LIME

During Wonnezeit (sunset April 30 - sunset May 12), many Urglaawer and other Deitsch folks will spend time engaging in traditions that honor and bless the trees, shrubs, and other plants around them. These actions hearken back to old German customs that were intended to encourage robust harvests from the orchards. In Urglaawe, we have a suggested honoring schedule for some trees, but people should be responding to their local flora and environmental conditions. 

Today is the 4th day of Wonnezeit, and we are honoring the Linden tree, also known as Basswood and, in the UK (and in some Deitsch variants but pronounced differently), as Lime. The lore applies across the genus.

American Linden

Deitsch: der Linnebaam
Genus: Tilia

The Linden is, perhaps, one of the more unassuming of our sacred trees. 

This beautiful, spry, and blithe tree has provided comfort and shade as the town center tree in many German villages since at least the 10th century. The relationship between the tree and the Germanic peoples has strengthened and evolved over the centuries. This relationship has carried forth into Deitsch lore, holding the protective and love-related aspects of the tree while also serving as a powerful medicinal herb against epilepsy.

The wood of Linden (Lime and Basswood, too) is prized for carving, and some Deitsch crafters use the wood for statuary, protective charms, or for beautiful artwork. There are references to strips of Linden wood to divine the future by wearing it on the finger or around the wrist while sleeping.

Disclaimer: This information is for educational and discussion purposes only. Nothing in these posts is intended to constitute, or should be considered, medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider. Feverfew may thin the blood, so people on blood thinners should be careful with its use. Also, as the herb is used in inducing menstruation, pregnant women should avoid using this herb. As always, your health is your responsibility. Consult with a doctor before using any herbal remedy or preventative.

Linden is an antispasmodic and sweat-inducing herb. It can relieve tension, including sinus headaches. It calms the mind and can ease panic attacks. It is often used as a sleep aid. The parts used are primarily the flowers and the bracts, but the seeds are also used traditionally.

Early Deitsch herbalist and author of America's first book of botanical healing, Christopher Sauer, described Linden as having "the capacity to strengthen the head and nerves, to purify the blood, to sweeten all sour, sharp humors, and to still pain in the limbs" (Weaver 197). He also states that the distilled water of linden blossoms can remedy dizziness and, when taken in spoonful doses, prevent convulsions and seizures.  The blossom water can also aid to combat cardialgy, which is a form of acid reflux that can cause bloating of the stomach in children. The mistletoe of Linden is said to behave like the tree itself (Weaver 197),

The juice of the inner bark of Linden infused into plantain water (traditional) or spring water can serve as a salve for burns. In a sympathetic, if not medicinal, manner, the sap that runs from a wound on a Linden tree may be applied to a bald spot on a human to restore hair growth (Weaver 197).

The berries and powdered seeds of Linden can alleviate diarrhea and heartburn. Swallowing Linden seeds (no more than six) is said to be able to stop a nosebleed (Weaver 197).

All of these remedies are still in active use among some traditional Deitsch Hexes and herbalists. Modern herbalism continues also to use 

The tree is traditionally associated with protection in several forms. Planting the tree near the home or barn is believed to protect the buildings from lightning strikes. The same applies to it being planted in pastures to protect cattle. This, of course, brings up an association with Dunner, and, indeed, that association stands, though Oak still is the primary tree associated with Dunner. 

Another protective aspect of Linden, however, is active warning and alters. Dreaming of Linden trees can herald good news or warn of danger, depending on the context of the dream. In fact, of all the trees commonly used or honored in Deitsch lore, Linden has the most lore on dreams.

Dreaming of planting a Linden foretells a coming new love.

Dreaming of a budding Linden tree is an indicator that good news is coming. 

Dreaming of a blooming Linden tree is an indicator that a reversal in bad luck has begun.

Dreaming of lightning striking a Linden is a caution that ill luck or a dangerous event just narrowly missed you, and you should up your wards.

Dreaming of a Linden being cut down is a warning that your love life is in jeopardy.

Dreaming of a Linden withering is an alert that you are vulnerable to sickness or disease.

It also is said to repel baneful entities from the home.

Between the aspects of love and protection, we also see some associations with Frouwa and Freid. 

However, with in the context of the Deitsch culture, the strongest association between the Linden and an individual being would be the human spirit, Gedreier Eckhart. 

Eckhart remains in the service of the goddess Holle, whom he loves as much in death as he did in life. He is Holle's messenger, and he goes ahead of the Parade of Spirits / Wild Hunt to warn the living of the impending fury. Thus, much as Linden informs people in their dreams, Eckhart informs those who are awake. 

Based on the Wonnenacht and the Wonnezeit myth, reference to Gedreier Eckhart sleeping inside a "lone linden tree" on "the Mannheem field" (Hexefeld in Lancaster County), it is more appropriate to have the Linden Blessing earlier in the Wonnezeit than on the 12th. Thus, it has been moved to 4th Night/Day, which is, well, today. 

Hail to the Linden!
Hail to Eckhart!

Updated blog post on the Tree Blessing dates:

https://urglaawe.blogspot.com/2020/05/wonnezeit-tree-shrub-and-plant.html

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Wonnezeit Tree, Shrub, and Plant Observances


These dates are general because they are derived from a temperate climate which can result in wide variations of the appearance of blooms and blossoms from year to year. Other trees might be honored by different growers and orchards based on the stage they are at during Wonnezeit.

The Urglaawe community is still pulling things from notes and from research, but the blessings of fruit-bearing trees is actually an ongoing cycle, perhaps with its beginning point being, depending on the year, between September and November for trees for which it is advantageous to be in the ground six weeks before the first signs of hard frost. it is hard to predict a moving target six weeks in advance, so this brings us back to the old topic of using animal behavior for prognostication. In the Fall, it is more the fox that is looked to for an idea of when the first hard frost will strike. The thickness of the fox's fur is used to predict whether that frost will hit in October, November, or December, and then the depth of the den and the distance from water are factors that observers use to predict the date of the frost. Unfortunately, this facet of lore has not been as well preserved as Groundhog Day, so we are still doing some research on this.

Trees are again honored at Yuul in December and end with the harvests the following autumn. Conifers are honored in December and January. Birch in February, and Oak and March. 

The more practical (and somewhat common) ways to honor fruit-bearing trees includes straw in the following manners: 1. tying straw around its trunk; 2. strewing straw among is branches (which I think is a contributor to tree garlands); 3. tapping the trunk of the tree, particularly toward the base, with wisps of straw. I have used option 3 during Wonnezeit in the past.

One of the most common means of honoring orchard trees, even today, is New Year's shot into the each. I am not personally a fan of this practice, but it is common and an established tradition. It is our cognate of wassailing, and people do greet their trees with New Year's wishes. Bows and arrows would also work.

Hanging iron or stone from tree branches is believed to increase the bearing of fruit. This is likely a contributor to the modern Yule/Christmas tree ornament. The same also applies to the egg tees that are uniquely Deitsch and that we see at Oschdre and Easter.

This old tradition one is a little macabre: A lamb (or kid) that has dropped dead or died while very young is hung up in a tree with thorns, though any fruit-bearing tree will do. This hearkens back to older traditions of hanging animal skins in tree.

As the Urglaawe community strives to produce a ritual format (and it will be simple) for the honoring of trees in their bud, blossom, bloom and fruit stages, I'd suggest option 3 of the straw wisps for Wonnezeit.

Below is a starter suggestion list for dates to honor particular trees, shrubs, or plants if you have them. Plums on May 1 are fixed as the Deitsch cognate of the Maypole is the Gwetschebaam, which is literally a plum tree. Linden has been moved from May 12 to May 5 as a tip of the hat to Gedreier Eckhart, who sleeps inside the bark of a linden tree as the Parade of Spirits heads toward Hexenkopf. The linden tree is said to be on Hexefeld in Lancaster County, which occurs in the earlier part of Wonnezeit. This means that Urglaawe date of May 4 is more suitable for linden blessings.

The reckoning below pairs the solar and lunar calendar. The first date should be read as "sunset on May # is Urglaawe May #." For example, in the first entry, sunset on April 30 is Urglaawe May 1.

April 30-May 1: Plum Blessing and Harvest

May 1-2: Dogwood Harvest - Since today is May 2, let's also note that Dogwood is a medicinal tree that is one of the Nine Sacred Herbs of Braucherei, hence also of Urglaawe.

Hail to the Dogwood

May 2-3: Pawpaw Bloom and Blessing

May 3-4: Linden Bloom and Blessing [observing Gedreier Eckhart at Hexefeld]

May 4-5; Crabapple and Apple Blossom / Apple Tree Blessings

May 5-6: Hawthorn Bloom and Blessing

May 6-7: Magnolia Bloom and Blessing

May 7-8: American Chestnut; also, Blueberry and Huckleberry Pruning and Honoring (second-year plants have all budding flowers cut back.

May 8-9: Blueberry and Huckleberry Blossom - all remaining blueberry and huckleberry bushes are blessed [Observing the Hexedanz at Hexebarrick]

May 9-10: Cherry Bloom and Blessing

May 10-11: Serviceberry Bloom and Blessing

May 11-12: Strawberry Bloom and Blessing; Asparagus Harvest Festivals