Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Der Yuul

En Hallicher Yuul zu eich alle! 

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Voryuul Timeline, Eastern Deitscherei, Nights 1-5

Regional Timeline of Voryuul Events for the Eastern Deitscherei

Note: If you find yourself struggling with the realities of answers dredged up by some of the shadow-side work, please discontinue the exploration and reach out to me, to a trusted friend, or to any of the clergy of Distelfink Sippschaft. 


NIGHT 1: Wednesday, December 8, 2021; Sunset Local Time

Night 1 of Voryuul begins. Start with twelve candles burning, consider the meditation of the day. Snuff or blow out one candle in the middle of your meditation and contemplate the change in the lighting, ambience, and atmosphere of the room. When meditation is completed, be sure to extinguish all candles!

Suggested Meditation 1

Nacht 1 - Night 1

Es 2020 waar  ’n zaehes Yaahr gwest. Es 2021 (doch im Gang) iss en besseres Yaahr gwest. Bischt du noch gedreir de Lehre vun 2020, adder bischt du widder zimmlich desselwert es Mensch, as du im 2019 waarscht?

2020 was a tough year. Did you retain the lessons learned in 2020, or are you again pretty much the same person who you were in 2019?


NIGHT 2: Thursday, December 9, 2021; Sunset Local Time

Night 2 begins with eleven candles burning, and the number of lit candles will be reduced to ten by the end of the meditation. 

Suggested Meditation 2

Bedrachdungsvorschlack 2

Wer bischt du heitich? Bischt du froh? Bischt vergniechlich?

Meditation Prompt 2

Who are you these days? Are you happy? Are you contented?


NIGHT 3: Friday, December 10, 2021; Sunset Local Time

Night 3 begins with ten candles lit and the number is reduced to nine.

Suggested Meditation 3 

Bedrachdungsvorschlack 3

Kannst du net mehr aus me Trott haerauskumme? Wann du yuscht eeni Sach in deim Lewe umwandle kennt, was watt es sei? Weswegge? Wuzu? Zu wellem End?

Meditation Prompt 3

Are you stuck in a rut? If you could transform just one thing in your life, what would it be? Due to what? Why? To what end?

LUTZELFRAASLAAF: Distelfink Sippschaft will observe Lutzelfraaslaaf beginning at 6:00 PM EST at Rob Schreiwer's house in Bristol, PA.

BRISTOL BUGGY PULL will take place during Night 3 (approximately 7:30/8:00 PM EST behind Bristol Borough Junior-Senior High School, Bristol, PA 

YULETIDE SOCK DRIVE begins at the Buggy Pull.


NIGHT 4: Saturday, December 11, 2021; Sunset Local Time

PARADE OF SPIRITS: Sunset on December 11 begins the Parade of Spirits though the streets of Northern Liberties in Philadelphia.

Night 4 also plunges us into the shadowy sides of ourselves. We begin with nine candles lit and end with eight. 

Suggested Meditation 4

Be prepared to go a little bit meta and to think about the past few nights' meditations, particularly the aspects of confronting the shadow side of yourself and developing a better understanding of the totality of yourself. 

Then ask yourself some of the tough questions. 

What are my motivators? What are the causes of my actions?

All behavior can be boiled down to four functions: attention, avoidance, sensory stimulation, and access to tangibles. What impels some of the shadowy behaviors? Without going into too much personal detail, I sometimes see attention as a primary motivator, even more so than avoidance, which would have been a major player when I was younger. Of course, all of us shift from function to function throughout our lives, but it is the nagging, troublesome shadowy behaviors that I am looking at within myself. 

Did you ever notice certain patterns in your life, particularly those that result in detriment to yourself? Are there things that you keep noticing are causing problems with relationships, jobs, self-fulfillment? The old saying is, "Do what you always do and get what you always get." Sometimes we need introspection (Selbschtreiguck) to move toward self-improvement (Selbschtverbessering). Tracking those things back to the behavioral function that they serve may help with some enlightenment and some positive change... Or, at the very least, understanding why we do the things we do can lead to more deliberate choices, even on the shadow side.

Voryuul is indeed the time for introspection, and confronting the shadow side is just about as introspective as one can get!

Note Again: If you find yourself struggling with the realities of answers dredged up by some of the shadow-side work, please discontinue the exploration and reach out to me, to a trusted friend, or to any of the clergy of Distelfink Sippschaft. Night 4's meditation an open up some old wounds, which presents all the more reason to come out to spend time in the community having fun embracing the dark and facing your fears. 

NIGHT 5: Sunday, December 12, 2021;  Sunset, Local Time

Night 5 begins with eight candles lit and ends with seven.

Suggested Meditation 5

Night 5's meditation starts with the question, "What do you do when you win the battle but lose the war?" By "battle" here I do not mean literal battle (though that could certainly apply here as well). Instead, I mean the struggles that we encounter with unstable friendships/relationships or the strains of improving one's career or whatever it is that we find ourselves vying to attain. How do you cope with loss of this type? What actions soothe you, and what impact does your self-soothing have on. yourself and on others? Do you give up on lost causes gracefully? Less than gracefully? Or do you plod forth hoping that tomorrow will be a brighter day?

Note: If you find yourself struggling with the realities of answers dredged up by some of the shadow-side work, please discontinue the exploration and reach out to me, to a trusted friend, or to any of the clergy of Distelfink Sippschaft. Night 5's meditation is meant to shake us out of our comfort zone. Being truthful with oneself on this meditation can stir up guilt and regret. Those feelings must be extinguished along with Candle 8 is blown out. If there amends that need to be made with other people, extinguish the guilt and work to correct the actions of the past. If no reconciliation is possible, then, when blowing out the rest of the candles for tonight, commit the guilt and the regret to the past while learning any lessons that the incidents in question are presenting to you. 

----- Nights 6-12 will be presented in a later post -----

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Voryuul/Parade of Spirits: Why The Buggy?

We often hear the phrase, "The Turning of the Wheel," bandied about in many Heathen and Pagan traditions. This often refers to the changeover from one year to the next. For some, that turning is emphasized at the end of October. For others, it is observed at Yule, and, even among those who observe it at those times, most of us still recognize the fact that the wheel is in constant motion through the linear time to which the physical plane is (mostly) relegated to adhere.

One will sometimes also hear phrases to the effect of, "The Wheel of the Year it tilted." Sometimes these comments are referring to the Earth's axial tilt or to the global seasonal differences that result from said tilt. In Urglaawe, though, the Yaahrsraad ("Year Wheel") is not perceived to function on a tilt as much at is is on a multi-layered spiral. Trying to identify a beginning and an end point is not always easy, particularly since the life-death-rebirth cycle is ongoing. There are a few points that could be considered the completion of a wheel rotation and, thus, the start of a new cycle.

Buggy Pull
Trenton Avenue, Bristol, PA
Behind Bristol Borough Jr.-Sr. High School

Among the easiest to point toward is January 1. This is the nearly globally accepted beginning of the new calendar year, but, for many religious and spiritual systems that observe cycles, it does not align with anything in their actual lore. Here, though, Urglaawe does have a relevant point because sunset on December 31 begin Zwelfdi Nacht (Twelfth Night of Yule) and Berchtaslaaf, or the Progression of the goddess Berchta. Many of Berchta's characteristics as a liminal goddess reflect the passing of linear time, and, in some significant ways, one could argue that She represents "Mother Time." She has the only required meal that I know of on any Heathen calendar, and it is a meal of scarcity, likely a reflection of time starving away and the literal death of that calendar year. 

The wheel completes a rotation at sunset the next morning. January 1, is Zwelfder Daag, or Twelfth Day, and a new calendar year awakens. This is Frofescht or Luulfescht, the Feast of Fro or the Feast of Luul. The meal has gone from scarcity to, indeed, a full on feast. Pork and sauerkraut (each of which likely have an origin in being sacred to the god Fro, with pork taking the place of the boar and sauerkraut representing prosperity) is the traditional meal for all Pennsylvania Dutch on this day, though most Deitsch people will cite the reason for the pork being that pigs root forward. The snout, like the wheel, keeps moving forward in linear time.

Another, huge turning of the wheel takes place in February with the creation of the Butzemann, or the activated scarecrow, during the Entschtanning observance. The wheel turns (in a rather "woo" sense) when the remnants of the prior year's crops are used to build the Butzemann, and then the ancestors of those plants are called to awaken the dormant souls inside the plant materials. The wheel turns when the Butzemann is awakened and takes his post to watch over the coming season's crops.

The next wheel turning point takes on a different form. On March 17, a large segment of the Protestant Pennsylvania Dutch community observes a very Heathen-based St. Gertrude's Day. While some of the Protestants might, alongside the Catholics, actually be honoring Gertrude of Nivelles as a saint, most Protestants generally shy way from honoring saints while still keeping the traditions alive. These traditions could hardly be much more Heathen than they actually are, and I will refer to other things written about Urglaawe Grumbieredaag ("Potatoes Day") and the grafting of the goddess Frouwa onto St. Gertrude. However, one key factor in this day is the purpose behind the name: Potatoes, and the Spring Onions that go along with them. A particularly type of bread called a "Datsch" is baked for this day, and among its key ingredients are potatoes and spring onions. The Datsch is offered in the garden, and the first plantings of potatoes is part of the ritual. The wheel turns as the last of the prior year's potatoes is used to create the offering toward the success of the incoming year's crop. 

Oschdre, or the Spring Equinox, is another point that many consider to be the starting point of a new wheel rotation. Indeed, this is the one that I personally consider to be the birth (and rebirth) of new life, and, hence, a new rotation. 

Yet the new rotations keep happening. At Wonnenacht, the Sisters Holle and Berchta meet, embracing in a dance that spins winter away. The wheel turns during the spinning. At Hoietfescht in July/August, the wheel turns as the last of the grains from last year make the breads that celebrate the incoming grain crops. At Allelieweziel, we observe the death phases of existence; the wheel turns as the souls move on toward their next phase of being.

This brings us to Voryuul (Fore-Yule) and to Yuul (Yule). At Yuul, you will see us light up our Flaming, Spinning, Yuletide Sunwheel, which is, quite literally the turning of the wheel. For Urglaawer, this represents the creation of the new soul construct there after the souls of the dead pass through Holle's figurative Mill. We se this actually referred to in our Wonnezeit myth in May, so the implication is that this is an ongoing turning of the wheel. The death arc of the wheel is always in motion, which means the whole of the wheel is also in motion. The wheel of the Mill is always turning, whether Holle is actively on the Hunt or not.

Step backward twelve nights from Yuul, and this leaves us with Voryuul and the purpose of the Buggy, both in the Buggy Pull and in the Parade of Spirits. The descriptions we have of Holle on the Wild Hunt include a buggy or a wagon that looks different from ours. It is said to be three-wheeled and that, as it rolls, each wheel spins thread that joins with the other wheels' threads to create a giant cosmic sack names "Immerraum" ("Always Room") in which the captured lost souls are placed in order to bring them to the Mill. 

We're not quite at the point yet where we can construct the three-wheeled wagon, yet our Buggy is certainly steeped in cultural representation. At the Buggy Pull and in the Parade of Spirits, it is representing the forging forth through linear time - the perpetual motion of the turning wheel. It is to serve as a reminder of just how precious time and life are. Although most Urglaawer believe in rebirth, the rebirth takes place in a new soul construct, which means that the person you are now, due to the restraints of linear time in the physical plane, exists singularly during this lifetime. You are, therefore, unique and precious, and your life and time in this world are to be valued while being invaluable. Even the more convoluted discussions of non-linear time would recognize this sacredness of life.

The debut of the Buggy onto the public scene at the Parade of Spirits might be limited to the sidewalk area of the park in this first year. It will be a curiosity, and most people will likely find it to be really cool. Attaching the significance of the constant turning of the wheel to the Buggy will, over time, add to the lore and to the appreciation of time and of life that are central themes behind the Parade of Spirits.

When you see the Buggy pass, do as Gedreier Eckhart suggests as he quotes the Mighty Dead, and say, "Hail to Life!"

Monday, November 22, 2021

What is the Parade of Spirits?

The Parade of Spirits ("Der Geischderschtrutz" in Pennsylvania Dutch) is a grassroots, family-friendly, community-based, participatory parade that takes place in the Northern Liberties neighborhood of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Originally founded as Krampuslauf Philadelphia in 2011, the event has expanded its focus to include more folkloric features.

Traditionally, the time in mid-December prior to the winter solstice (Yule) was when the Pennsylvania Dutch held spooky parades and when children donned costumes and went "belsnickeling," or trick-or-treating. The Parade of Spirits is a modern expression of that old tradition. 

The Parade serves as a depiction of the Wild Hunt from Germanic mythology, and features liminal and shadow-side entities, such as Belsnickel, Krampus, and the souls of the recently departed.

At the fore of the "Schtrutz" is the Germanic psychopomp, Gedreier Eckhart, who is a hero in German folklore and who serves the goddess Holle in death just as he did in life. Pennsylvania Dutch myth places him ahead of the Wild Hunt, warning the living of the impending fury as Holle travels the realms of the multiverse, seeking out the lost souls of the recently departed and capturing them to bring them back into the human evolutionary process.

Although the basic functions of the Parade are based in German and Pennsylvania Dutch myth and folklore, this is a secular event. All shadowy-side, shady-side, and dark-side traditions from all cultural backgrounds are welcomed and encouraged (please just keep in mind this is a family-friendly event, and please be careful not to engage in cultural appropriation from historically oppressed or marginalized cultures). This is an inclusive event and welcomes participants of all backgrounds; no bigotry tolerated.

While some costumes may be commercially produced (particularly Krampus, Perchten, or other traditional Alpine costumes), most are handmade, from the simple to the complex. Simply putting green or gray makeup on your face and participating as a ghoul on the Wild Hunt is fantastic!


Arrive at Liberty Lands Park (913 N 3rd St, Philadelphia, PA 19123) at around 4:00 to enjoy the costumes and to talk with old friends and to make new ones. 

Just prior to sunset (16:36/4:36 PM EST), the Parade will begin with opening remarks, and then the organizers will step off from the park onto the streets. Follow Gedreier Eckhart's "Boomba" (a Pennsylvania Dutch percussion instrument that is  played primarily through bouncing) and enjoy yourself as we strut the streets of Northern Liberties.

In 2021, we will debut the Buggy in some form. We need to assess the speed at which it can be moved to see if we can have it on the street, but the Parade marchers will stay on the sidewalks.

After the Parade returns to Liberty Lands Park, please tarry around the bonfire for some fellowship (please have a face mask on hand and follow Philadelphia's covid-19 guidelines on outdoor interaction) until the performance begins.

In 2021, we are delighted to present a fire performance by bellydancer, Lorenda, and her partner, Aly Louise!

There is no cost for this event, but it is PARTICIPATORY, so... make yourself look dead and come out to the 'Schtrutz!


Sunday, October 24, 2021



Focusing on the process of how the Urglaawe rune system came to be only in this post. 

The Deitsch runes presented us with some significant challenges for several reasons:


- While some runes have definitely been in the Deitsch culture since migration (some being at the root of some hex signs, barn stars, or other symbols), the full alphabet is certainly not of antiquity; I suspect someone within the last 100 years tried to incorporate more symbols or knowledge, but, with the suppression happening after WWI, what we had in 2008 was badly broken or incomplete. Thus, what we are presenting now is inspired by older symbols, information, and/or lore, but it, of itself, is a new product.

- Very few respondents. A total of 31 contributed some input to the specific topic. Of those, 17 self-identified with Hexerei. Eight self-identified with Braucherei, and the rest did not claim an affiliation.  

- Of those 31, 27 contributed a something significant. Of those, 9 were the primary contributors of the forms.

- None knew the names of all symbols.

- Of the 31, only three had a full complement of symbols, some resembling Elder Futhark symbols while others were very similar to Zodiac symbols.

- Only two had a nearly-complete alphabet devoid of Zodiac symbols, and some of their symbols conflicted with each other.

- Everyone thought there should be a symbol for "p" or "bb," but no one knew the name or the symbol.

- Confusion over the same name ("Geil"; "horses") being applied to two symbols (now "Hengscht"; "stallion"; and "Eiwe"; "yew").

- The runes tended to be drawn with more rounding than with sharper points, partially because they were usually written with the thumb of the person being interviewed.

ELEMENTS (Hexerei):

- The inclusion of twelve elements, each having two runes associated with it, arose from a cluster of 11 self-identified Hexerei practitioners in Northumberland, Columbia, and Montour Counties, with five outliers in other states, plus one in Ontario. The elemental system was inconsistent; quite a few cited knowing that there were twelve, but the twelve that one listed would have differences with the twelve listed by the next.

- Of those who used any twelve elements, all but the one in Ontario ascribed a proactive (typically referred to as "positive") and a reactive (typically referred to as "negative") aspect to each, thereby (at least in theory since the whole system was kind of a mess) linking one rune as a proactive rune and another rune as a reactive rune to each of the twelve elements. In most cases, the proactive corresponded to the pushing of the dominant hand of the practitioner while the reactive corresponded to the shooing or non-dominant hand.

- Three elderly Hexerei practitioners, all from Northumberland County, associated the digits on their four fingers on their pushing hand with twelve runes (or other symbols to fill in the gaps) and the digits on their four fingers of their shooing hand with twelve runes (or other symbols to fill in the gaps). The thumbs were reserved for opening, utilitarian tasks, neutral energy manipulation, and sealing.

- I used their unique Hexerei methods of using the runes/symbols to sweep over the body from the beginning of a healing session to find imbalances of elements within the client. Concentrating on the digits, particularly those of my shooing hand, to be difficult, resulting in a depletion of energy. It was initially much easier to use broad Braucherei sweeps to seek energy blockages and then to use the individual runes to aid in the identification of elemental problems. 

- As the work on the system continued, I revisited the rune/digit associations, and I am finding value in aligning the proactive rune of a particular element on one hand with the reactive rune of the same element on the opposing hand provides a bit of mnemonic aid, and I am becoming more skilled with the use of individual digits. 

- The inconsistencies in the elements identified was a challenge, but coming across Ulf Asgardson's "YYggssbok" (YYggssbok, pp. 81-82. Bloomington, IN: Author House, 2007) in 2011 helped to frame the references. I know nothing about this author other than what I found in the mysticism within that book, and there was enough correspondence to the broken Hexerei lore that the author's elements were all to help to fill in the gaps. 

- The system works! 


Note: All runes have a Rechtdaub, or "upright" meaning and a "Driebdaub," or merkstave meaning; these interpretations are of current-era origin.

Starting with the rune (looks like Fehu with a missing arm) at 0:00/12:00 above the Distelfink's head in the logo, I am going to identify each rune and will include important points, as warranted.

Vieh: One of the better attested too in the group. The form is also described in the work of a Heathen rune author as having turned up in Germany. Whether the form was being used for the same runic concepts is unknown. Deity association: Fro (new)

Ur: No consistent name, but primordial power is an association. The form similar to the upside down U was known by a few respondents, but it was provided in the mirror image from the Uruz rune. Deity association: Holler (new)

Dunner (also: Dorn): The lack of either "th" sound in Deitsch gives this rune the same focal sound as Daag, but this was one of the better known runes among the informants. Deity association: Dunner

Antwatt: Perhaps the rune that started this entire quest. It was the first rune that turned up in an esoteric setting that had not also turned up in a mundane or physical-world setting. It was being used by a Braucherin to awaken the dormant plant spirits within her Butzemann in what is known as a Kannsege, or the Ceremony of the Corn. Deity association: Wudan

Reit: A few names for the form were given, but Reit was the most common. Deity association: Schlumm (new)

Kerze: Another problematic rune. The earliest informants identified this with a torch, or Fackel, but the consonant sound in the middle of the name complicated matters. The form was initially given to look somewhat like a K, but later informants proposed it being set onto its back, whereupon it more resembled a candleholder, and, thus, the Deitsch term for "candle," or "Kerze," became the preferred term, while still bearing the "harnessed fire" concepts of the earlier "Fackel" name. Deity association: Zisa (new)

Gewwe: Commonly used in Hexerei and in some Braucherei practitioners' uses for exchanges and in soul work. Entity association: Folyer/n; deity association: Weisskeppichi

Winsch: The earlier form (looked like a capital W with a line over the top) of this rune was cumbersome, even if more widely used than the current form. The current form, which mirrors Wunjo, was presented by two informants. Deity associations: Wudan, Holler, Fro (new), Frouwa (new)

Haagel: This rune turns up in esoteric and mundane contexts, including a potential link to the rosette hex sign that bears many of the rune's attributes. Deity association: Holle

Not: Widely used in Hexerei sealing and healing. Many associations with deities.

Eisich: Perhaps among the clumsiest names remaining, this rune's name focuses not on the "i" in the "Ei" diphthong but instead on the "i" in the -ich adjectival ending. 

Yaahr: Multiple forms were given for this rune, with the current form being in the plurality. The other prominent form was akin to a spiral.

Eiwe: Troublesome at the beginning because the earliest informant gave the same name to this rune and to what became Hengscht. The determination of the name Eiwe ("yew") came after the emergence of the rune form that looks like a bit like a yew berry.

Peil: No name, no symbol was known to the informants. However, they all believed there had been a symbol to meet the Deitsch sounds of "p" and "bb." A few even had insights how to use the energy behind it, which is how the name Peil eventually became a

Schild: Reported in multiple forms. 

Sunne:  Not uncommon even outside of esoteric practice. The possible root of several other Deitsch symbols. Deity association: Sunna

Tuisko: Originally named Ziu, Schmitz, and Tarm by informants. The Tuisko was a later emergence from a minority (three in the same community) of those interviewed, and it was ultimately the element that helped to sway our team toward choosing Tuisko as part of our practice. As the rune of proactive Earth, the earth-sprung god (believed by some Hexes to be the child of the Sky Father (Ziu) and the Earth Mother (Erda) Tuisto or Tuisco, it led, over the course of a decade, to the use of this name. The debate is not closed, however. Deity associations: Tuisto, Ziu, Zisa

Baerke: Diety association: Strongest with Berchta and Freid; lesser with Holle.

Hengscht: Naming issue cited with Eiwe above. Deity association: Alcis (new). Form supposedly arose from the rider's head being higher than the horse's head.

Mann/Mensch: Several forms were given, including a human stick figure form, which reminded me a bit too much of the Blockheads from Gumby, and, since Blockhead is an old racist term for Germans and Pennsylvania Dutch people, well, the current form was the dominant on. Deity association: Mannaz

Loch: Rune was strongly attested to in form, but the name was hard to pin down. Loch ("hole") was provided as a name in later interviews. Deity association: Schlumm (new)

Engel: Despite the fact that English "angel" and Deitsch "Engel" look a lot alike, they are not derived from the same root. English "angel" has its roots in Greek "angelos" ("messenger"). Deitsch "Engel" is ultimately derived from the name of the Germanic god, Ing. Over the centuries, they have developed the same general meaning due to the religious hegemony of Christianity, but our use of the Engel name for the rune hearkens back to Ing. Form turned up etched into granary walls in Berks County. Deity associations: Ing, Fro

Daag: Several forms provided, but none as functional as the one we're using. Used as a concept in Hexerei (and some Braucherei) dissolution workings, this rune was actually among the most commonly known among the informants. Deity associations: Helling (new)

Ochdem: Several rune forms given. Deity association: Wudan


Spirit: proactively associated with the rune Haagel and reactively associated with the rune Schild.

Fire: proactively associated with the rune Vieh and reactively associated with the rune Daag.

Time: proactively associated with the rune Yaahr and reactively associated with the rune Peil.

Air: proactively associated with the rune Anwatt and reactively associated with the rune Gewwe.

Water: proactively associated with the rune Hengscht and reactively associated with the rune Loch. 

Light: proactively associated with the rune Reit and reactively associated with the rune Sunne.

Yeast: proactively associated with the rune Winsch and reactively associated with the rune Engel.

Metal: proactively associated with the rune Kerze and reactively associated with the rune Mann. 

Venom: proactively associated with the rune Eiwe and reactively associated with the rune Dunner. 

Salt: proactively associated with the rune Ur and reactively associated with the rune Ochdem.

Ice: proactively associated with Eisich/Is and reactively associated with Not.

Earth: proactively associated with the rune Tuisko  and reactively associated with the rune Baerke.


Element color associations are emerging mostly (but not solely) form my personal practice, so, this is new:

Spirit: black

Fire: red

Time: purple

Air: light blue

Water: blue

Light: yellow

Yeast: green

Metal: orange

Venom: light green

Salt: white

Ice: gray

Earth: brown


Following the method used by the three Northumberland Hexe mentioned in the main article, I am showing the rune-to-digit correspondence but adding the element colors in that are of my own practice. 

Spirit is at the top of the index finger. Its opposite, Earth, is at the bottom of the pinky. The pattern takes the fiery (Fire, Time, Air, Water, Light) runes across the first digits of each finger, then moves down to the second digit of the pinky and moving to the ring finger); the icy runes (Yeast, Metal, Venom, Salt, Ice) move across the bottom digits from the ring finger to the index finger, then move up to the middle digit of the index finger and finish out in the middle digit of the middle finger.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Ewicher Yeeger - South Jersey Pagan Pride 2021

Distelfink Sippschaft will be conducting the closing ritual for South Jersey Pagan Pride Day on Saturday, October 2, 2021. We will be leading a Sege to Ewicher Yeeger.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Hollerbeer Hof 51 - Summer 2021

Hollerbeer Hof 51 is now available for download. This issue covers the Summer 2020 events, including the debut of "The Buggy" at Hoietfescht!

If you have ideas for future issues, please contact Stacey Steward, Public Relations Director, at pr@urglaawe.org!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Es Hoietfescht 2021

These pics are from the Urglaawe observance of Hoietfescht (Haymaking Festival); "die Hoiet" is a widely used Pennsylvania Dutch term for the "hay time," which generally falls between mid-July and mid-August. It is also an old/alternate name for the month of July.

The Buggy's Debut

Hoietfescht is a celebration of the first [grain] harvest, so bread is a common offering. While there is a debate among Urglaawer as to whether there is any separation of tribes (Wane and Ase) among the gods, this is considered by most Urglaawer to be a festival of the Wane. The Wane are generally credited with being the originators of the concept of Fruchsfriede or frith. 

India Hogan tending to Erda's image.

Featured this year was a representation of the goddess Erda, whom most Urglaawer believe is our "living culture" cognate of Nerthus. Despite Tacitus' description, though, we didn't bog anyone this year (there’s always next year!).

So Erda's image came out looking a bit like
Cher, circa 1970, but the presence was powerful.

Pimp My Buggy!

India Hogan and Michelle Jones review the work.

This is a celebration, hence the gold hat and gold suspenders!

Mark Speeney, Robert L. Schreiwer, India Hogan

Beck Spille's rebuilt Wane cart.

The smaller wagon is full of flowers and offerings from our gardens. This was the cart before we acquired the buggy, and it still carried the images of some of the other Wane. The cart had been damaged over the years and was, as a result, rebuilt by Beck Spille in 2020 for presentation at Hoietfescht this year. Fun Fact: Beck used coffee to stain the cart!

The Hoietfescht Altar, 2021

Hoietfescht is the first of Urglaawe's two major harvest observances. The second is Erntfescht, which falls around the Fall Equinox in September. There are smaller crop observances throughout the growing season.

Distelfink's Mascots


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Hollerbeer Hof 50 - Spring 2021

A new issue of Hollerbeer Hof is available here. You can also find it on the side bar on the right of this page.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Frouwasege, Grumbieredaag, Katzenacht

17. Lenzing, 2021
Honoring: die Frouwa
Features: Sacred nature of cats, Datsch flatbread, planting of potatoes, planting of spring onions and some beans, garden ritual.

Ritual is open via videoconference at 17:00/5:00 PM EDT on Wednesday March 17, 2021.
Event Page: https://fb.me/e/d1bYNhvIO

By Urglaawe lunar reckoning, the feast day of the goddess Frouwa begins at sunset on March 16 (which begins the date of 17. Lenzing) and ends at sunset on March 18. 


Who is the Frouwa?
The Frouwa (“the Lady”) is widely known among the Germanic peoples. The Netherlands Dutch know Her as Vrouwa; in English, She is called Freya, and in Norse, She is called Freyja. Each culture perceives Her differently, but there are some common elements throughout Her lore. What is cited below is the lore from the Pennsylvania Dutch/Urglaawe perspective, which, due to the ins and outs of the forced conversion to Christianity brings some unique perspectives to the understanding of one of the most vibrant and readily accessible deities in the Germanic pantheon.

die Frouwa vun de Wane:
She is a goddess of the Wane/Vanir tribe, though her understood lineage from Norse lore does not fully match ours, it is quite possible that the Norse lore clarifies a few points that just might make Her lineage clearer.

It is fairly widely accepted in Norse lore that the parents of Freya and Her twin brother Frey (known to us as Fro or Froh) are Njörðr (commonly called Njord) and His unnamed sister, who many believe to be the earlier-attested Nerthus. Now, here come some dot-connecting and unproven theories, but there are some similarities of folklore that should be researched more.

Although most Urglaawer and other German Heathens perceive Nerthus and the goddesses Holle and Erda as different deities, there are similarities that can lead to some theories. Linguistically, the connections are closer between Nerthus and Erda. 

Nerthus and Erda (and some also say Holle) are each said to be offended by the presences of iron forged in any form, but especially iron forged as tools that cut the ground. I can readily understand the possibility that Nerthus and Erda are the same goddess known from different perspectives. 

The Norse identify Jörð in their lore as the mother of Dunner. Jörð is neither of the Ase or the Wane, but Dunner is counted among the Ase due to Odin being His father.

Deitsch lore reflects this. Wudan is Dunner's father, and his mother is Erda. However, Erda is said to be of the Wane in our lore, which would make Dunner half-Wane and half-Ase. There is a lack of clarity here.
There is a potential connection, albeit slight, between Njord and our Holler (Ewicher Yeeger) in the form of connections to fishing, the wealth of rivers and streams  However, the connections between Holler and Ullr are stronger. It is also possible that Njord, Holler, and Ullr are discrete, unique deities whose lore should not be taken automatically as being more than matters of circumstances.
One can see why more research is needed.

But let's look at what we currently have anyway (and hope for more information to emerge hence):
Njord + Nerthus = parents of Freya and Frey  (generally accepted)

If Njord and Holler are the same deity:

Holler + z = parents of Frouwa and Fro

Let's try Erda first:

Holler + Erda = fully Wane Frouwa and Fro who would be half-siblings to Dunner

How about Holle?

Holler + Holle = fully Wane Frouwa and Fro.  Holler and Holle are widely believed to be consorts, whether sibling or marriage.

The latter makes more sense to me, yet it still leaves a lot of open questions. And the research goes on.

Other Attributes of Frouwa:
She is the Matron of all cats. She is associated with love, lust, beauty, sex, fecundity, sowing and reaping the bounty of the land. She is also shrewd, wise, and, so oral tradition has indicated, has a business acumen like no other.

Many of Her attributes (except for the carnal ones and business acumen) were grafted by the Catholic Church onto St. Gertrude of Nivelles, who was sainted for her work in the German lands. Gertrude was born in Landen, which would indicate Flemish ancestry, circa the year 628. She died on March 17, 659, hence the timing of her feast day.  The Church was busily engaging in forced conversion and was eliminating adversaries during this time (for contrast, St. Funnyface... err... Boniface was born in 675), so this is happening right in the middle of the Catholic terrorism of the adherents of the Heathen religions.

In order for stability to take hold in conquered areas, the Church often resorted to taking the attributes of locally known deities and adding them to the lore of saints. For a good (I'd almost say "authoritative" description of the the Catholic Church had to do to get the conversion to succeed, see The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation by James C. Russell; beware that it is not an easy read).

So attributes of the Frouwa were spun into an acceptable Christian context that became attached to St. Gertrude, and the lore of St. Gertrude was applied to the date of her death, March 17. It is interesting that St. Gertrude’s Day observances were retained by the overwhelmingly Protestant and Anabaptist Pennsylvania Dutch — not so much as a religious icon but as a cultural market and tradition.

Urglaawer generally accept that the retention of this lore is relevant to our worship of the Frouwa, again calling to the Lady of the Wane. Although it is virtually certain that the Church did not intend to keep parts of the story of the Frouwa alive, we Urglaawe still tip the hat to St. Gertrude for serving as the vehicle that has provided us with a method to rebuild the severed relationship with the Frouwa. As such, we keep the feast day of March 17 (but set it to the lunar calendar as 17. Lenzing, and the feast day begins on the solar calendar date of March 16 at sunset and ends on March 17 at sunset.

Because St. Gertrude of Nivelles was created by appropriating many traits of the Frouwa, one could argue that a syncretic honoring of the Frouwa has (wittingly or unwittingly) been going on since the 7th century. We Urglaawer will watch as our use of the ritual, absent its Christian overlay, evolves to meet Frouwa's needs. 

Oh, did I mention that the lore of St. Gertrude's Day features other entities and practices that come straight out of Heathen cosmology and are certainly not Church approved? One such creature is der Waldmops, whose name literally means "forest goblin," who is considered to be the Lord of the Beasts and is said to be he who colors the southeast wind green to ensure bounty.

Der Waldmops is said to wear a coat woven of willow leaves, spleenwort, and moss. He wears a magical hat fashioned from ivy, wintergreen, and yew twigs or mistletoe. He is said to be the father of Ringelros (Calendulis officinalis), which is the official flower of the Deitsch people. The spirit of calendula can be invited into the kitchen to protect the storage of processing and food storage (See Dutch Treats by William Woys Weaver, page xix).

One feature of the observance is the baking of a flatbread called a "Datsch." There is a specific type used in the Frouwasege and for St. Gertrude's Day. The first year that I made one, I eyeballed everything, and the Datsch came out pretty good. Last year I measured everything, and it came out too wet.

Pieces of Datsch are also to be scattered about for die gleene Leit (the wee folk). Please see Dutch Treats by William Woys Weaver, pp. 103-105.

My guess is that tubers were replaced by potatoes after settlement in Pennsylvania, but that is just a hypothesis.

Also, please be sure to have something white to present to Her cats. Many of us use white albacore tuna. Oh, and while this is shared UPG and there is no long history behind it, I have heard a few folks in interviews recently come up with similar ideas on what the cats' names might be. If the Frouwa were on Her chariot that is being pulled by two large cats, the one on the left has been given the moniker of "der Meisfeind" (mice-foe) and the one on the right has been called "die Rosefreindn" (roses-friend).

(Syllables and stress: ALL CAPS represents primary stress on the syllable. A syllable that has only the Initial Letter capitalized bears secondary stress, and a syllable with no capital letters is unstressed. For example, take the English word "secondary": SEC-un-Dair-ee)

der Meisfeind: dah MICE-find
(Pronounce those two words as you would in English except make the "c" sound in "Meis" sound like hard, sharp s and the "d" in "find" is more like a soft t.

die Rosefreindn: dee ROSE-eh-Freind'n
(This one can be a pistol. The ROSE is actually pronounced more like ROWSS, but the initial R in this particular case has two possible pronunciations. The more common by far is a couple of flaps of the tongue before heading into the vowel. The other is extremely rare in Deitsch but does show up for this word in some variants: the uvular R, which is when you are almost gargling when you say it.)
These names, both of current vintage, do reflect why many people keep cats around their gardens. They keep the mouse population in check, which leads to the destruction of fewer plants, such as roses. If you use this information anywhere, please be sure to attach to it that these names are unverifiable communal gnosis (UCG) coming from the current era.

Note the final "n" on Rosefreindn. That is an ending that changes a grammatically masculine noun into a grammatically feminine noun. In this case, I am sure that the people who related this idea to me (who are members of one of the Plain Anabaptist sects) were setting this up so that one cat would be female and the other male.

Otherwise, we'd have a near-rhyme. In Deitsch, the word for friend (der Freind - dah FRYND) and foe (der FEIND - dah FYND (I spelled it as English "find" earlier because it is easier to read) rhyme...

Freind adder Feind?
(Friend or Foe)... although I think Friend or Fiend would serve the narrative better.

Distelfink Sippschaft's Frouwasege will be at 17:00/5:00 PM EDT on Wednesday, March 17. The event is open to anyone via videoconference. Event Page: https://fb.me/e/d1bYNhvIO

Oh, we're also toying with the idea of "Frouwa's Kubb," which would feature cats being involved in the play. Stay tuned on that.

Sources Cited:

Russell, James C. The Germanization of Early Medieval Christianity: A Sociohistorical Approach to Religious Transformation

Weaver, William Woys. Dutch Treats: Heirloom Recipes form Farmhouse Kitchens. Pittsburgh: St. Lynn's Press, 2016.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Entschtanning 1: Nature's Predictors and Groundhog Day

This was originally (last night... lol) as part of a Pennsylvania Dutch History lesson for student study as the Entschtanning begins at sunset tonight (1. Hanning, 2021), but it is a good introduction to the origins or Groundhog Day and this most complicated of Urglaawe observances gets underway.

Entschtanning: The Emergence from Winter's Grasp

Entschtanning is a Pennsylvania Dutch word that means "emergence." It is also the name of a major Urglaawe observance that brings together several Pennsylvania Dutch (Deitsch) cultural events and practices over a twelve-night/day period. The observance begins at sunset on February 1 with Grundsaudaag, better known in wider American culture as Groundhog Day.

Today's lesson consists of a bit of history about Groundhog Day, which today many people view as silly, but, 1,000 years ago, the technology of analyzing weather patterns did not exist, and cultures around the world relied on the natural world around them to provide clues about the future weather.

Many Predictors in Nature

Among the Germanic tribes, weather was often predicted based on when trees would bud in the spring, when they would yellow in the fall, and quite a few other aspects of plants' color and health. 

They did not limit their weather forecasting to just plants, though. Animal behavior or appearance, including that of insects, was also considered to be a way of finding clues about the near future's conditions. Some of these traditions with insects are still commonly found in Pennsylvania, particularly with the woolly bear caterpillar (which eventually becomes the Isabella tiger moth) actually has a pretty good track record (over 80% accuracy, according to one scientific study) of weather prediction that comes from the stripe in the middle of its body. 

Woolly bears have thirteen segments on their bodies. Each section can appear in either a rusty color or in black. Often it is black at both ends and rusty in the middle. The more rusty a woolly bear appears, the milder the winter will be, or so the saying goes. The more black on a woolly bear, the harsher the winter will be. The winter of 2020-2021 was predicted in the fall by many people to be mild in the beginning and harsh in the middle. So far, that is playing out.

And then along comes the Groundhog

The groundhog holds a special place in American folklore that actually stems from serious practices of the Pennsylvania Dutch. These "superstitions" are rooted in ancient Heathen belief from the time before Christianity took over as the dominant faith of Europe. Ironically, though, in Europe, the animal that was being tracked for this specific weather-predicting function was not a groundhog. It was a European badger (and prior to that, it was a bear). 

The German belief was that, if a badger were to awaken on February 2 and were to see its shadow, it would return to its den, thus meaning six more weeks of winter. This is the same lore that came along with the settlers from Germany who became the Pennsylvania Dutch. However, when the settlers arrived here, they found no badgers. Instead, they quickly observed that around this time of year, groundhogs do begin to emerge from their dens. Therefore, it was easy to transfer the folklore from the badger to the groundhog.

That all sounds sort of simple, correct?
Well, yes and no. There is a major missing piece of the puzzle of how this holiday survived the move from Germany to Pennsylvania, and that is the piece that is deeply rooted in the ancient Germanic religion.

Many cultures around the world use a "World Tree" as a metaphor for the universe or for all of existence. In Norse/Viking lore (which is also Germanic),their metaphor included a squirrel named Ratatoskr, who would run up and down the tree, delivering news from one realm to the next. 

While we have a Tree of Life (Lewesbaam) in the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and in Urglaawe, our forebears saw similar imagery in other contexts as well, including the very land which they farmed. Our rodent's story is not about running up and down the tree. Instead, the imagery relates to the ground.
Groundhog burrows are often complex, with different rooms and multiple openings, all of which are used as allegories to the other realms of existence. The forebears thus set an analogy between the burrow and the Nine Worlds.

Thus, the Groundhog is the otherworldly messe
nger. The Groundhog brings news and predictions from all of the visited realms. For an agricultural people, the short-term weather is naturally something that the people would like to know. The big question for ancient Germanic farmers was, "When can we plant?" which is probably why that particular feature was passed on to the wider American culture.

Cultural Importance to the Pennsylvania Dutch: Traditionalism vs. Commercialism

Within the Deitsch culture, Groundhog Day is still a big deal. There are 23 "Groundhog Lodges" that hold a dinner on February 2 every year. The use of the Pennsylvania Dutch language is a feature of that night, and use of English costs one dime for each English word used (this is actually not taken seriously; it is a way to raise money to keep the lodges going. Many predictions other than weather are also discussed, some are done in humor. Many songs, plays, and stories that are in Pennsylvania Dutch make their debut at these Groundhog Lodge dinners. Thus, Groundhog Day is also a day of the celebration of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture. 

There is also a huge event on February 2 every year at a place called Gobbler's Knob in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. This event is what most people think of when they think of Groundhog Day. A poor, captive (though well treated) groundhog named "Punxsutawney Phil" is put before cameras and flashing lights and becomes the "official" Groundhog Day event. While this big, commercial event is indeed featuring some of the Groundhog Day features, it is also losing some of the most important features of the day: the relationship between humans and animals and the close daily interaction with nature.  

Some farmers and many people who hold to the old ways continue to observe the behavior of groundhogs and other animals at this time to make other determinations as well.

One traditional practitioner of the old ways told me that the depth of --and the slope to-- the first room in a groundhog burrow can serve as an indicator of wet or dry weather. If the first room is fairly close to the surface or is of a fairly steep slope, then the weather will be mostly dry. If the slope is not steep or if the room is higher than its entrance from the burrow, then one should expect wet weather. There are other behaviors that are examined as well.

Most historians will grant that Groundhog Day has its roots in Heathen-era German practices, but the origins stretch back likely even further. Predicting weather or other things that can impact crops is a practice that transcends cultures, and observing the behavior of animals is an important tool in the forebears’ kit. It was certainly not the only tool; lunar phases, historic weather patterns, river depths, etc., all were (and are) considered as well.

Again, All Superstition?

Actually, no, it is not all superstition, particularly when it comes to the behavior of the groundhogs when they first emerge from hibernation. 

Remember that the events in Punxsutawney are not organic. We’re not watching the behavior of a groundhog in the wild. Thus, what may seem to be a silly observance with frequent inaccuracies is not the whole of the story. The annual events in Punxsutawney (and other places) certainly helped to keep the essence of the lore alive, but the true significance of Groundhog Day is masked by the commercial pomp and circumstance of the day. My personal experience is anecdotal, but it matches the experiences of many other people who observe groundhogs in the wild: the accuracy rate in the wild is far, far higher than in the staged media spectacle in Punxsutawney.

Groundhog Day is actually a visceral observance. It comes from a time when people had few reliable means of knowing when they could plant, and they relied upon their relationship with nature and with the animals to make determinations about the consumption of remaining food stores and to plan for the planting.
Thus, this week we Pennsylvania Dutch shall honor the Groundhog and remember our interdependence with the animal kingdom around us.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Berchtold, Berchtoldsdaag, Birth, and Rebirth

By Urglaawe reckoning, Berchtoldsdaag began at sunset on January 1 and ends at sunset tonight (January 2).

Berchtold, Berchtoldsdaag, Birth, and Rebirth

Berchtoldstag in Europe runs the entire calendar date of January 2, though there are years when it falls on a different date. Berchtholdstag is an Alemannic observance that takes place primarily in Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Elsass (Alsace) and other areas where the population is primarily Alemannic. In Europe, the observance features some surviving traditions that were wiped out elsewhere by the Protestant Reformation. In Hallwil, in the canton of Aargau, people still dress up in costumes that symbolize fertility, age, ugliness, and vice. The parade participants are called Bärzeli.

One of the curious things about the Great Migration is that some of the aforementioned regions were large contributors to what became the Deitsch population. The Amish movement began in Switzerland and Alsace, so the best-known stereotype of the Pennsylvania Dutch is derived more from the Alemanni than from the Franks. My own family line has quite a few arrivals from Alemannic regions.

Berchtold has a scant presence in Deitsch lore collected over the last few years. All of the seven references that I have come from two places: the northern Deitscherei (Carbon and Monroe Counties in Pennsylvania) and the Ohio Deitscherei near Millersburg. Both of these areas had a significant migration with roots in Switzerland. Four of the people who provided any info had some Plain sectarian ancestry. Another approximately 10 to 12 interviewees either had heard the name Berchtold or Bechtel but knew nothing more.

Many sites make a connection between Berchtold and a saint, but just as many sites refute that saint connection and instead connect it to the verb "berchten," which means "to walk around asking for food." Such actions immediately make us think of Berchta (whose name actually means "bright," so we have a "chicken or the egg" quandary. It might well be that the verb with the meaning of asking for food was derived from Berchta's actions during Voryuul and Yuul.

Some folks consider whether the name Berchtold is a combination of Berchta and Holda, but the few who related anything about Berchtold were confident that He is a consort of Berchta.

Urglaawe Working Theories

Here's what we either know or are using as a working theory in Urglaawe. This is based on the lore and practices that survived (though not necessarily are intact) in Europe into the modern era combined with the tidbits turned up in the Deitscherei. This is heavily investigatory at this point.

- No one truly knows and can prove what happens prior to birth or after death. Some people might remember time in the womb, but, overall, the true mysteries of the human soul (for those of us who believe we each have at least one) relate to the arc of the cycle between death and rebirth.

- The true origins of some traditions (or remnants thereof) might be unrecoverable.

- Societies in which the dominant religion is most concerned with a finite existence in this realm and within linear time have a tendency to speculate frequently on what happens after death, but what happens prior to birth is of less concern. Religions that believe in (or at least give consideration to the possibility) that death is a transformation from one state of being to another frequently do give consideration to what happens prior to birth. For religions that believe in reincarnation, full-soul rebirth, or partial-soul rebirth, questions about the time between death and the preparation for the next life are critical to understanding the totality of existence.

- Yuul/Yuulzeit end at sunset on 1. Hadding (January 1 on the solar calendar and January 2 on the Urglaawe lunar calendar); that ending brings Berchtoldsdaag (or Bechtelsdaag) and the beginning of Noochyuul. Berchtoldsdaag has only been related as a one-day observance. Noochyuul is a "season" that continues to run until sunset on 1. Hanning (February 1 on the solar calendar or February 2 on the Urglaawe lunar calendar). At that time, Noochyuul ends and the twelve-night observance of Entschtanning begins, with Grundsaudaag (Groundhog Day) as the first holiday within the Entschtanning season.

- The uncertainty around the "Berchtold" of the observance leads us to go with the premise that, since these traditions are of pre-Christian origin, there is a possibility of a Germanic Heathen deity being involved. We are moving on the presumption that Berchtold is a Heathen god who is the consort of Berchta and who plays a role in some functions of the birth/rebirth phase of spirals and helixes of existence.

- There was a speculation by some interviewers that the allegory of the wheel of life puts Berchtoldsdaag in play at a moment that is already known in lore elsewhere: The end of Yuul brings about a change in observances and events that are derived from depictions of the Wild Hunt. Prior to Berchtoldsdaag, depictions of the Hunt are oriented toward death; costumes are dark and scary, etc. However, at and after Berchtoldsdaag, parades still involve strange and wild costumes, but the promise of life anew brings hope to the dead, and the depictions (some of which are now huge events with faint -- yet visible -- ties to their Heathen origins) tend to feature brightly colored costumes, joy, and music. Some of these parades and depictions are less about the Wild Hunt and more about recognition of the world around them in the moment they are in and/or are intended to strengthen the chances for survival. 

- The cosmos are not beholden to our calendar, but calendars can help us to understand the greater mechanisms of the cosmos. For example, the use of a wheel of the year (es Yaahrsraad) as a metaphor to the cycle of life, death, and rebirth (es Lewesraad) is common in quite a few cultures, including within the understanding of time as non-linear among many Deitsch practitioners of the old ways. The Yaahrsraad underscores the complications of trying to jam linear time into a non-linear concept. The Yaahrsraad operates on a tilt. We have multiple "beginnings" on our linear calendar. Yuul is the beginning of the new solar year; the last day of Yuul is when the calendar flips to the new calendar year. At Berchtoldsdaag, the hope and promise of birth and rebirth set the stage for Entschtanning ("emergnce," or the "baby bump" phase of the birth/rebirth arc. Howeve, the definitive beginning of the new "spiritual year" for Urglaawer is Oschdre, or the Spring Equinox, when new life is free from the confines of the womb, the egg, or the chrysalis.

- The fact that the Wild Hunt is continuing even beyond Oschdre is a reflection of the fact that non-linear time does not have to begin, end, or ambulate by any dictations from creatures of only three dimensions (hearkening back to the Flatland and how two dimensional beings would interpret the three dimensional world).

- The depictions of the parades in Europe include some of the darker or less pleasant sides of the human experience. The rebirth phase of the Lewesraad is described as featuring the assembly of a new soul construct around the higher self and/or the Urleeg. Involved in the process of writing the Urleeg from one life to the next are the Wurthexe (cognates of the Wyrd Sisters or Norns). The Urleeg on the new soul construct is said to predispose one toward certain types of actions, although the application of the mind to improve one's Wurt is seen as one of the purposes of rebirth. Each lifetime is supposed to advance the human life wave on its evolution toward the perfected human. The perfected human, in short description, would be the achievement that the deities set out for us: to be at the end of this cosmic cycle where they were at the beginning of it.

- Thus, the working theory is that the depictions of human flaws and vice are important as part of the transmission of Urleeg and the need to learn from prior experience. Unfortunately, the experiences that a human has prior to birth or rebirth until about age 2 are largely inaccessible. Everything we have in any Germanic lore related to the arc of the cycle between death and rebirth is folkloric, which does not mean it is wrong. However, it does not automatically mean it is right, either. What if we Urglaawer are completely wrong (see the first paragraph with a “-“ in this post)? What if time really is finite and we are born to suffer and to die in a finite existence? In this post-modern era, we are fortunate enough to see indicators from science that time, space, energy, and existence are far more complex and amazing than anything other than metaphor has been able to explain until our technology became advanced enough to engage in quantifiable testing and observation. However, we still don't know a whole lot about ourselves.

- Working theory: Berchtold is a liminal god who is concerned with matters of Urleeg and construction of the soul. It is doubtful that He is alone in that function; if He were, more would likely have survived about Him as it did with Holle an Berchta. The process of sending souls through die Miehl is ongoing; the Wild Hunt's purpose is to seek lost souls and to put them back onto the Lewesraad, thus helping to increase human evolution. We observe the Wild Hunt from the end of Allelieweziel through Wonnezeit, but, in reality, people are dying and being born all the time. Thus, souls are being ground apart by the Mill and emerging on the other side, awaiting a new construct all the time. Pure speculation: Perhaps He, along with the Wurthexe, oversees the preparations for rebirth? What little information we have on Him does show some inclinations toward some of Berchta's areas of concerns, but She focuses on the ends of the cycle, announcing only the onset of the New Year, for example. Berchtold seems interest in what happens after the soul has passed through the Mill and  death's power has receded. Perhaps He takes up the guardianship of the constructed souls during their time in Unnergegend? Might He oversee the application of Urleeg to the soul construct? Might he strive to teach lessons that should have been learned in prior lifetimes? This is pure speculation at this point, and some of it does not "feel" right intuitively.

I'd really like to go to Hallwil when the Bärzeli are walking. I just do not know enough about their traditions and what they mean to the collective unconscious or collective conscious of the modern Alemanni. 

As you can see, we do have some information that leads us to hypotheses, but what follows each hypothesis still requires research. Our own experiences will shape the future, too. As a thriving community during this time of the Great Heathen Rebirth, we can make ourselves available to the deities and the ancestors. Many things lost to the past are unrecoverable, but we can learn a lot about the nature of Berchtold through our own experiences today.

Hail to Berchtold!

Addendum: Research Help Request

Does anyone happen to remember a Pennsylvania Dutch tale or an anecdote about a being called the Bechtel? The only thing I remember about the story specifically is that there was a man traveling a great distance (on foot, but skis might have played a role), and he got lost in a snowstorm. He encountered the Bechtel, and the rest I forget. The Bechtel did help him to get to his destination, though.

A bit more has come back to me. The Bechtel appears to be lost in the snow, too. He has no food or drink. The traveler had some food with him, and he offers to share some with the Bechtel. This rewards the traveler.

Friday, January 1, 2021

New Issue! Hollerbeer Hof 49 - Winter 2021 is available

The latest issue of Hollerbeer Hof is available here! You can also find links to the current issue and past issues in the side bar. In this issue we discuss star lore associated with Zisa and Ziu, The Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, and Introspection and the Core Values at Yuulzeit. Happy Reading!