Pennsylvania German Powwow

Faith Healing and Folk Magic of the Pennsylvania Germans

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These blog posts represent my personal take on the system of PA Dutch PowWow, which tends to follow a more traditional view of the system as it was originally practiced in the culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch.  While there are several modern translations of the system, I personally prefer to adhere to a more traditional view and application; remaining more true to it's roots and more in tune with the culture from which it comes.  So therefore my blogs and teachings reflect my personal view and experience which may or may not be the same as the more modern translations.  It is my best advice that you explore all options of Braucherei and find the system that speaks the best to you.  :)

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December 6th, Saint Nicholas Day

Posted by Rob Phoenix on December 4, 2015 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (6)

For those of us with European ancestry, which is many of us I imagine, Saint Nicholas need not be forgotten in December in favor of good old reliable Santa Claus.  What many don't realize is that Santa Claus is a relatively modern mis-pronunciation of the name Saint Nicholas.  I believe we can thank the Dutch for this, but don't quote me on it...

 

Saint Nicholas was an actual, real life person that lived about 300 ...

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November 28th, Nelson Rehmeyer Day

Posted by Rob Phoenix on November 1, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (1)

 

 

As a powwow doctor in south central Pennsylvania, November turns my thoughts to Nelson Rehmeyer.  In 1928, long before my time, a local Powwow Doctor was murdered by three men who believed Nelson had placed a curse on them.  As a Powwow, Nelson provide...

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Conception Billet: the power of the written word

Posted by Rob Phoenix on August 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the common identifying traits within Powwowing is the use of himmelsbriefs, or Letters from Heaven.  Dating back hundreds of years, himmelsbriefs were believed to be penned by God, Himself, and given to humanity to use for protection against all sorts of misfortune; poverty, illness, accidents, witchcraft, and even Satan.  Hand-written notes of protection date way back to ancient Egypt.

 

During the 15th and 16th centuries, Letters from Heav...

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Hex Hollow Documentary - the story of Nelson Rehmeyer

Posted by Rob Phoenix on July 19, 2014 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

 

In the Spring of 2013, I was asked to be one of many individuals interviewed for the Hex Hollow Documentary film, put together by filmmaker Shane Free.  This documentary was to tell the real and comple...

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How to research folk magic traditions

Posted by Rob Phoenix on January 17, 2014 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

One of the largest hurdles that those of us who study and practice folk magic traditions faces is the lousy research and misinformation that is perpetuated in modern 'magical' literature.  Thanks to the new age boom in the 1990's, the shelves of the bookstores are weighed down by poor academia, historical revisionism, and just plain old bad writing.  And sadly, it is this information that has been used as the foundation for magical practice for the past 20 + years. 

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der Belsnickel

Posted by Rob Phoenix on December 26, 2013 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Before our much Americanized, and commercialized, version of St. Nick, kids growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch homes were taught the Belsnickel story, said Zach Langley, director of education at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University.

Really, the Belsnickel was the ultimate judge of whether kids were being good or bad, Langley said.

Europeans who immigrated to America from the Alps brought with them the legend and tradition of the Belsnickel, Langley...

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Cold and flu season

Posted by Rob Phoenix on December 17, 2013 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (0)

It seems like every winter my body is just on the verge of being sick.  It's like there is a constant shadow of a cold hanging over my head, and most mornings I wake up with a scratchy throat, some sinus pressure, and other unpleasantness.  But then as the day progresses it seems to go away.  Just yesterday I developed one of the worst sore throats I've had in years, and today there is barely a trace of it.  What the heck?!?!

 

Cold and flu season can be a...

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Weather Lore

Posted by Rob Phoenix on October 28, 2013 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (1)

Ask any old Pennsylvania Dutch farmer about the weather and they will undoubtedly tell you about their own methods for predicting the weather.  These methods appear, on the surface, to be directly descended from superstition and local folklore; lacking any real scientific foundation.  Yet, for many of us, these localized predictions have proven to be reliable and trustworthy, especially for the farming community of the Pennsylvania Germans.

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Long-Distance PowWow

Posted by Rob Phoenix on April 29, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the most common distance charms in the PowWow tradition is the recitation of Ezekiel 16:6 "Then I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, and I said unto thee, 'Live'." (paraphrased).  This particular passage is really about how God picked up the nation of Israel and nurtured it and made it into something beautiful.  If you read through the rest of Ezekiel 16, it is almost as if the author is speaking about a woman, b...

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Magic Mirrors in PowWow

Posted by Rob Phoenix on April 19, 2013 at 8:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Within PowWow there are several variations of magic mirrors (erdspeigel) used for divinatory purposes.  In most cases, these mirrors are used to discern the identity of the witch who has cursed you.  There are a few different sets of instructions for these charms in the old grimoires.  Consensus amongst the practitioners is that a mirror must contain the following inscription in order for it to be useful:

 

 

 

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