Pennsylvania German Powwowing


Faith Healing and Folk Magic
of the Pennsylvania Germans

Blog

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.  When I w...

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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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About Me

 

Guder Daag!  Wie bisch?

My name is Robert Phoenix (formerly Chapman) and I am the creator of this site.  I do all of this research myself because I truly love the culture of the Pennsylvania Dutch and the tradition of Powwow.  I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and currently live in South-Central Pennsylvania and work for the state of PA.  I've always been interested in folk magic and have studied many different systems over the years.  I was raised Catholic, as this was the religion of my mother's side of the family, and as an adult I have embraced the religion of my father's side of the family, the Reformed church; known nowadays as the United Church of Christ.  My personal beliefs are a blend of both traditions.  I love Powwowing because it's a Christian-based system that really does work and it connects me to the traditions, beliefs, religion, and folklore of my ancestors.  

Books You Should Read

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Current Moon Phase

The Pennsylvania Dutch know the value of being aware of the Moon's phases.  Keep track here for all of your planting/harvesting needs!

 

CURRENT MOON

Featured Hex

 

The Lancaster County Hex.  It doesn't have any mystical meaning, it's purely a decorative advertisement piece. :)

Another variation of the Double Distlefink, meaning double good luck.

 

Known as the "Daddy of all Hexes", this combination of color and symbology provides good luck all year round. The twelve petals around the circle symbolize the twelve months of the year.

 

 

The Distlefink is my favorite hex sign image.  The double Distlefink is a sign of Double Good Luck.

 

To view or purchase hex signs, go to ZOOKS DUTCH NOVELTIES!

My friends

These are links to some of my friend's sites that I think you might enjoy!

 

Jim Minick a blog by a friend with powwowing in his family.  Keep up to date for his upcoming book!

 

Rue and Hyssop  a blog about herbal products with some really fun giveaways

 

The Orphan's Almanac  a blog of fantastic book reviews

 

New World Witchery  a site with articles about the many variations of American folk magic

Some of my favorite charms

An all-purpose healing charm

Heile, heile, Segen.

Drei Tage Regen.

Drei Tage Dreck.

Und jetzt ist alles weg

+  +  +

Translation:

Holy, holy blessing

Three days of rain

Three days of muck

And all is gone.

+  +  +

To insure safety from an angry dog

Dog, hold thy nose to the ground;

God has made me and thee, hound.

 

To cure a person of worms

You are a little worm, not entirely grown.

You plague me in marrow and bone.

You may be white, black, or red,

In a quarter of an hour you will be dead.

 

A Charm for Personal Safety

Cross of Christ and Crown of Christ and Jesus Christ; red blood, be to me at all times and all hours good.  god the Father is before me.  God the Son is at my side.  God the Holy Ghost is behind me.  Who now is stronger than these three persons may come to seize me.

+   +   +  then follow up with three Paternosters.

 

To Compel a dog, horse, or other animal to follow you

Casper guide thee, Balthasar bind thee, Melchior keep thee

Three times, utter these words into the animal's right ear.

For Wounds and Stopping of Blood

Blessed is the day on which Jesus Christ was born; blessed is the day on which Jesus Christ died; blessed is the day on which Jesus Christ arose from the dead.  These are the three holy hours; by these N.N., I stop thy blood.  Thy sores shall neither swell nor fester; no more shall that happen, than that the Virgin Mary will bear another son.

+   +   +

Protection from Sorcery

Take elm wood on Good Friday, cut the same while calling the holiest names.  Cut chips of this wood from one to two inches in length.  Carve on them, in the three holiest names, three crosses.  Wherever such a slip is placed, all sorcery will be banished.

To Stop Blood

There stood three roses upon our Saviour's grave.  The first is mild, the other is good, the third shall stop the blood.

 

+ + +

A Protective Talisman

To be hung in the home, hidden in a secret place, or carried with you.

A charm to make a thief return stolen goods

Write upon two pieces of paper the following words, and attach one to the top of the door, and the other under the threshold, and the thief will return on the third day and bring back the stolen articles:

 

Abraham bound it †

Isaac redeemed and found it †

Jacob carried it home †

it is bound as tightly as steel and iron, chains and fetters. † † †

 

To Remove Skin Infections

Many of the old charms refer to a skin infection known as "wildfire".  This referred to a very specific skin condition called erysipelas.  I use the term to refer to any skin condition.  Feel free to change it to something else that might work better for you if you choose not to use the term "wildfire".

With a red string, pull it tight between your two hands.  First touch the top of the individual's head then sweep the string down the front of the body and away from the person three times while you repeat the following three times:

Wildfire

fly, fly, fly

The red string chase you

away, away, away

Then speak the baptismal name of the individual then seal with the words:

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

 

To Stop Blood

On a slip of white paper, write the following:

+++Pishon+++Gihon+++Tigres+++Euphrates+++

Place this paper over the wound to stop the blood.

 

Charm to cure burns

For mild burns on the skin (don't try to treat serious burns, get medical attention immediately):

At the end of each spoken line, gently blow on the burned area (GENTLY!!!)

Fire of God (gentle breath)

Lose thy heat (gentle breath)

As Judas lost his color (gentle breath)

When he betrayed our Lord (gentle breath)

In the garden of olives (gentle breath)

Amen, Amen, Amen (gentle breath)

Repeat for a total of three times, seal the working.

To Guard your home against thieves and witches

Take a glass of water and repeat over it 77 times:

Adonai, Elohim, the LORD my God

Pour the water around the perimeter of your home.  This is believed to prevent witches and thieves from infiltrating your property.  Made more powerful if done on a Holy Day or after taking sacrament at church.

 

Interesting charm and it's language variations

This was shared by a member of my church as she learned it as a child growing up in PA Dutch country:

 

"Heile, heile, Hinkeldreck! Marifree ischt olles weg."

or, another variation,

"Heile, heile, Hinkeldreck! Marifree ischt olles recht."

in German,

"Heiliger, heiliger, Huhnerdreck! Morgen fruh ist alles weg (recht)."

and, in English,

"Holy, holy chicken dirt.  Early morning it is gone/away/right."

and, made to rhyme, we get the familiar charm as demonstrated below,

"Holy, holy chicken dirt.  Tomorrow morning it won't hurt!"

 

It is said that to spit on the area of pain helps seal the magic.

 

To Keep Witches Away from your Property

In the Amish community, there is an old belief that if a bundle of St. John's Wort was hung over the door of the house or barn, no witch could enter and no witchcraft could effect the people or animals within.  In these days of the prevalence of hexerei, why take chances?

 

Sealing a Powwow working

When a charm calls for sealing the working with the sign of the cross, this is done with the right hand, made into a fist, and the thumb straight out (like a 'thumbs up' position).  The cross is 'drawn' over the affected area with the ball of the hand just below the thumb; typically three times; spoken in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

 

For Easing Pains

Hold hand over painful area and recite three times:

Holy, Holy chicken dirt

Tomorrow morning, it won't hurt

Blow on area three times, then seal with the sign of the cross.


To Banish Fevers

Suspend, upon a Friday, a letter containing the names set forth below, between the hours of eight and nine, upon the patient's neck, in the following manner:

Fold together, and tie it in grayish red cloth, which must be unbleached, and pierce through the cloth and the letter, three holes. Draw red thread through them, while calling the three holiest names. Suspend the same around the neck of the patient, and let it remain eleven days. After taking it off, burn it before the lapse of one hour:


 

 

H B R H C H T H B R H

H B R H C H T H B R

H B R H C H T H B

H B R H C H T H

H B R H C H T

H B R H C H

H B R H C

H B R H

H B R

H B

H





Against Evil Spirits and all manner of Witchcraft.

 I.

N. I. R.

 I.

 Sanctus.   Spiritus.

I.

N. I. R.

I.

All this be guarded, here in time, and there in eternity. Amen.

You must write all the above on a piece of white paper, and carry it about you. The characters or letters above, signify: "God bless me here in time, and there eternally."

 



To Protect your home from all manner of evils

In chalk or white stone, just outside your doorstep, mark on the ground three crosses spaced equal distance apart while saying:

Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.  He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David as he said through his holy prophets long ago, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.


To Soothe Aches and Pains

Place hands gently on the afflicted area.

Repeat the following for a total of three times:

I will exalt you, O Lord,

for you lifted me out of the depths

and did not let my enemies gloat over me.

O Lord my God, I called to you for help

and you healed me.

O Lord, you brought me up from the grave;

you spared me from going down into the pit.

(Excerpt from Psalm 30, spoken with devotion.)


To Stop a Wound from Bleeding

Say three times over the wound:

Mary goes throughout the land

She has two pitchers in her hand;

In one is blood, in one is water;

Blood stay; water go.

Make three signs of the cross over the wound.


To Determine if you have been Bewitched

Rub a raw egg from the top of your head down the length of your body to your feet three times.  Break the egg into a dish or fireplace.  If there is blood in the egg, it is a sign that negative witchery has been cast on you.


To Remove Negative Witchery and Return it to the Witch

Boil a piece of beef and while it is cooking, keep sticking it with a needle.  The one who bewitched you will have the same pains and the spell upon you will be broken.


To Prevent Weak or Malicious Persons from doing you an injury

On a piece of paper write the following:

Dullix, ix, ux. Yea, you can't come over Pontio;

Pontio is above Pilato. + + +

Hang this above the main entrance to your house and it will certainly protect you from malicious persons!

To Protect The Home

Go to each window and door individually.  In the air make the sign of the cross or protective star while saying:


Three angels with three swords stand before the house of God.

The first is courage,

the second is strength,

the third strikes down all enemies.

In the name of the Holy Trinity!


Weather Charm

Hold a red knife in the air, blade facing oncoming storm, and say three times:

"Three angels ride the winds

to lands both far and near

Go west, go east, go south, go north

but do not linger here!"

Stick the knife into the ground.


To Stop Blood


Place a red knife gently over the affected area.


Three ladies came from Jordan's land

Each with a bloody knife in her hand

Stand blood, stand, in the name of God stand

Bloody wound, in God's name mend!


Repeat three times.


For Justice in Court


Carry a bit of Pot Marigold (Calendula) on the day of your court appearance and, prior to leaving your home, recite Psalm 20 three times.


The SATOR charm can be copied onto a slip of paper then taped to the inside of your front door to protect your home from thieves and intruders.