Pennsylvania German Powwowing

Faith Healing and Folk Magic
of the Pennsylvania Germans


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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The SATOR square

Posted by Rob Phoenix on April 12, 2013 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (1)

The SATOR charm is one of the most popular magical talismans in western occultism, and is a favored within traditional PA Dutch PowWow. It's history is sometimes disputed but most scholars believe it is a symbol of the early Christian church, most likely used by various Christian groups as a secret means of identification during the time of Christian persecutions.

SATOR is sometimes thought to be made up of five words; SATOR, AREPO, TENET, OPERA, ROTAS. There are various ideas as to what these words (as individuals) may mean; but consensus translates them into something like "the planter holds the works and wheels by means of water". Unfortunately for this idea, the translation doesn't make much sense, and does not explain the SATOR square's appearance in various countries, cultures, and sites of early Christian meeting places throughout Europe.

Instead, a more accurate explanation of SATOR is that it is a play on the Latin form of PATER NOSTER with the extra A and O placed to either side. This translates as the first two words in the Lord's prayer: Our Father. The A and O represent Alpha and Omega, which Christ identifies Himself as.



Palindromes were common in the ancient world as magical talismans, and many examples are found within Coptic Christian studies; and have even survived today amongst Christian magi and, in some instances, as decor in churches. A SATOR square dating back to the 2nd Century in Manchester is considered as evidence of the early arrival of Christianity into Britian.

The use of the SATOR square varies. In one instance, it is believed to extinguish a fire. Simply draw the SATOR square on a plate, toss into the flames, and the fire will be extinguished (Hohman, Long Lost Friend, 1820). A more practical and common use, is that of protection from malevolent witchery. The square can be engraved into metal, drawn on paper, tattooed on the skin, or somehown marked upon some type of surface, accompanied by the Lord's Prayer spoken three times, and it's protective powers are activated. It is an old belief of the Christian church that the devil is confused by palindromes, thus their protective power against witchcraft is understood.

The creation of the SATOR can be simple, if you lack time to create a more involved talisman. Or, more appropriately, the charm can be created under favorable astrological conditions (waxing Moon in Mars or waning moon in Saturn; also noting planetary hours for talismanic creation--- GO HERE TO CALCULATE). The more energy involved in the creation of the SATOR square, the more effective it will be. Remember to include the Lord's Prayer, spoken three times, in the creation of the charm.

Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in Heaven

Hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come; thy will be done

On earth as it is in Heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread

and forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Lead us not into temptation

but deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory

Forever and ever.


(The last three lines beginning with 'For thine is the kingdom...' you will no doubt recognize from the Lesser Banishing Ritual.)

For more information and uses, all reference works of the Pennsylvania Dutch PowWow contain the SATOR square (see: Long Lost Friend, Albertus Magnus, Romanusbuchlein, PowWow Book, Red Church, etc.).

Magic Wand: the tool of Christ?

Posted by Rob Phoenix on February 2, 2013 at 6:20 AM Comments comments (3)

Besides studying Powwow, one of my favorite areas of research is Christianity's history and early development.  In my opinion, this is a fascinating area of study and research and may very well keep me busy for the rest of my life, which I'm totally fine with!


The early growth of Christianity is especially interesting because it was originally an oral tradition, passed on by the people through word of mouth.  Because of this, accounts of Christ's ministry vary wildly amongst different sources.  The four most compatible accounts were gathered together and kept as canon for the building of Christian tradition.  We of course know these accounts as the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  But there were other accounts that gave details of Jesus' life and ministry, but these were not included in the Bible because they were either too far-fetched or they somehow gave accounts that were not true.


One of the most interesting ideas about Jesus and his miracles is that he was performing magics that many believed he was taught (and mastered) in Egypt.  This is no surprise really as Egyptians were famous for their magic and sorcery.  In many of the earliest depictions of Jesus, which I love looking at, Jesus is portrayed as a youth (beardless mostly) and using a magic wand to perform his miracles.  The magic wand was important to the ancient Egyptians and very much a part of their magic, so it is no wonder that the earliest stories of Jesus included the use of the wand.


While it is doubtful that Jesus used a wand (no written accounts, whether canonical or not, include this detail), it is very interesting to me as I love the idea of magic wands.  I have to admit, this love comes from my interest in Harry Potter (!), but it is a fun concept to toss around.


In Powwow, there is no real historical evidence to suggest that a wand was part of any healing or protection charms.  There is one charm that includes instruction for making a wand to find Iron Ore, but that's pretty much it (see my earliest blog posts for directions how to make one!).  However, on the more ceremonial side of Powwow (ceremonial magic), you may find the wand (as well as other tools, ,like ritual swords and such).  I leave it to you whether or not to incorporate the use of the wand into your Powwow.  While it may be fun, it may also cheapen the overall effect of your healing sessions. 


Here are some of my favorite images of Christ with the magic wand.  If you come across any that you like that I don't have here, please share them with me!  I'd love to see them!



Ethics of hexing/cursing in Powwow

Posted by Rob Phoenix on November 15, 2012 at 10:50 AM Comments comments (4)

Some of the older Powwow charms seem to cross the line and step into the realm of cursing or, as it's known in PA Dutch culture, hexerei.  Hexerei is malevolent magic with intent to cause some type of harm.  We see some of the old charms getting frighteningly close to this:

For example: 'turner be turned, burner be burned..'  This charm removes verhexed conditions from an individual and sends them back to the sender, thus it is essentially the same hex the hexer put on the victim.  Some people feel justified in this type of working because they feel it teaches the hex a lesson they sorely need to learn.  Others may feel guilt over returning such things, even to the sender, because a hex is a hex is a hex.  Me personally, I tend to flip flop on matters like this and feel it's best to avoid it if possible.

Another method that seems to skirt the lines of hexerei is invoking God for justice.  Note this excerpt from Psalms, which is a popular anti-hex charm:  "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me; You will stretch out Your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand will save me" Psalm138:7

This one seems to say "Thank you God, you protect me and also smite my enemies".  Is this true?  I guess it depends on how much favor you find with God, but that's between you and Him.  However, this also seems to be a bit on the self-righteous side and declare that you are right and free of guilt and your 'enemy' will be struck down.

Some of the charms in Powwow that are designed to offer protection, are also designed to return the negative actions back on the individual who is causing the trouble.  I suppose we can remove this rider from the charms when we are creating them to avoid harming anyone, even those who would cause us harm.  But is it necessary?

As a Christian, we are taught to love our enemies and show compassion.  Nowhere does Christ teach us to get revenge or seek justice; leave it up to God.  However, if we tap into Old Testament for inspiration we see a very different view of God; one of justice and smiting and other nasty things that are invoked by song and poetry mixed with praise and worship (ie Psalms).  What's right?

The invisible line between what is right and what is wrong is often difficult, and the concept of cursing (even returning a curse) is generally frowned on in Powwow.  HOWEVER, there are those who are sometimes referred to as hexenmeister who are not afraid to cross this line, and will do so when necessary.  Ultimately it is up to you to determine where that line is and if you will cross it.  A good rule of thumb: when in doubt, don't do it.  Remember that it ultimately is up to what inspires you: are your actions inspired by God?  By ego?  By the devil?  Think first before you act, listen to wisdom, and ultimately let God guide you.

Be blessed in all you do!

Unusual Written Charms

Posted by Rob Phoenix on September 28, 2012 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Powwow has many different variations on paper talismans and charms.  Most of these are not works of art, nor are they meant to be.  A written charm is meant to be functional and practical.  In most cases, a few words from scripture written on a slip of paper suffices.  In some extreme cases, however, there may be a need for discreteness and secrecy.  In those instances, there is another Powwow technique for creating written charms that I like to use.  This is a variation of the method outlined by Chris Bilardi in his book The Red Church.

Please note that these charms can be made for many purposes; from stopping blood to healing wounds to protection, and I'm sure you can creatively think of other uses as well.  The creation is the same, the only thing that varies is the wording that you will use.

Here is a simple charm for protection for Sally Worth to carry in order to remain safe from her enemies.

LJ. C, P sw FahANaCbhE * It no T FSHS a + + +

Doesn't look like much, does it?  Here's how it's made:

A blessing is created using prayers, scripture verse, or whatever in order to state your need.  In this example, here's what I wrote for Sally:

"Lord Jesus Christ, protect Sally Worth from all harm and negative actions caused by her enemies.  In the names of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit Amen. + + +"

Not very detailed or imaginative, I admit, but still effective.

Now, because secrecy is an issue, we've taken the first letter of every word and written them out like this:


We could easily leave it at that, but a clever individual may be able to decipher this message (hey, you never know), so we change it up a bit, add some spaces, make some letters lower case and some upper, put a random star here and there, I've even seen numbers added to the mix chosen for their astrological and/or biblical associations. 


Now Sally has an effective but secret charm to carry with her, and anyone finding the charm would be hard-pressed to figure it out. 

Hex, hexen, hexerei

Posted by Rob Phoenix on September 7, 2012 at 6:30 PM Comments comments (2)

Hexerei is, in the mind of the PA Dutch, the practice of negative witchery.  Hexerei is self-serving; satisfying the ego of the caster and placing their own will above the will of God.  Throughout history, people have not only believed in the power of hexerei, but many have claimed to be practitioners...and have used their knowledge to cause harm and discord.  One famous case is the Nelson Rehmeyer murder.  It is said that a local witch is the one who told the murderers that it was Rehmeyer, a local Powwow, who was responsible for their woes and that, in order to lift the curse (which Nelson never cast in the first place), the men must get a lock of his hair and his copy of the Long Lost Friend.  By the end of the adventure, Nelson was dead and the men were in jail.  This is the deception of hexerei, that it's application can somehow be justified, or that the hex has your best interests in mind.  The reality of the Rehmeyer case is that the hex (witch) probably was jealous of Nelson's good reputation, and so she took action against him.

Hexerei is practiced by those who place Ego above God.  It is NOT to be confused with Powwow.  Nor should it be confused with some of the definitions of modern witchery, which include things like Wicca and other forms of neopaganism.  Sometimes Powwow is erroniously called 'hex work', I have been guilty of using this term myself on occasion, but this is incorrect.

The dictionary defines 'hex' as:


1. An evil spell; a curse.

2. One that brings bad luck.

tr.v. hexed, hex·ing, hex·es

1. To put a hex on.

2. To bring or wish bad luck to: "Chilly evening weather and a chain of minor snafus seemed to hex the $5,000-a-seat gala on Governors Island" (Newsweek).


[Pennsylvania Dutch, from German hexen, to hex, from Hexe, witch, from Middle High German hecse, from Old High German hagzissa.]


hexer n.

Word History: The word hex is a good example of the sort of borrowing from other languages that occurred in the English-speaking former colonies of Great Britain. German and Swiss immigrants who settled in Pennsylvania in the late 17th and 18th centuries spoke a dialect of German known as Pennsylvania Dutch. In this dialect hexe was the equivalent of the German verb hexen, "to practice sorcery." The English verb hex, first recorded in the sense "to practice witchcraft" in an 1830 work called Annals of Philadelphia, is borrowed from Pennsylvania Dutch, as is the noun.

"Hex" finds it's equivelent in non-PA German language as "witch".  The problem comes with the use of the word 'witch' in it's modern sense versus it's historical sense.  In modern day (post 1950's), the word is used mostly synonamously with the neo religion of Wicca, although other non-Wicca sects (and individuals) are embracing this term for themselves.  However, this should not (in general) be confused with the hexerei, which will always represent those who use their magic for malevolent and/or self-serving purposes without regard to others, and in defiance of God.  This is not the path of the Powwow, nor should it ever be confused as such.

So how does one counteract the workings of the hex?  That's a complex question, with no real definitive answer.  First of all, we can use our faith and the power of God to counteract such work.  Nothing in this world is greater than the power of God.  No individual's ego can match the power of God.  Secondly, we can make sure we do not further empower such individuals with our fears and anxieties.  While the use of hexerei is more prevalent now than it probably has ever been (just search the web for curses and hexes, you'll see), it is pointless to give in to irrational fears and worries over such things.  Thirdly, be sure your own conscience is clear and trust that your faith will protect you.  At the end of the day, a hex only has as much power as you give him or her.  If you surround yourself with your strong faith, you will have nothing to fear.

If you read through this site, especially the Protective Charms page, you'll find some good tips for protecting yourself from negative witchery.  The historical written works of Powwow are filled with tips and charms for protection against witchcraft.   Also, I recommend partaking in the sacred communion at your church.  You can make sure all gifts given to you are safe by making a blessing over them or consecrating them in the name of God.  Have your Pastor bless your home.  If you have further questions, search through this site or contact me and we can talk about it. 

May God bless you and all the good work that you do!



                                             +   +   +


Red things, 77 things, and other oddities within PowWow

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 3, 2012 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (2)

A cursory glance at PowWow gives the impression that it is a simple folk healing practice with little depth.  However, a more thorough understanding of the system reveals that it is steeped in Judeo-Christian mysticism and biblical symbolism; and the study of some of these elements is fascinating and reveals much about the true Christian foundations of PowWow.

The Color Red

The use of the color red in PowWow is nothing new.  It's a color of power and energy and, most importantly, it's the color of blood.  Red strings are worn as protective charms around the wrist to guard against demonic attacks and other harmful influences.  This can be found within Jewish folklore, especially as a guard for newborns against the lilitu, a type of demon.  They also help protect what is rightfully ours (sort of an anti-thievery talisman).  If one reads the story of Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar; and the birth of her twins, you will see the use of the red string to protect the firstborn's birthright. 

When the time came for her to give birth, there were twin boys in her womb.  As she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand; so the midwife took a scarlet thread and tied it on his wrist and said, "This one came out first."  Genesis 38:27-28

They can also signify that one is saved. In Christianity, one is saved by accepting that the blood of Christ was shed in order to cleanse of sin.  The red string around the wrist symbolizes your acceptance of this truth.  

Many of the charms within Hohman's Long Lost Friend call upon the power of the blood of Christ.  Here are a few examples:

--A good remedy for bad wounds and burns--

The word of God, the milk of Jesus' mother, and Christ's blood, is for all wounds and burnings good.

--To remove pain and heal up wounds with three switches--

With this switch and Christ's dear blood,  I banish your pain and do you good!

--Remedy for fever, worms, and the colic--

Jerusalem, thou Jewish city, in which Christ our Lord was born; Thou shalt turn into water and blood, because it is for (name) fever, worms, and colic good.

--A safe and approved means to be applied in cases of fire and pestilence--

(excerpt from longer version) I command unto thee, fire, to abate thy heat, by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, which he has shed for us, and our sins and transgressions

Those are just a few of the many examples of Christ's blood being called upon in PowWow work. 

Red doors are another prominent feature amongst the old farm houses in PA Dutch country. 

Front of the Nelson Rehmeyer home.

There is biblical precedence for this as well.  For this answer, let's look at Exodus where God instructs Moses to tell the Israelites to slaughter a lamb and mark their doorways in it's blood so they will be spared during the Passover:

Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the door frames of the houses where they eat the lambs......On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn-and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt....The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you.  No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt..  Exodus 12:7, 12-13 (some bits omitted).

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Scene from Prince of Egypt depicting the Passover.

On my own house, which is designed and decorated to represent the PA Dutch culture and style, the front door was originally painted red.  Before I moved into the house, the owner repainted the door black.  While I like the black door, I would love to have it restored to it's red color.  Unfortunately, this is out of my control...

Many illnesses and ailments are often 'seen' as red; possibly due to the color of the skin after a burn or swelling.  Heat is seen as red as well.  And blood is, obvioulsy, red. 

Barns are typically painted red, but this is really more for convenience and endurance reasons as opposed to occult reasons, but the color is still unmistakenly a part of our culture. 

Red painted barn, with hex sign, in Columbia County Pennsylvania.

The book, The Red Church by Chris Bilardi, is titled after this idea of the color red being used within PowWow throughout history. 

The actual "red church", of Lutheran denomination, exists in Orwigsburg PA.

The Red Church, Orwigsburg Pennsylvania

Numbers and other oddities...

The number 77 features in an obscure charm for fevers...

A good remedy for the fever

Good morning, dear Thursday!   Take away from (name) the 77-fold fevers.  Oh! thou dear Lord Jesus Christ, take them away from him! +++

This must be used on Thursday for the first time, on Friday for the second time, and on Saturday for the third time; and each time thrice.  The prayer of faith has also to be said each time, and not a word dare be spoken to anyone until the sun has risen.  Neither dare the sick person speak to anyone till after sunrise; nor eat pork, nor drink milk, nor cross a running water, for nine days.

Let's take this charm apart and examine all of it's Judeo-Christian symbolism:

"Good morning, dear Thursday!.....used on a Thursday for the first time...." -Why Thursday?  Traditionally, the Last Supper is thought to have taken place on Thursday.  Afterward, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray and was arrested shortly after.  Thursday is seen as a Holy day for this reason. 

"77-fold..." - The number seven, and multiples of it, are repeated countless times throughout the bible.  What is most fascinating to me, however, is that Jesus Himself mentions the "Kingdom" of God 77 times throughout the New Testament.  I have learned that nothing is within the bible without purpose, and this repetition of numbers is significant. 

In PowWow, charms are often repeated three times; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 

For a more thorough look at the use of numbers in PowWow, skim through the Bible and you will see the many repetitions.  This is a study way beyond the scope of this blog, but I wanted to mention it so you can see the biblical origins of the usage of these numbers.

"the prayer of faith..."  I will not go into this one.  This is one of those PowWow things that a Christian would understand.  :) 

"nor eat pork, nor drink milk...." these are straight from Old Testament Judaic laws.  There are many food-related laws in the Old Testament that give instruction as to clean and unclean things to eat.  Certain things should never be mixed together, and other restrictions apply.  These instructions speak of the Judaic influence insofar as fasting and dietary restriction during the period of healing.

"not a word dare be spoken to anyone until after the sun has risen..." There are instructions within this charm for both the PowWow and the sick person to adhere to.  Neither can speak to anyone until after sunrise on all three days the charm is worked.  Both have other instructions as well, such as the recitation of the prayer of faith, the dietary restrictions, and so forth.  This is important because, within PowWow, these detailed instructions are often ignored by practitioners.  It is important for us to stick with these instructions so that we can gain the maximum benefit of using these particular charms.  Just another oddity that makes PowWow unique!

PowWow, if taken seriously and done correctly, can be a complex study, and an even more complex practice.  It has many little nuances and tidbits that are not readily noticeable at first glance.  However, the deeper you entrench yourself into this tradition, the more mysticism and spiritual power you will find.  One of my favorite statements is "What's worth doing, is worth doing well." and nowhere is this more true than within PowWow. 

May God bless you always in the good work that you do. +++

PowWow charms: spoken or whispered? To touch or not to touch?

Posted by Rob Phoenix on February 28, 2012 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (2)

When I was originally introduced to PowWow, my teacher taught that one must ALWAYS whisper the spoken parts of the charms; they must NEVER be spoken out loud.  And because this is what I was told, this is how I did it.  However, over time I realized that I was not entirely comfortable with this method of working with verbal charms.  To me, whispering something implies that it's a secret.  It implies that I don't really want the individual that I'm trying for to actually hear what I'm saying.  Why would this be?  If someone comes to me for PowWow, it is with the understanding that I am going to speaking biblical verses and/or other words of healing over them.  So, with this in mind, I did some research...

Historically speaking, I can find no real instruction for whispering the charms.  Here in PA, the book considered 'authoritative' on the tradition of PowWow is Hohman's Long Lost Friend.  Let's see what he has to say about it...

A Good Remedy for Hysterics....."speak the following at the same time...."

A Certain Remedy to Stop Bleeding......"if only his first name is rightly pronounced...."

A Good Remedy for Worms......."this must be repeated three times...."

A Good Remedy for the Fever......"the prayer of faith has also to be said each time..."

To Make a Wand for Searching for Iron......"the words to be spoken when the wand is thus applied..."

A Very Good Remedy for Mortification....."everything which is applied in words, must be applied three times..."

A Very Good Remedy to Destroy Bots or Worms in Horses......"mention the name of the horse, and say..."

To Cure Fits or Convulsions......"repeat the following words..."

Cure for the Headache......"this you must say three times..."

A Very Good means of Destroying the Wheal in the Eye...."hold the plate before the eye, you must say..."

Words to be Spoken while making divinatory wands...."the following words must be spoken..."

In Egyptian Secrets of Albertus Magnus, we see only one comment on the recitation of charms... "called aloud with devotion..."

These examples serve to illustrate that, originally, the system of PowWow was a system of spoken charms, not whispered.  Perhaps the idea of whispering came about as a means of protecting family charms, or possibly the whispering of a charm keeps the client at ease...  Who can really say?  In almost all written accounts of powwowing experiences, the individuals who received the powwowing recall that they could not clearly hear the words being spoken, or the charms were mumbled or whispered.  At least a small part of this may be due to poor memory of the experience, or perhaps the powwower intentionally kept their voice low so as to keep the charm a secret.  Whatever the reason, the practice of whispering seems to be rather popular.

Now, let's get into the subject of physical contact.

I believe it is a monster of modern creation that we cannot physically make contact with one another.  This is extremely sad as human touch is so incredibly powerful.  In this day and age of disgusting accusations, people are fearful of touching other individuals, and rightly so.  However, in at least some of the charms, skin to skin contact is essential.

Let's see what Hohman says:

"Note: -- The hand must be put upon the bare skin in all cases of using sympathetic words."

There are some charms that do not require skin contact.  However, the "laying on of hands" is pretty much what it implies... hands are laid on you.  Depending on the specifics of the client's situation, it may be necessary to have the powwower's hands placed on you.  Certainly this would not be weird or creepy, but rather an essential part of the powwowing experience.

The final word on whispering and skin contact is that there is no final word.  Each individual's experience of powwowing is slightly different.  As for me, I tend to be a little more 'by the book' and have been known to speak my charms aloud so the client knows what I am saying.  However, I have also whispered certain charms because I was either uncomfortable speaking them in front of the client or because I wanted the words to remain a secret.  Ultimately it is up to you to set the rules of your powwowing.

Making Paper Planetary Talismans

Posted by Rob Phoenix on February 18, 2012 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Another custom then in vogue among the Germans in Pennsylvania was the wearing of an "anhangsel," a kind of astrological amulet or talisman . . . In rare cases a thin stone or sheet of metal was used in place of parchment. These "anhangsel," or "zauber-zettel" as they were called, were prepared by the Mystics of the Community with certain occult ceremonies at such times as the culmination of a particular star or the conjunction of certain planets . . . (and) supposed to exercise an extraordinary influence over the destiny of the bearer, particularly in averting disease, checking the power of evil spirits, and defending the wearer from malice and all harm . . . hardly an adult or child was to be found without one . . .

--The Realness of Witchcraft in America, A. Monroe Aurand, Jr. 1942

The crafting of planetary talismans is an art and science all it's own.  Traditionally, planetary talismans are crafted using various metals known to resonate with specific planetary energies and the images are etched into the metal using diamond-tipped implements.  These talismans are crafted under very specific astrological conditions during certain planetary hours and so forth.  In short, the making of a planetary talisman is very exact and not for those who are looking for a quick magical project to do.

I have taken the traditional methods and altered them to be a little more user-friendly for those of us who do not have access to various metals and engraving tools or for those who simply want to work with paper.  Paper planetary talismans can still serve the same purpose as their metal counterparts and also be a little easier to create.  The astrological conditions for creating these talismans is exactly the same as the traditional methods but the materials are much more readily available.

Before we begin, check out THIS LINK for an explanation of calculating planetary hours.  It is important to your work that you have at least a rudimentary understanding of astrological energies so you know exactly which type of talisman you are creating and which astro energies to work within.

The planetary talisman I'll demonstrate is a symbol talisman for protection.  (pictured above).

Basic supplies are some heavy duty paper in various colors (if you choose to use colors, which I do because I'm not using metals), scissors, glue, and a good marker.  I prefer the heavy-duty scrapbooking paper because it holds up better with glue than regular printing or construction paper.

Planetary talismans work with three basic shapes; the circle, the five-pointed star, and the six-pointed star. 

Because I've chosen to create a talisman for Protection, I am working on a Saturday in the astrological hour of Saturn.  If the Sun or Moon is in the sign of Capricorn or Aries, so much the better.  For Protection, you can use both waxing or waning moon; both are effective.  Remember that the more fine-tuning you do on timing, the more power there will be in your talisman. 

In the center of the five-pointed star I've drawn the sign of the sickle; which is for cutting away.  This sickle is symbolic of the separation of the wheat from the chaff.  Sickle imagery is used in the Bible to demonstrate Christ as the harvester.  It is perfect as a symbol of Protection from those who would be detrimental to us.  Feel free to put your own symbol of Protection here. 

In the center of the six-pointed star I've chosen symbols for deity.  In this case, the triple crucifix for Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Now is when you glue the five-pointed star on one side and the six-pointed star on the other side.  Don't get too crazy with the glue or the paper will roll up on itself.  Just a light coating of glue and a little pressure for a few seconds should do it.

Now with your marker you are placing the symbols that call upon divinity to infuse the talisman with holy powers.  These symbols are called the Alphabet of the Magi and, on my talisman, they are the letters for the name of Jesus.  Go to THIS LINK to see this alphabet.

On the side with the six-pointed star I've written out exactly who is protected by this talisman.

Now that the talisman construction is finished, I pray for it's effectiveness then place it where I feel it will be most effective; typically near the main entrance to my home. 

Planetary talismans can be extremely effective if created properly.  Simply throwing one together without consideration for the planetary energies you are working with will basically make it ineffective.  It's crucial that you follow the specifics for creation and be sure to ask for the blessing of God on all that you do.

Cloth Braucher Charms

Posted by Rob Phoenix on January 20, 2012 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

In other schools of magical thought, the cloth Braucher Charm (also seen referred to as a Brauche Bag) is sometimes called a gris gris bag, a mojo bag, a charm pouch, and by other names.  In each tradition these handmade pouches will be made slightly different but the general idea is that you have a pouch and inside you put something to either draw a specific thing toward you or protect you from a specific thing or remove a specific thing from your body/life.  The bag is then tied or sewn shut and either hidden somewhere safe or carried around in some way until your problem is resolved.  In the case of the Brauche Bag, these are generally crafted to aid in the removal of specific illnesses but can also be protective. 

The making of a Brauche Bag is a simple affair and it requires just a few household items:

-a square of cloth; white or unbleached is best but you can also use red

-needle and thread; same rules apply to thread as they do cloth (unbleached or undyed or red)

-a bit of silver.  I have seen reference to using mercury but silver is much easier to get and to work with.  While not entirely purely silver-but close at around 90%-, the old silver quarters seem to work nicely.  These are typically referred to as 'junk silver' but for a Brauche Bag they are just perfect.

-a handmade paper or metal charm/talisman for your purposes.  For example, if the Brauche Bag is for removing a fever, then the appropriate fever reduction charm would be made.  If for protection, then a Letter of Protection or protective charm would be made; and so forth.  These are typically then folded up to fit inside the bag.

-your Bible.  While not always actually used in some Braucher processes, it should always at the very least be present while you are working.

-I have also seen, and used, certain herbal ingredients in the making of these charm bags, but typically the number of ingredients is few; one or two at most; so it's best not to get too crazy with filling up the pouch.

To make the Brauche Charm Bag, simply lay out the materials then add the silver (or mercury, if that's what you are using) to the material then place the folded charm on top then sew the whole thing together.  While this is happening, the Braucher would be praying for the intended purpose of the Charm Bag.  When you are nearly finished, be sure to put the last three stitches into the fabric in the names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Seal the Charm Bag with the sign of the cross (with the thumb of your right hand) as you do at the end of all healing sessions. 


Now the Charm Bag is either sewn into the inside of an article of clothing, attached to a cord to be worn around the neck, or hidden inside the wall or woodwork of your home or barn.  The Charm Bag must never be opened and, when it's purpose has been fulfilled, the bag is put somewhere to rot away.  You can bury it on the corner of your property or wherever you feel is appropriate.  Tradition states that you should not ever open the Charm Bag so it's best to just bury it instead of burning or dismantling.


I feel it's important to state that, while this is a relatively simple process, it should not be taken lightly or done frivolously.  Many Brauchers who create Charm Bags would probably do so in conjunction with specific astrological influences and for many of us there is undoubtedly a period of spiritual/religious preparation that takes place prior to the creation of such things.  We are typically not in the habit of making 'cheap magic'.  Like all else within our tradition, the crafting of a Brauche Bag is a part of our sacred work and the specific prayers (and conjurations) used in this process would be known only to the Braucher himself.

Amulets of Protection

Posted by Rob Phoenix on January 18, 2012 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

On the surface, we tend to view PA Dutch Pow-wow as a simple country system of folk healing.  And that would be a correct view.  However, another layer of the tradition exists wherein the creation of talismans and amulets is skillfully practiced.  Unlike other magical or psuedo-magical traditions, the creation of amulets within the Braucher tradition is not commonplace nor is it done frivolously.  This is a practice rooted in ancient pre-Christ (but still Biblical) times that is carried into modern day.  The serious practitioner of this aspect of Pow-wow will undoubtedly utilize astrological occurrences in conjunction with the use of specific metals or other materials.  Often amulets and talismans are crafted from paper and carefully chosen inks.  These are all matters of personal preference and practice and each Pow-wow will have their own unique methods of amulet and talisman creation or, at the very least, their own preference for materials.

Some of the more common amulets that you will find within a Pow-wow household are those of protection utilizing a series of letters and/or statements; such as the following:


N  I  R


Sanctus. Spiritus.


N  I  R


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

The above can be drawn/written on parchment or engraved into a specific metal (most often silver due to it's availability) with a stylis of some type. 

In many old barns and homes across PA Dutch country in Pennsylvania, old protective amulets have been found hidden within antique guns, rolled up and placed in knotholes inside barns, or even carefully folded and tucked in the pages of an old family Bible. 

Here is another common written charm that is still created today by a Catholic church in Mount Carmel Pennsvlvania:

20            MCBTD            12



20            MCBTD            12

This odd-looking series of numbers and letters is printed on slips of paper and given to the congregation to tape on the wall above the entrance to their home.  The four corners contain the numbers of the current year (the blessing is renewed every year).  The letters "MCBTD" stand for "May Christ Bless This Dwelling"  and the three J's are an old practice of invoking the name of Christ three times "Jesus. Jesus. Jesus."; a common theme in PA Dutch Pow-wow.

In many homes you may find printed excerpts from the Bible placed in strategic locations to serve as protective amulets.  It is no new belief that the word of God is protective and offers other blessings.  The most common of these is a copy of Psalm 91.

One of the oldest and most fascinating discoveries of the archaeological expeditions in Jerusalem (found in 1979) is the find of two silver amulets dated to about the 7th Century BC.  These small bits of silver contain passages from the book of Numbers 6:24-26

"The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."

These amulets were rolled up and worn by the Priests, probably around their necks, to serve as a protection and blessing from God.

From engraved silver to folded himmelsbriefs, the protective amulet has a rich history and a firm place within the practice of PA Dutch Pow-wow.  It is a practice that on the surface appears simplistic yet is rooted in the occult knowledge of the planets and stars and all of their associated alchemical materials. 


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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!



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

+  +  +


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:


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:


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:














Against Evil Spirits and all manner of Witchcraft.


N. I. R.


 Sanctus.   Spiritus.


N. I. R.


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.