Pennsylvania German Powwow

Faith Healing and Folk Magic of the Pennsylvania Germans

Blog

Conception Billet: the power of the written word

Posted by Rob Phoenix on August 24, 2014 at 1:35 PM

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 Heaven, known then as Conception Billets, were a product of the clergy.  Monks would create and sell Conception Billets to those who could afford them-often made as gifts for nobles.  Later, Cunning Men would create Conception Billets for the common folks in their communities.  And, in more recent centuries, himmelsbriefs are created by the Powwow for the same reasons.

 

The style of Conception Billets has varied through the centuries, but the common points shared with all of them is that they are created on paper, contain prayers and petitions to God, and promise to protect the bearer against specific incidents.  From the extremely artistic and elaborate to the simple handwriting on a sheet of paper by a barely-literate farmer, Letters from Heaven have been a piece of the magical and religious community for hundreds if not thousands of years.

 

This Conception Billet, copied from The Cunning Man's Handbook (Avalonia, 2014) can be carried by an individual or buried at the edge of a property.

 

"I conjure thee, paper, thou which servest the needs of humanity, servest as the depository of God's wonderful deeds and holy laws, as also according to divine command the marriage contract between Tobias and Sarah was written upon thee, the Scriptures saying: They took paper and signed their marriage covenant.  Through thee, O paper, hath also the devil been conquered by the angel.  I adjure thee by God, the Lord of the Universe (sign of the cross), the Son (sign of the cross), and the Holy Ghost (sign of the cross), who spreads out the heavens as a parchment on which he describes; as with divine characters, his magnificence.  Bless (sign of the cross), O God, sanctify (sign of the cross) this paper that so it may frustrate the work of the Devil! "Ye who upon his person carries this paper written with holy words, or affixes it to a house, shall be freed from the visitations of Satan through him who cometh to judge the quick and dead."

"Let us pray, Mighty and resistless God, the God of vengeance, God of our fathers, who hast revealed through Moses and the prophets the books of they ancient covenant and many secrets of they kindness, and didst cause the Gospel of thy Son to be written by the evangelists and apostles, bless (sign of the cross) and sanctify (sign of the cross) this paper that thy mercy may be made known unto whatsoever soul shall bear with him this sacred thing and these holy letters; and that all persecutions against him from the devil and by the storms of satanic witchcraft may be frustrated through Christ our Lord.  Amen." 

 

The paper is to be sprinkled with Holy Water.

 

Categories: None

Post a Comment

Oops!

Oops, you forgot something.

Oops!

The words you entered did not match the given text. Please try again.

Already a member? Sign In

0 Comments