Even though this entire website is technically my "blog", this page will hold my extra articles that don't really fit in well on the other pages, or maybe there will just be ideas that jumped into my head that I wanted to share here. Some of the older blog entries are helpful and so I recommend you scroll down and look through the entries from 4 or 5 years ago.
Next to my bible, my pocket knife is my favorite tool for powwowing. I use it in healing charms, anti-hex work, weather work, and all manner of other types of powwowing. My pocket knife is like an old friend, always on hand when I need it and the work I do with it never fails.
In the early days, I used a large red-handled kitchen knife. This worked fine for the time but it was large and tricky to carry around, which meant I was always cutting myself! After a while I grew so annoyed with it that I tossed it in the trash! When I opted for a pocket knife, it felt absolutely correct to me and I've never gone back to a different type of knife.
You can use a knife to verhex an enemy, but I'm not going to tell you how!
Knives can be used to make protective symbols on your home.
When you are visiting a place where you feel unsafe, you can thrust your knife into the ground in front of the entrance so that you will be protected while inside. Remember to grab your knife when you leave!
A few examples of powwow knives exist and generally have three or nine crosses engraved on them. They are used for protection and healing work. Some are passed down through family lines. Mine originated with me and will be passed on to my son when he's old enough.
There are some interesting superstitions about knives that were published by Lansky (a knife sharpening company).
-Never give a knife as a house-warming present; your new neighbor will become an enemy.
-A knife given as a gift from a lover means the love will end soon
-Place a knife under the bed during childbirth to ease the pain of labor.
-If a friend gives you a knife, give him a penny. This turns the gift into a purchase and will prevent your friendshiop from soon being broken.
-Don't let knives cross at the table, it will start a fight.
-It's bad luck to close a pocket knife unless you were the one who opened it.
-You should always cut bread with a knife rather than breaking it with your hands. It's said that your life will be broken otherwise.
-Never hand a knife directly to another person. It's said this will cause the two of you to get into a fight.
-Thrusting a knife into the door of a house is believed to provide protection.
-If you play with a knife, the angels will run away from you.
-A dropped knife means a man will visit.
-A dropped knife that sticks into the ground is a good sign. Good luck will come from the direction in which the knife is leaning.
-Do not leave crossed knives on the counter top or there will be an argument.
-Knife sets shouldn't be given as wedding gifts because they can cause chaos in a marriage.
-Putting a knife with a black handle under your pillow is believed to keep away nightmares.
-Never stir anything with your knife. "Stir with a knife and stir up strife"
-A knife made of steel is said to protect you against curses and fairies.
-Some people believe that sharpening any blade after the sun goes down is bad luck.
-Sleeping on a bed with knives under it will scare away evil spirits.
-Knives were included in some Anglo-Saxon burial rites, so that the dead would not go into the next world defenseless.
-Never cross your knife and fork on your plate at the table. It's considered an insult to the symbol of the cross.
-In some cultures it's believed that sticking a knife in a pregnant woman's mattress guarantees she'll have a boy.
-Never lick food off a knife. Doing so will make you a cruel person.
-Eating from a knife will make you "angry like a dog".
Read the original articles here
Ask any of the old timers who the first powwow doc was and they will undoubtedly tell you it was Jesus himself, "the Good Lord". He went around, preaching the Word, healing those who needed it. Then he passed it on to his disciples, as we read in Mark 14...
14Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.
15He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
For some comparison, in the Hoodoo tradition, it is generally believed that the Old Testament Moses was the first Hoodoo practitioner. In Powwow, it is Christ. Or, as some others see it, Christ's direct followers who were charged with the Great Commission as written in Mark.
Jesus certainly fits the description of a hex doctor. He heals, he rebukes when necessary, he casts out demons, he even destroys if his anger is great enough (remember the fig tree in Mark 12?)
12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
A powwow in this day and age carries on the Great Commission is his own way. We come from a long long line of healers and folk magicians, all taking their inspiration from the words and deeds of Christ. It is a tradition that spans over 2 millenia, and it's still going strong today. There aren't as many of us, certainly. And we face an uphill battle against the secularization of society (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it does make us less popular...). However, the world will always be in need of healing, the oppressed will always be in need of a champion, and the Great Commission was meant to be eternal.
+ + +
I believe in the devil. I don't say that lightly. There was a time when I thought it was nonsense... Propaganda created to instill fear and obedience in the hearts and minds of the early Christians. But I've seen the devil. I've experienced him. If there is good in the Universe, it stands to reason that there must be bad. If there is light, there must be dark. If there is day, there must be night. If there is holy, there must be unholy. This is balance. The devil is God's great adversary. Some say he was made by God to fill that role. I don't know. If you read the Book of Job, you see that the devil and God aren't so unfriendly toward one another as we might think. God is pretty badass all on his own, he doesn't really need the devil. Yet there he is.
The devil is sly and tricky. Where God will outright punish us because he's like that, the devil will tempt us... whisper things to us... make promises and insinuations... He's a clever guy. And we fall for his tricks all the time.
I've seen people who have the devil in them and don't realize it. Or they realize it but don't want him in there. I've also known some people who embrace the devil, and want him to influence their lives. I don't understand it, but there you go..
The devil is the force that brings chaos and destruction into our lives. He tempts us into giving in to our darkest desires. He can infest us with illness, addiction, temptation, and even great power that will corrupt us. His ultimate goal is to prove to God that he can turn us from Him. And he does succeed.
To combat the workings of the devil is the job of the powwow. We fight him and resist him and work against him. We won't always win, but we will always try. There are afflictions that might be beyond our skill. There are others that we can take care of easily. A powwow can only try with the tools he has on hand.
As I get older, I feel like the devil is something or someone to be respected. Not honored, like God, but respected as the counterpart to God. The necessary darkness to God's light. The devil is a part of us that we work hard to deny, but it's always there. He revels in our struggles to hold him back. His minions are the forces we fight against when we call upon the Creator to help us combat an illness or a bewitchment.
I have learned that the best way to understand the devil is to first know that he is real. He is the adversary to God. He is the ultimate mischief maker because he lacks the one power that God has... creation. The devil cannot create life so he therefore seeks to twist it and pervert it and prove to God that he can because we are flawed beings. It's an insane and meddlesome struggle, but there you go.
Humor me while I share a story with you...
The devil came to me one night while I was going through a severe bout of depression. He came to me in my dreams and tried to get me to come through a door. He enticed me and gestured for me to pass through the door. But I didn't do it. I think I started to but I woke up, my crucifix necklace tight around my neck causing me to feel as if I was being choked.
What did the dream mean? What did the old devil want with me? Was he trying to pull my spirit to hell? I don't know. But I do know that the experience was real enough for me to take him more seriously and respect him as not only THE adversary, but MY adversary. I've been working against him all these years and now he's shown himself to me.
I will work against the devil until the day I die. When he gains power, we suffer. We cannot and should not allow that to happen. The best way to defeat the devil is to understand him, respect him, and let him know you are going to fight him every step of the way.
I received an email late last night to inform me that one of my powwow teachers had passed away. I didn't read the email until this afternoon and I have some surprising feelings about it.
My teacher was an interesting woman. Because I promised her that I would not share her name with the public, I will only share with you my feelings about her.
She was abrupt to the point of seeming rude. She was unconcerned with anyone's (including mine) impression about her because she just didn't care. She kept a messy home and made no apologies for it. When I first met her, she made me wait on her front porch almost a half an hour before she let me in, and she never once explained herself. She was a believer in Christ, but the type that chain smoked and drank beer, and that was ok. She was irritated with me when I told her I was researching Powwow to share information with the public. She had a very low opinion of the idea of writing about Powwow.
But she taught me two charms. She recited a charm to me and said "there you go" and that was it. I committed it to memory and wrote it down only later when I got back into my car. The second charm was a slip of paper she handed to me with the words and instructions scribbled on it, barely legible. I looked at her as if ready to ask what it meant and her look told me that she wanted no further discussion about it. She said "keep it to yourself and don't share it with anyone".
And that was that. That was literally my entire relationship with her. I never spoke to her again. She didn't reach out to me. I left her alone. That was about 8 years ago...
So when I read that she had passed away, I immediately wondered if she had shared her knowledge with anyone else, and how could I find out? My only connection to her was someone who had emailed me years ago that said "I should introduce you to the lady down the street...." and that's how it happened. I am grateful to her for the introduction, and grateful to her for letting me know she passed.
Tonight I will say a prayer for her and maybe she will hear me. Maybe now she will be able to watch over me. Maybe she will be a stern spirit, lurking around making sure I keep my promise. Who knows? I can't imagine what sort of afterlife she will have because she shared nothing about herself with me. But what I gained from her in our brief meeting is immeasurable. I learned one charm that I use often and another that I hope I never have to use. She didn't teach me how to Powwow, she just taught me how she does it. But I'll always remember her.
In honor of her, I will raise my glass tonight and thank her for allowing me to cross paths with her. It was a brief but life-changing experience for me. I imagine when I left her home she may have spared a moment to watch me walk to my car, probably shaking her head at my foolishness, then going about her day; never giving me a second thought. But that's ok.
Thank you teacher. I will be forever grateful. Enjoy eternity in Paradise and don't annoy the angels too much.
+ + +
Believe it or not, I've received some nasty emails over the past three years claiming that I'm not a "real" powwow because I don't endorse Candidate A or Candidate B. Politics has unfortunately infiltrated the folk magic community and I'm not at all surprised by this. Our country is currently going through a very dark time. Our current administration in Washington has brought out the worst in our society. Racism and bigotry run unchecked these days and the white house revels in fanning the flames of dissent. Between 'fake news' and the daily lies from our Nation's highest office, it's no wonder that we feel a sense of negativity and stress all the time. Just a few short years ago our country seemed to be a haven of progress and progressive values. Now we are thrown back into pre-Civil Rights days of blacks and gays and hispanics not being welcomed in public spaces. It's horrible.
As a powwow...a HEALER...it is our God-given duty to help others in need, no matter their situation. And we do so freely. That means WITHOUT JUDGMENT. When someone comes to me, I do what they need me to do, whether I believe they need it or not. That's not my call. My duty is to do the work that God has given me to do, regardless of their first language or national origin or sexual preference or skin color. It's insulting to me that there are some people who believe I'm wrong in doing this.
A powwow is a Christian. A Christian is a follower of Christ. Christ spoke about loving thy neighbor as one loves thyself. We need no further instruction than this.
I am always reminded of "The Great Commission"
The Great Commission
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to vhe whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.
As I get older, I find myself thinking about all the interesting and useful powwowing charms I've learned over the years and what will happen to these things as I age and eventually pass on... My son is only 7 so he barely has a passing interest in powwowing. Hopefully as he ages he will develop the calling for it like I did. But if not, I'll want to pass it on. A few people have come to me over the years that have expressed an interest in learning. But it seems like once I start opening up to the idea of teaching, they disappear... This teaches me that powwowing really is a committment. It's also a huge committment to carry on one's lineage. If I'm to pass on my powwowing, the person chosen must be truly devoted and committed to it. And because I have been so public with my powwowing, I would hope that any successor to my work would carry on the work of this website and the sharing of information publicly.
For me, a true successor would be someone willing to keep researching the topic, writing about it, and sharing as much as possible freely and openly, with the goal of helping interested people learn about powwowing without having to join an expensive society or purchasing expensive books. Powwowing is meant for the people to use, not just a select few. Any student of mine must be willing to share openly and freely. In addition, they'd need to be willing to carry on the work I've begun with this website and my published works.
My son will naturally inherit all of my work and access to my personal journals and charms. It will ultimately be up to him to either carry on what I've built or let it die out. That's his choice. In the meantime, while I'm still alive, I find myself hoping for a proper student someday that I can share my information with just in case my son doesn't want to carry on with it. I would love nothing more than to see powwowing restored to what it once was...a practice common to the people, utilized in many homes, and trusted as much as the local doctor. I would love to see our culture reclaim the practice of powwowing as just another household option. Instead of obscurity, I'd love to see powwowing return to the realm of commonplace.
If there is anyone out there willing to devote themselves as I did, then I'd welcome them as a student. It's not a difficult tradition, but there is a committment that I'd expect. I expect a student to put their knowledge out there to the public, as I have done with this website. I expect a student to write their own grimoire, as I have, so that others might pick it up and begin the practice. You must be a Christian, that is not negotiable. There are other things, things I'll share with the right person when we find each other.
I pray to God that my work continues long after I'm gone. My hope is that all I've learned will live on long after I've joined Christ in Paradise. Are you that person?
John Ramsey is a fellow powwower and author of Pennsylvania German Powwow (I'm having trouble putting a link here but it is available on amazon) He sent this information to me to share here on this site. I'm fascinated by this info as it's more than I knew about the use of stones for powwowing. Enjoy!
Stones can be a powerful tool for the powwow to work with. Many times in the Bible, Christ is referred to as a rock; see Matthew 7:24. Many of the rocks that the braucher would use were not fancy like gemstones or crystals, but oftentimes were stones that he or she would find on there property.
If an individual was wanting to use rocks in there practice, often all they have to do is look for them. The Bible says seek and ye shall find and this definitely applies to using rocks in powow. Many times these stones are looking for you just as much as you are looking for them. Ask God for help when looking for these rocks and when you find the right one, thank God for His assistance. Once you find the right rock, tell it what its purpose going to be. Then simply use it. I believe the more you use it, the better is gets at fulfilling its intended purpose.
Rukschtee or Rest Stone- Used for pain relief or rest. Traditionally were found along fence rows or property borders, but can be found in other places as well. Used by placing under the pillow of someone needing rest or relief from pain. After each use, these need to be placed outdoors in water or put in smoke to “recharge”. The one I have is white.
Blutschtee or Bloodstone- Used to stop bleeding. Blutschtees were held tightly on a profusely bleeding wounds. After many uses, these would become stained from the blood.
Thunderstone- Used to stop lightning strikes. The one that my dad has is an old Native American axe head. In times of old, farmers believed these fell from the sky during thunderstorms.
Madstone- Used to heal rabies. Most of the time, these were calcium deposits that hardened and formed in the stomachs of deer as well as other cud chewing animals. These rock like object were placed on the bites from rabid animals as well as snakebites. These would supposedly stick to the wound until all the poison was drawn out, then they would simply fall off. Difficult to obtain and often if somebody had one, people would come from all over to use it. Ones obtained from albino deer were believed to be more powerful.
Holey Stone- A stone with a naturally formed hole in it. Often found near water; rivers, creeks, lakes, etc. Used for protection and healing. Tie one to a bedpost to prevent nightmares. Can be kept in your pocket or worn around the neck with a red string. Some people believe that if you look through the hole, you can see the spirit world.
Black Stone- Remove negative energy. I don't know much about the history of these.
Lodestone- A natural stone that has a magnetic pull. Not usually used in Pow-Wow, but there use is not unheard of. Mostly used in African American spiritual practice. Since they have a magnetic pull, they are used to draw something to you.
Last fall, my son's bicycle disappeared. He insisted he had it in our carport, where he always parked it. He was upset and I was furious. We live in a relatively quiet neighborhood and our neighbors are mostly older folks with well-tended lawns and respectable reputations. Why would someone come around and steal his bike? I couldn't imagine. So we went to Wal-Mart and got him a new bike and I did some powwow.
I had no idea who may have stolen his bike, which was probably a good thing because it's better to be completely neutral and unknowing when doing this type of powwowing. When you are asking God to bring someone to justice, you really do need to be cautious when you don't know for certain who did the injustice against you. You don't want to just assume you know who it is because then you may unintentionally be asking God to do something to the wrong person.
So for this work, I sent a prayer to God to help me find out what happened to my son's bike. He already had a new bike, so I wasn't overly concerned about getting the old one back, but I wanted to know what happened.
I wrote the following charm on red paper three times. I buried one in our carport, placed one under the back porch welcome mat and placed the third under the front porch welcome mat.
Abraham bound it †
Isaac redeemed and found it †
Jacob carried it home †
it is bound as tightly as steel and iron, chains and fetters. † † †
Within a week, I had my answer.
Two houses away, the family that lived there had just moved. Our son played with their children. After they moved, he rode his bike down to their yard and just sat under one of the trees on their property, probably thinking about his friends and how much he missed them Then he walked home, unintentionally leaving the bike.
The new owner of the house purchased the property for the purpose of flipping it. She saw the bike in the yard, assumed it was left by the previous owners, and tossed it into the trash along with the walls and flooring she was tearing out of the house. She heard that our son's bike went missing and explained what happened.
I was glad my charm was created with the purpose of getting an answer, rather than raining wrath and fury down on someone. Instead of the bike actually being stolen, it was left in the wrong place and discarded.
The lesson here is that we should always think carefully before we do any type of powwowing. I believe if we blunder and do the wrong thing, God will step in to set things right. But I think it's better that we weigh our options, think through all situations logically, then act carefully. The solution will come for us if we are patient and make the right choices.
Sometimes people are surprised to find out I have a few ceremonial ritualistic elements to my powwowing. The surprise is understandable because powwowing is fairly simplistic no-frills sort of folk magic. So what's the difference between folk magic and ceremonial magic? And how can the two work together?
Folk magic is, for our purposes, the simple day-to-day magics of the powwow. These would include the removal of warts using a potato or apple or penny, the soothing of a burn from the stove, the stopping of blood from a minor scrape or cut, and other such cures and charms that one might find a use for throughout the course of his day. Folk magic is just a part of your every day life. It is an extension of your faith, and therefore could be called 'folk religion'. It need not be complex, it requires little or no preparation or props, and it serves a function in daily living.
Ceremonial magic, on the other hand, is a set of intentional and ritualistic actions that are coordinated to achieve a specific goal. For example, ceremonial magic could include the setting up of a work table or special altar, the creation of a ritualized space either through creating a magic circle or defining the space in some other way, such as with candles. Ceremonial magic often includes invocations and/or prayers to God. The ritual is generally worked during a planned time, such as during a specific phase of the moon or planetary hour. And the work done during the ritual is often the creation of talismans or the removal of hexerei or some other such complicated matter.
Generally speaking, a powwow need not ever concern himself with ceremonial magics as they typically fall outside the normal realm of practice for a powwower. However, the ceremonial elements can be added if you are the type of powwower that finds himself trying for frequent cases of verhexing. I suppose this depends on the area where you live. In my area, it seems that verhexings are common. Or, at least, many people believe they are common. Because of the frequency of requests I get for this type of work, I've created the ceremonial ritual elements that I wrote about in The Powwow Grimoire. They function as a means for me to bring my religious practices into my home and increase my own sense of protection while I'm working for clients with complex issues.
Ceremonial magic is really a way for you to have a religious foundation for your folk magic, if that is your preference. Since powwowing is a Christian practice, the ceremonial elements are really good for people like me that no longer regular attend a bricks and mortar church. Ceremonial magic is a way for me to have that experience at home while making it more to my religious liking, as opposed to sitting through a church service that may or may not bring me spiritual fulfillment.
Whether you choose to just stick with the folk elements of powwowing or flesh out your personal practice with some ceremonial stuff, I would advise you to stick with what you know, don't try to call up or conjure something you are unfamiliar with, and always keep your faith as your foundation. Learn to feel the words you are saying, rather than just memorize them for the sake of memorizing them. Make sure you understand what you are doing and why you are doing it.
Powwowing is a no frills tradition. It requires little more than your faith in the Holy Trinity and knowledge of a few tried and proven charms. You could spend your entire life powwowing with nothing more than your hands and your trusty dusty old family bible.
But there are a few bits and bobbles that have found their way into the practice of powwowing that you may want to experiment with. The list I've created here contain the extras that I use or have used in the past. This is by no means an all-encompassing list of all things that can be used in powwowing. But it's a good place to start.
Bible. Of course. This goes without saying. Your bible may function as an actual working tool for your powwowing (I have used mine to beat out a verhexing, rub away pain, etc). Or you may just have your client holding your bible while you are powwowing them (Ive done this too). In my opinion (as well as many others) powwowing just isn't powwowing without the holy Bible.
Stones. I have three stones that I use in my powwowing. One is a smooth black river stone that I use for removing pain. Exactly HOW I use it for pain relief is my own secret, but I've been using this same stone since the 1990's and it's never failed me. The other two stones I use come from the Nelson Rehmeyer property, which is fairly close to my home. Nelson Rehmeyer is a bit like a martyred saint in powwowing, so the stones from his property have great meaning to me. One of the stones is used for marking circles and/or other marks or symbols. The other stone is used exclusively for anti-hex work.
String. Some like to use exclusively red string, others aren't so fussy. It's up to you. String is used to "tie off" certain illnesses so they can be removed from the afflicted person. You can also scrape off an illness or verhexing with string then burn the string to remove the influence.
Coins. Pennies are used to remove warts. The wart is rubbed with the penny and then the penny is either spent or discarded in some way. You can also remove a verhexing with a penny then 'gift' that penny to the hex who cast the curse so as to return it to them. This is tricky business, so please exercise caution if you do this.
Potatoes. Much like coins, potatoes are generally used for wart removal. You cut the potato in half, rub the wart, put the potato back together, and bury it on the corner of your property. Well, that's one version. There are a number of different potato/wart charms that you may come across.
Over the years I've learned about powwowers using herbs, little pouches, safety pins, and whatever else they may have laying about the house. The beauty of powwowing lies in its simplicity. The tools you may use are plain and unassuming and can literally be kept in plain sight with no one being any wiser of their purpose.