Saturday, December 31, 2016

Regarding Berchtold

Recently a discussion about a probable deity named Berchtold arose in the main Urglaawe group on Facebook. There are a few citations regarding Him in Grimm's Teutonic Mythology (pp. 279 and 932) and a related holiday in Alemannic areas, primarily Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The Urglaawe community undertook some preliminary research. There is a lot more work to be done on this topic, but this is a start. 

The scant lore on Berchtold leads me to the following: 

1). Given that Berchtold is seen as sometimes being at the head of the Wild Hunt, there is "something" there that requires more research; 

2). Competing proposed origins of the event from different contexts and perspectives may not be any more or less valid than our emerging Heathen perspective, but, as Heathens, we would be remiss in our spiritual endeavors if we did not explore our angles as thoroughly as possible; 

3). The placement of the Berchtoldstag observance is quite possibly a result of calendar shifting related to Epiphany, the Protestant Reformation, and other influences. Since no one knows the true origins of the observance, no one knows how it got to the current date, either;

4). The lore that states that men would go about town pressing others whom they encounter to drink to Berchtold is interesting. One of the possible roots of Berchtold is dialectic "berchten," which means "to walk around asking for food." This brings up a little-known Deitsch entity, Bechtel or Bechdel, who is associated with begging and definitely who needs more research in this context. This could be a crucial connection. Additionally, another name for Berchtoldstag is Bärzelistag, which, on the surface, appears to be related to the Deitsch verb "barzle," which literally means "to tumble" but also has a semantic meaning of "to roll" (as in a mugging) or "to accost"

5). Keeping in mind that Berchta commands a bare-bones meal on Twelfth Night, we could be seeing something related to the hunger from that meal. The pressing of others could also be a test of faith (which has come up in discussions before), and the wandering sounds akin to wassailing or New Year's greetings, which are intended also to elicit hospitality from those visited;

6). Conjecture: Nuts, which are related to this observance in Alemannic areas, are potential life, and that is the point on the cycle where we currently are. If Berchtaslaaf is the end of Yule, the "death" of the calendar year, etc., then perhaps Berchtold can be viewed through a lens of the things that bridge death to new life. It may be useful as part of the research process to examine commonalities between Berchta (and, perhaps Berchtold) and "Father Time" types of lore. Additionally, we already honor Lollus/Luul at this time... Lollus' sole depiction is that of a child holding His tongue. Could there be a link between Lollus/Luul and "Baby New Year" types of lore?;

7). Keeping in mind that there is still a lot of speculation here, my inclination is, until we know more or our understanding evolves, to honor Berchtold alongside Berchta on Twelfth Night. As some of you may know from Berchta's meal discussion on the Kochkunscht guild, the meal requirement appears to run on the calendar day of December 31 (Eleventh Day (Dec. 31 reckoned by nightfall) and especially Twelfth Night (January 1 reckoned by nightfall). 

In a similar manner, Berchtold could be honored at the beginning of Twelfth Night (sundown December 31, which actually begins January 1 since a "day" starts at sunset the prior evening) through the end of Yule (sunset on January 1, which, by nightfall reckoning would begin January 2). 

This would create a "bridge" time of the specific honoring Bercha and Berchtold from sunset on Twelfth Night until sunrise on Twelfth Day, and it would create another bridge time of the specific honoring Berchtold and Luul from sunrise January 1 through sunset January 1 (again, sunset starts January 2).

There is at least one other way to consider the reckoning, but this is how I am planning to observe the end of Yule this year. Over the course of the next year, I'm hoping that we can get insights and lore from folks in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Yuletide Verbots and Completing Projects

Yule starts at sunset tonight.

Recommended practice is, prior to sunset, to open projects that you wish to work on and to complete before sunset on December 31 (the start of Twelfth Night and Berchta's feast day). Currently-open projects should be completed by Twelfth Night or abandoned completely and restarted in the New Year. Ongoing projects can identify a goal of a phase completion or a stopping point. New projects should be delayed until the New Year once Yule begins; focus instead on completion of that which is still in process.

Historically the oldest references were to spinning and weaving but Pennsylvania German oral tradition also extends it also to smithing, canning, and carpentry. Urglaawe examines the mindset behind the need to complete open tasks and the Verbot on starting projects during Yule, and we apply the concept to all aspects of our lives wherever it is practical and possible.

Job requirements may make some of this difficult or impossible to avoid, but the mindfulness applied to figuring out appropriate areas in your life to recognize the need for completion does matter.

Berchta and the lesser-known Berchtold are deities associated with the end of something or the completion of a cycle prior the the restart. There are many considerations that go along with the mindfulness: responsibility, deprivation, organization, preparation, and being willing to abandon partially-completed work if procrastination is a problem.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Holle and the Zusaagpflicht

Stevie Miller's latest article on Huginn's Heathen Hof, The Sacred Duty of Food, captures important aspects of the Zusaagpflicht, or the sacred, promised duty that plants, animals, and humans have to one another.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Yule, Pennsylvania Dutch Style

A great article about Urglaawe Yule traditions appeared on the Wild Hunt Pagan News blog today!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Urglaawe Yuul Cards

The Troth's Merchandising Team has created Yuul cards with Deitsch verbiage geared toward the Urglaawe community! Check out their Zazzle store for those cards and more products! 

Over time, we will increase the options of this type of useful item for the Urglaawe community. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Regarding Standing Rock...

Today, many Heathens are posting this video to express our solidarity with the Standing Rock protesters, and I would like to share my personal sentiments as well.

The opening of the video makes a reference to the forces of nature, personified in the giant troll women, turning against King Frothi for his unjust leadership, thereby bringing down his kingdom.

We Urglaawer just completed the observance of Allelieweziel. Part of our observance is the recognition that the settlers of Allemaengel had violated a social contract that exists among all living things, thereby causing the plants and animals to abandon them. Had the settlers not recognized their error and been instructed by Hexes and Brauchers to make amends, the colony would have perished.

Standing Rock presents the potential for the same circumstance. I recognize that the matter has some complicating angles. For example, I drive vehicles for my private use as well as for part of my paid job. I recognize that fuel is necessary for our society to continue. However, does the pipeline need to be built through the sacred lands of the Dakota and Lakota? Does their water supply really need to be put in jeopardy?

The history of the relationship between the tribes and the US government is well known: Broken promises, broken treaties, broken arrows, and wounded knees. The Standing Rock Indian Reservation is itself the result of a broken treaty that unilaterally altered the Great Sioux Reservation. A feature of this action was to break up the tribal culture and relationship that existed among the tribes and bands in the region. Something about that undermining of a folk culture sounds familiar to this Deitsch man.

The broken promises and broken treaties are of critical importance to me as a Heathen. The keeping of oaths is central to our religion and our social integrity. The US breaking treaties affects our Wurt as a nation, and our government's actions toward the tribes diminish our honor and imperil our future.

Additionally, the pipeline construction endangers burial grounds of the tribes' ancestors. As a Heathen who owns a cemetery, I recognize the importance to my own soul of honoring my ancestors.

To allow for the disruption or destruction of the tribes' sacred graveyards is beyond reprehensible and places a stain on us that will last from generation to generation. How would the average American feel if his or her ancestors graveyards were overturned for someone else's profit? It is appalling that we are even having to talk about this in the current era. Have we learned nothing since the 19th Century?

Apparently we have not. We are seeing the violation of Standing Rock sovereignty and Dakota/Lakota dignity in order to feed the corporate machine. We are seeing a disrespect for the land, for the land spirits, and for those who have gone before. We are witnessing the violation of promises and treaties. This is unacceptable.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Yuletide Sock Drive

Socks are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters, but they are also one of the least-donated items.

From December 17, 2016 (Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits) through January 1, 2016, Distelfink Sippschaft will be collecting new, unworn socks for folks in need. We need all sizes, from baby to adult male. Practical socks, fun socks, fuzzy socks, holiday socks, argyle socks are all needed!

Stock up stacks of socks and stockings and help to bring warmth to the feet of those in need this Yuletide!

Contact Robert L. Schreiwer (schreiwer@urglaawe.org) for collection sites. The first location will be at Parade of Spirits/Krampuslauf in Liberty Lands Park.

Donations will be directed to homeless shelters in the Delaware Valley.

Delaware Valley Pagan Network Clergy Submission Form

Let's build a list of Clergy folk in the Delaware Valley Pagan Network. 

Please note that the information submitted will be made public, so please do not share anything that you do not wish to have available publicly.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Ewicher Yeeger: Why Honor Death?

Tonight starts the final day of the Urglaawe observance of Allelieweziel. Now we honor Holler, who is also known as Ewicher Yeeger. His association with death is reflected in the translation of His byname into English: the Eternal Hunter. Indeed, He is seen by many as Death personified, and imagery and versions of folk tales over the centuries have presented Him as a bringer of disruption, disease, destruction, and, well, death. So, this begs the question: Why honor Him?

There are many possible answers to this question. Ironically, the most significant tale about Holler shows a merciful side to Him that is not typically associated with death. While death appeared imminent to the settlers of Lynn Township, the fact that they recognized the error of their ways and gave up offerings caused Holler to save the colony. Driving game over the Blobarrick ridge provided the settlers with food to survive through the winter months. 

While this story is one version of the best known tale of Ewicher Yeeger, there are bits of knowledge and remnants of other tales that reflect a complex character to this god. One of the more curious remnants reflects the push and pull among the various forces in existence as viewed within our physical world. After Holle’s departure and the burning of the Butzemenner, King Frost’s armies are on the move into our realm. The Frost Giants seize the spirits of the plants and animals (and humans, for that matter?) that they kill, thereby removing them from the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. In this tale remnant, Holler brings death and/or dormancy to the weaker plants and animals. Those who die are released to the Wild Hunt, which ensures their continuity in the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. The Frost Giants pass by the dormant spirits, who sleep safely until Spring under the care of an entity named Schlumm. 

In this case, we see Holler playing a role in tandem with Holle. He aids in the ongoing cycle of life even while bringing death. This reinforces the idea that death is a part of life and also of rebirth.

Another tidbit is a little more confusing because it conflates Ewicher Yeeger with aspects of Krampus. In this instance, Ewicher Yeeger is a punisher and a wild, primal beast. This tidbit is an outlier from most understandings of Ewicher Yeeger, but it is not the only one. Other versions reflect lore related to the Wild Hunt found in other Germanic lands. Some say Ewicher Yeeger is actually a cursed nobleman (much like Count Hackelberg in Germany) who is doomed to hunt as payback for his misdeeds in life. 

These stories are worth mentioning, though, because they reflect the convolution of tales over many centuries and across many lands, including the Deitsch lands in Pennsylvania. However, the most intact story from the Deitsch cultural context places Ewicher Yeeger as an entity (or in the Urglaawe context, a god) strongly associated with death yet not to be pigeonholed.

The understanding conveyed to me about Ewicher Yeeger throughout my lifetime has been one of an entity who is much larger than our understanding. He has His own agenda and purposes for actions that we cannot always fathom. In Braucherei, He is appealed to for brute strength, terminations, and transformations. 

The transformation aspect plays a major role in our understanding of death. Death is scary. Death is unwanted. Yet Death comes to all of us at some point. One theme of Allelieweziel is that we live in a society that, on the one hand, likes to pretend that death does not exist. Yet, on the other hand, we are obsessed with it. We depict is so cavalierly in movies and on television, yet we don’t want to plan for the end of the lives of our loved ones or of ourselves. 

Most Urglaawer believe in some form of rebirth. The most common belief is that at least one part of the soul is reborn into a new, unique construct, thus giving us opportunities to grow and to expand our consciousness from lifetime to lifetime. We hope that, at the end of this cosmic cycle, we will be where the deities were at the beginning of it. Our corporeal forms have limits to our lifetimes, but each experience in this physical realm affords us the opportunity to increase the human life wave. 

Thus, death is not to be feared per se; instead, it is part of the continuity of life and the evolution of existence. While we are to embrace our lives and to make the most of them, the eventuality of death is something with which we all must reconcile ourselves. 

Therefore, we take a moment at this time of Ewicher Yeeger to understand our mortality, to consider how to make the most of the current life we have, and to ponder the prospects for a better future for humanity. We honor the god who helps us to prepare for and to confront the reality of death even while celebrating the life we have. 

Thus, at this time of the observance of Ewicher Yeeger, let us hail Holler.

Hail!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Article in The Morning Call

From the Morning Call (Lehigh Valley, PA), Friday, October 28, 2016:


While Urglaawe focuses on Hexenkopf more in the Wonnezeit (end of April, early May), the myths around the site year-round are certainly important!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Washing of the Distelfink Statue

The Distelfink statue (spelled on the plaque using the Dutchified English spelling of "Distlefink") is a popular target of visitors' cameras at the Berks County Heritage Center along the Tulpehocken Creek. It is also the site of the founding of Distelfink Sippschaft, so it is sort of our mascot. 



Over the years, the paint on the statue has become worn. We reached out to the Heritage Center a few years ago, but it is in this year that solid efforts have begun to restore the beauty to this representation of the symbol of the very soul of the Deitsch folk.



I'd heard a rumor (that turned out to be true) that hex sign craftsman, Eric Claypoole, and Deitsch artist, Rachel Yoder would be repainting the statue. Eric confirmed that there was a plan to do this, and provided me with the name of his contact at the Center, Cathy Wegener.



Cathy and I spoke at length about the statue. She and I share the same zeal for it, and she asked whether some of us would be willing to help the process by washing the old dirt off of the statue to prepare it for repainting. 



This was a great honor, and I accepted the offer eagerly. Many Urglaawer, both in Pennsylvania and in the Diaspora, offered to help in one way or another.

On the day of the washing (Sunday, October 2), the weather was dreary and dismal, which, along with the need to go into work, prevented several of our folks from making the trip to the park. Among the group were Jeni Jumper and her awesome daughters, Bea and Celia. 



However, a few of us did get there, and we had a great time washing the statue (of course, I soaked myself during the rinsing phase). We also had opportunities to talk to patrons of the concurrent Berks County Heritage Festival, which also, unfortunately, had a lower attendance rate than usual due to the weather.



The rain, though, held out for us until we were done with the washing and the placement of offerings. Bea and I planted twelve chrysanthemum plants around the Distelfink. The plants were funded, in large part, by donations from Urglaawer in the Diaspora. These flowers were wonderful gifts.



Celia and Bea chose some gourds, squash, and pumpkins to go onto the statue as offerings, and Bea placed a sprig of chrysanthemum on the Distelfink's beak so it could "build a nest." 



The Distelfink is now ready for repainting, and we had a wonderful experience as a group.



Hail the Distelfink!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hail Zisa by Jennifer Milby


Zisa
Protectress of the People
Thank you for watching over your children and calling us to you.

Zisa
Undoer-of-Knots
Illuminate the tangles before us that we may learn from our mistakes and take steps to correct them.

Zisa
Great Goddess of Regeneration
We honor you today with a great feast and fellowship in the presence of our kindred and community.

Zisa
Remover-of-Obstacles
Guide our paths that we may stumble upon the truth without tripping over our own feet.

Zisa
Lady of Continuity
We hail you as our Ancestors once did and as our descendants will one day.

Hail Zisa!
Hail Zisa!
Hail!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An Urglaawe Ritual Response to the Pulse Massacre


The question has arisen on the main Urglaawe group about how to honor those murdered in the Pulse Massacre. I am thinking this is a time to make use of our color associations. Perhaps six candles:

Red: Representing the blood spilled, calling to Ziu for justice and to Dunner for courage and strength.

Orange: A request to the deities, to the ancestors (our own and those of the victims), to each other, and to ourselves to attain the energy needed to surmount the polarization and hatred that is consuming this world.

Yellow: Our response needs to be appropriately angered, but our love of humanity must be victorious over these hateful actions.

Green: For the growth and expansion of messaging and ideas that toward putting an end to this sort of terror.

Blue: A call for peace and consolation to those who loved the victims.

Violet: Appeal to the sacred and to the things that connect us because, as much as our humanity is what got us into this world plight, it will be our humanity that gets us out.

Per Urglaawe funerary rites, one may also want to get some seeds or something to represent the victims, then wrap the seeds up in four pieces of paper or cloth of different colors. Say the name of a victim while adding each seed.

The first would be red. Set each seed onto a red sheet. The color and action represents the loss of life and blood and the journey to death. Draw a Raidho rune on the red paper pack with the seeds inside.

Then take the red pack and wrap it in yellow-green. Draw the Yaahr/Jera rune on the now yellow-green pack. This represents the commending of the bodies back to nature.

Then take the pack and wrap it in black. Draw the Kenaz rune on it. This represents the Higher Self's journey through The Mill.

Take the pack and wrap it in white. Draw Ingwaz on the pack. This represents the rebirth of those lost into new soul constructs. 

Respectfully place the pack into a sacred fire, asking for Holle to bless the lost.

After that, perhaps add an uncounted number of seeds to a pack formed from purple cloth or paper. Draw the Mannaz rune on that pack, and add it to the fire along with pleads to Ziu, Zisa, and Dunner to aid the victims' loved ones.

I am going to work this into our Dingsege on Saturday. Perhaps if everyone performed the same -- or a related -- ritual at the same time (say, 2:30 PM EDT locally), we can strengthen our cause. 

Feel free to make this idea viral. Perhaps this virus can combat the virus of hate, destruction, and despair that is becoming an epidemic throughout the world.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Wonnenacht and the Wonnezeit

This myth is a product of the Folklore Research Project and represents tales and fragments of tales related principally by folks who identified themselves as practitioners of Hexerei and Braucherei. Some segments of the story were also known to individuals outside of the practices. The term Wonnenacht ("Night of Joy") has been seldom used historically, but it has become the principal term for Walpurgisnacht in Urglaawe. The term Wonnedanz ("Dance of Joy") was related by a Hex from Montour County, PA, and is a replacement for Hexedanz (Witches' Dance), and Wonnezeit ("Time of Joy") describes the twelve-day observance.

Wonnenacht represents the transition from the Dunkelheft (Dark Half of the Year) to the Brechtheft (Bright Half), and the observance welcomes Holle upon Her return from the Wild Hunt.



WONNENACHT AND THE WONNEDANZ


As Sunna's kiss brought increasing warmth and light to the Hatzholz (Heartwood; the physical realm), Holle sent for her ever-loyal servant, Gedreier Eckhart, whose job it was to walk ahead of the Parade of Spirits to warn the living of the fury behind him. Eckhart's love for Holle is as great in death as it was in life, so he flew into the midst of the Host, finding the goddess dressed in white and seated in a wagon being pulled by the souls of nine bulls. The wagon rolled on three great spinning wheels. From each wheel spun a multicolored thread that wove with the the thread from the others, forming a sack of infinite size named Immerraum ("always-room"). The thunderous voices of many found spirits within the sack resounded across the realms.

"I have filled the sack that cannot be filled, and it is time to bring them home," Holle said. "Go forth to Mannheem (the home of humanity within the Hatzholz) and tell the living that they may welcome the Host and that they should be prepared for the visit. Those who remembered and honored my word will be rewarded. After the visit, they are to light two fires and to pass between them. Through that action, they will be renewed. Then you are to go to the Mannheem field, where you will find a lone linden tree under which you may rest until I arrive.”

As Eckhart began his journey into the Hatzholz, announcing the return of the Great Lady, Holle took her mighty Sichel (Sickle) and cut the three threads each, using the end of the strands to tie the sack shut.

The Host crossed from the Oschtbledder (Eastern Leaves) into the Hatzholz. Throngs of people, though scared at first, came out to welcome the parade, honoring the arrival of the wondrous Lady. The clamor of spirits filled the high skies as Holle entered Mannheem. The bulls pulled Her wagon through open windows and doors, seeking those who welcomed Her. The orderly homes served as a sign that Her command was obeyed. She filled the homes with bright light that brought such joy to the residents that they broke out in song and dance.

Presently the wagon approached the Mannheem field called Hexefeld, where Holle found Eckhart sleeping within the bark of a linden tree. She sent the southwest wind, Riffel,1 to awaken him. She instructed Eckhart to lead the Host to Hexefeld and, upon arrival, to cut loose the spirits in the sack. "It is time to meet my sister," she stated.

Eckhart did as he was told. As the Host of the cosmic spirits approached the field, Eckhart saw another parade descending from the clouds, emerging from the forests, and coming from the soil. Ahead of this parade was a brilliant gray light radiating from a beautiful elderly woman who was also dressed in white. Eckhart approached the woman, recognizing Her as Berchta, and he bowed before Her. He then took the lead through the countryside as the two parades merged together and drew closer to the linden tree where Holle awaited them.

A hush fell upon the Host as the two sisters greeted one another. They embraced, and they began to spin in a dance. The dance spun gentle whirlwinds that touched the Host, bringing warmth and joy to the spirits of the Host, and they, too, began to dance. Some gathered strands and dust from the sack, streaming the strands around trees and scattering the dust on the ground.

The Sisters continued to dance with the Host dancing behind them, moving from the field and over the rivers and lakes. Every being in the water began to dance for joy. The whirlwinds spawned gentle rains that awakened the spirits in the sleeping plants, and they, too, began to dance for joy.

The Dance moved to the foothills, where the Frost Giants had taken refuge from Sunna's breath. As the Host approached, the winter vanished, forcing the Frost Giants to retreat.

On the twelfth day, Holle instructed Eckhart to sleep in a rock at the base of a mountain pillar while the dance continued up a ridge called Hexenkopf. The entourage eventually stopped by a marshy wellspring near the top. The two sisters took rest by the wellspring, and the spirits began to feel drawn to its depths.2

Holle and Berchta commanded the Host to continue their journey to its end by Holle's home.

Holle led one half of the parade to an elder bush, the roots of which reached beyond the Hatzholz and into the dark realms, taking nourishment from three creeks named Schprudlendi, Gwellendi, and Fliessendi.3 Berchta led the other half to the depths of the wellspring, which emptied into the same creeks.

THE MILL

The spirits followed the goddesses into these creeks and surfaced in the Holle's meadow, named Bollwies (Flax Meadow), in the Dunkelgegend.4 The spirits followed the goddesses through some woods, passing Holle's home, Es Heisli. They soon entered an open field called Weiwerfeld and soon approached Her Mill.

Holle unhitched the bulls from Her wagon and yoked them to a giant millstone named Seelbrecher ("Soul Crusher"). Behind Berchta, the spirits lined up and entered the Mill, where they would be split apart, never to return in their present form. Holle returned to the joyous Mannheem, taking Her seat upon the Hexenkopf pillar while Eckhart sleeps in a rock.5

BERCHTA LEADS FORTHCOMING SOULS TO UNNERGEGEND

On the other end of the mill, the kernel of the selves of each soul emerged behind Berchta, who then led them up the world tree to the Unnergegend. There they take full form and await their return to the living realms.6

Thus, the Bright Half of the Year began and order was restored to Mannheem. King Frost, fearful of losing his grip on the valuable realm, sent his armies to attack.7

1 In this story, the wind is coming from the southwest; in another myth, the wind directions are known by their destination rather than their origin. Thus, it is possible that the southwest wind in this myth is known by the name of the northeast wind in the other myth.

2 Magnetite was/is common at Hexenkopf and was eventually mined. The most familiar ponds at Hexenkopf currently are ore holes resulting from the mines, but there are also marshy water holes naturally on the mountain that may serve as the reference to the wellspring.

3 The names of the wells translate to Brimming, Bubbling, and Flowing.

4 The Dark Realm

5 There are reports of a White Lady approaching walkers, carriages, and cars along the top of the pillar, particularly around Walpurgisnacht.

6 There is more to this segment to appear in the next version.

7 This is a connection to the Butzemann traditions and the myth of Dunner and the three Frost Giants, Dreizehdax, Vatzehvedder, and Fuffzehfux. At least two versions story have been described frequently under separate cover but will be harmonized either in the next version of this myth or in a separate myth.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Hexenkopf Pilgrimage 2016

Hexenkopf is a strange and sacred place located in Williams Township, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Long associated with activity on Walpurgisnacht or Wonnenacht, this is Holle's home on this continent. For generations, people have reported seeing a White Lady on the mountain pillar or along the road, especially on the night of April 30. This is where the Wild Hunt ends and the Bright Half of the year begins.



The awesome sign at the barn of the owners greets visitors. We always arrange our visits in advance. The site is on private property, and visitors should always plan to be off of the grounds by dusk.


Young Mugwort plants announce the correct entrance into the woods. After a few more weeks, the growth will be thick.

Magnetite had been mined here, and there are said to be odd magnetic patterns here at times. Other oddities are the common sight of uprooted, upside down trees in locations where they could not simply have fallen. Some are at the very top of the pillar, clearly not having anywhere higher to fall from.


Photo credit: Bob Headley
There are four ponds or pools at the site, some of which have a history of being considered curative. That being said, though, two of them I avoid as they have radon (a common gas in Pennsylvania), one is a former magnetite ore hole that has no radon, and the last is a natural pool that is said to provide water sacred to Holle. This holy water is used at Distelfink's rituals throughout the year. 



The site is challenging because of the huge boulders and the rough brush. Indeed, the name "Hexenkopf" means "Witch's Head" because the rock formation appears like the head of a stereotypical witch depiction in the conical hat. None of us got a good pic of the "hat," but there are several large boulder deposits throughout the site.



Photo credit: Bob Headley

There are all sorts of nooks and outcroppings, including one which is a natural sanctuary, where Distelfink holds its rituals.

Photo credit: Bob Headley

In the middle of the sanctuary is a natural altar.

Photo credit: Michelle Jones
Poison Ivy does abound at the site... Fortunately, so does one of our best plant allies: Jewelweed. It came in handy several times for folks who brushed up against the Poison Ivy. 


This is a wondrous site that ties into the Hexerei myth of the Wonnenacht (Night of Joy) and the Wonnedanz (Dance of Joy, also known as the Witches' Dance).

Photo credit: Michelle Jones
Could this be the rock that the soul of Gedreier Eckhart slept in per the instructions of Holle? Hexenkopf sets one's imagination ablaze.


Our crew:

Photo credit: Michelle Jones


Hail Distelfink!




Saturday, April 9, 2016

From the Grundsau Burrow

Response to Irish-American Witchcraft: Dressing Old Gods in a New World is an excellent article by the Urglaawe representative in Western PA, Stevie Miller. The tendency to talk about the Deitsch culture, with the exception of the Amish, in the past tense really is something that does not serve us very well. The Deitsch culture, certainly including Urglaawe, is very much alive and expanding.

While you're visiting her site, do check out the other articles, too! :)

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stealing a Quote

Stealing a great quote by Amy Kincheloe, our Urglaawe contact in Kentucky:

"Looking at Paganism and trying to find your path is like looking at a tree. Urglaawe, for me, is looking at the roots, finding where all those leaves came from, the base, the down and dirty part that gives nutrients to the entire thing."

Hail!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Weisser Hund Freibesitz

Jennifer Milby and Robert L. Schreiwer heard the oath at Sacred Space this weekend that established the Weisser Hund Freibesitz (White Dog Freehold) in New Bern, North Carolina. 

Please contact Douglas Helvie for more information.

Hail Weisser Hund Freibesitz!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Distelfink Sippschaft's New Logo


Logo designed and painted by: Rachel Yoder​
Runic wheel border by: Hunter Yoder

THANK YOU for this beautiful design!