The Guilds of Practitioners

This blog is written and maintained by members of the Oley Freindschaft Guild of Braucherei Practitioners and of the Guild of Urglaawe Braucherei and Hexerei Practitioners.


The Oley Freindschaft recognizes the totality of the practice of Braucherei, which includes the contexts of Christianity and of Urglaawe.

The Guild of Urglaawe Braucherei and Hexerei Practitioners is dedicated to the advancement of these traditions within the Urglaawe context.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hailstones, Haagel Rune

The first hailstorm of the year is first transformational and the protective and definitely associated with Holle. The hailstorm heralds impending changes or shifts (good, bad, even neutral), and the saved hailstones bring Holle's protection and banishment of harm through the changes and through the year. 

Historically, refrigeration would have been problematic, so the stones would melt (also symbolic of the spring thaw in most cases, unless there was no hail until late int he year), and people would either drink the water from the fallen stones or they would save the water to pour to the growing garden or field plants when spring had set in. When refrigeration became more available, people began to save the stone throughout the year. There is no set removal time for saved stones, but I've never kept them past the Yuletide of the same year in which they were taken, and I generally put them out in the spring in the garden.

Aspects of this tradition appear to be echoes of the Haagel rune, which in Deitsch use has meanings akin to Hagalaz and Anglo-Saxan Hagal. The structure of the Deitsch rune looks more like that of the Younger Futhark than of the Elder Futhark; however, it is just as frequently depicted standing on two of its legs as it is on one. 

Haagel on its end
The same circumstance applies to the common six-point rosette symbols on hex signs, and many people believe that the rune and the rosette are related. Indeed, the meaning of the rosette in hex signs is similar to that of the Haagel rune: banishment and protection. 

Haagel as rosette on two legs
Haagel is a rune of proactive elemental Spirit, which places it useful in dealing with issues associated with reactive Spirit (depression, grief, death) and with elemental Earth issues (often digestive disorders), particularly of the reactive type (diarrhea, food poisoning, parasitic infections, etc., but, of course, always see a doctor, too!).

The rune may also be used in the general application of protection and also for transformation of the mind, of understanding, and in interpersonal relationships. It may applied for good or for ill, for terminations to allow new beginnings, for bringing about or confronting radical change, for inciting change in the self or others, for the expulsion unwanted baggage on the mind and the soul, and for dealing with the shadow of the self and the shadow sides of others. There is no rune in Deitsch practice more associated with both the application and the blocking or deflection of hexes, and indeed, skilled practitioners can use Haagel to transform hexes into blessings that draw energy from the sender. It is also the most commonly used rune in Urglaawe house blessings.

Along with Loch (Laguz), Haagel is a rune of mirrors, which brings in aspects associated with Berchta as well. While Loch is the reactive side of the mirror (that which looks back at the view), proactive Haagel is the eye seeking answers in the mirror. It is the seeker of wisdom, insight, and truth, and it is that which causes the active deflection of harm. 

Haagel, in both physical and runic form, has longstanding traditions within the Deitsch culture, and its lore and applications will continue to grow as Urglaawe evolves.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Wurthexe Charm

Here is one of the charms involving the Three Sisters, who appear to be Wurthexe (Norns)... No particularly meter to this one. Of unknown age. The first line is interesting because it is essentially without discernible time while the other lines are clearly past, present, future. 

It is important to note that Deitsch seldom uses the simple past and most verbs do not even have a form for it. Instead, the present perfect, past perfect, and past progressive (which does not exist in standard Hochdeutsch) tenses are the more common. This utilizes the present perfect, most like for synergy among the lines. In normal speech, the past perfect would more likely be used.

Dreie Schweschdere am Laafe
Erschdi hot vun der Vergangeheit die Weh gschtole
Zweddi iss vun der Gegewart die Weh am Weckschtosse
Driddi watt vun der Noochkunft die Weh verschtecke
Die Zeit wie en Raawer
Die Zeit wie en Verweser
Die Zeit wie en Verdecker
Mach’s so!

The Three Sisters walking
The first has stolen the woe from the Past 
The second is pushing the woe from the Present
The third will hide the woe from the Future
Time as a robber
Time as a guardian
Time as a concealer
Make it so!

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:

Parade of Spirits
Saturday, December 17, 2016
Liberty Lands Park
Philadelphia, PA

Come in Costume
3:30 PM Gathering Time

Parade starts at Dusk

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

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Guild Growth

The Urglaawe Guild of Braucherei and Hexerei Practitioners is thrilled to announce that Staci Baisch of the Seattle area and Jo Spinks of the Pittsburgh area had the power passed to them this weekend at Trothmoot at Fort Flagler, WA.

They will continue to study and to expand their knowledge, and they may now each be known as a Braucherin by our community.

Hail the Healers!

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, January 17, 2016

Requirements for Butzemann Construction

From the Urglaawe Customs Guild. Note that there will be a follow-up post in the next few days with some advisories on plants (do not put Elder in a Butzemann).

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Folks who are planning to build a Butzemann may want to start the planning and preparation now.

It occurred to me that I probably never described the typical requirements of the physical Butzemann, so I am going to do this now.

Since he is a scarecrow until his spiritual activation in the Kannsege (Ceremony of the Corn), you can use any scarecrow pattern, size, etc. in the construction. Because I am artistically-challenged, I usually get hold of a muslin doll shell (AC Moore and Michael's have them). This year, though, I am again going to aspire to a larger Butzemann.

He can be as simple or as ornate as you wish him to be. The minimal requirements are the following:
  • He must be given clothes, and they are to belong to him and must be burned along with him later in the year. At a minimum, he should have a shirt, pants, and something to cover his head (typically a straw hat or similar).

  • He should have some sort of representation of eyes, ears, nose and mouth. The features can be drawn on or fashioned into the structure (holes, embedded items, etc.).

  • He must be given a heart (this always makes me think of a character mis-assignment from the Wizard of Oz). The heart may be a paper cut-out. Some folks use an acorn or other seeds or nuts to represent the heart. Most folks I know also put in Zauberzettel (charm tickets) that are blessings written on paper and built into him. They can be one word (the intention is imbued into the paper when you are writing the word or words) or a small prayer. Common themes are love, security, bounty, gratitude, etc.

  • He must have some representation of the plant life on the turf that he will be responsible for. While most of us try to construct him completely from remnants of the last growing season, even a simple blade of grass will meet the requirement. If you don't have a garden or a lawn, get an indoor plant and put a leaf or two into him while you construct him. The leaf of a nearby tree will suffice; just be sure to remember to include that tree when walking the perimeter with the Butzemann after he is activated. The rest of the body may then be filled with materials procured elsewhere (just be sure it will be safe to burn).

  • He must be given a name. Some of us have names in mind during creation; others wait to see what comes up during the Kannsege. One or two of us had a name in mind but had to change it at the Kannsege.

  • He must have a designated spot where he will be posted. It can be a perch, a chair, or, if you are going to have an indoor Butzemann, even a spot on a shelf (think "Elf on a Shelf" with shamanic tendencies. :)

  • This is not required, but I usually draw runes on his hands and his feet and insert them on charm tickets. Typical runes are Jera, Ingwaz, Othala, Ansuz, Berkano, and Laguz. After some consideration, I am also going to include Mannaz. While it is a rune that reflects humanity, human awareness, and human evolution, plants and animals are also on their own evolutionary courses, and our successes are all tied one to another.

  • There is no set requirement for the date of construction or for the Kannsege to take place. Most folks aim to do it at Groundhog Day (anytime during Entschtanning (sundown Feb 1 through sundown Feb 12) is fine. Even later if need be. I personally would usually advise that the Braucherei guild that retained the most detail (Palmerton-Harrity in Carbon County, PA), and their tradition holds that it would be best if the Butzemann were activated prior to sundown on May 12 so that the Butzemann can witness Dunner battling the giant Dreizehdax. This way, they say, the Butzemann will be able to train to fight threats spiritually and to join the Butzemann army of plant spirits (these stories and the insights about plant spirits can get pretty mind-blowing).

  • Once the shell is constructed, he is just a scarecrow (Lumbemann). The Kannsege is the last step to awaken the plant spirits within the shell, and he then becomes a Butzemann.

  • The rest of the process is described in a file called "Kannsege adapted 1.01.pdf" in the Files section of the Urglaawe Customs Guild group. We'll be looking at that file to make any updates.
This whole process is very much about connection and interdependence among plants, humans, and animals. It is also about the connection to the land wights (Landwichde) and the synergy that arises from understanding ourselves as belonging to physical and spiritual existence rather than trying to set ourselves above the world around us.