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Friday, August 18, 2017

Deitsch Eclipse Lore

Since solar eclipses are so rare, this is getting posted before the research is completed. It will be updated as it progresses.

There are two types of stories related to eclipses. One is sort of "pro" eclipse and the other is rather "con" eclipse. 

An eclipse is called a "Finschderniss" (grammatically feminine, so it takes the article "die"), and an eclipse specifically of the sun is called "Sunnefinschderniss." "Finschderniss" is related to "finschder," means "murky" or "dark." The "pro" story is that Sunna and Muun were lovers (some say married) but that the jealous trickster Schadde had gotten between them (this is where the versions of the stories get confusing, which is why they still have not been published), but he somehow manages to persuade the god associated with sleep, Schlumm, to cast sleep spells on each of them. While they are asleep, Schadde sets them into the sky so that he is between them. 

Sunna and Muun do a dance through the skies, trying to be together, and , when a solar eclipse happens, it means they have achieved that goal, with Muun tossing Schadde behind him. An echo of the noise-making appears in this context with some respondents saying that they tap drinking glasses at this time, which is reminiscent of what people do at weddings when they want the bride and groom to kiss. The reason this is only "sort of" pro is that the way Schadde persuades Schlumm to set them to sleep has something to do with imbalance in Mannheem, and Sunna and Muun being together too long would have catastrophic results. Someday I will get that story's versions harmonized.

The other stories are akin to the Norse and other cultural stories: an animal (usually a fox or a wolf) is chasing the sun and catching it, and banging of pots and pans is performed to scare the animal away.

The first story reminds me a bit of this song...



Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
daß sie am Himmel sich niemals trafen,
denn wenn er aufsteht, dann geht sie schlafen.

Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
wenn sie auch träumen von einem Märchen,
ein Pärchen werden sie nie.

Da sind wir beide besser dran, viel besser dran,
weil mich dein Mund so oft ich will am Tage küssen kann.
Hier unten ist das Leben schön für dich und mich,
dein Mund sagt mir so oft ich will: 'Mein Schatz, ich liebe dich!'

Doch Lady, Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
wenn sie auch träumen von einem Märchen,
ein Pärchen werden sie nie.

Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
würden gern was dagegen tun,
dass sie so einsam dort oben wandern,
dass sie noch träumen, verliebt vom Andern.

Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
wenn sie auch träumen von einem Märchen,
ein Pärchen werden sie nie. Nie! Nie!

Friday, May 12, 2017

And Here They Come...

Although it does not appear that we'll be dealing with freezing temperatures in the Deitscherei over the next three nights, we still observe the end of the Wonnezeit and keep an eye out for the first attack of the Reifries (Frost Giants).

There are at least two full variants of this story exist along with several additional tidbits and remnants turning up in other areas. The versions of the story that make a complete tale are those of the  Oley Freindschaft and the Harrity-Palmerton Freindschaft guilds of Braucherei, and their versions complement each other, with the Harrity-Palmerton version containing many details that the Oley version lacked. There are some clashing points between the versions, such as one stating that each Butzemann defends only his own property and the other referring to the Butzemann army taking the battle with the Frost Giants into the north.

This is the first, raw, harmonized version, which includes features of both principal complete versions as well as aspects of the remnants of others. The final version will be published in the near future.

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Der Reifkeenich (King Frost) heard that the Wild Hunt had returned to Mannheem (the home of humanity) and that his armies were in retreat from Hexefeld as the Wonnedanz revitalized the land. He first ordered Dreizehdax ("Thirteen-Badger") to go to Mannheem to reclaim his lost holdings. The next day, he dispatched Vatzehvedder (or Vatzehfedder, which may be a dialectic reference to "Fourteen-Porcupine"), and on the third day, he sent Fuffzehfux ("Fifteen-Fox"). Each took with him an army of Giants and allies.

Dreizehdax and his soldiers journeyed twelve nights from the Naddbledder ("Northern Leaves" of the World Tree). As they arrived in Mannheem, they brought the temperature down so much tender plants that could not withstand the cold. Dreizehdax and his soldiers feasted upon the spirits of the dying plants. Dreizehdax led his army down from the north, eventually arriving in the farmlands. 

Suddenly, he caught the gaze of a large, powerful, reddish-haired man, and he immediately recognized Him as Dunner. Dunner stood between Dreizehdax and the farmland, which Dreizehdax greedily wished to devour.

The Butzemann (spiritually activated scarecrow) on each farm prepared to fight to protect their children, though they were young and were not sure that they could defeat Dreizehdax and his powerful soldiers. As the Frost Giants stepped forward, Dunner lifted his mighty Hammer and slew one soldier after another, leaving only Dreizehdax, who fled in terror back to the north.

Dunner spoke to the Butzemenner (plural), telling them that He would teach them how to fight the Frost Giants. 

The next night, Vatzehvedder and his armies arrived in Mannheem. His army drenched the mountains in freezing rain, which stung the tenders, and the soldiers devoured the spirits of the dying plants. As the army approached the farmlands, Dunner raised His Hammer and commanded the rain to stop. He told all of the Butzemenner to come out of their shells to fight alongside Him. 

The spirit of each Butzemann stepped forth. Dunner fought the soldiers of Vatzehvedder with His hands, using His breath to warm the air and exerting His Megge (main, megin, life force energy) upon them, which caused them to melt. The Butzemenner followed suit, using the power of their Megge to surround the army so Dunner could destroy it. Vatzehvedder realized that his army was doomed, and he retreated to the north, joining Dreizehdax.

On the third night, Fuffzehfux and his army arrived in Mannheem. He and his soldiers froze the mist in the air, which dropped deadly dew onto the leaves and stems of the tender plants. The dew tortured the tender plants and harmed even many hardier plants. The Frost Giants began to eat the spirits of the damaged plants. 

Suddenly, the Butzemenner emerged from their shells and rose up from the farmlands, coming into the north and destroying the soldiers while they feasted. As the Butzemenner stepped forward the frozen dew turned to a warm mist, and the plants rejoiced.

Fuffzehfux soon found himself standing alone facing the Butzemann army, and he retreated to the north, joining Dreizehdax and Vatzehvedder. The three returned to the Naddbledder to bring the unhappy news of their defeat to King Frost.

As each Butzemann returned home to defend his own land, Dunner appeared before them to congratulate them on their victory. "Your children may now safely take root in the soil of Mannheem."

This is why the tender plants may be brought out after sunrise on May 15.

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Contributing work:

Tobin, Jesse. Der Braucherei Weg (course). Kempton, PA: Three Sisters Center for the Healing Arts, 2007.

Robert L. Schreiwer and Ammerili Eckhart, original research, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013..

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Synchronicity...

Today I was driving up to the Urglaawe cemetery on back roads. It was a nice day to drive after several days of heavy rain. I noticed that the Hollenbach (the Deitsch name for Jordan Creek in Lehigh County, PA) was flowing particularly strongly (and it normally is pretty fast to begin with), so I pulled onto a side road, got out of my truck, and walked onto a bridge that looks over the creek.

While I was standing there, an old man walked up from the side road carrying fishing gear. He greeted me, and we struck up a conversation. Through the course of the chat, I mentioned the Urglaawe Folklore Research Project, which interested him immensely. This part of Lehigh County is Blobarrick (Blue Mountain) country and is thus Ewicher Yeeger's stomping grounds.

I asked him if he knew any folk stories from the region, and he replied that he did. When I mentioned Ewicher Yeeger, his face lit up, and he said that he knew a few stories. One that he told was very similar to the Ewicher Yeeger story of Allemaengel, but then he told me an anecdote that I found interesting.

He said that when he was a boy, his brother, some friends, and he used to fish in the Hollenbach, and there was an old man, whose name he could not recollect, who used to fish in the creek as well. He said the old man was very mysterious and he was not sure of much about him other than that he was from Werleseck (Werleys Corner) and that people considered him to be a hermit. The old man would talk to the boys and would tell them stories about the area (some of which he related to me).

He said that what he recalled vividly was that he thought some of the man's actions were peculiar. He would throw beans, corn, worms, flowers or plants, cheese, or other items into the creek before and/or after he fished, whether he caught something or not. He said that when the old man would catch a fish, he would utter a word of thanks to the Eternal Hunter for giving him a meal that night. He would then throw some food into the creek for the fish.

When I remarked on only having heard of Ewicher Yeeger in the context of the hunt, he replied, "Fishing is a bit like hunting, gell?"

He then remarked that he thinks of the mysterious old man occasionally when he is fishing or when he walks past the area where the old man used to fish. We continued to to talk as we walked along the creek so he could show me where the man used to fish, and he admitted that he on occasion whispers a thanks to Ewicher Yeeger when he catches a fish or has a successful hunt.

The description given to me about the mysterious man was that he was a Braucher or a Hex and that the man relating this story to me was witnessing the hermit's rituals. The man with whom I was speaking was born "during the time that the people were depressed" so he is likely at least in his 80s, and he said the hermit was very old when he was about age 11-15 or 16. This would put the hermit as being born sometime, perhaps during the 1850s-1870s.

The man said he would ask his brother if he remembered any other stories that the old man or anyone else told when they were boys and he'd contact me if he learned anything.


Friday, March 3, 2017

Der Luul

'Siss Midwinder. Viele vun de Blanzegeischder sinn uff der Wilde Yacht mit der Holle gange. 'Em Reifkeenich sei Griegsmenner sinn iwwer 'm Land am Haerrsche. 

Wie waer's doch mit de annere Blanzegeischder? Sie sinn immer am Schiddle im reifiche Bodde. Wann en Eisgrieger die sehnt wett, er deet die in die Unnergegend schicke.

Wie duhne die driwwerkumme?

Der grie Harr Luul hiedt die.  Sei Ochdem erbaeht die. Sei Hand beschitzt die. Die yingere Geischder  buhle um sei Gunscht vun Ihm. Er iss die Waerming im Kalt. Er iss em Daagslicht sei Suh. Er iss der Lenzing im Winder.

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It is midwinter. Many of the plant spirits are on the Wild Hunt with Holle. The warriors of King Frost rule over the land. 

What of the other plant spirits? They are always shivering in the frosty soil. If an ice warrior would see them, he would send them to the Unnergegend. 

How do they survive?

The green Lord Luul watches over them. His breath warms them. His hand protects them. The younger spirits court his favor. He is the warmth in the cold. He is the son of the dawn's light. He is the spring in winter.

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One of the more mysterious beings in the Hexerei lore related from Central Pennsylvania by a small handful of respondents, the Luul is the defender of the winter greens and the early spring greens. 

The respondents related to Him as a helpful entity, which is not uncommon among many practitioners of Deitsch folk healing and magic even with known deities such as Wudan, Dunner, and Holle. The text above is an amalgamation of several respondents' statements, but among the more curious comments was from a Sadie M. (not her real name) of Juniata County, who made the specific reference to Luul being the son of dawn's light and the "Lenzing" in winter.

Lenzing can mean "springtime," but it is also an alternate name for the month of March (and is of the same root as "Lent" and is of Germanic origin). March is also the time of the Spring Equinox, or the Oschdre, which is associated in other tales with a goddess of the dawn who brought color to the world. Could Luul be the son of this goddess? 

During discussions on this topic among the Urglaawe community, we learned of the Frankish god known by varying names, including Lollus, Lullus, and Loll. We have looked into a possible link between Luul and Lollus. Lollus is depicted as holding His tongue, presumably because He is youthful (maybe even “Baby New Year” youthful?). Indeed, His name is linguisticlally related to “lollipop” and “lullabye,” so the tongue and the mouth appear to be important features.

 

Some scholars link Luul to Frey in terms of fertility. Grapes and earns of grain were given to Lollus, and He wore a wreath of poppy flowers around His neck. 


Image Source:
https://www.schweinfurtfuehrer.de/sagen-und-geschichten/schweinfurter-sagen/die-sage-vom-lollus/
Could an echo of the awareness of Lollus have been carried through into Deitsch lore in the form of Luul? Such a link cannot be proven, unfortunately. Nevertheless, Urglaawer honor Luul at New Year's Day, but it would be just as appropriate to honor Him during the month of Lenzing at the time when the weather is particularly capricious. 

While native plants are acclimated to the fickle weather of late winter and early spring, many naturalized plants, particularly annuals, are at risk of germinating during extended warm spells and then being damaged by a cold snap. 

If one accepts the connection between Luul and Lollus as likely, then grapes, grains, and poppies are appropriate offerings.

Some of the greens that Luul may be protecting include the following:

Among the greens that I'd place into this category, at least in this general area, would be Dead Nettles (Daabnessel, Lamium purpureum), Ground Ivy (Grundelrewe, Glechoma hederacea), Chickweed (Hinkeldarrem, Stellaria media), Cuckooflower (Schtruwwlichi Nans in Deitsch; in English, also called Pennsylvania Bittercress or Lady's Smock; Cardamine pensylvanica and related species). There are, of course, others.

There are medicinal uses for all of these, but among the more esoteric uses are the following:

Purple Deadnettle: A strong stand of Purple Deadnettle appearing in the Fall is said to divine a mild winter. Also, if someone is very ill, then the urine of that person is to be collected at night and poured onto Purple Deadnettles. If the Deadnettles were yellow or dying the next morning, then the ailing person should be expected to die from the current ailment. If the Purple Deadnettles were still green, then the person would be expected to overcome the ailment.

Ground Ivy: Sewn into the seams of skirts, this plant is said to increase the likelihood of pregnancy. Also, wreaths of Ground Ivy worn by elderly women around the waist while dancing on Walpurgisnacht/Wonnenacht are said to ward off old age. Similar stories apply to elderly men and women wearing wreaths on the head while dancing around the Midsummer fire. Also, this is one of the Nine Sacred Herbs of Braucherei.

Chickweed: Said via various methods to divine one's love or to attract love. I am not familiar with most of the methods, but one is similar to picking the leaves off of daisies. If you know chickweed, I am sure you can imagine the challenge presented in picking the petals off of the flowers. Perhaps more "Old World," though, is an odd practice that involves feeding a food chicken chickweed three days before it is to be cleaned and dressed, and then divining things from the entrails. The Deitsch name for the plant, Hinkeldarrem, does indeed mean "chicken guts," but most folks ascribe that to the often messy appearance of the plant.

Cuckooflower: Said to be sacred to any number of faeries and land spirits, likely because of the plant's quick, widespread appearance and the volume of seeds.

All of these can also be used alone or in combination with other herbs to detect witches, remove/block curses, and a couple of them can be used in actually casting curses.

Our understanding of Luul will continue to evolve over time.

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GardenStone. Gods of the Germanic Peoples 2, pp. 345-347.

Hasenfratz, Hans-Peter and Michael Moynihan. Barbarian Rites: The Spiritual World of the Vikings and the Germanic Tribes, pp. 113-114.

Mein Schweinfurt. Die Sage vom Lollus.