Posts filed under ‘Urglaawe’

Midsummer Musings

I typically don’t celebrate the Summer Solstice formally, because Dan & I usually go camping around that time. A couple times when I was at home, I performed an ADF style Hellenic ritual for Helios. For a while my cultural foci were Gaelic and Hellenic, now it’s Germanic & Gaelic. In the Gaelic tradition, the solstices and equinoxes are less important, though there are some associated customs, particularly in Scotland where there is more Norse influence. American style Asatru & Heathenry tends to lump everything into a pan-Germanic blob, albeit with a Norse/Icelandic, slant but I’ve been trying to sort out where the different holidays come from, and what people added in- like “Vali’s Day” instead of Valentine’s Day. Altogether, the customs of Midsummer are very similar across the British Isles, Scandinavia and even in Baltic and Slavic countries- bonfires, herbs and flowers being gathered and believed to have magical properties for health and fertility, wearing flowery wreaths, dancing and mock weddings being performed.

I think there are some holidays that work OK for solitary practice- Samhain for example can be rather quiet and contemplative. But clearly summer holidays are not like that! But we do have community festivals coming up- the following weekend will be the Twin Cities GLBT Pride festival. Totally secular and modern of course, but I can’t help seeing a lot of the same themes, just in a queer-er form. I’m not sure if there will be bonfires, but surely there will be barbeques- this is America after all! Certainly we’ll be having them on Independence Day. People will definitely be having sex, even if it’s less prone to baby-making! Cross-dressing is associated with some holidays- more so with Beltaine & some versions of Samhain, and that will certainly be going on. Drag is a performance, a ritual of sorts, and theatre comes from ritual. Fairies and witches are believed to hang out on Midsummer’s Night.

Aine- the Irish goddess of the summer sun, is also a fairy queen (there may be more than one Aine)

Sol, the Norse sun goddess has Afrodull as one of her epithets, which can be translated as Elf Splendor, Elf Shine or Elf Wheel (more info here- this page is about Yule, but has a lot of speculation about Sol) To me the idea that the Sun goddess was more important at one time in Norse religion rings true, and the author suggests we can see echoes of that in Idunna, Freyja and others as well as a stronger sense of who she is from their Baltic neighbors to the east, as Saule.

In Deitsch lore, it is told that Oschdre (cognate with Anglo-Saxon Eostre) created the colors of the world. Oschdre could be another sun/dawn goddess.

The rainbow flag originally had eight colors representing hot pink for sexuality, red for life, orange for healing, yellow for the sun, green for nature, turquoise for art, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit. Since the colors pink and turquoise weren’t easily available (the first flags being hand-dyed by Gilbert Baker, who created the flag in 1978) the colors were reduced to a standard six, but I love the symbolism behind the original flag.

So these are my weird brainstorm-y ideas. I’ll sleep on it & see if I can make a ritual out of it- I’m thinking one that’s for the purpose of blessing the GLBT community, with particular emphasis on bi/pan & trans/genderqueer folks.


June 18, 2015 at 8:57 am 2 comments

Holda, Lady of Hearth & Spindle

I have been learning about a mysterious and fascinating goddess this past year, in my studies of Urglaawe, the Deitsch tradition of Heathenry. Frau Holle or Holda is the chief goddess of the Urglaawe pantheon, and is believed to have led the Deitsch people to the New World. You won’t find her listed in most books or websites on Asatru, as she is specifically a German goddess, appearing as a witch or a lady in white in fairy tales to teach young girls the value of hard work, how to spin and keep the house clean, or teaching a man how to plant and grow flax. Perhaps it is due to her closeness to the home and her protective and teaching role she takes with humanity, that she lived on in folk memory and now can reclaim her rightful place as a goddess.

Frau Holle makes it snow by shaking her feather bed, and her bird is the goose, whose feathers keep the bed warm. It has been suggested that the figure of Mother Goose can be traced back to her. She is the leader of the Wild Hunt, by herself or perhaps sharing the duty with Woden, who may be her consort. She may be the same as Frigg. She oversees childbirth and protects children, and watches over children who die young. Because of this death association, some see her as the same as Hela, but the Urglaawe folk I have talked have asserted that she is not. She is the mistress of magic, especially the patroness of kitchen witches.


Frau Holle- fairy tale from Brothers Grimm

From Fairy Tale to Goddess: Frau Holle and the Scholars Who Reveal Her Origins by Cat Heath



Winternights Ceremony to Frau Holle

Interesting Blog posts (sources not cited)

Frau Holle from the Urglaawe Perspective– interpretation of the fairy tale

Faces of the Golden Queen– American Folkloric Witchcraft

Question: Frau Holle, Skadi and Hel on grumpylokeanelder’s tumblog

Winter Goddesses– thoughts on Holda, Perchta & Baba Yaga from Dver

Beth identifies Frau Holle with Bestla, the mother of Odin

January 18, 2015 at 7:13 pm 3 comments

Urglaawe: Pennsylvania Deitsch Heathenry

Years ago, I started out my interest in Paganism with, rather embarrassingly Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch and To Ride a Silver Broomstick. I remember one thing she mentioned that perked my interest was that she is a practitioner of Pennsylvania Dutch pow-wow magic and discussed some of the customs related to that tradition. I’d been told by relatives that I had PA Dutch roots on both sides of my family, but for a long time I’ve focused on my Irish and Scottish background, while ignoring the German.  But after living in Minnesota for so long, land of Germans and Scandinavians, my interest drifted back in that direction, though I still have not yet had the chance to trace my German ancestors. My partner Daniel’s heritage is also mostly German and Norwegian, with some British Isles thrown in for good measure, and his ancestors are mine now as well.

Truly American folk traditions can be hard to find- likely this is a reason why interest in Appalachian folk magic has arisen among Pagans, and I have a fellow Heathen/ADF Druid blogger who enjoys drawing on Ozark mountain folklore. “Pennsylvania Dutch” is in fact a misnomer, thanks to their English neighbors “Deutsch” German for German was confused with Dutch. And in their dialect, the name for themselves and their language is “Deitsch”. Most of the immigrants came from what is now south-western Germany, the Rhineland-Palatinate and Baden-Wurtemberg (two states within modern Germany, as well as Switzerland, and the German-speaking Alsace-Lorraine region of France. Until World War II, over a third of the state spoke Pennsylvania German, since then due to the stigma of the Nazism, the dialect has greatly declined outside of the Plain sects- Old Order Amish and Mennonites.

The Deitsch brought their unique folk healing and magical traditions of Braucherei and Hexerei to the New World, a combination of German pre-Christian and mystical Christian beliefs and practices. Frau Holle, Wodan, Dunner and other deities were honored as helpful spirits. The term pow-wow- meaning “spiritual leader, or gathering of spiritual leaders” from the indigenous Narragansett people somehow became applied to Braucherei.

Along with the revival of Heathenry in the United States came a renewed interest in the Heathen aspects of Braucherei, and the name Urglaawe meaning primal faith was coined. Distelfink Sippschaft is the only specifically Urglaawe organization that I’m aware of, based in PA of course. They seem like lovely people and are very committed to respectfully collecting oral traditions, working with both Heathen and Christian Braucherei practitioners, other PA German cultural groups, and are also involved with Heathens Against Hate.

Magical Texts:

Pow Wows- or the Long Lost Friend by John George Hoffman 1820 text of PA German folk magic

The Sixth & Seventh Books of Moses- 18th-19th c. magical text, used by both German-Americans, as well as African-Americans in Hoodoo (another syncretic magical tradition)

American Folk Magick (earlier title- Hexcraft: Dutch Country Magick) by Silver Ravenwolf (I have heard mixed reviews about these books- some say they are good source of info, others say she puts too much of a Wiccan spin on it)

Urglaawe Resources:

Distelfink Sippschaft

Urglaawe Blog

Deitsch Mythology Blog

(each has plenty more links- check them out!)

October 13, 2014 at 2:11 am 6 comments


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