Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Battle of Pavia - 1525

The Battle of Pavia, fought on the morning of 24 February 1525, was the decisive engagement of the Italian War of 1521–26.

A Spanish-Imperial army under the nominal command of Charles de Lannoy (and working in conjunction with the garrison of Pavia, commanded by Antonio de Leyva) attacked the French army under the personal command of Francis I of France in the great hunting preserve of Mirabello outside the city walls. In the four-hour battle, the French army was split and defeated in detail. The French suffered massive casualties, including many of the chief nobles of France; Francis himself, captured by the Spanish troops, was imprisoned by Charles V and forced to sign the humiliating Treaty of Madrid, surrendering significant territory to his captor. The outcome of the battle cemented Spanish Habsburg ascendancy in Italy.


Friday, March 30, 2012

"Halfway up the mountain"

Two interesting surnames from the Val Camonica are "Mitterpergher" and "Mittempergher." Some months ago I tried using Yahoo Answers to find out what they might mean. They are very likely of Langobard origin, so I correctly assumed that the modern German language would be the closest fit. Two of the replies were interesting.

From Yahoo user "amphitryon":

A very interesting question: the Germanic sounding name is however not often found today in Northern Europe and seems to be centered in the area of Brescia (Italy) and more specific in the Valle Camonica. It dates back to the 6th century and the invasion of the Lombards.

now to the name itself: Mezzomonte would be the Italian version, both meaning ''middle of the mountain'' (pergh = Berg = mountain in German. ''Mitte'' = middle in German. Mittempergher = ''mitten am Berg'' = at the middle of the mountain; the ''m'' after ''mitte'' coming from the German ''am'' - as in ''mitten am Berg''. The ''am'' is a form of ''auf dem'' - again the ending ''m''.

Mitterpergher = the ''r'' after ''mitte'' gives it the meaning ''one living halfway up the mountain''. I assume it means that the original family/clan lived halfway up the mountain.

I would join this club:
and pursue my inquiries through them.

Good luck

Of course, they ended up looking at our own blog for much of that information. The meaning here is "one living in the middle of the mountain." The "er" personalizes it in German, as opposed to merely pointing out the geography of the mid-mountain point. In modern German it would be "Mitterberger." The "pergher," especially with that "gh," sounds very old. Although there is no way to know for certain, I wonder if the surname was from before the Langobards reached the Camunian Valley, of which the Camuni were basically "mitterperghers" by definition, or if that surname was a family name from some earlier period.

From Yahoo user "chrusotoxos":

The name seems indeed old, possibly Cimbrian in origin, and it is typical of some areas of the Eastern Italian Alps.

It means 'half-mountain', probably in the sense that the people with this name lived halfway up a mountain. The Cimbrian word 'pergh' is equivalent to the German 'berg', and they both mean 'mountain'. Most linguists today don't see a link between Langobards and Cimbrian, which is a bavarian language, but the issue is not settled. It is obviously an old name, so well done for researching your family over so many generations!

Another variation of the surname in the area is Laitempergher, meaning 'from the Latiem mountain', modern Scanuppia.

In German speaking countries there are a lot of variations, though, such as Leuenberger, Guggisberg, Von bergen...mountain life has been an important part of European life, and the Alps in particular are in the middle of it all and were very difficult to cross before roads, so I guess it's normal that many surnames remain from the time where mountain people were essential for travelers. :)

This is probably closer to the real meaning of the surname. "One living halfway up the mountain." I was not familiar with the Cimbrian language. For example, the word "pergh" for mountain. Scanuppia is in Trento. The Cimbrian language was not from the South Tyrol, which is essentially German. As to whether or not it was a Langobard survival, or from a particular migration from Bavaria to Verona, Trento, and Vicenza eight hundred to a thousand years ago, is in question.

Another question is whether or not the Camunian surname "Mitterpergher" is of Langobard or Cimbrian origin? The Langobards took the Cisalpine region, and occupied the major cities and the surrounding farmland, and it's highly unlikely that a lone Langobard would climb up into the Camunian Valley to settle there. Of course, at a later time, a Mitterpergher may have migrated there.

Although the Cimbrian language didn't exist specifically in the Val Camonica, the same theory could apply. A Mitterpergher may have made their way there at some later point. After all, "pergh" is a Cimbrian word. It may have been a Langobard word as well.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

"The Hammer of the Gods"

The hit song 'Immigrant song', by the former English hard rock band Led Zeppelin, was one of the few times that there has been a genuine mention of European paganism in mainstream music over the last fifty years. Odinism, in particular, has held a very ambiguous position in the English-speaking world. In 1970, when the song was released, the Christian ethic was much stronger. This was especially true in the United States. Some Christians considered it malevolent "devilish heresy," while other Christians thought of it as mere benign "cultural myth." It was a powerful song, which could be interpreted in slightly different ways.

The song begins with a distinctive, wailing cry from vocalist Robert Plant and is built around a repeating, staccato Jimmy Page/John Paul Jones/John Bonham riff in the key of F# minor. There is a very faint count-off at the beginning of the track with lots of hiss which appears on the album version, but is trimmed from the single version. The hiss is feedback from an echo unit.

"Immigrant Song" was written during Led Zeppelin's tour of Iceland, Bath and Germany in mid-1970. The opening date of this tour took place in Reykjavík, Iceland, which inspired Plant to write the song. As he explained:

We weren't being pompous ... We did come from the land of the ice and snow. We were guests of the Icelandic Government on a cultural mission. We were invited to play a concert in Reykjavik and the day before we arrived all the civil servants went on strike and the gig was going to be cancelled. The university prepared a concert hall for us and it was phenomenal. The response from the kids was remarkable and we had a great time. "Immigrant Song" was about that trip and it was the opening track on the album that was intended to be incredibly different.

Just six days after Led Zeppelin's appearance in Reykjavik, the band performed the song for the first time on stage during the Bath Festival.

The song's lyrics are written from the perspective of Vikings rowing west from Scandinavia in search of new lands. The lyrics make explicit reference to Viking conquests and the Old Norse religion (Fight the horde, sing and cry, Valhalla, I am coming!). In a 1970 radio interview, Plant jokingly recalled:

We went to Iceland, and it made you think of Vikings and big ships... and John Bonham's stomach... and bang, there it was - Immigrant Song!

First pressings of the US single of the song have a quote from Aleister Crowley inscribed in dead wax by the run-out groove: "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law."

One of the lines from the song became part of Led Zeppelin lore. The line, "The hammer of the gods/will drive our ships to new lands" prompted some people to start referring to Led Zeppelin's sound as the "Hammer of the Gods." The phrase was used as the title of Stephen Davis' biography of the band, Hammer of the Gods: The Led Zeppelin Saga. The lyrics also did much to inspire the classic heavy metal myth, of mighty Viking-esque figures on an adventure, themes which have been adopted in the look and music of bands from Iron Maiden to Manowar.

'Immigrant Song' lyrics:

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs flow.
The hammer of the gods will drive our ships to new lands,
To fight the horde, singing and crying: Valhalla, I am coming!

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

Ah, ah,
We come from the land of the ice and snow,
From the midnight sun where the hot springs blow.
How soft your fields so green, can whisper tales of gore,
Of how we calmed the tides of war. We are your overlords.

On we sweep with threshing oar, Our only goal will be the western shore.

So now you'd better stop and rebuild all your ruins,
For peace and trust can win the day despite of all your losing.

My initial reaction, from listening to it and by the lyrics, is that it hints at aggression. In other words, "conquerors, not immigrants." Right from the get-go they proclaim that they are from a harsh land, that their gods are driving them to new lands to fight and conqueror, and that they expect to enter "Valhalla" in the afterlife for their heroism in battle. Pretty powerful stuff!

Next they proclaim that their "only goal" is the western shore. Although some could envision Leif Erikson's landing in North America, most likely they were referring to the British Isles. Although the later lyrics are, like most songs, ambiguous; they, at the very least, hint of conquest. They describe the new lands as full of goodies, there is violence for a time, and they then triumphantly proclaim: "We are your overlords." Sort of a Viking version of "I came. I saw. I conquered."


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Euganeian subrace and the "old religion"

Often I mix the perspectives of specifically "our culture" (Cisalpine, Lombardian, and Camunian) with larger concepts of which we are a part. I made that decision based on the types of issues covered here. This entry is no exception. Anyway, this intentionally open and slight double-speak can't always be helped. The Euganei were, I believe, an Alpine people who were akin to a much larger ancient proto-European stock. By ancient, I mean tens of thousands of years ago. So long ago... before the ancestors of what we know to be the Norse, Mediterranean, Celtic. Slavic, and perhaps other stocks--all of which were later to become Indo-Europeans--had even migrated westward into Europe.

Therefore, the ancient Camunni were a tribe of Euganei, who where themselves part of this Alpine-proto-European stock. The ancient Basques are another example of this stock. Modern survivals of what may have been the first Europeans. In the same way as there were various tribes--some Alpine, some Gaulish--in pre-Roman Cisalpine Gaul; there were also, in Gaul itself, the very same dynamic of Gaulish and Alpine tribes. This ancient social dynamic may have existed all over Europe between the proto-Europeans and the newcomers (Gauls, Norse, Mediterraneans, etc.). Little is known about this proto-European Alpine stock...... however...... they left us with one big reminder of their culture...... the "Old Religion."

Just to backtrack for a moment. The English author Margaret Baillie-Saunders had written about a type of Norse spirituality which existed even prior to the Norse clans arriving into Europe. She placed them approximately in the region now known as Iran, probably during the last ice age about 20,000 years ago. I am aware that I may step on a few toes here. A number of prominent Odinists make statements such as "Odinism was the religion of our Northern European ancestors going back 40,000 years." In reality, a number of sub-stocks--who later, collectively, were to become "Indo-Europeans"--lived all around Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and Eurasia. This, of course, was a totally different world than what we know today. I think that the ancient world is far more exotic and beautiful than we can even imagine. It was also a very harsh world. I am just using this very ancient Norse item as just one example of this.

This "old religion" interacted, either in a positive or negative way, with the polytheistic spiritual traditions and mythologies of the incoming sub-races--mentioned above--in very ancient times. It appears that they were generally blended into these pagan traditions. I may be stepping out on a limb here, but sometimes I almost get the impression that some of these reconstructionists don't quite know what to do with these mildly out-of-place "old religion" spiritual traditions present within these various polytheistic religions. They seem marginally "out of place." I will avoid further controversy, for now, by not mentioning what those somewhat out-of-step traditions are.

So what is the "old religion?" Although there isn't a genuine folkish name for it that I know of, we can get clues by the spiritual elements which have survived: the Horned God or horned deity, the Triple Goddess or triple deity, the Witches Sabbath, European witchcraft, or witchcraft, the Wheel of the Year, the Mother goddess, or proto-Indo-European religion. Personally, I think that Stregheria from central and southern Italy is probably a good source of clues, as well as in some areas of Wicca, usually Celtic Wicca. I recall watching one woman of Stregheria on a YouTube video, which was actually from an older cable tv program, who was amazed as to the many similarities between Stregheria and Celtic Wicca. Well, these ancient traditions were very widespread. In fact, Stregheria is also known as "La Vecchia Religione"... the old religion. Modern Wicca should have been the reconstructionism of the "old religion," but it simply wasn't. It's a broken thing which cannot be fixed. It's hopelessly mixed with paganism from all over the world, and many have tried to prop it up as some sort of modern political front. If anything, a return to the old religion would be "radical traditionalism," as opposed to some universal aspiration. However, a sizable number of Wiccans could be led into the folkish/traditionalist camp. Who knows, perhaps even a few "Goths" as well.

The most incredible thing about the "old religion" is its historical resilience. It has survived the arrival of all of those polytheist faiths in ancient times; it has survived the literal assault of Christianity and the witch trials in the Early Modern period on both sides of the ocean; and it has survived history itself from our most remote roots. Now, the final hurdle. It must overcome Wiccan-style universalism and modern politics in order to return as a viable, folk-minded, non-political way of life. There is one positive unintended consequence to the promotion of Wicca/eclectic witchcraft by many in high places. They have, despite some unwarranted harm to the old religion's credibility, provided an opportunity by simply smashing the gates. Today, radical folk-traditionalists can also walk through those gates and establish themselves. Look at Hunter Yoder. One man can do a lot, even without help from people in high places. Right now is our chance. All we have to do as native believers is TAKE back our own folk tradition from the pretenders.

They can be overcome, not by antagonism, but simply by outwitting them. The most important step is to not be "anti-Christian." Christian aggression took place a long time ago. In fact, it may perhaps be more pragmatic to take somewhat of a pro-Christian stance. If a jerk does show themselves, use creative arguments. For example, if they make mention of "human sacrifice," which actually took place globally in every locale; then bring up the human sacrifices which were conducted by early Christian sects, and they did take place. However, that is only when confronted with an aggressive person. Personally, I don't even see any reason that a Christian couldn't still believe in a folk tradition from their own remote roots; in the same way that the Greeks or Gaels have done. Everything doesn't have to be a fight. Yes, you can be a Christian and still partake in folk traditions. In fact, you do not have to view this as a "religion" at all.

The most important thing is to establish our own ethics, and not always be influenced by the controversies and contrived drama of others. Something which is a "problem" or "issue" with them, does not have to be an issue at all for us. There are bad people in all religions, including pagan ones. I think I will just end it here, rather than go on about what I believe that we are and aren't. In a nutshell, I think it's pretty safe to say that what we would be aiming for would be something entirely non-political. It might be something which could, in some ways, resemble Asatru. In some ways, Asatru is like standing on top of a mountain under the sun, while the old religion is like standing in a forest clearing under the moonlight. Darker symbolism, but not a dark heart. Asatru is more like masculine spiritual energy; while the old religion is more like feminine spiritual energy. No malevolence. That was propaganda all along, from Christian supremacists and Satanists.


"The Sorcerer" from 13,000 BC
3-31-12 ADDITION: I wanted to add a few more items to this. First, I had put some links to areas which served as clues to this ancient proto-European people and culture. I should have included "the Sorcerer," an antlered-man image found in a cavern called 'The Sanctuary' in France, which may be an early artifact reflecting a Cernic-type god; Cernunnos, which may have been adopted into Gaulish spirituality when the two sub-races came into contact; "Herne the Hunter," an English legend of an antlered-man spirit; and "the Green Man" legend and the "Jack in the green" celebration are a tie-in this this concept, but beyond that it becomes more merged into other spiritual traditions.

What we are looking at is something which goes very deep into the ancient world. Back to Cro-Magon hunter-gatherers who literally defeated another strong species, the Neanderthals, for primacy over Europe. There seems to be a direct link between the horned god legend and the tradition of the Witches Sabbath, over a very long period of time. The "Wiccan concept" should have been something designed to develop over time, rather than allow someone to step in and establish the terms from the get-go.

Although ignored by the American press, there is currently a dig in Bulgaria which hopes to unearth an utterly massive area of what appears to be five pyramids. These structures are so old that they appear as mere mountains at first glance. However, they are being exposed as man-made structures. These are not "mounds" or "carved hills." They could be tens of thousands of years old, and could change everything we know about ancient civilization. This would also tie right into what we are looking at here regarding a proto-European "Alpine race" and their spiritual traditions.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Danilo Gallinari's behind-the-back pass

Small forward from Lombardy making a name for himself in the NBA

Danilo Gallinari (Wikipedia page)

Danilo Gallinari (born August 8, 1988) is an Italian professional basketball player with the Denver Nuggets of the NBA. He is 6ft-10in in height and 225 lbs in weight. Danilo mainly plays at the small forward position. His nickname is Gallo, which is Italian for "Rooster."

Pro career


Gallinari's father, Vittorio Gallinari, played professional basketball with Olimpia Milano (along with future head coach Mike D'antoni), Pallacanestro Pavia, Virtus Bologna, and Scaligera Basket Verona in the Italian league.

Danilo starting playing professionally in 2004 for Casalpusterlengo, a team in Serie B1 (third level in Italy).

In 2005, Gallinari was acquired by Armani Jeans Milano, which then sent him to Edimes Pavia, a team competing in the Italian league second division championship during the 2005–2006 season, so that he could earn more experience with extended playing minutes. Even though he played only half of the season due to an injury, in 2006 he was nominated as the best Italian player of the Italian league second division championship, averaging 14.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 0.8 assists in 17 games.

In 2006, he was recalled by Olimpia Milano to play in the 2006–2007 Italian league first division championship and also in the second level tier European wide cup competition, the ULEB Cup. In his first season in the top Italian division, Gallinari was named as the league's best player under the of age 22, averaging 10.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 assists per game in 34 regular season games and 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 steals, and 0.9 assists per game in 8 playoff games. During the season he also won the 2007 Italian All Star Game 3-point shootout contest.

He spent his last season with Milano in the top Italian league, finishing first in the league's overall efficiency ratings. During the 2007–2008 season, he averaged 17.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.0 steals, and 1.3 assists per game in 33 regular season games and 18.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.5 assists per game in 8 playoff games.

In the 2007–2008 season, he also played for the first time in the elite Europe-wide Euroleague competition, which is the first tier level continental club competition of Europe. In the Euroleague he averaged 14.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.5 steals per game in 11 games; he posted a season-high 27 points against Maccabi Tel Aviv in his final game. He made an instant impact on basketball courts around the continent and he was subsequently named the Euroleague 2007-08 season's Rising Star award winner.

NBA career

His contract with Olimpia Milano had an escape clause for playing professionally in the United States, effectively eliminating major encumbrances that would have prevented him from joining the NBA. On April 23, 2008, he decided to declare himself eligible for the 2008 NBA Draft. Gallinari signed an endorsement deal with Reebok before being drafted into the NBA. He has his own sneaker, made by Reebok, called "The Rooster."

Gallinari was drafted 6th overall in the 2008 draft by the New York Knicks. He then signed a two-year contract with the team.

In his first NBA Summer League game, Gallinari showed off his ball handling skills by executing a "Shammgod" dribble move in order to beat his defender to the basket and draw a foul.

2008-09 season

Just one game into the 2008–09 season, it was announced Gallinari would most likely miss most of the remainder of the season due to back problems. Despite his back problems, he came back into play on 17 January, during a game the Knicks lost to Philadelphia. On 4 March, Gallinari scored a season-high 17 points against the Atlanta Hawks, shooting 4–5 on three-point field goal attempts.

2009-10 season

On October 23, 2009, the Knicks picked up Gallinari's contract option.

With the Knicks freeing up roster space for Gallinari with the trade of Quentin Richardson, and with Al Harrington being relegated to the bench, head coach Mike D'Antoni named Gallinari a starter two games into the 2009 NBA season. On October 31, 2009, the third game of the 2009 season, Gallinari scored a career-high 30 points and made eight three-pointers in an overtime loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, one short of tying a Knicks franchise record held by Latrell Sprewell and John Starks. Gallinari set a new career high on April 6, 2010, with 31 points in a 104-101 win over the Boston Celtics.

2010-11 season

On February 22, 2011, Gallinari was traded to the Denver Nuggets in a three-way blockbuster deal, which also involved the Minnesota Timberwolves, that brought Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups to New York. In just his second game with the Nuggets, he almost matched his career high with a 30-point effort in an overtime loss against the Portland Trail Blazers.

2011 NBA lockout

During the 2011 NBA lockout he returned to Italy to play for Emporio Armani Milan.

2011-12 NBA season

On January 25, 2012, Gallinari re-signed with the Denver Nuggets on a 4 year, $42 million deal.


Friday, March 16, 2012

Rethinking the Vehme Star Rose

Guido von List referred to the pentagram as the "vehme star rose." All of his other signs seemed to be of Germanic or European origin, except that one. Why? It could be that the star was loosely from our ancestors, perhaps even tens of thousands of years ago. It might have been that List couldn't resist the powerful symbol, which easily can be traced back to ancient Sumeria.

More than likely it was because the star was adopted into secret pagan circles in Europe sometime during the middle ages, which makes it "half-folkish" I suppose. A lot of neo-pagans may not want to hear this, but very far back in ancient times, it appears that as the ancestors of Norse, Celtic, and Mediterranean peoples migrated westward, they both drowned out and/or co-opted the various traditions of Sabbat witchcraft. As a result, it's spiritual survival depended upon it's ability to constantly reinvent itself. The "migration" of the vehme star seemed to be a part of that process. A symbol was needed, and with the long eroding disappearance of icons of it's own heritage, one was co-opted.

The symbol found it's way eastward, into the Orient, as well. Curiously, List's term "vehme star" only shows up on six webpages on a google search. It should be noted that the Pythagorean Greeks referred to this symbol as "hugieia" ("health") in the fifth century BC, but it appears that it was more of a symbol of geometry to them. Culturally, it appears, this symbol could be thought of as a symbol of both the West and the Middle East. In other words, the real origin was from a people who later migrated into southern and western Europe and became Indo-Europeans; while those who remained largely merged with dark skinned Semites who dramatically migrated out of the southern Saudi Peninsula northward starting in the sixth century.

[Right:  Drawing of a pentagram ring from Crotone, Italy, taken from IMAGINI DEGLI DEI ANTICHI (V. Catari, 1647)]

What I'm really driving at is that the vehme star rose could be looked at by a Eurofolkish person as being "half folkish." Perhaps even a little bit more than half, since it originated from a people whose racial stock later came to be known as Indo-European. The proto-Norse once occupied northern Eurasia, tens of thousands of years ago. However, nobody today thinks of them as "Asian" in any way. They became Indo-Europeans. In the spiritual tradition of Stregheria in central and southern Italy, during the Middle Ages, the vehme star rose was adopted. It could be said that they adopted a symbol which their remote ancestors had once held sacred. At the least, it's a symbol which has deep roots in Europe.


Thursday, March 15, 2012

Hexology: Part IV

The above video is part one of eleven of the Hunter Yoder series on Pennsylvania public television. As it finishes, the next part will show somewhere on the screen, or you can simply find the whole series on the FrankBlank231 channel on YouTube. I think I will just wrap this up for now. I could just go on and on, as there are so many facets to Hexology. It's so enriching to briefly emerse yourself in something new that actually has always been part of your folk soul. Below are a few more links:

Symbol Meanings

The Symbol
Its Meaning

Eternity or Infinity
Distelfink (Bird)
Good Luck and Happiness
Peace and Contentment
Good Health, Strength and Courage
Four Pointed Star
Bright Day
Love and Kindness
Horse Head
Protect Animals from Disease and Building from Lightning
Maple Leaf
Oak Leaf
Quarter Moons (4)
Four Seasons of the Year
Abundance, Fertility, Rain
Good Luck. Keep Away Bad Luck and Evil
Good Luck
Triple Star
Success, Wealth and Happiness
Tulips (Trinity - 3)
Faith, Hope and Charity
Twelve Pointed Rosette
A Joyous Month for Each Month of the Year
Virtue and Piety. Belief in God
Wavy Border
Smooth Sailing Through Life

3-20-12 ADDITION: I have started to view this Hexology series, and I noticed that Hunter Yoder referred to the sun of the Alps symbol as a "rosette." I don't know if it's a rosette or not. However, when there's a distinct symbol, it's usually called only by it's proper name. Rosettes are a much larger category. On one hand, the sun of the Alps isn't a greatly-known symbol, such as the triskelion or the triquetra; on the other hand, it would seem that he should know exactly what it is since it's on so many hex signs. So, when do we challenge experts on certain items? I'm quite certain on this one however. It's an Alpine symbol, of either proto-European or Gaulish origin; and which has been found occasionally in other places, such as Portugal or north Germany. It's rare for a symbol to be unique to only one place, like the Rosa Camuna basically is.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Hexology: Part III

Barn with a hex signs in Oley Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania
Hexology ties into so many areas that I will need to skip many to proceed, although there are a few areas which should be mentioned. One is the "fraktur," which is the name of Pennsylvania German folk art. This goes back to the 1700s and is the name of the art form of which the hex symbols developed out of. Another area is the "tree of life" symbolism within many hex signs, which shows a clear and direct connection to "Wuotanism," as it's known in Germany. That really is a major item because it's a direct tie-in to the spirituality of the ancient world; although it's largely a cultural and decorative thing in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Dutch Country is located in the eastern part of the state, and it's worth mentioning that Monogahelia is in western Pennsylvania. The Monogahelia area is the home to the largest concentration of people of Camun ancestry on this continent. Although the "tree of life" element of the hex signs ultimately tie into the Norse Yggdrasil and general Germanic paganism; this is also tied into the "flower of life" from ancient Cisalpine culture. The flower of life is represented by the symbol of the "sun of the Alps," so there is a clear tie-in there; and of course, the sun of the Alps is a very strong theme in hexology.

It can't be stressed enough that when a hex sign is an eight-pointed star with a sun of the Alps inside of it, the tie-in to our ancient Camuno-Gaulish culture is crystal clear. Each point of the star represents one of the Sabbats, or the eight seasonal festivals on the wheel of the year (Camunic witchcraft); while the sun of the Alps is basically a Gaulish symbol for the sun (Cisalpine Gaulish). I have read where the sun of the Alps symbol was referred to as "a hex symbol," period, with no mention of sun of the Alps. Again, this symbol was basically a pre-Germanic, Celtic symbol; which apparently found it's way into German culture after the Teutonic tribes overran most of the Alpine region.

There is a growing interest in hexology, with some newer books and probably with new ones on the way. However, it should be mentioned that there is one book entitled 'Hexology, the History and the Meaning of the Hex Symbols' (Zook & Ott; 1971), which is only fourteen pages, but always comes up when the subject is mentioned. One other one is 'Hexology: The Art and Meaning of the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex Symbols' (Herrera; 1964). Hunter Yoder mentions other names and books in the interview on Part II.

While reading that interview, it occurred to me something that I've thought about before. So many "Westerners," most often from the English-speaking world, look elsewhere for spirituality. Actually we "have it made" in that department, and really don't need to look beyond our own cultures. Logically, making a comparative study of other spiritual traditions, would be part of the process. Even Guido von List looked to India for this purpose. Since reading 'The Secret of the Runes', I have wondered what von List would have thought about the "Celtic roots" of his homeland? This was not known during his lifetime.

Hunter Yoder used some terms which I thought were interesting. Among them were "radical traditionalist," and "folk magic," which I thought were interesting. I have liked the term "native believer." The person who believes in the native spiritual traditions of their ancestors. There are a lot of interesting items on Yoder's website, including a series his did on local Pennsylvania public television, which I have yet to watch. I get a strong impression that Guido von List would approve.


Thursday, March 8, 2012

Hexology: Part II

[Conducted by, and borrowed from,]

1) Greetings Hunter. To begin please introduce yourself and give the readers some info on your roots in Heathenism.

Heil Georg! I am a Heiden Hexologist, owner and creator of the Hex Factory Gallery in Philadelphia, which is dedicated to Germanic tribal art and Pa German Hexology. I have authored numerous essays on the subject of the new Heathen Hexology and magic plants and the book, The Backdoor Hexologist, Volume One. I am the founder of the online site where I have interviewed the avante garde of the Pa German magical traditions known as Hexerei. I was born and raised in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, Berks County, PA., I began painting hex signs on barns at an early age. I am an avid Netherland Dwarf rabbit breeder, entheologist, and father of four.

My roots in Heathenry are in Berks County, Pennsylvania or Barricks Kaundi in Pennsilfaania in Deitsch, a German dialect spoken there. Der Deitsch Volkskultur where I grew up is the basis for my reanimation of our Folk ist prechristian beliefs and customs. I prefer the Deutsch, 'Heiden' to Heathen which is Anglo Saxon. Berks County is ground zero for Hexerei in the New World. My area of interest has always been Hexerei, or Germanic witchcraft, which is not directly associated with any organized or institutionalized form of religious practice but rather a flexible, individual approach to folk magic, specific to a folk culture in this case the Pennsylvania Germans.

2) Who were the individuals that were the most inspirational in your beginnings with Hexology?

Well let me preface the response to this question by stating that the frequency of Hex signs or Barnstars is the greatest in Northern Berks County then anywhere else in North America, maybe the world. I grew up on a farm near the small town called Virginville on the Maiden Creek which later contributes to the Schuylkill River which runs to Philadelphia. The farm was on the Saucony Creek a Lenni Lenape word for 'little bear' The Barnstars were on all the barns on all the farms. Locally, Milton Hill was the source of most of these barnstars. The great Hexologist, Johnny Ott of Lenhartsville was a couple of miles downstream, where he had the Deitsch Eck Hotel and where he also painted his famous Hexes that he and Jakob Zook of Lancaster made famous. Johnny sold his Hex business to a Johnny Claypoole who was from Upper Darby in Philadelphia, but moved up into an old stead just outside of Lenhartsville. I went to school and ran with his sons engaging in country youth activities such as skinny dipping in the Maiden Creek and jumping off cliffs into quarry lakes. We also drove old Dodge pickup trucks from the early fifties that we bought very cheap and fixed up. Eric, one of Johnny's sons now has the Hex business in Berks County.

3) You originally were from Berks County. Then you lived in Brooklyn and now Philadelphia. What was your interest in moving to Philadelphia?

Philadelphia was the portal for most the German immigration into North America for centuries. My ancestors and yours entered the 'new world' here in Philadelphia. During Colonial times, so many Germans came to Pennsylvania, Ben Franklin called them the Palatinate Moors. My arrival to East Kensington which still today retains a very Germanic population was not by chance. My own spiritual evolution brought me to the source of our Folk to this their new Heimot. Germans love to farm and SE Pennsylvania including my Berks County has 'die besten Ackerboden' I however find the innercity as the new frontier and the retaking of old neighborhoods which our folk built and rebuilding them has been both rewarding spiritually but also materially. I see the future in the city, life there is more efficient less reliant on the petroleum fueled monokultur which has alienated us from our true kultur and has bankrupted us. The culture of the car is growing to a close despite frantic efforts by our governments and world financial players to the contrary.

4) Please explain what Hexology is and also elaborate on it as a magical practice.

Hexology is actually a term invented by Jakob Zook and Johnny Ott in the very late 1940's. The Zook/Ott collaboration has made the term, 'Hexology' internationally famous. It came about at a time after the War, when America was booming, as in Baby Boom. Car Culture was really taking off. Families went places in the car for summer vacations. Lancaster County in Pennsylvania tapped into this tourist trade which continues to this day. The PA Folk Festival in my Hometown of Kutztown, in Berks County started. As we are today, back then people were fascinated with Pa German Barnstars. Ott designed them and painted them on round disks. This differed from the traditional practice of painting them directly on buildings or furniture. Zook took Ott's designs and silk screened them onto masonite disks for the tourist trade. Ott became a self styled Professor of Hexology as Dr Johnny Ott, and there you have it. Hexology was then a commercialization of the darker practice of Hexerei, or as it was called by the Deitsch (Pa Dutch) Hexerie or the Jinks, sometimes called Pow Wow magic.

5) You are a practioner of magic plants. Tell the readers more about this and how it differs from herbalism.

My knowledge of plants contrasts in many ways with herbalism. Knowledge of 'die Blantz' is essential in the Pa German kultur. We hear how the European settlers learned about plants from the so called 'indigenous' or Indians. However, the knowledge transferred went both ways. I recently procured a variety of snow white sunflower seed from a tribal seed bank in Arizona from the Tarahumara, a tribe made famous in, "The Peyote Dance," a book by Antonin Artaud. However the real source of the seed variety came from the Tarahumara's interaction with the Mennonites who settled near them in the Chihuahua desert which they turned into a garden. This is what our Folk do. We grow better then anybody including the so called 'Indigenous'.

Anyway, my 'herbal remedies' are far different then the Herbalists. Hexerei uses Power Plants or Plant Teachers to cure the spirit of the patient.

6) How does your usage of magic plants relate to magical symbols?

The Deutsch term is Zauber or magische. There is power in the words, how they are spoken and spelled, the Icelandics call it Galdr, the Deutsch, gesprochen Magie. The connection between die Blantz und die magische Zeichen; the answer is simple, plants have been used in folk art since the neolithic times. Powerful plants and especially trees populate Germanic tribal 'art' The essence, the spirit of the plant is represented through a stylization of it. The stylization is really just a symbol that invokes the power of the plant, visually. My own contribution to this process has been to replace the Christian plants and flowers in the traditional Pa German Folk art seen in Fraktur and Hexology with the Heiden magic plants. For an example, tulips are used as symbolic of the resurection of the Christ. I will substitute them for my own stylizations of Datura Stranomium, 'Geilskimmel' and Black henbane or 'Niger Bilsenkraut'. These two are power plants for the prechristian Germanic tribes used by the Volvas for divination. We find henbane seeds in the burial mounds of these exalted 'Hexes' In post reformation Germany, usage of Black Henbane seeds would result in a terrible death, being burned at the stake. More 'witches' were exterminated by Protestant Germany then anywhere else. The commonly held belief that witches fly on broomsticks comes from the practice of female 'Hexes' using an ointment of fat and Bella Donna to grease a broomstick which they stradled to absorb the Atropine a powerful hallucinatory agent through their genitalia.

7) What is the relation between sex magic and Hexology?

Pa German Sex Magic is a way of life. It is in fact a way of living and survival. On the farm, success is gauged by the ability to reproduce plants and animals and children. In a sense the farmer is a sex magic zauberer, a f*****g machine. The feminine counterpart is the the nourisher, the source of life, the goddess, the woman, the Hex, the repository of charms, the magical creature, the river of life.

It is my personal view that the Pa Deitsch are descended not from the apes but from certain flowering plants. This is evident by the usage of their Hexology, their 'creation myth' so to speak.

8) Explain the difference between Asatru and Germanic Witchcraft (Hexerei).

Asatru is a religion of contemporary Icelandic Heathens which has spread worldwide as an alternative to other institutionalized religions such as the Monotheisms. This Icelandic prechristian tradition has the advantage of a complete written legacy in the Eddas and other texts.

Germanic Witchcraft or Hexerei is a general term but it is just that, witchcraft. Witchcraft, generally feared by the Christians is neither black or white, evil or good. It is just the acquirement of personal magical power. This magical energy is always much more powerful if used positively. Cursing is actually very easy to do, but it never really ends up well for the one who has done the cursing. The result has a boomerang effect, and when the target determines the source which is usually pretty easy, the malicious energy is simply returned to the sender usually in a much more powerful form. This is primitive stuff, practices that have existed since before prehistory. Hexerei can be employed through everyday means, cooking, humor, sex, business, child rearing, hunting and fishing. Using an intention to acquire a desired result is just natural, be careful what you wish for.

9) You mentioned to me before about the Pennsylvania Germanic roots of Blues music. Can you tell us more about this. Most seem to believe that Blues music's origin is "African American."

I think what you are referring to is my statement that Pa German Hexology is similar to the 'Blues' because virtually anybody can do it (hexes). I've found that the public's interest in making them is at least as great as their viewing them or learning about them. I've done quite a few workshops with people of all ages most recently with children for the Hexenkinder Show at the Hex Factory with O. Henrietta Fisher, and it is always a big hit. Similar to playing music, practice making Hexes is essential. It is useful to learn the basic designs first before moving on to more elaborate ideas.

10) Another subject relating to Germanic magic/witchcraft is called "Hoodoo." Could you explain what this is exactly?

Well Hoodoo is not strictly a Germanic form of sympathetic magic. It is very American. It is most commonly recognized as a southern form but its roots are actually very Appalachian. The German, Scotch, Irish pioneers and settlers that moved through Pennsylvania to the South and out West took their unique ways of effecting their world. Hoodoo was practiced in PA. Hidden or buried 'intentional' objects would typify this practice. Jack Montgomery, Lee Gandee's student has published his book, "American Shamans" and he has a more 'Hoodoo' bent which is appropriate for his Kentucky neck of the woods. Orva Gaile Clubb is another who is very knowledgeable in this form. She correctly sees this as Hexerei and she has a very unique perspective being raised in western Maryland on the farm just below the Mason Dixon line. I will hopefully have her interview up shortly on . Hoodoo is an American form of the Caribbean Voodoo, or the Brazilian, Makumba. It is interesting to note that Voodoo scholars have great interest in the Pa Deitsch grimnoir, "The Long Lost Friend" published by Hohman in Reading Pa, 1820 as Der Lange Verborgene Freund. It makes extensive usage of the Sator Rotas magic square. Up until the 1930's the State of Pa issued licenses to practice Pow Wow magic, another term for the Pa German Hexerei.

11) I understand you learned about Kabbalah through a Rabbi friend of yours while living in Brooklyn. Could you please explain more of your friendship with this gentleman?

Yes, living thirty years in NYC certainly gave me a positive insight into Judaism. The basics of Christianity are very much from Judaism. Terms like, congregation, pentecost, trinity, originate in Judaism which has undergone many changes in its old and venerable history. Kabbalah however is relatively recent, as a powerful form of mysticism. Briefly just off the top of my head, Kabbalah originated not in Israel but in the German Rhineland and Spain during the later middle ages. In Germany, the Jews were employed much as they still are, for their knowledge of law which required an ability to read and write, something the various German nobilities lacked. The Germans and the Jews have always had a very symbiotic relationship. It is an unusual one, even amongst the Pa Germans. The Pa German dialect or Deitsch is remarkably similar to Yiddish. Both are lower German dialects. When Martin Luther translated from the Latin, the Bible which was subsequently published for the first time and is known as the Gutenberg Bible, he fixed what is known today as high German. Many other German dialects still exist.

Anyway back to your question, Rabbi Joshua Saltzman and I exchanged ideas and information including an intro of Kabbalah on his part. At the time I had 'discovered' that all religious traditions contained the simple concept of a 'tree of life'. The Sephirot as a tree was discussed. Hebrew as a magical alphabet was studied. All magical alphabets include gematria or assignment of numerical values to letter in the alphabet. Hebrew, Greek and the Elder Futhark are examples of magical alphabets. Ultimately our studies led to my conclusion that I could not place any rational reason to. I found myself intuitively unable to absorb the Jewish alphabet and the Sephirot seemed unacceptable numerically and geometrically. I however retained a great respect for the magical traditions of the Jews. Their mysticism is very powerful. In particular the Kabbalistic concept of 'gathering the fallen sparks' impressed me. Joshua had a keen interest in Shamanism and traveled extensively to India, Nepal to further his knowledge in various traditions such as the Sufi. I myself returned to my Pa German roots and have ultimately rejected Shamanism as being a modern day jingoism, a quick fix for a lack of a personal tribal tradition.

12) Do you consider yourself a "Radical Traditionalist"? If so please explain.

Radical traditionalism refers to the renaissance in Germanic 'paganism' I view it through my usual Pa German lense as the reindigenization of my folk. The magical traditions I grew up with in Berks County are the legacy of our European forefathers. That is our tradition. Revitalizing it, reanimating it and rejecting multiculturalism and the petroleum fueled "monokultur" is the radical part, advanced thinking is being done today by such 'traditionalists' all over the world.

13) Thank you very much for your comradeship, your wisdom, and your time in completing this interview. Any closing comments to share with the readers?

I would say this, there is an energy in the magical signs of our Germanic ancestors. It is very real and powerful. Anyone can participate in making them. In doing so you are tapping into something much larger then mere personal self expression. As I explained to a former teacher and friend, A stream or river has run in its bed for hundreds of thousands of years maybe longer, so it is with folk magic. No one is quite sure how it works, just that it does.

Zaubereigarten (Hunter Yoder's website)


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Full Moon Tonight

by Deep~Glade

Borrowed from A Sacred Journey blog

This meditation can be used during the full moon to align and energise the chakras.

On the night of the full moon, preferably outside, stand tall and straight lifting your arms in greeting to the moon and the Goddess. If it is possible to do this under the moonlight that is great but if not, do not worry as the full moon’s energy will reach you even if there is no moonlight visible. Do not worry if you cannot stand – doing this meditation seated is fine and will still be beneficial.

Take a few deep, slow cleansing breaths. Try to breathe from your deep tummy, or your solar plexus area. Then let your breathing return to normal calm breathing.

Lower your arms. Visualise beams of silver moonlight reaching your crown chakra and streaming down into your body like a strand of glistening silver light.

Feel the strand of moon light streaming down to your root chakra and energising it. This gives you grounding.

Next, visualise the moon light streaming down to your sacral chakra and energising it. This gives you a sense of well-being and balance.

Then visualise the moon light streaming down to your solar plexus chakra and energising it. This gives you confidence and personal power.

Next, visualise the moon light streaming down to your heart chakra and energising it. You feel enveloped in the love of the Goddess and are able to express that love to yourself and others.

Then visualise the moon light streaming down to your throat chakra and energising it. This gives you the ability to communicate clearly and in truth.

Then visualise the moon light streaming down into your third eye chakra and energising it. You are able to discern with wisdom and trust your intuition.

Finally, visualise the moon light cascading into your crown chakra. You are connected to and filled with the ‘All’.

Now visualise all your chakras connected and aligned with a silver thread of pure moon light.

Pause for a few moments, allowing moon light to flood your body. Then raise your arms once again in honour of the Goddess.


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sports names & faces: Nick Montana

Chronicle News Services - January 17, 2012

Another Montana is transferring. The University of Washington has announced that quarterback Nick Montana, son of the 49ers' Hall of Fame QB, has been released from his scholarship. Montana just completed his redshirt freshman season with the Huskies. He landed at Washington with much fanfare, but Keith Price won the starting job. Montana made one start when Price was injured at Oregon State. Montana played in six games. Montana's older brother, Nate, transferred three times during his college career, ending up at - where else? - Montana


Friday, March 2, 2012

Hexology: Part 1

Kutztown Folk Festival, Kutztown, Pennsylvania

Pronounced kootz-tawn by the Pennsylvania Dutch locals, this small community hosts a festival (fair) every year and features a lot of handcrafted items and old fashioned foods, drinks and amusements. You won't find carnival rides at this place! Pictured here are some handpainted Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs. Hex signs are usually hung on the outside of barns and houses, although some are hung inside the house. Most are meant to bring good luck and prosperity and to ward off evil spirits. Every image on the Hex sign is a symbol that means something. A lot of Hex signs feature a fantasy bird called the Distlefink (luck), tulips (prosperity/fertility/good harvest), hearts (love), stars (astronomy/good weather), unicorns (luck), pineapples (welcome) and oak leaves (good harvest/weather/prosperity).

"Hexology" is somewhat of a big subject, so I will comment as I go in as far as it relates to our own culture, rather than try to read everything first and comment. I mean, that is what blogging is all about, right? A continuous search for news, information, ideas, and knowledge; applied "stepping stone style." Hexology is basically from German/Dutch culture. This "magical tradition" appears strongly influenced by the Celto-Gaulish cultures which predated the Germans in the "southern German-speaking areas (Switzerland, Austria, south Germany); or simply from cultural interaction with Gauls to the west. I'm saying "partly-influenced," and later developed separately.

One historical theme which we see is how some old European folk traditions migrated to America, survived and even thrived, while the old ways later disappeared in Europe. For example, the Amish--who were originally from Switzerland--yet since, that culture has ceased to exist in the old country. Lets face it, dominant cultures, political upheavals, and religious movements have long drowned out old folk traditions when they say that special phrase; that masked aggression--in whichever language--that mankind has painfully accepted for so long: "That's not good anymore, so you need to stop it." They will eventually go so far as to oppress, punish, imprison, or execute; all because some tyrannical monarchy, theology, industry, or financial cartel says so.

A common hex symbol is an eight-pointed star with a sun of the alps symbol inside of it. Of course, the sun of the alps symbol can be traced back to the earlier Celtic cultures of what are now those south German-speaking regions, France, Iberia, and the Cisalpine region. This symbol is one of the very oldest "hex symbols." It's a "sun symbol" and "seasonal symbol" as well. It's from our ancient culture even more than from the ancient German culture; although "Hexology" developed within German-Dutch cultures. This folk tradition was later transplanted to Pennsylvania, largely to the rural farming areas.

Hex signs are a form of Pennsylvania Dutch folk art, related to fraktur, found in the Fancy Dutch tradition in Pennsylvania Dutch Country. Barn paintings, usually in the form of "stars in circles," grew out of the fraktur and folk art traditions about 1850 when barns first started to be painted in the area. By the 1940s commercialized hex signs, aimed at the tourist market, became popular and these often include stars, compass roses, stylized birds known as distelfinks, hearts, tulips, or a tree of life. Two schools of thought exist on the meaning of hex signs. One school ascribes a talismanic nature to the signs, the other sees them as purely decorative, or "Chust for nice" in the local dialect. Both schools recognize that there are sometimes superstitions associated with certain hex sign themes, and neither ascribes strong magical power to them. The Amish do not use hex signs.

Form and use

Painted octagonal or hexagon are a common sight on Pennsylvania kiss Dutch barns in central and eastern Pennsylvania, especially in Berks County, Lancaster County and Lehigh County. However, the modern decoration of barns is a late development in Pennsylvania Dutch folk art. Prior to the 1830s, the cost of paint meant that most barns were unpainted. As paint became affordable, the Pennsylvania Dutch began to decorate their barns much like they decorated items in their homes. Barn decorating reached its peak in the early 20th century, at which time there were many artists who specialized in barn decorating. Drawn from a large repertoire of designs barn painters combined many elements in their decorations. The geometric patterns of quilts can easily be seen in the patterns of many hex signs. Hearts and tulips seen on barns are commonly found on elaborately lettered and decorated birth, baptism and marriage certificates known as fraktur.

Throughout the 20th century, hex signs were often produced as commodities for the tourist industry in Pennsylvania. These signs could be bought and then mounted onto barns and used as household decorations. Jacob Zook of Paradise, Pennsylvania claimed to have originated the modern mountable sign in 1942, based on traditional designs, to be sold in souvenir gift shops to tourists along the Lincoln Highway. Johnny Ott and Eric and Johnny Claypoole are also considered to have contributed to this hex sign revival or adaptation. Modern artists may stress the symbolic meanings, for example, a horse head is used to protect animals from disease and the building from lightning, and a dove represents peace and contentment. An unusual use is the official logo of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Radiation Protection, which incorporates the international symbol for radiation into its yellow-and-red adaptation of a traditional hex sign design.


There are two opposing schools of belief regarding the derivation of the name. The term hex with occult connotations may derive from the Pennsylvanian German word "hex" (German "Hexe", Dutch "Heks"), meaning "witch." However the term "hex sign" was not used until the 20th Century, after 1924 when Wallace Nutting's book Pennsylvania Beautiful was published. Nutting, who was not a Pennsylvania native, interviewed farmers about their distinctive barn decoration. Before this time there was no standardized term and many Pennsylvania German farmers simply called the signs "blumme" or "schtanne" (meaning flowers or stars). However one farmer used the term "Hexefoos" in his description. The term became popular with Pennsylvania Germans themselves during the blossoming tourist trade of Southeastern Pennsylvania.

In recent years, hex signs have come to be used by non-Pennsylvania Dutch persons as talismans for folk magic rather than as items of decoration. Some view the designs as decorative symbols of ethnic identification, possibly originating in reaction to 19th century attempts made by the government to suppress the Pennsylvania German language. Anabaptist sects (like the Amish and Mennonites) in the region have a negative view of hex signs. It is not surprising that hex signs are rarely, and perhaps never, seen on an Amish or Mennonite household or farm. John Joseph Stoudt, a folk art scholar, challenges the view that hex signs, as a part of Pennsylvania Dutch culture, have had any magical significance.