|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.