Three Angels came from the East Bringing Frost & Fire
0, 20 f 13Posted by on
Please work with me for the victims of the Oklahoma disaster that occurred today. We will also be working tonight at 8:00 PM Please join your energy in, focused on healing and protection.
0, 20 f 13Posted by on
Lesson One of Silver’s new Granny Magick Braucherei Witchery Course Now Available
Electronic mailing to your Etsy listed e-mail means no postage costs! Instant download! PDF Format
16 pages — Let Silver teach you the art and science of Granny Magick and Braucherei Witchery. Easy-to-follow guide with color illustrations. Complete instructions and student support.
Lessons will provide an introduction into the mystical world of Braucherei Witchery and Granny Magick including practices, rituals, spells, meditations, and energy work. Topics covered will include healing, spirituality, prosperity, protection, justice, herbal information, some astrology, enchanted art (such as hex signs and fraktur) and methods for harmonious daily living. You will find elements of various religions, and the material does work with “Spirit” in general, angels, and elemental powers.
Lessons are sold one at a time.
You are free to discontinue your training at any time. Lessons are copyrighted and cannot be distributed by anyone in paper or electronic form without written express permission from Silver RavenWolf. At this time, lessons are $21.00, which includes access to the new blog and answers to student questions through the specified e-mail address. Purchase of these lessons does not entitle you to Black Forest or RavenWolf lineage, and there are no ceremonies, initiations, nor degree status bestowed upon the student. Currently, we are working on a twelve lesson format. Turn-around time for answering your questions can be up to two weeks. Your questions may be answered by one of my experienced family members or myself.
0, 19 f 13Posted by on
Long Distance Pow-Wow/Braucherei — Fact not Fancy
When speaking to old-tymers who practiced the Pow-Wow/Braucherei system, one thing becomes readily apparent — fact was fact and fancy was fancy. They had no doubt that Pow-Wow worked and that the practitioner was highly capable of manipulating healing energy to help others, even from a distance — to them, that was a fact like the sun rising in the east or that a knife is the best choice of cutlery to cut roast beef. It was a common practice to have someone banging on the door, asking for help, telling the Pow-Wow practitioner that the person who needed the healing was miles away. Jumping into a car and zooming to the sick person was not an option in a time where the primary mode of transportation was on foot or by horse. In this scenario, it was common for the Pow-Wow to simply ask the full name of the individual, and say: “Now you go right on home. So-n-so be better when you git there.” Incidents such as this one frequent Pow-Wow/Braucherei tales of healing .
Why would the Pow-Wow be able to utter such a statement? In Pow-Wow certainty comes from the number of successful healings and the positive frame of mind of the practitioner and the patient. It is believed that the more you Practice the system of Pow-Wow/Braucherei, the more powerful you will become. If you practice every day with morning prayers, prayers for healing others, and practical magicks you will begin to see a difference almost immediately. By the first full moon after you begin, the awakened power in yourself will be more noticeable. Even more so in the successive months. By the end of the first year, the Pow-Wow finds him or herself surrounded, and very much a part of, the magick of the universe. Many of the old Pow-Wow’s, especially those of German descent, believed that Pow-Wow energy is a combination of the most positive vibrations of the group soul, and that this group soul sends protectors and positive energy to the Pow-Wow as well as the patient. Unseen and not bound by time, this “Spirit” of Pow-Wow can overcome any distance and any challenge.
You must only believe.
If you look closely and observe your surroundings you will find that the more you work the system of Pow-Wow, you will be given the joy and opportunity of “seeing” this spirit in many things — the trees, animals, people, events, images, etc. You must simply be willing to open your mind. If you are very lucky, some believe you will meet the Spirit of Pow-Wow/Braucherei in a charming and loving way. Often, this Spirit is depicted as a male or female Native American accompanied by a wolf or other totem animal, particularly when working the healing modalities. However, others may not see this Spirit as such. Many students report seeing “men in black” (no, not the government kind — the Sunday-go-to-meeting dress of the early 1900′s), or the images of deceased Pow-Wow practitioners during workings, particularly when the circumstances are dire.
Remember that Pow-Wow was (and is) an ever expanding system — chants, charms, herbs, and belief conjured for the welfare of others from the heart of the Old Country Germany that accepted the additional knowledge of other magickal people as time carried them forward — from various Indian practices, information from traveling Gypsies, to Jewish emigrants, as well as African Americans shows the fluidity of this Pow-Wow spirit and expansive nature of the Pow-Wow/Braucherei soul. An integral part of Pow-Wow is your belief that positive, healing energy can travel through time and space.
As you will — so it shall be so.
0, 18 f 13Posted by on
Pow-Wow Letter of Protection — The Himmelsbrief by J.E.B. Trayer
The Himmelsbrief was a type of letter or testament carried on a person or hung in the home for protection against evil people and deeds. These magickal papers were also known as Letters of Protection or Letters from Heaven. Hohman, author of the popular Pow-Wow book Long Lost Friend, is thought to have produced the first Letter from Heaven for use in the United States. The Pennsylvania Germans thought this paper was as powerful as any invocation or cast spell. In 1918, the Aurand Press out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, received an order for printing copies of such a Letter of Protection. It was later learned that the copies were distributed to members of the National Guard and to draftees departing from several south-central Pennsylvania counties and heading for World War I. The Himmelsbrief came in a variety of forms, from a self-penned version to stuff in one’s pocket to more elaborate documents complete with hand-painted art and ornate borders, just like the German baptismal and marriage certificates. Some included Christian symbolism while others were more paganized versions with the magickal designs of stars, tulips, eagles, hearts, distelfinks, etc.
Pow-Wow research tells us that there were many written varieties of the Himmelsbrief — and therefore, changing the one given in this post to meet the needs of the person you are protecting will not harm your intent. Simply think carefully about your wording and what energies you would like to invoke. The one given here is much like that found in Mysteries and Secrets of Magick by C.J.S. Thompson, and to my knowledge, is copyright free. A Christianized version of this prayer was said to have been carried by King Charles I against danger and poison and claimed to be drafted by Pope Leo IX. Your prayer can be changed to fit your religious beliefs, matching deity to that which your ascribe. A list of Gods and Goddesses, Angels, or Saints can be added to the end of the prayer. In most cases, the Himmelsbrief is designed on standard size paper, and in these modern times, reduced mechanically to fit in a soldier’s pocket.
Researcher Edwin M. Fogel, Ph.D. in his comparison of a variety of Himmelsbrief’s states: “A comparison of these survivals in Pennsylvania with the several versions found in Bartsch and elsewhere, shows that in the German superstitions the cabalistic element is very
pronounced, whereas in the Himmelshrief current among the Pennsylvania Germans no external cabalistic trace is left. The presence of these cabalistic letters, etc., shows clearly that there is a close connection between the Zaiiberspnich, Segensformel and the black art of the Middle Ages, on the one hand, while on the other hand, we have in reality in the Himmelshrief the old heathenism under the garb of Christianity.” (1)
He goes on to say: “In each version of the Himmelsbrief the element of superstition is so strong that we may suggest several points of contact between it and the ordinary pow-wowing formula. That the pow-wowing formula undeniably heathen origin is proved by the Mersehurger Zauberspriiche, the Lorscher Bienensegen, etc., and the is of Anglo-Saxon Spruch gegen Hexenstich und Hexenschuss.” (2)
According to Fogel, there were originally two types of Himmelsbrief’s — that used to get rid of a specific difficulty (much like the “tickets” of the West Virginia healers), and that which was invoked for warding and protection. The Himmelsbrief’s shown later in this article fall under the Christianized category as an example of what was available to the public as printed by local newspapers, and in books from the late 1800′s into the next century.
The protection Himmelsbrief was carried by American soldiers in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, First and Second world wars, Korean Conflict, Viet Nam, Gulf and Iraq what-every-they-are-calling-them-these-days. To make the prayer more powerful, the Pow-Wow would add a lock of his or her hair and a lock of hair of someone who truly loves the individual to be protected, such as mother, father, brother, husband, or wife. A child’s hair was not used. This circle of hair — from Pow-Wow to loved one to the recipient — was considered a powerful bond of protection. Others who have carried the Himmelsbrief include firefighters, police, emergency personnel, nurses, doctors, disaster volunteers, construction workers, travelers and truck drivers. Does it work? Before both our son and daughter left for Iraq during the war I had an Amish raised (yes, there are some) Pow-Wow make and empower a Himmelsbrief for both children. During my daughter’s tour in Iraq, her convoy was attacked. She survived. The camps of both my son and daughter were bombed — not a scratch. They are both home safely.
I am profound believer in the Himmelsbrief!
Here are the words to the Black Forest Version of the Himmelsbrief:
Letter of Protection for (and add person’s name here)
In the names of the Lord and Lady
Whoever beareth this letter upon the self
shall not dread the enemy, nor be overcome,
nor suffer injury, nor misfortune, nor fear flood,
fire, weapons, chemicals, poison,
nor be affected in any way by self same, nor
be captured, face torture, nor fear weather nor war,
nor suffer mental anguish.
Whoever beareth this letter will be filled with strength,
mental acuity, protection, and love. They shall sense
unseen dangers and respond accordingly. They shall
persevere where others fall. They shall return home
victorious and live a full and active life.
So be it.
The bottom of the paper must have three equal-armed crosses drawn on it. This is to seal the magick.
Instructions for Activating the Himmelsbrief (5)
1. Copy the Himmelsbrief and cut excess paper.
2. Fill in the name of the person who is to be protected on the corresponding line of the Himmelsbrief. Many folks shrink the Himmelsbrief these days to a very small size so that it can be laminated and fit in a soldier’s pocket.
3. Cleanse and consecrate paper with the four elements (earth, air, fire, and water) OR the four archangels. Add any additional symbols of your choice on the paper. If you have the facilities, you can copy a picture of your loved one and scan it on the back of the paper.
4. If you have not scanned the picture onto the paper, place the loved one’s picture on top of the paper.
5. Carry the paper and the picture to the four quarters, beginning with the north, and ask each quarter (or each angel) energy for divine protection for the person named on the paper.
6. Call down the your idea of Spirit and ask for blessings and protection for the individual listed on the paper.
7. Repeat the prayer on the paper three times, beginning with the person’s full name each time.
8. Hold your hands over the paper and picture, and allow protective energy from the divine to flow through your fingertips. Envision the paper and the picture filled with glaring white light. Hold this visualization as long as possible.
9. Hold the paper and picture, and close your eyes. See the paper on your loved one. See the paper as a shield that grows and covers them. Hold this visualization as long as possible. Finish by saying: “I know you will do this for me. So mote it be.”
10. Draw an equal-armed cross on the picture to seal the work. Draw three equal-armed crosses on the paper to seal the work.
11. Thank divinity. Thank the quarters (or angels).
12. Give the paper to your loved one and tell him or her to keep it on them at all times.
Note: Burn a white candle every week to reinforce your prayers, especially during the time when the loved one is in harm’s way.
Additional Instructions: Parents — Change step 9 to the following: The mother puts the paper on her chest. The father holds the mother, chest to chest with the paper between them. The parents breathe together in unison until their breath is synchronized for at least one full minute, visualizing the safety of the child. This visualization should be agreed upon before the procedure begins (very important). Finish by saying: I know you will do this for us. So mote it be.
As a Side Note: This letter can also be given to someone who is suffering emotional, psychological, or physical abuse. However; no letter of protection should be used instead of proper medical or legal assistance.
Traditional Letters From Heaven
Over the years, newspapers in the South Central Pennsylvania area on occasion printed Himmelsbrief’s (Protection Letters) without the artwork for their readers enjoyment and interest. These letters were boxed (with a single or double border) so that they could be cut out of the newspaper and used by the reader. Where some PowWow practitioners believed the letter must be written in one’s own hand, others chose to use these pre-printed newspaper clippings. In the examples given here, notice that the wording differs slightly, yet the claim that the letter was found in Holstein in the year of our Lord 1724 remains the same.
Example One — Home and Protection Letter — The opening of the actual letter in this example reads more like a sermon rather than a simple request for protection, and we can see that the author was of the fire and brimstone type as well as somewhat verbose attempting to sway the reader with his own belief on how one should behave so that the letter will work. In essence, he is telling you that the letter won’t work unless you believe the way he does. In this way, he is attempting to control the reader’s belief in magick and the divine. The actual letter of protection itself, falls after the admonitions as you shall see, and does not mention Christian moral no-no’s.
“Just as Christ remained still at the Mount Olives, so shall guns be still! Whosoever hath this letter about him shall be safe from the enemy’s weapons of destruction. God will preserve him from robbers and murderers; it shall make him imperious to all deadly weapons that may be brought to bear upon him, by command of our most gracious master, Jesus Christ.
God is with him who carries this heavenly letter in war and in peace; he will be protected from all danger — in the distress of the visitation of fire or water it shall protect him. Whosoever doubt the truth of this may attach a copy of the letter to the neck of a dog and then fire upon him, and he will be convinced of his truthfulness. Who hath this letter with him will not be captured by the enemy, nor wounded by his weapons. Amen! As surely as Christ has lived, died and ascended to heaven, as surely as He has wandered upon the earth, so surely shall it be impossible to shoot or stab the bearer; everything shall be free from molestation. I conjure all weapons in this world in the name of our Savior’s blood, that no bullet strike me, be it cast of gold, silver, iron or lead. God in heaven makes you secure from and free from all, in the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit! Amen!
This letter was sent from Heaven, and found in Holstein, in the year of our Lord 1724. It was written in golden letters and soared above Wanda, but if anyone attempted to seize it, it vanished. In 1771, however, some one formed the idea to copy the letter and give its contents to the world. To this person the letter drew nigh; and he was enabled to copy the same, and it read as follows: –
“He who worketh on the Sabbath day shall be damned; thou shalt not work upon this day, but attend divine service, and pray from the bottom of your heart. Thou shalt share thy riches and the poor. Thou shalt not be like the beasts of the field. I command thee: six days shalt thou labor and be heavily laden, but the seventh day thou shalt rest and keep it holy, for thou shalt hear the word of God. If thou dost not keep this commandment I shall punish thee by an infliction of famine, pestilence and war. Amen! I command you, also, not to prolong your work into the night before the Sabbath day, for everyone, be he young or old, should pray that his sins be forgiven. Use not my name only for the gain of gold and silver. Shun all human vice and lusts of flesh, for as surely as I have created you so surely can I destroy you. Be not false of tongue. Honor thy father and mother, that thy days may be long upo9n the earth which the Lord thy God giveth thee. Bear not false witness against thy neighbor, for then I shall be pleased with thee. Whosoever does not believe this letter and act in accordance therewith, he shall be damned and forsaken, and neighbor luck nor blessing shall attend him; for I say unto thee Jesus Christ has written this letter and it is sinful to this truth. Whosoever has this letter and does not reveal the same shall be damned by the Christian Church; every one is enjoined to circulate this letter, and he who believes in the mercy of God shall have his sins forgiven. Be assured I will be gracious to all who believe herein; he who doubteth shall die the everlasting death, for I shall punish all on the Judgment Day who shall be unable to give an account of their sins. Whosoever shall have this letter with him shall be safe from thunder. A woman in possession of this letter shall have healthy, lovely children. Keep the commandments I have given you through the holy angel Michael in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen!”
The Protection When One Is About To Meet an Enemy
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I go forward in the strength of God.
I go forward in the might of God.
I go forward in the blood of Christ,
Who is powerful against every enemy, whether visible or invisible.
God, the Father, is before me
God, the Son, is beside me.
God, the Holy Ghost is above.
Upon these three holy ones I call
in order that no one may cut or stab me.
And just as the blood of Christ upon the cross was shed for me
so all bullets shall be fired past.
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
I survey you from above
I conquer you from beneath.
And I continually lead you.
In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Amen! Amen! Amen!
Example Two — May be a rewritten copy of the first example with more updated language. Notice, however, that the writer misunderstood, and forgot to put the actual charm, itself, at the bottom of the letter. Instead, the author assumes that the magickal letter is the body admonitions given by the first author. Notice too, that this author added the angel Michael, though he left the poor dog as a sacrificial proof in case the reader didn’t believe.
A Letter of Protection
In the name of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost: As Christ stopped at the Mount Olives, all guns shall stop. Whoever carries this letter with him he shall not be damaged through the enemy’s guns or weapons. God will give him strength that he may not fear robbers and murderers, nor guns, pistols, swords and muskets shall not hurt him through the command of the angel Michael, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, God with me. Whoever carries letter with him he shall be protected against all danger; and he who does not believe in it may copy it and tie it tight to the neck of a dog and shoot at him and he will see that it is true. Whoever has this letter shall not be taken prisoner, nor wounded by the enemy. Amen. As true as it is that Jesus Christ died and ascended to Heaven and suffered on earth he shall not be shot, but shall stand unhurt, and adjure all guns and weapons on earth by the living God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I pray in the name of Christ’s blood that no ball shall hit me, be it gold or silver, but that God in Heaven may deliver me of all sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
This letter fell from Heaven and was found in Holstein in 1724. It was written in golden letters and moved over the baptism of Madaginery, and when they tried to seize it, it disappeared until 1791, that everybody may copy and communicate it with the world. There was further written in it whosoever works on Sunday he shall be condemned. You shall not work on Sunday, but go to church and give the poor of your wealth; for you shall not be like the unreasoning animals. I command you six days you shall listen to the word of God. If you do not do so I will punish you with hard times, epidemics and war. I command you that you shall not work too late on Saturday.
Be you rich or poor you shall pray for your sins that they may be forgiven. Do not swear by His name. Do not desire gold or silver. Do not fear the intrigues of men: sure as fast as I create you so fast I can crush you. Also, be not false with your tongue; respect father and mother; do not bear false testimony against your neighbors, and I will give you health and peace. But he who does not do so, or does not believe in this, shall be left by me and shall not have happiness or blessing. If you do not convert yourself you certainly will be punished at the day of judgment for what you cannot account for your sins. Whoever has this letter in his house lightning shall not strike it. All women who carry this letter with them shall bring forth living fruit. Keep my commandments which I send to you through my angel. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
A Safeguard Against All Evil — The third example appears in the Guide to Health or Household Instructor by Ossman & Steel (3), circa 1894 and was reputed to have been carried by George Washington during the Revolutionary War:
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at they right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because thou hast made the Lord which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling, for he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Given that George Washington had a few close calls in his military career, I think I might choose this one over the other two. In all of the above examples, the words are to be written in a blessed place, and spoken aloud and forcefully three times. Other himmelsbriefs, such as those created to banish specific problems, are to be whispered, never spoken aloud.
Himmelsbrief’s For Banishing Maladies
Peaceful sleep is something that many of us aspire to grab onto and take to bed with us, even in the 21st century! Insomnia, a horrendous goblin of the mind has plagued humankind throughout millennia. This charm, found on faded paper at the York Heritage & Trust, York, Pennsylvania, also appears in a somewhat different translation in Albertus Magnus Egyptian Secrets (4).
Trotterhead I forbid thee my house and my premises. I forbid thee my bedstead, my couch. I forbid thee my horse and my stable that thou mayest not breathe upon me. Breathe into some other house until thou hast ascended every hill until thou has counted every fence post and until thou hast crossed every water and thy dear day may come again unto my house in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Amen.
whereas Egyptian Secrets prints it thus:
Bedgoblin and all ye evil spirits, I forbid you my bedstead, my couch; I forbid you, in the name of God, my house and home; I forbid you, in the name of the Holy Trinity, my blood and flesh, my body and soul; I forbid you all the nail holes in my house and home, till you have traveled over every hillock, waded through every water, have counted all the leaflets of the trees, and counted all the starlets in the sky, until that beloved day arrives when the Mother of God will bring forth her second Son.
In both examples, the spell is to be whispered three times prefaced by the plagued individual’s full name. The words of the spell, written on paper, are placed somewhere within the home (or office) where one feels that a trotterhead, bedgoblin, or evil spirit may be lurking. It may also be carried, pinned to the clothing with a safety pin. Unlike the Letters from Heaven given to soldiers & service personnel, the second type of Himmelsbrief , much like the “ticket”, was both given or sold for a nominal price.
For more information on the varied types of Himmelsbrief’s, particularly those in the German language, here is the following link: http://www.archive.org/stream/germanamericanan06germ/germanamericanan06germ_djvu.txt
You have my complete permission to repost entire article anywhere you please with two conditions — please ensure that I receive credit for the article; and, in no way can anyone charge a monetary fee for the Black Forest Himmelsbrief or my instructions on how to bless it. Thank you.
(1) http://www.archive.org — compilation and comparison of various Himmelsbriefs by Edwin M. Fogel, Ph.D. (see complete link above).
(3) Guide To Health or Household Instructor, Ossman & Steel, Wiconsco, PA, 1894, page 1.
(4) Albertus Magnus Egyptian Secrets or White and Black Art for Man and Beast — Revealing the Forbidden Knowledge and Mysteries of Ancient Philosophers, page 5. My copy has no author, no date, and no publisher listed, and was purchased in 1992.
(5) Instructions based on interview with an Amish raised Pow-Wow, still living, whom we shall call J. B. (not the author of this piece).
0, 18 f 13Posted by on
Fraktur — The Rainbow of Pennsylvania German Folk Art
by Silver RavenWolf
Fraktur, originally meaning –broken letters– in regard to Old World alphabet types — became the catch-all word to describe the rainbow of American German Folk Art that appears on a variety of certificates, blessings, bookplates, property ownership, baptismal records, marriage papers, broadsides (fliers), rewards of merit, family registers (family trees) and even New Year’s greetings. Today, the word “fraktur” with the small “f” refers to the artwork, and “Fraktur” with the capital letter is used in Europe to describe the German typeface.
From the modest beginnings of construction in America (about 1730) through the art form’s Golden Age (1750-1850) and into later years, these ethnic, artistic records are a treasure of family history. Based on European Illumination style, this completely Americanized art form blends color, primitive design, magick, and type into a vibrant statement of individuality and have become a gold mine for genealogists. Fraktur art can be found where ever the immigrant Germans landed — New York, Delaware, Virginia, what is now West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, the Carolinas and particularly — Pennsylvania.
There are three basic types of fraktur — completely hand drawn, lettered, and painted by an artist or family member; pre-printed forms that could be filled in by the artist or family; and totally printed documents that were colorized by the printer, an apprentice, an artist, or a family member.
The most prolific type of fraktur art is the Taufschein — the Baptism Certificate (sometimes also referred to as Birth Certificates) — printed and hand colored in the thousands as they appealed to a significant group of Pennsylvania Germans who were either Lutheran or German Reformed, and viewed the infant blessing as an important, religious event. More document types and their German names are listed in the quick glossary further down on this page.
Fraktur symbolism included religious and secular images that might mean one thing to one person and something entirely different to someone else, the basis really only known in the mind of the artist (which could have been pointed, or mere whimsy, or simply matched his or her artistic skill level). Even today, sometimes the artists themselves will not admit the secrets of their muse either for personal reasons or because condemnation means loss of community reputation or decreased revenue from much-needed customers. Pious folk (both then and now) snorted at magickal implications, and those with a more open mind welcome the idea of positive enchantment. Researchers in tune with a Jungian outlook see the process of psychology in the observance of iconic images from both the individual standpoint and that of the collective group mind of humanity. The Pennsylvania Germans were as religious as they were superstitious — you simply cannot exclude one concept from the other in fair research. The controversy alone on what a “symbol” in fraktur and hexology (hex sign art and study) actually means, shows that these art forms are so appealing that everyone wants it to be “theirs”. To that end, fraktur and hexology become a true members of the artistic world by falling into the adage of: It is — what it is to you.
On occasion neither printer nor artist had a hand in symbol choices, particularly in the event of the traveling artist where the client dictated what designs they wanted on a personalized document, as shown in the modern parrot birth certificate design above. The original black and white template was crafted for a little girl already born and into her toddler years. She loves marigolds and helps her mother plant peas every spring. The mother asked that both marigolds and peas appear on the certificate. I then used the template to show you how I turned the same birth certificate into a genealogy history piece. As such, the certificate carries several common symbols found in fraktur — the parrot (messages, communication, announcement and fashioned after the native parakeet of North Carolina or the parrot shown in European motifs), Hearts (love), Marigolds (success), ripe Pea Pods (Family Unity, Abundance, and the Garden of Life), the Lotus (spirituality), the Crown (success), and the Five-Pointed Star Hex Sign (luck and good fortune). That’s what these symbols meant to me when I drew them. Someone else might claim these symbols mean something entirely different with a more religious twist substituting the Crown of Success for the Crown of Glory and the Hearts of Love for the Heart of God and so forth. Like I said — it is all in the eye of the beholder.
Notice in the example that I used the Fraktur font style. The infant’s name was actually Samuel Cornelius Baker; but, someone could make a future transcription error, thinking the name reads: Samuel Corneliuf Bater because of the Fraktur font style. The debate then lies within yourself — do you try to stay historically accurate to render your pieces closer to the originals, or do you change the font style for future accuracy in transcription?
Historically, watercolors or paints mixed with egg/water blend were used to illuminate documents. You might like to stick with watercolors, or work with markers, acrylics, or colored pencils.
What Information Goes on Fraktur Art?
What information can be seen on Pennsylvania German (used here as a subgroup name that includes those German-speaking immigrants that moved into other states) frakturs? Fraktur art wasn’t all about birth or baptismal certificates — indeed, this paper art form included a broad range of topics from fliers (broadsides), to Bible inserts, to spells and charms, and more. It is also interesting to note that several surviving birth and baptismal certificates show Classical Astrological information, including the time of birth and what someone thought might be important — the midheaven sign, the all-important moon sign, or even the ruling planetary hour. In Classical Astrology (that used before our modern methods) — your sign of birth was not your sun sign; but your rising sign, which can lead today’s researchers astray when trying to understand the significance of some astrological information on fraktur art, particularly in studying the birth and baptismal certificates. The Moon Sign, too, was considered highly significant. For example, the sign the moon is in (Moon Sign) has always been important in Pennsylvania German activities from deciding when to plant, weed, and harvest daily crops, to preparing and preserving food, to making candles and practicing household chores — cutting hair, buying and selling — all had their specific good and bad times as equated by the moon sign. It is not surprising, then, to find a fraktur birth certificate designed for a child born on 28 October 1762*, that indicates not the sun or the rising sign on the document — but, the moon sign. In this case, the child was born in the moon sign of Pisces in the planetary hour of Saturn (as shown on that birth certificate). Where might the schrivner have found this information? Either he cast the chart himself which would have been somewhat complicated, but not impossible — or, he used the local almanac available at that time (more highly likely). How do I know this information? I double-checked the birth time by running a chart with modern astrological programming using a Classical astrological backdrop. Why did I do it? Because I was curious why the researcher wrote that the astrological signs were different from then as compared to now. This didn’t make sense to me. The signs are not different — modern or classical — they are still the same signs. It was the researcher’s explanation, however, for the October 1762 date not lining up with the sun sign information of today. In this chart, the schrivner was not concerned with the sun or rising sign — he wanted to make sure the Moon Sign and the Planetary Hour of Birth were recorded.
*Note: The Fraktur in question is part of the Collection of the Heritage Center Museum of Lancaster County — gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Flanders Smith.
Fraktur Art and Braucherei
What then, does fraktur have to do with Braucherei? Were all fraktur artists also practicing Braucherei or Pow-Wow? No. Just as our present social-economic community undulates with all types of people that share similar interests, likewise communities of the past exhibited the same kind of diversity that occasionally overlapped one field into another. To say some fraktur artists never charmed their product is just as ridiculous as to say every fraktur artist charmed every paper. Intent, however, is an enchantment all in itself, particularly where art is concerned. No one can deny that the muse has spoken when eyeing a finished piece; yet, what symbolic language the work sings is truly only known by the artist (or perhaps the client). Several fraktur documents did lend themselves directly to magickal application including the Feuers-brief (fire charm), the Himmels-brief (protection letters), the Ein-Brief (letters from God) and the Haus-segen (house blessing) and were used by the Braucher and the Hexenmeister — either constructed for clients by the magickal person or purchased from a printer and charmed (such as the Himmelsbrief ).
Fraktur Document Types & Terms
An incredible number of document types fall under what is collectively called “fraktur”. Here is a brief list of various documents and other applicable terms, along with their German names to clear any confusion as you do your own research on the subject. Most of the documents listed fall under the broadside category. The broadside is a filer, often printed on one side only (but, not always) and first appeared in printed form somewhere around the year 1575.
Andenken — Memorial for the deceased.
Ausfullers — Individuals who filled out forms (filler-outers).
Belohnung –A reward of merit, usually a small illustration made
by a teacher for a student.
Bilderbogen — picture sheet.
Blatt — leaf or sheet of paper.
Brief — letter or epistle.
Buecherzeichen — Bookplate.
Einblattdruck — single sheet print (broadside or flier)
Ein Briefs — Letters from God. (Ein Brief so von Gott selbst geschriben).
Familienregister — Family Record.
Feuersbrief — Fire Charm.
Flugschrift — Pamphlet.
Frakturschreiber — Fraktur writer.
Frakturschriften — Fraktur writing.
Geburtschein — Birth Certificate.
Geistlicher Irrgarten — Spiritual Labyrinth. (Religious text written
in a pattern of circles, squares, etc., much like a labyrinth.)
Handzettel — handbill or hand paper.
Haus Segen or Haussegen — House Blessing.
Himmelsbrief (singular) — Letter of Protection.
Hinkender Bote — Limping Messenger – a broadside correction.
Hochdeutsch — the language of the Pennsylvania Germans
Starb — Died.
Taufschein — Baptism certificate.
Taufwunsch (Taufpatenbrief), Taufzettel) — European Letter given to child’s parents by the sponsors at the child’s baptism. These documents did not catch on well in America.
Trauschein — Marriage certificate.
und so weiter — “and so on” — often added if a particular biblical passage or well-known poem did not fit entirely on the fraktur.
Vorschrift — Writing sample by a schoolmaster or Fraktur artist.
This is an illustration of two commonly used fonts styles used by German-American printers — the Leipzig and the Schwabacher. These fonts and many other fraktur styles can be downloaded for free from various internet sites for your own use. Just search for Fraktur Alphabets or Fraktur Fonts, then choose the site you feel is the most responsible. Remember that often the letters “k”, “s”, “w”, “v”, and “y” are difficult to read and have caused more than one genealogical transcription error. More Americanized-English versions of the fraktur alphabet can also be found where the style is less confusing and may be more to your artistic taste.
Research on the net provides a delightful array of material regarding Pennsylvania German Fraktur. Try these great links for more information!
http://antiquesandthearts.com/archive/frak.htm — provides the best article on the net to date, authored by Corinne and Russel Earnest. Entitled Fraktur — Folk Art and Family, you’ll find an easy to read, entertaining, and informational piece on the roots, purpose, and popular motifs.
http://www.frakturweb.org — is a website dedicated to Fraktur constructed by Joel Clemmer. This site contains an introduction, historical research material, Fraktur types, and special topics. Thesite takes a scholarly look at Fraktur and mentions debates and contentions of various historians. The site features searchable indexes of over one thousand fraktur artists and about seven hundred citations to the literature of fraktur.
http://www.schwenkfelder.com/Museum_Fraktur.htm — Official site of the Schwenkfelder Museum, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and interpreting the history of the religious group called Schwenkfelders and the history of southeastern Pennsylvania and the Perkiomen Region. This article focuses on notable Schwenkfelder artists and shows a distinctively stunning illustration by D. Kriebel (1787-1848).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Kells — explanation of an Illuminated Manuscript — showing the most well known European type — the Book of Kells — a collection of manuscripts created in Ireland from the late 6th to the early 9th century.
Sources for this Article
Earnest, Russel & Corrine, “Flying Leaves and One-Sheets — Pennsylvania German Broadsides, Fraktur, and Their Printers”, New Castle, Delaware: Oak Knoll Books, 2005.
Earnest, Russel & Corrine, “Fraktur: Folk Art and Family”, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 1999.
Hartung, Ruthanne, “Fraktur — Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Learning the Craft”, Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008.
Kauffman, Henry J., “Pennsylvania Dutch American Folk Art”, New York, N.Y.: Dover Publications, Inc., 1964 edition.
Above referenced websites.