Saturday, January 19, 2013

Homesickness - Heemweh

In the Deitsch tradition, homesickness begins with one no longer smells the aroma of his mother's coffee pot or sees the smoke from her chimney.

The primary weapons for combating homesickness are bread (es Brot) and salt (es Salz). Part of the reason for this is that, in days gone by, homesickness was often viewed as the result of a hex.

Salt, especially rock salt, is sewn into the seams of an article of clothing. Salt is considered far more effective of a defense if the person does not know that the salt has been sewn in. Bread is often sewn into clothing items in the same manner.

Bread offered by neighbors will build new relationships, thus reducing homesickness.

Some other sympathetic or symbolic methods of fighting homesickness are as follows:

If one has a well, one should fetch a bucket of water immediately upon moving in. The water is to be consumed through drinking and bathing.

Count the rafters in the home on the first night.

Wear shirts inside out until homesickness is gone.

Strain coffee or tea through a dishcloth used in the new home and drink it.

Eat hazel nuts, chestnuts, or walnuts for 9 days. On the first day, consume nine nuts, and then consume one nut less each day until you hit zero. 

Also, as homesickness is a form of grief, see the blog entry for Sweet Marjoram (Deitsch: der Maru, der Marun).

Der Schutzgeischt

When moving into a new home, it is customary to look upward into (or through) the new chimney. These days, many houses have no fireplaces, so this tradition has been extended to include exhaust fans or even dryer vents!

The presence of house spirits is a common theme in Urglaawe, and some traditions surround sealing a relationship with the Schutzgeischt (guardian spirit). For example, cutting a small piece of soil from the garden or from the entranceway to the house and adding the soil to one's coffee or tea is one way to forge a relationship with the Schutzgeischt.

Other methods include:

Scraping the ends of the table and adding the dust to food;

Scraping the door sills and adding the dust to food;

Making and baking bread with one's own hands and leaving bread offerings to the Schutzgeischt on the first night in the new home.

Offerings to the Schutzgeischt should be made frequently, even after one has resided in the home for a long time.

I am sure that there are far more sympathetic and symbolic cures for homesickness among our folk, but this is a good start.

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