Sunday, May 21, 2017

Verbot on Iron Use with Vervain

Regarding VERVAIN of all types, and I'd extend this to LEMON VERBENA: Please note that, in this growing season, there is a Verbot on digging the roots of all Vervains using any iron tool. The interesting thing about this Verbot is that the general name for Vervain in Deitsch is "Eisegraut," which means "Iron Herb."

Young Verbena hastata (Blue Vervain; Blohes Eisegraut)

Deitsch lore holds the use of iron with Vervain as an affront to the plant's spirit, which holds a similar sense to the bans on iron in the presence of Erda or Nerthus.

German lore backs up the Verbot but does not give a reason for it. The following is taken from Deitsch sources (Brendle and Lick, Plant Names and Plant Lore Among the Pennsylvania Germans, p. 92 and the original is at:…:

"Aber nicht genug damit. Es muss ausserdem nun liegen bleiben, bis Morgentau darauf fällt, und der glückliche Besitzer muss selber dabei bleiben un darf es arst vor Sonnenaufgang aufheben. Mit Eisen darf er während des ganzen Hergangs beileibe nicht in Berührung kommen, sonst ist all sein Werk vergebens. So gewonnen, erwirbt das Kraut aber nicht nur Frauenhuld, es schützt auch gegen die Pest, fallende Sucht, Kopfweh, Kropf, Besprechung, Schlaflosigkeit, Gespenster, wendet nach Ansicht des Tirolers Müdigkeit ab, wenn man es in die Schuhe legt, und gibt endlich - hört! hört! - Kindern Verstand und Lust zum Lernen. Eisenkraut sollte in keinem Garten fehlen!"

Another piece of Deitsch lore tells the preferred alternative (a variant of which appears in Brendle & Lick):

Eisegraut helft dir sehr, as die Weiwer henn's gholt;
doch brauch keh Eise, graab's mit Gold.

Vervain helps you a lot, as the women have fetched it;
But use no Iron, dig with Gold.

Most of us do not have trowels or shovels of gold, but tin, copper, bronze, or the hands are options.

From the Urglaawe perspective, this Verbot is associated with Erda, thereby making Vervain sacred to Her, though that results from connecting the dots of the Verbot and is, therefore, an newer connection.

Friday, May 12, 2017

And Here They Come...

Although it does not appear that we'll be dealing with freezing temperatures in the Deitscherei over the next three nights, we still observe the end of the Wonnezeit and keep an eye out for the first attack of the Reifries (Frost Giants).

There are at least two full variants of this story exist along with several additional tidbits and remnants turning up in other areas. The versions of the story that make a complete tale are those of the  Oley Freindschaft and the Harrity-Palmerton Freindschaft guilds of Braucherei, and their versions complement each other, with the Harrity-Palmerton version containing many details that the Oley version lacked. There are some clashing points between the versions, such as one stating that each Butzemann defends only his own property and the other referring to the Butzemann army taking the battle with the Frost Giants into the north.

This is the first, raw, harmonized version, which includes features of both principal complete versions as well as aspects of the remnants of others. The final version will be published in the near future.


Der Reifkeenich (King Frost) heard that the Wild Hunt had returned to Mannheem (the home of humanity) and that his armies were in retreat from Hexefeld as the Wonnedanz revitalized the land. He first ordered Dreizehdax ("Thirteen-Badger") to go to Mannheem to reclaim his lost holdings. The next day, he dispatched Vatzehvedder (or Vatzehfedder, which may be a dialectic reference to "Fourteen-Porcupine"), and on the third day, he sent Fuffzehfux ("Fifteen-Fox"). Each took with him an army of Giants and allies.

Dreizehdax and his soldiers journeyed twelve nights from the Naddbledder ("Northern Leaves" of the World Tree). As they arrived in Mannheem, they brought the temperature down so much tender plants that could not withstand the cold. Dreizehdax and his soldiers feasted upon the spirits of the dying plants. Dreizehdax led his army down from the north, eventually arriving in the farmlands. 

Suddenly, he caught the gaze of a large, powerful, reddish-haired man, and he immediately recognized Him as Dunner. Dunner stood between Dreizehdax and the farmland, which Dreizehdax greedily wished to devour.

The Butzemann (spiritually activated scarecrow) on each farm prepared to fight to protect their children, though they were young and were not sure that they could defeat Dreizehdax and his powerful soldiers. As the Frost Giants stepped forward, Dunner lifted his mighty Hammer and slew one soldier after another, leaving only Dreizehdax, who fled in terror back to the north.

Dunner spoke to the Butzemenner (plural), telling them that He would teach them how to fight the Frost Giants. 

The next night, Vatzehvedder and his armies arrived in Mannheem. His army drenched the mountains in freezing rain, which stung the tenders, and the soldiers devoured the spirits of the dying plants. As the army approached the farmlands, Dunner raised His Hammer and commanded the rain to stop. He told all of the Butzemenner to come out of their shells to fight alongside Him. 

The spirit of each Butzemann stepped forth. Dunner fought the soldiers of Vatzehvedder with His hands, using His breath to warm the air and exerting His Megge (main, megin, life force energy) upon them, which caused them to melt. The Butzemenner followed suit, using the power of their Megge to surround the army so Dunner could destroy it. Vatzehvedder realized that his army was doomed, and he retreated to the north, joining Dreizehdax.

On the third night, Fuffzehfux and his army arrived in Mannheem. He and his soldiers froze the mist in the air, which dropped deadly dew onto the leaves and stems of the tender plants. The dew tortured the tender plants and harmed even many hardier plants. The Frost Giants began to eat the spirits of the damaged plants. 

Suddenly, the Butzemenner emerged from their shells and rose up from the farmlands, coming into the north and destroying the soldiers while they feasted. As the Butzemenner stepped forward the frozen dew turned to a warm mist, and the plants rejoiced.

Fuffzehfux soon found himself standing alone facing the Butzemann army, and he retreated to the north, joining Dreizehdax and Vatzehvedder. The three returned to the Naddbledder to bring the unhappy news of their defeat to King Frost.

As each Butzemann returned home to defend his own land, Dunner appeared before them to congratulate them on their victory. "Your children may now safely take root in the soil of Mannheem."

This is why the tender plants may be brought out after sunrise on May 15.


Contributing work:

Tobin, Jesse. Der Braucherei Weg (course). Kempton, PA: Three Sisters Center for the Healing Arts, 2007.

Robert L. Schreiwer and Ammerili Eckhart, original research, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013.