Blog Post 16 – An Introduction to Pow-wow, Part III

Hi folks!  Here is the final installment in my introductory Pow-wow series.  I hope you’re enjoying them!  Now, on to the magic!

Where can I find out more about Pow-wow?

There are many phenomenal resources on this subject.  Here are some of the books I like:

The Red Church, by Chris Bilardi
American Shamans, by Jack Montgomery
Signs, Cures, & Witchery, by Gerald C. Milne
Buying the Wind, by Richard M. Dorson (chapter on “Pennsylvania Dutchmen”)

And, of course, Pow-wows; or The Long Lost Friend, by John George Hohman (also available free at

Additionally, I like this website and its accompanying newsletter:
Three Sisters Center for the Healing Arts

There are other books and resources which I’ve encountered either by proxy or by reputation which I’d also recommend seeking out, though I cannot give a strong opinion on their validity myself, yet:

Strange Experience: The Autobiography of a Hexenmeister, by Lee R. Gandee
Hex and Spellwork, by Karl Herr
The Pennsylvania German Broadside, by Don Yoder
The Pennsylvania German Society

Some Pow-wow Charms & Proverbs

Finally, as promised, here are some Pow-wow charms you can try out yourself.  I’d love to hear how they work for you, so please feel free to leave comments or email us about your results!  Please also note that I provide these for cultural, spiritual, and magical value.  They do not replace conventional medical or legal advice; please see a professional if you have needs in those areas.

First, a few from Hohman’s book:


Write the following words upon a paper and wrap it up in knot-grass, and then tie it upon the body of the person who has the fever:

Potmat sineat,
Potmat sineat,
Potmat sineat.


I walk through a green forest;
There I find three wells, cool and cold;
The first is called courage,
The second is called good,
And the third is called stop the blood


Bruise, thou shalt not heat;
Bruise, thou shalt not sweat;
Bruise, thou shalt not run,
No-more than Virgin Mary shall bring forth another son.
+ + +

(The three “+” signs at the end indicate making three crosses in the air over the patient or afflicted area, also sometimes saying the three High Names of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost)


Ye thieves, I conjure you, to be obedient like Jesus Christ, who obeyed his Heavenly Father unto the cross, and to stand without moving out of my sight, in the name of the Trinity. I command you by the power of God and the incarnation of Jesus Christ, not to move out of my sight, + + + like Jesus Christ was standing on Jordan’s stormy banks to be baptized by John. And furthermore, I conjure you, horse and rider, to stand still and not to move out of my sight, like Jesus Christ did stand when he was about to be nailed to the cross to release the fathers of the church from the bonds of hell.. Ye thieves, I bind you with the same bonds with which Jesus our Lord has bound hell; and thus ye shall be bound; + + + and the same words that bind you shall also release you.

(The conventional wisdom on releasing the thief is that the entire spell must be read backwards.  It’s nice to hold all the cards sometimes.  This charm is almost entirely lifted from entry #22 of the Romanus Buchlein, or Little Book of the Roma, a late 18th century grimoire and prayer book).

Here is a pair of charms which I am citing from Jack Montgomery’s American Shamans, but which he cites from an article entitled “Magical Medical Practice in South Carolina,” from Popular Science Monthly, 1907:


Christian Version

“Our Lord rode, his foal’s foot slade [slid],
Down he lighted, his foal’s foot righted,
Bone to bone,
Sinew to sinew,
Flesh to flesh,
Heal, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  Amen”

Pagan Version

“Phol and Woden went to the wood, there was Balder’s colt his foot wrenched,
Then Sinthgunt charmed it and Sunna her sister,
Then Frua charmed it and Volla her sister, then Woden charmed it as he well could,
As well the bone-wrench,
As the blood-wrench,
Bone to bone,
Blood to blood,
Joint to joint,
As if they were glued together.”

(Montgomery, American Shamans, p. 102)

A classic Pow-wow blood-stopping charm, also from Jack Montgomery (and derived from a passage in Ezekiel, I believe):

And when I passed by thee and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. (p. 253)

Here’s a more modern charm for protection during automobile travel:

“This is a written prayer that is used for protecting cars and other vehicles.  It can be simply folded and placed in the glovebox.

Our Heavenly Father, we ask this day a particular blessing.  As we take the wheel of our car, grant us safe passage through all the perils of trouble.  Shelter those who accompany us and provide us from harm by Thy mercy.  Steady our hands and quicken our eyes that we may never take another’s life.  Guide us to our destination safely, confident in the knowledge that Thy blessing be with us through darkness and light, sunshine and showers, forever and ever.  Amen.” (Bilardi, The Red Church, p. 284)

And I’ll conclude with a few proverbs from the Pennsylvania Dutch, as recorded in Buying the Wind, by Richard M. Dorson (pp.138-141).  Note that “German” here connotes the Pennsylvania-German dialect, not necessarily European German.

-German:  D’r hammer wert aus faerm ambos.
-English:  The anvil outlasts the hammer.

-German:  Waers erscht in di mil kummt grikt’s erscht gimale.
-English:  He that cometh first to the mill, grindeth first.

-German:  En blini sau finnt a alsemol en echel.
-English:  Even a blind pig will sometimes find an acorn.

I hope this series has been informative to you!  This won’t be the last time Pow-wow comes up here, of course, but I think it may be enough to get your feet wet on the subject.  If you try out any of these charms and have results to report or have any thoughts on the different folklore and opinions recorded here, I hope you will leave a comment or send an email and share them with us.

Thanks for reading!


8 thoughts on “Blog Post 16 – An Introduction to Pow-wow, Part III”

  1. Hi Cory,
    As a subject near and dear to my heart, I have truly enjoyed reading this series each morning, but then I enjoy every post that you guys do.
    What I think I’ve mentioned to you before is while reading things like this and my Hyatt books, I compare them with say, Thomasina Blight’s charms (Cornwall) and some of the West Country beliefs, and I’m so “aha” with the commonality between all of them. This does display how this amalgamation of beliefs, this common stream, has migrated and adapted on our own soil here, to become something distinctly American, albeit it’s roots extend across the oceans from several places. So enjoying this! chris

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for the feedback! I definitely can see relationships between lots of these systems. I think that some of that may be due to the commonality of certain grimoires among the different magical strains (such as the Romanus or Albertus Magnus), but I also think it would be fair to say that magic speaks a common language in some way. Is that sort of what you’re getting at? Or am I just reading my own interpretation onto what you said, lol. At any rate, I’m thrilled to have your insightful comments here, so thank you for sharing them!


      1. Well, Cory, to give you an example, I got into a discussion recently with a well-known Braucher, and we were dicussing the use of the “Holy Spirit” as spoken of by Chris Bilardi. We reached a concensus (I think that’s the right term) that what the Christians would call ” Holy Spirit” is just one of the manifestations of something “undercurrent” that shows up in different cultures under different guises when accessing a state of oh, ecstasis. Now, my ‘holy spirit’ is something androgynous, and I work with this in much the same way Chris uses the Trinity. I invision this Serpent as reaching across all thresholds to be accessed in a manner that, magically, is available to move things along. I’m totally avoiding the neo ideas of “one true spirit”, since I don’t believe that is so. But this Serpent carries the ideas, and yeah, the language. We humble humans just turn it into what we best percieve, I guess. Orrrrr, maybe the 70s are catching up with me…..

  2. I think I follow you, lol. 🙂 I don’t know if Chris would agree with that, but I can see where you’re coming from. I do have to say it gives me witchy tingles to see the Serpent and the Trinity juxtaposed so closely to each other. I love that!

    Thanks again for writing!

  3. I’m afraid that my interpretation of the Holy Ghost really is straight doctrinal Trinitarian Christianity. However, with that said, I believe that God does not abandon any of His children, and will speak to different people in various ways, IMHO.

    Oddly enough, there was a sect of Gnostics called Ophites who believed that Christ was a reincarnation of the Biblical serpent, and one of their symbols of Jesus was as a serpent twined around a Tau cross.

    I’m not a missionary, and care little about what others choose to believe, however, within the confines of braucherei practice, as it has been understood by generations of PA Dutchmen, there’s very little wiggle room for this sort of theorizing. It just didn’t happen; and many considered Jesus to be the first real braucher.

    As for me, although there are some pre-Christian elements left in the practice (from various cultural sources), all are subsumed in Christ.

    I totally understand that Christianity is not everyone’s bowl of cherries. And, I also understand very well why that is. Unfortunately, it’s largely the fault of lack-lustre clergy and the dullness (or spiritlessness) that comes with something turns into mere convention instead of a living experience.

    All of the esoteric goodies that people leave the Christian religion in order to find, I have found within its bosom. It took me 20+ years _away from_ the religion to actual see what I do now. This is a subject that I can literally talk for hours about, but I don’t want everyone’s eyes to glaze over here.

    A friend of mine who is a very good pastor with the United Church of Christ is involved in teaching her congregation different meditation and breathing techniques, along with Christ-based spiritual gestalt therapy for the healing of old emotional wounds in order to facilitate the flow of spiritual power and health. I am meeting more ministers and clergy like this, who are going out of the box of being mere ceremonial functionaries and social workers in clerical drag.

    1. Hi Chris! It’s good to have you commenting here. I really enjoyed your posts on the old Crooked Path forum, so feel free to augment any of our posts here with your perspective.

      That’s quite interesting about you spending so much time away from Christianity in order to finally understand its inherent mystical qualities. I’d love to hear more about that sometime.

      Best wishes to you! Thanks for writing!


      1. You’re welcome, Cory. I would be glad to explain how I got where I am now. Just let me know when you’d like me to write on it.

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