Episode 79 – Pow-wow with Rob Phoenix
This episode focuses on the Pennsylvania Dutch system of folk healing and magic known as Pow-wow (among many other names). We look at the cultural history, the religious contexts, and the actual practice of the system itself. Author and Pow-wow practitioner Rob Phoenix brings his extensive knowledge to the table to give us a well-rounded portrait of this culturally rich and still living tradition.
Download: Episode 79 – Pow-wow with Robert Phoenix
You should most certainly check out our guest, Rob Phoenix, and his website.
There are many phenomenal resources on this subject. Here are some of the books I like:
- The Red Church, by Chris Bilardi
- Powwowing Among the Pennsylvania Dutch, by David W. Kreibel
- The Pow-wow Grimoire, by Robert Phoenix
- 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 (modern translation by Daniel Harms) (an older version is also available free at sacred-texts.com).
To find out more on the culture surrounding pow-wowing, you should seek out:
- The Pennsylvania German Broadside, by Don Yoder
- The Pennsylvania German Society & The Kutztown Historical Society
- Witches of Pennsylvania, by Thomas White
Additionally, I’d recommend these takes for modern revivalist approaches to the practice within a Teutonic context:
- Three Sisters Center for the Healing Arts
- The Urglaawe Faith/Distelfink Sippschaft (you can also check out our previous Pow-wow episode with Rob Schreiwer for more information, too).
Some books which are interesting and informative, but which need augmentation through additional sources, include:
- Strange Experience: The Autobiography of a Hexenmeister, by Lee R. Gandee
- Hex and Spellwork, by Karl Herr
Be sure to check out the upcoming film, “Hex Hollow,” which will feature several of our previous guests and favorite authors, including Rob, Chris Bilardi, and Thomas White.
Cory will be at two upcoming events, and will likely be holding talks/discussions at both of them, which you might find interesting:
- Philadelphia Pagan Pride Day (Saturday, September 5th, 2015) [TENTATIVE]
- Greater New Orleans Pagan Pride Day (Saturday, October 10th, 2015) – Featuring the luminous S.J. Tucker (and lil ole me)!
If you have feedback you’d like to share, email us or leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!
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Promos & Music
Title music: “Homebound,” by Jag, from Cypress Grove Blues. From Magnatune.
Incidental music by So I’m an Islander (“Quiet Storm Surge”), Elias Liljestrom (“Bach’s ‘Jesus Bleibet Meine Freunde”), Trinity Choir (“Bach Rehearsal”), and Vantala (“Unser Vater”), used through Creative Commons license on SoundCloud.
My podcast recommendation for this episode is the Lore Podcast, which features spooky folktales presented with historical and literary interpretations (which I found through Betwixt & Between).
2 thoughts on “Episode 79 – Pow-wow with Rob Phoenix”
Well to start, for some weird reason I thought you were a Woman New World Witchery LMAO!!! Now I’m going to say some things. This is just my opinion which I assume was the point of the post.
I contest Mr. Phoenix’s statement that Powwow is not a Cultural Appropriation of “paganistic” systems. Which many would find that term offensive (I sure did). Hell you just revealed a charm on the air that has a Christian and Pagan version, the Pagan version being older most likely. But I won’t leave it at that. In Scandinavia, the Troll Witches who are Pagan can stop blood by use of a verbal charm just like the Pow-Wows can as well.
You can read about that in “TROLLDOM: SPELLS AND METHODS OF THE NORSE FOLK MAGIC TRADITION
by Johannes Bjorn Gardback”
Pow-wow is the Christian Cultural Appropriation of older Pagan systems of belief and magic. That’s nothing new. It’s just that such societies are predominantly conservative Christian so they see it only through their own Christian lens. And it’s not unique in that. Many Caucasian-American magical systems are like that.
But remember that a lot of Pagans converted to avoid being tortured and taught their charms to their children in the guise of Christianity which is where the Christian Traditional Witchcraft (of European origin) in the Americas can trace it’s origins. But because that is a touchy subject and often an unwritten history no one acknowledges it. Well, almost no one. But even before America, Witches were using Christianity in their magic and those witches were Pagan. In Gemma Gary’s “The Black Toad” which is a Gremoire of traditional British Magic you see Pagan magic, Christian magic, and yes Satanic Black Magic in it’s pages.
Because Witches are naturally inclined to learn new things so of course the old folks gave Christianity and even Lucifer a chance. I don’t think Mr. Phoenix intended to say things that sound offensive and retro Christian. Especially since not everyone would agree that you have to see Powwow the same way they do. They clearly didn’t see the old Pagan system the way our ancestors did when they changed it. So why can’t we change it back? It’s a man made formula. And a lot of folks made spells and rituals up and still do today.
There’s a man I admire from the Ozarks who does traditional healing, who sees it that retro Christian way too because again, in his culture, they see it through a conservative Christian lens. So if I told him that Ozark magic and other Caucasian sorcery in America had Pagan origins that were stolen from Pagans I’m sure he would be upset. And in his culture Good Witches are called Doctors or Healers and Witch is reserved for Satanists which I also find offensive. But I love the guy and see him as a great teacher. It doesn’t change the fact that he’s a powerful worker of the Divine.
As I am sure Mr. Phoenix is. As for the famous Hex Murder you can read about it in greater detail here :
Also on the subject of what a Hexxen Meister is, Hexxen means Witch and Meister is Master. Witch Master also known as a Witch Doctor in the Ozarks. Brandon Wesson wrote a badass article about what that is. Basically it’s a Good Witch who enters into spiritual warfare against a Bad Witch using special methods of counter sorcery to break their spells. Here is the article :
Anyways, those are just my thoughts.
Now, on the more positive side, I do like Powwow and intend to practice it. And because I’m a Christo Pagan I have no problem using the Christian terminology. But at the same time if I find the original Pagan terminology like the Blood Stopper charm from Scandinavia I will use those as well.
I want to find a an actual Teacher to show me. But in Powwow it has to be someone of the opposite gender. That’s a common theme even in Ozark spirituality. So I have to find a woman. I don’t know how successful I’ll actually be in that. But oh well I will try.
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