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 sacred-texts.com).
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:
HOW TO BANISH THE FEVER.
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:
TO STOP BLEEDING.
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
TO REMOVE BRUISES AND PAINS.
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)
ANOTHER WAY TO STILL-BIND THIEVES.
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:
TO HEAL A SPRAIN
“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”
“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!