26.8.17

Frick's Lock

Today several of us went on a tour of the "ghost town" of Frick's Lock, which was abandoned due to the construction of the Limerick Nuclear Power Plant. When I was in private school, I could see the towers of the plant being built from one of the windows in my dormitory. The town itself is not known for being "haunted," and it does not have that sort of feel to it at all. It does. however contain elements Deitsch history from the construction of the first home by a Swiss immigrant in 1757 into the modern era. That first house was built with Swiss banked architecture and was constructed right on a spring of the Schuylkill River so that water was attainable simply by stepping outside.

1757 House constructed by Grumbacher -
note that vandals broke the downstairs window.

The town eventually developed into a port on the Schuylkill Canal, which was a major economic artery for the transmission of coal from the north to Philadelphia and of food goods throughout the region. Echoes of the various canals, particularly the Schuylkill, are heard throughout the Deitscherei even into today. The town had a store right along the canal that operated 24/7. The tour operator called it "the Wawa of its day." It also had a very busy barn where mules and horses and other portions of the canal operations were housed.

The Wawa of its day

The barn is said to have a lot of "German" (very likely actually Deitsch) "graffiti" on the walls. This aspect has piqued my interest as other barns, mills, etc., are where runic symbols and other things of interest to Urglaawe have turned up in the past. Unfortunately, the current owner, Exelon (the major electricity supplier in the Delaware Valley) does not permit anyone to enter the barn building, so it is out of bounds for us. I am hoping that this ban may someday be reversed.

The Barn
The railroad eventually came to nearby Parkerford, thus beginning the end of the canal era, but Frick's Lock was still part of the region's fabric until the power plant was constructed and most of the town fell into its exclusionary zone. It seems a few of the houses that remain and that are outside of the exclusionary zone may eventually be rehabilitated into a visitors center or put to use for other purposes.


That which killed Frick's Lock


18.8.17

Deitsch Eclipse Lore

There are two types of stories related to eclipses. One is sort of "pro" eclipse and the other is rather "con" eclipse. 

An eclipse is called a "Finschderniss" (grammatically feminine, so it takes the article "die"), and an eclipse specifically of the sun is called "Sunnefinschderniss." "Finschderniss" is related to "finschder," means "murky" or "dark." The "pro" story is that Sunna and Muun were lovers (some say married) but that the jealous trickster Schadde had gotten between them (this is where the versions of the stories get confusing, which is why they still have not been published), but he somehow manages to persuade the god associated with sleep, Schlumm, to cast sleep spells on each of them. While they are asleep, Schadde sets them into the sky so that he is between them. 

Sunna and Muun do a dance through the skies, trying to be together, and , when a solar eclipse happens, it means they have achieved that goal, with Muun tossing Schadde behind him. An echo of the noise-making appears in this context with some respondents saying that they tap drinking glasses at this time, which is reminiscent of what people do at weddings when they want the bride and groom to kiss. The reason this is only "sort of" pro is that the way Schadde persuades Schlumm to set them to sleep has something to do with imbalance in Mannheem, and Sunna and Muun being together too long would have catastrophic results. Someday I will get that story's versions harmonized.

The other stories are akin to the Norse and other cultural stories: an animal (usually a fox or a wolf) is chasing the sun and catching it, and banging of pots and pans is performed to scare the animal away.

The first story reminds me a bit of this song...



Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
daß sie am Himmel sich niemals trafen,
denn wenn er aufsteht, dann geht sie schlafen.

Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
wenn sie auch träumen von einem Märchen,
ein Pärchen werden sie nie.

Da sind wir beide besser dran, viel besser dran,
weil mich dein Mund so oft ich will am Tage küssen kann.
Hier unten ist das Leben schön für dich und mich,
dein Mund sagt mir so oft ich will: 'Mein Schatz, ich liebe dich!'

Doch Lady, Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
wenn sie auch träumen von einem Märchen,
ein Pärchen werden sie nie.

Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
würden gern was dagegen tun,
dass sie so einsam dort oben wandern,
dass sie noch träumen, verliebt vom Andern.

Lady Sunshine und Mister Moon
können gar nichts dagegen tun,
wenn sie auch träumen von einem Märchen,
ein Pärchen werden sie nie. Nie! Nie!

27.3.17

Der Daabnessel

Do not sell me short!



I am Purple Deadnettle, also known as Archangel, known in Deitsch as Daabnessel (which in modern Deitsch literally means "deaf nettle" but "daab" carries a second meaning of "barren" or "dead"; therefore, dead nettle, with the reference being to the lack of the sting), and by the taxonomic name of Lamium purpureum.

Although my name says "nettle," I am not related to the amazing plant, Urtica dioica or other "true" nettles. Instead, my squarish stem will serve as a clue about which family I am truly in. I am a mint. I may not smell as pleasant as Spearmint or Peppermint, but I have some of the same medicinal properties as they do.


I am an astringent, a diuretic, and a purgative. I carry within me antioxidants, Vitamin C, and flavonoids such as quercetin. I have been shown to have some effectiveness against e. coli (see your doctor if you suspect this!), and my essential oil contains Germacrene D, which gives me antimicrobial properties.

I may be a little tough to eat in a salad, though people do make use of my generous self. More commonly, though, I am consumed as a tea, often alongside other early spring greens.

I flower early in the year, thus providing a food source for mammals and insects. Despite the fact that Germacrene D also has insecticidal properties, other aspects of my being attract some insects as well. I am one of those plants whose seeds have elaiosomes, which ants love to eat. They take my seeds and help to scatter them, thus reminding us of the Zusaagpflicht or sacred duty that exists among plants, animals, and humans.

I have some traditional (and not necessarily happy!) lore associated with me among the Deitsch (Pennsylvania Germans or Pennsylvania Dutch).

A strong stand of Purple Deadnettle appearing in the Fall is said to divine a mild winter.


Also, if someone is very ill, then the urine of that person is to be collected at night and poured onto Purple Deadnettles. If the Deadnettles were yellow or dying the next morning, then the ailing person should be expected to die from the current ailment. If the Purple Deadnettles were still green, then the person would be expected to overcome the ailment.

In this day and age, chemical companies tell you that I am nothing but a blight on your lawns and encourage you to poison me. By doing so, you are also poisoning the insects and animals that feed off me and dumping the poison into your soil and your water supply. I know I am persistent and I go to seed before most people even start to mow their grass, but turning the soil will usually cause me to look elsewhere for a home. If the lawn is something that you enjoy, thick turf will often discourage me from moving in to begin with.

Crossposted from the Deitsch Herbalism website, 

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Disclaimer: This information is for educational and discussion purposes only. Nothing in these posts is intended to constitute, or should be considered, medical advice or to serve as a substitute for the advice of a physician or other qualified health care provider. As always, your health is your responsibility. Consult with a doctor before using any herbal remedy or preventative.

15.3.17

Heesses Wasser Uffschtand

Fries' Rebellion is the last significant Deitsch uprising. It is named after John Fries, who was a hero of the Whiskey Rebellion but who was also considered a traitor as a result of the rebellion that bears his name in English. The Deitsch name, Heesses Wasser Uffschtand (Hot Water Uprising), relates to the Deitsch women who chased away the tax collectors using boiling water as a weapon.

Had Fries' Rebellion been successful, life in the Deitscherei might be very different today. This was a watershed event in Deitsch history, and a presentation at Goschenhoppen tomorrow affords us with a great opportunity to learn about the causes of the rebellion.

Thursday, March 16, 2017
Goschenhoppen
Red Men's Hall
216 Gravel Pike
Green Lane, PA 



20.11.16

Yuletide Sock Drive

Socks are one of the most requested items at homeless shelters, but they are also one of the least-donated items.

From December 17, 2016 (Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits) through January 1, 2016, Distelfink Sippschaft will be collecting new, unworn socks for folks in need. We need all sizes, from baby to adult male. Practical socks, fun socks, fuzzy socks, holiday socks, argyle socks are all needed!

Stock up stacks of socks and stockings and help to bring warmth to the feet of those in need this Yuletide!

Contact Robert L. Schreiwer (schreiwer@urglaawe.org) for collection sites. The first location will be at Parade of Spirits/Krampuslauf in Liberty Lands Park (December 17, 2016 at 3:30 PM, Liberty Lands Park, Philadelphia, PA).

Donations will be directed to homeless shelters in the Delaware Valley.

8.8.16

Still Adding to the Lexicon

Lest folks think that this site is inactive, please visit the listings of words that are missing from the dictionaries. We are still adding to them!

15.12.15

Photos from Krampuslauf Philadelphia 2015: Parade of Spirits

Most of our photos came from the preparation period because it was difficult to take photos while marching, but there were other people taking photographs of the parade along the marching route. Hopefully we will be able to share more in the future. Featured in our photos are Mike Hicks in his debut in the role of Belsnickel. Robert L. Schreiwer reprised his 2013 role as Gedreier Eckhart, the leader of the Wild Hunt from Deitsch lore. Andria Carpentier marched as a spirit in the Hunt and assisted others with makeup. Corrine Johnson delighted the crowd with her stunning handmade Yule Cat (from Icelandic lore) costume. Joe Barrett and other folks formed a group of Yule Lads. 


Channel 17 has some great pics posted, particularly from the fire performers!


Once again, Krampuslauf Philadelphia: Parade of Spirits has exceeded our expectations. This wondrous, grassroots, community- and participant-driven event continues to grow and to flourish in the City of Brotherly Love.