The Season IS the Reason!

Every year, at Yuletide, we are are bombarded with complaints about a "War on Christmas" and declarations that "Jesus is the reason for the season."

There are few things that are as far off track. First off, the "War on Yule" began long before any alleged War on Christmas. The War on Yule was so pernicious that Christmas subsumed myriad Yule traditions and mutated them so much that the average person thinks they were originally Christian traditions!

Santa Claus as a depiction of St. Nicholas... Seriously? How many reindeer are there in Anatolia?

Then there is the "Reason for the Season" statement. Honestly, there is such ignorance related to this claim. All indicators are, that if Jesus of Nazareth was indeed an historical figure, he was far more likely born in the late summer or early autumn. The placing of Christmas halfway into Yule is part of a Church strategy of undermining Saturnalia and Yule traditions in order to advance the Church's agenda.

Thus, Christmas is not the reason for this season of celebration. The reason is the Yule, or the winter solstice, which represents, among many other things, the victory of light over darkness. The new season of winter begins at Yule, but the days begin to lengthen. Therefore, the Season IS the Reason!


Recent conversations and circumstances have brought the goddess Berchta to the fore. Urglaawe observes Bertchta's feast day, December 31, as the Berchtaslaaf (Procession of Berchta). This is an integral part of the Yule observance.

Old lore indicates that we are to eat a meal of gruel and herring. In fact, the lore, as reported by Grimm, states that is ALL we are to eat on that day. Fortunately, we have found Berchta to be flexible when it comes to that report, particularly if the meal is present and is at least eaten a bit.

We will write more about this radiant goddess as Yule approaches. :)

Erntfescht 2012

Distelfink Sippschaft and Hottenstein Freibesitz each held their Erntfescht events on the weekend of September 22-23.

Hottenstein collected 97 pounds of food that went to food banks in Schuylkill and Carbon Counties. The farmers in the fellowship traded some specialty crops with each other (squash for cabbage, apples for grapes, etc.).

Distelfink collected over 160 pounds of food that were donated to the Berks County Food Bank. Some seeds, particularly herbal seeds, were exchanged among some members. Some perennial herbal seeds were also planted in several garden areas across the Deitscherei.

Distelfink's event took place at the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center at Kutztown University. The site was perfect for the Sippschaft's needs, and they hope to have more events there in the future. 

Some photos from Distelfink's event are below.

Die Scheier

Der Aldaar

Pete and Re-Pete, the Butzemann

A Dictionary of Urglaawe Terminology

The first widely accessible Urglaawe book is now available on

This book is a repository of the terms, concepts, symbols and mythological references used in the Heathen path of Urglaawe. The entries include the cultural values, spiritual awareness, and wisdom carried through the centuries in the oral lore of the Elder healing practice of Braucherei, which is also known as Pow Wow. Included in the entries are traditions and customs that are part of the living Deitsch, -- Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch -- folk culture. Adherents to Heathen paths, including Ásatrú, Irminenschaft, Theodism, Forn Sidr, Odinism, and other traditions, will find these entries useful as they provide another voice to the totality of the Teutonic folk experience.

Friggsege and Gewwernsege

Der Friggsege

The Friggsege is an Urglaawe ceremony that celebrates feminine creative energies, motherhood, and female ancestors and descendants. The Friggsege coincides with the Kannsege (Ceremony of the Corn), the Butzemannsege (Blessing of the Butzemann), and Grundsaudaag (Groundhog Day). The ceremony is rooted in Braucherei traditions relating to the Haerdgedderin (or Haerdziebin, called in English, the "Hearth Goddess").

In a manner similar to an Asatru Disablot, matriarchal ancestors are hailed and honored. As Urglaawe is a tradition of cycles and spirals, feminine descendants are also honored.

Frigg is seen as spinning the very material from which the Norns weave our Wurt (or Wyrd, as many other Heathens would know the term). This to us places Her so high in the Cosmic scheme that She is essentially a goddess of time, energy, and matter as well as a goddess of the home. We honor Her at the end of Yuul in recognition of Her association with time, but at Groundhog Day, we honor Her creative power and her protection of home and hearth.

As part of the honoring, the fire was allowed to go out in the hearth. A new fire was to be started with birch, which is also sacred to Frigg. This relates the day with the rune Berkano.
Also, the feminine creative energies enter into the construction of the Butzemann. For a more detailed description of this relationship, please see the Oley Freindschaft's Braucherei site.


Gefjon, whom we call Gewwern, is seen as the mother of Denmark, and, in an ironic twist, is closely associated with virgins and plows. King Gylfi of Sweden promised a disguised

Copenhagen's Gefjon Fountain

Gefjon as much land as She could plow in one night. She transformed Her sons into and plowed the Danish island of Zealand off from Sweden, thus creating the Swedish Lake Vänern. There are some linguistic links between Gefjon's name, which denotes giving, and Nordic words for marriage.

There are also linguistic links to the Matronae group called the Alagabiae (Matronis Alagabiabus), to whom an inscripiton on a votive stone dating from the 4th century A.D. from Bürgel near Solingen, West Germany (CIL XIII 8529) is dedicated. The name, which means 'All-giver', presents a Germanic counterpart to the partially Celticized matron name Ollogabiae. It is possible that the same matrons were venerated under both names among the mixed Germanic-Celtic population on the Lower Rhine (Source: Simek's "Dictionary of Northern Mythology").

She is seen as one of the goddesses in Frigg's retinue, and there are some linguistic connections between Her name and Frigg and Freya, too, which is interesting given that Frigg is of the Ase (Aesir) and Freya is of the Wane (Vanir). Gefjon is considered Aesir.

Also interesting is that Holle and Berchta are also said to carry plows.

Hail to Frigg!

Hail to Gewwern!

Lüsch-Müsselman Graabhof - Urglaawe

The Lüsch-Müsselman Graabhof is an Urglaawe cemetery in West Mahoning Township, Carbon County, PA. This location is in northern Deitscherei.

The cemetery also contains graves of Christian (Schwenkfelder, Lutheran, Mennonite) ancestors whose religious choices will always be respected. However, the grounds on the remainder of the Graabhof are dedicated to the goddess Holle and to the future founding of an Urglaawe temple to be maintained by Distelfink Sippschaft.

For more information, please contact Robert Lüsch Schreiwer.