For years, scholars of Pennsylvania German Folk Culture have argued about the presence or absence of magic in the Hex Signs that adorn the barns in SE Pennsylvania.
This book is not going to waste any space on that tired discussion. All the Hexologists included here are working in a magical way. It is just a natural process that creating geometric star signs with symbols in them would have meaning with intent. The questions raised here are not “If” but “How”. In a sense, everyone here is following in the footsteps of the Hexenmeister, Lee R. Gandee, author of “Strange Experience, Autobiography of a Hexenmeister”who used Hexology as ‘painted prayer’ We are grateful that Jack Montgomery allowed me to ask him some very pointed questions about his great teacher in this volume.
Don Yoder's foreward to Patrick Donmoyer’s brilliant new book, Hex Signs: Myth and Meaning in Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Stars, sums up the scholarship on the subject of Hex Signs of the past fifty years. His fear of Pan Germanic symbolism, his negation of the Hex Sign as Sonnenrad is just plain wrong. His very popular Hex Signs: Pennsylvania Dutch Barn Symbols & Their Meaning: Revised & Expanded, is just a coffee tablebook with a lot of quaint pictures. Its pretty clear, he has been sitting on an enormous amount of information for a great number of years and has kept it to himself, afraid to open Pandora’s Box. Perhaps he was maintaining the status quo of political correctness in his position as grand old man of Pennsylvania German Folk Culture. Fortunately there has been a changing of the guards, in the scholarship of Pennsylvania German Hex Signs and we have Patrick Donmoyer’s interview and his refreshingly magical approach to this subject.
Thanks to my conversation with Wyatt Kaldenberg in this volume, the need to avoid anything that is a prechristian Germanic symbol in fears of it appearing to be National Socialist (Nazi) have been lifted. National Socialism shared the same goals as Monotheism, world domination, and as such is Universalist. Universalism will always seek to destroy tribal/ ethnic/ personal identity. The Nazi swastika, the Christian cross, the Communist hammer and sickle, the Muslim symbols of Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Shabaab all seek the same thing, Universalist world domination.
Occult Nazism, the deification of Adolf Hitler, is not only ridiculous, it is totally contrary to Folkish Germanic Heathenism. It works much better in the science fiction section of the library then the tribal/religious one. The Monoculture, a term coined by Matthias Waggener and his WoV to describe our culture’s universal connectivity, is endlessly fascinated with this subject and there is no end in sight. I suppose it is justifiable this fascination when you take into consideration how much this country is still living with the results of its own Civil War, a 150 years ago. Anyway there will be no discussion of flying saucers based in the South Pole here.
Relevant however is the influence the Roman Empire had with Germanic and Celtic tribal cultures during the great migration period in Europe as seen in my interview with the brilliant Chris Plaisance. Polytheism is the ocean these cultures swam in.The Gods and Goddesses of each pantheon that of the conqueror and the conquered intermingled, Roman Gods took Celtic and Germanic Goddesses as consorts. They fucked, syncretically.
Not as a scholar, but as a user, a practitioner, its clear that that Hexology is ready and willing to accept symbolism of any tradition but most especially that of our prechristian Germanic ancestors . Now along with the many names given to Hex Signs, such as Hexefuus (Witch’s Feet), Hexes, and Barn Stars, is a new one, “Runic Barnstars” As I had shown in my previous book, “Heiden Hexology, Essays and Interviews”, The Runes had been incorporated into Hex Work spontaneously around the world by the emerging Germanic Heathen Rune Magic practioners. In particular, they had become expressions of the Neo-Tribalism in Germanic Heathenry in North America. The interviews with Matthias Waggener of The WOLVES OF VINLAND and Isaac Vazqueuz of the HERMANDAD ODINISTA DEL FUEGO SAGRADO explore this evolving anti universalist phenomena.
Dennis Boyer, well known writer from Berks County and Hex Practioner talks about the very early connections between the Pennsylvania Germans and the Lenni Lenape. Pow wowing, the magical practice of the Pennsylvania Germans may have origins in the Oley Valley between these two ‘tribes’
The geometry and numerology of a Christian sort as is explored in Donmoyer’s book, thanks to master barnstar painter, Eric Claypoole. The division of the diameter of the Hex Sign into sevenths could be a reference to the seven days of Creation. The usage of the number 22 in the scalloping could be a reference to the number of books in the Bible. The use of twelve pointed stars could refer to the twelve apostles. There is no question however that they have been replaced here with a very intentional magical alphabet, the Germanic Elder Futhark of Runes .
Fully present are the Gods and Goddesses of the Germanic North. The ‘signs’ are executed ritually with full intent encoded within the geometry and numerology. The results are astonishingly powerfull. This folk art form has been reanimated as Robert Taylor in his interview confirms.
Originally, the book was to be titled, “6 Interviews, 66 Hexes” referring to 666. This in part was because I wanted to expand on an essay I had published in the Fall 2011 Hex Magazine issue under the title, “666, Six Questions to Six Hexologists and their Six Hexes” There is discussion on that particular number/configuration in the Jack Montgomery, Adel Souto, Patrick Donmoyer interviews and elsewhere throughout. The reason for this was the frequency that the configuration geometrically cropped up in traditional Hex Werk. The interest here has nothing to do with the Christian/Satanic ‘Mark of the Beast’ but rather the use of the number six three times for charms. Numerologically, 666 adds up to 18, 6+6+6=18, 1+8=9. Nine is the special number in Northern Germanic magic and mathematically/ numerologically it is the ‘perfect’ number. All multiples of which always add up to nine. Such as
and so on
74x9=666, 6+6+6=18, 1+8=9
So then I was commissioned to do a “Nine Worlds Hex” by Orva Gaille Clubb, an old friend who I had interviewed in my previous book, “Heiden Hexology, Essays and Interviews” 2012. It was after an older one that had originally been gifted to the founder of Urglaawe, Robert L. Schreiwer, who appears in my first book, “The Backdoor Hexologist“, 2009. I wasn’t completely satisfied with the runic assignments I had originally used to designate the ‘Nine Worlds’ so I ran them by, master Rune Magician, Robert Blumetti, whose interview here documents the thinking and reassignment. My thanks to him!
To give an idea of the depth and power of applying Runic knowledge in Hex Magic which like metaphysics creates a map of the cosmos as its core, in a recent thread on using the tally a form of numerology with the Elder Futhark, Paul Waggener of the WoV revealed that tallying the entire Futhark would add up to 300, which is 3, the third Rune, the Thorasaz. As kenning for the Cosmos, the Thorasaz can be seen in this light as a bindrune, a combination of Isa (ice) and Kenaz (fire) or Fire and Ice. The Norse creation myth tells how everything came into existence in the gap between fire and ice, the Nine Worlds.
Interestingly enough, Hex Signs were referred to as “Hexefuus” or witch’s feet. (Wallace Nutting, Pennsylvania Beautiful, 1924) Hexefuus, however refers specifically to Hex Signs with the Algiz Rune as the central figure. (Patrick Donmoyer, at the 2013 Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center’s Heemet Fescht) because of the similarity of this configuration to a bird’s foot. So it seems that the Runes have been incorporated into Hex work along.
Immediately, I decided to expand the book into nine or more interviews and to retitle it “Nine Worlds of Hex Magic” It fit, 666 as has been shown is an expression of 9. The diversity of personages I interviewed encompassed the 9 worlds cosmology nicely.
The interview format is something I have been using since 2008, with early interviews with Rune Magicians, Valulfr Vaerulsson of the Wolfbund, Grimnir of the Wolves of Vinland, and Gandvaldr Bláskikkja of the Galdragildi. As Adel Souto puts so well here in his interview when I asked,
“What is there about the interviewing process that is so cool?”
Not to sound like a narc, but the collection of information. There’s no other way to make up your mind about everything, than to get multiple takes on every experience.
I think that is the coolest thing about it, not just interviews, but conversation.
Hunter M. Yoder, Zisasege, 2013