Pennsylvania German Powwow

Faith healing and folk magic of the Pennsylvania Germans


Even though this entire website is technically my "blog", this page will hold my extra articles that don't really fit in well on the other pages, or maybe there will just be ideas that jumped into my head that I wanted to share here. Some of the older blog entries are helpful and so I recommend you scroll down and look through the entries from 4 or 5 years ago. 

view:  full / summary

powwow and the politics of healing

Posted by Rob Phoenix on June 23, 2018 at 9:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Believe it or not, I've received some nasty emails over the past three years claiming that I'm not a "real" powwow because I don't endorse Candidate A or Candidate B. Politics has unfortunately infiltrated the folk magic community and I'm not at all surprised by this. Our country is currently going through a very dark time. Our current administration in Washington has brought out the worst in our society. Racism and bigotry run unchecked these days and the white house revels in fanning the fl...

Read Full Post »

Passing on the powwow...

Posted by Rob Phoenix on June 22, 2018 at 9:45 PM Comments comments (0)

As I get older, I find myself thinking about all the interesting and useful powwowing charms I've learned over the years and what will happen to these things as I age and eventually pass on... My son is only 7 so he barely has a passing interest in powwowing. Hopefully as he ages he will develop the calling for it like I did. But if not, I'll want to pass it on. A few people have come to me over the years that have expressed an interest in learning. But it seems like once I start opening up t...

Read Full Post »

Rocks used in braucherei, by John Ramsey

Posted by Rob Phoenix on June 9, 2018 at 6:10 AM Comments comments (0)

John Ramsey is a fellow powwower and author of Pennsylvania German Powwow (I'm having trouble putting a link here but it is available on amazon) He sent this information to me to share here on this site. I'm fascinated by this info as it's more than I knew about the use of stones for powwowing. Enjoy!

Stones can be a powerful tool for the powwow to work with. Many times in the Bible, Christ is referred to as a rock; see Matthew 7:24. Many of the rocks that the braucher ...

Read Full Post »

Catching a thief - a lesson in being cautious

Posted by Rob Phoenix on June 2, 2018 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Last fall, my son's bicycle disappeared. He insisted he had it in our carport, where he always parked it. He was upset and I was furious. We live in a relatively quiet neighborhood and our neighbors are mostly older folks with well-tended lawns and respectable reputations. Why would someone come around and steal his bike? I couldn't imagine. So we went to Wal-Mart and got him a new bike and I did some powwow.

I had no idea who may have stolen his bike, which was probably a g...

Read Full Post »

folk magic vs ceremonial magic

Posted by Rob Phoenix on November 18, 2017 at 4:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes people are surprised to find out I have a few ceremonial ritualistic elements to my powwowing. The surprise is understandable because powwowing is fairly simplistic no-frills sort of folk magic. So what's the difference between folk magic and ceremonial magic? And how can the two work together?

Folk magic is, for our purposes, the simple day-to-day magics of the powwow. These would include the removal of warts using a potato or apple or penny, the soothing of a burn from the s...

Read Full Post »

basic tools of powwowing

Posted by Rob Phoenix on September 3, 2017 at 5:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Powwowing is a no frills tradition. It requires little more than your faith in the Holy Trinity and knowledge of a few tried and proven charms. You could spend your entire life powwowing with nothing more than your hands and your trusty dusty old family bible. 

But there are a few bits and bobbles that have found their way into the practice of powwowing that you may want to experiment with. The list I've created...

Read Full Post »

A world away. In memory of my grandparents, Arthur and June Whitley.

Posted by Rob Phoenix on August 20, 2017 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

As is often the case when my mind is focused on research into powwowing, I find my thoughts drifting to my grandparents. Born of immigrants from both Austria and Wales, my grandparents, Arthur "Red" Whitley and June Betty Whitley (formerly Bankes)  built their home with their own hands in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. My grandfather worked at Atlas Power Co. his entire life while my grandmother worked as a clerk in Mitchell's Furniture Store in Tamaqua, Pennsylvania. They were members...

Read Full Post »

Playing Card divination

Posted by Rob Phoenix on August 13, 2017 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

About twenty years ago, I visited a local powwow who offered card readings. It was an interesting experience, to say the least, as she was very much a no-nonsense kind of woman. She wasted no time on pleasantries and literally didn't ask me a single question. She just started tossing playing cards on the table in front of her while reciting prayers and incantations to God, interspersing advice and predictions while doing so. She spoke non-stop for several minutes. When she stop...

Read Full Post »

December 6th, Saint Nicholas Day

Posted by Rob Phoenix on December 4, 2015 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (6)

For those of us with European ancestry, which is many of us I imagine, Saint Nicholas need not be forgotten in December in favor of good old reliable Santa Claus.  What many don't realize is that Santa Claus is a relatively modern mis-pronunciation of the name Saint Nicholas.  I believe we can thank the Dutch for this, but don't quote me on it...


Saint Nicholas was an actual, real life person that lived about 300 ...

Read Full Post »

November 28th, Nelson Rehmeyer Day

Posted by Rob Phoenix on November 1, 2014 at 7:15 PM Comments comments (1)



As a powwow doctor in south central Pennsylvania, November turns my thoughts to Nelson Rehmeyer.  In 1928, long before my time, a local Powwow Doctor was murdered by three men who believed Nelson had placed a curse on them.  As a Powwow, Nelson provide...

Read Full Post »