The Powwow Guy

Home of Robert Phoenix and Traditional Pennsylvania German Powwow


Powwow: a solitary tradition that benefits the community

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 8, 2022 at 8:00 PM

Powwow is, by its very nature, a solitary way of life. 

We tend to our gardens, we care for our land, we fix up what's broken around the home, we care for the patients that come to us, and we carry on a 3-centuries old tradition of manifesting God in our world for the benefit of our community.

In 2008, I put my first youtube video out into the world proclaiming my adherence to the tradition of Pennsylvania Dutch Powwow. Back then, my instruction in the tradition was spotty, at best. I had been given a foundation of really sketchy academia and historical revisionism. However, I persevered. I ultimately found my calling with Powwow, embraced the Christianity of my family, and worked hard to both learn the nuances of the tradition while simultaneously sharing that information with the general public so as to combat the misinformation that was running rampant.

The early 2000's saw a resurgance in interest in traditional American Folk Magic. Unfortunately, much of this interest was by the neopagan community, and so we saw traditional teachings becoming bastardized and falsified, history being revised by neopagan authors with a money-making agenda, and the average "eclectic pagan" was grabbing anything and everything in an effort to legitimize their chaotic approach at spirituality and magic. In other words, it was a royal mess for traditional American Folk Magic, and one we are only now beginning to recover from.

During these years, it was tricky to find a traditional teacher. This was especially true with Powwow. No one wanted to talk about it. The oldsters were suspicious of us younger folks after the raping and pillaging of the tradition that was done by neopagan author Silver Ravenwolf and other neopagans the world over. I found myself completely alone in my quest for proper information about the tradition while also facing an uphill battle to get anyone to take me seriously.

Eventually, however, God intervened and made the ways open for me. I met older folks who either were practitioners, knew practitioners, or were Powwowed in their own history. This led me to various churches, Pastors, historians, and Powwowers who were keeping a low profile. I was like a sponge and soaked up anything and everything I could. I learned so much. And every time I learned something that wasn't considered "secret", I shared it on my website. 

Over the past two decades, I met many neopagans who wanted to learn Powwow for the purpose of adding it to their resume of magical traditions that they considered themselves to be "expert" in. This was frustrating and infuriating, and so I began to speak out against the neopagan movement. If I thought I was alone prior to this, that fact hit home harder than ever when the neopagans started to consider me "the enemy".

But truth is truth, no matter how many times the conservatives preach about "alternative facts". And I stuck to my guns and eventually became known as someone with reliable and true information. In short, I began to gain respect from contemporaries. This took me many, many years, but I finally started to feel like people were taking me seriously.

But I was still alone.

i was a lone Powwower, hoping to meet others. But that never happened.

When I realized that I was going to do an offical "course" in Powwow, I admit that my goal was to pass on what I knew so that there would be MORE Powwowers in the world. Not just me. And this was succesful. Moreso than I could possibly have imagined.

While Powwow will always be a one-person show; meaning we don't do "group rituals', nor do we intrude on another Powwower's territory, it is so nice to finally have peers that I can converse with, share information with, and celebrate our mutual faith in God and our shared love of this tradition, that has meant so much to me for so many years.

Powwow is truly a way of life. It is solitary in that we work alone. But now none of us ARE alone anymore. And that is truly a gift from God.

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