Pennsylvania Dutch Hexen Magick
Part One- Background
Hexen magick seems to have migrated to America with German immigrants, mainly from theRhine region, when the religious freedoms offered by William Penn and his Charter of Libertiesattracted an influx of migrants to South-eastern Pennsylvania. These people brought with them astrong culture of folk art, along with their folk magic and the occult writings of the day. Theinteraction of this European influence with the native Algonquian culture resulted in a home-grown American practice. The native influence is still evident as Hexenmeisters are also oftenreferred to as Pow-Wow Doctors (pow-wow is an Algonquian word for a meeting of medicinemen). Commonly the practice is referred to as
in the local dialect of thePennsylvania Dutch. The influence of the indigenous American culture of the Algonquian uponthe essentially Platonic/ Hermetic system is extant, especially in the herbal studies associatedwith the system.
Largely oral in tradition, Hex draws heavily on the mainstream medieval Grimiors, especiallyAlbertus Magnus and the Key of Solomon, but there are two main literary references that formthe foundation of these practices. The first, and most common, was
The Long Lost Friend
byJohn George Hohman, a very traditional collection of European magick spells that use prayers,magick words, and simplistic rituals to cure common illnesses and to deal with various ruraltroubles. This book is the source of the Besprechen, or spells, that are used by Hexenmeisters intheir arts. The second, and by far the more obscure literary source is
The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses
by John Scheible (presumably the Pentateuch are the first five books of Moses).This book seems to be a compendium of many of the aforementioned Grimiors and is full of mainstream 19
Century qabalah. It is claimed by the author that this book contains the secretsof the magicks that Moses used to free the Israelites from Pharaoh’s Egypt.Hex is divided into three main braches; the Besprechen or spells, the Himmelsbrief andTeufelsbrief (letters to Heaven and to the Devil, respectively) which are blessings and curseswritten on paper or parchment, and the Hex signs that are used to decorate mainly barns butsometimes (more recently) houses. Late occult writers have attempted to "Wiccanize" thepractice, but the essentially qaballistic symbols employed, from Albertus Magnus &etc., makethis impractical if not unwise. The isolation of talent for Hex is one of the powers attributed tosome Hexenmeisters and it echoes the very common practice with magick/mystick ordersworldwide wherein often the talent for spotting potential is in itself considered a great magickalability (note big league, baseball scouts!).
The areas of practical expertise are of a totally utilitarian nature, mostly comprising objectives of sorcery, bewitchments and exorcism (as is proper to an insular rural based community) with acertain amount of medical/scientific/botanical study included as R&D (nature is the greatestteacher). The Christian cloak that Hex often attires itself with is a ruse to throw off theinquisition (and the Tabloids?), and to be less frightening to Neophytes (Christian influence in