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The Search Continues

The Search for Pow-Wow Braucherei History and Information Continues!
by Silver RavenWolf

Yesterday my husband and I spent the afternoon at the Cumberland County Historical Society.  This is the third local society we’ve visited in our quest for searching our combined family trees and historical Pow-Wow information.   Folks at Cumberland County are friendly and helpful and my husband and I spent a delightful number of hours enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the library.

In the past several months both my husband and I have pushed a concerted amount of energy into gathering more material.  The wonderful librarian at Cumberland told me that I can copy my files and submit them to the library as a total research packet when I feel I’m ready.  Book aside, I now have a new goal — amassing as much as I can, and submitting the work as a whole.  When you write a book you cut things out, try to keep the flow so that the reader isn’t brick walled with the start and stop approach that research brings.  There are also copyright rules, etc., that keeps quotes to a minimum.  Invariably, much of what you gather cannot enter the finished product.  By organizing a research collection, I’ll be able to give to the public everything I have.  I feel good about this.  This is the right thing to do.

Iam delighted that I now have pictures of Gertie Guise, and that Preston’s learning from her was mentioned in the Wednesday, August 8th, 1973 issue of The Guide, Vol. 40 No. 10. , Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  As some of you know there was a rude rumor or two floating around that no proof of Preston’s existence could be found by a few researchers.  Luckily, Gertie back in 1973 agreed to be interviewed and have her picture taken.  In the interview it clearly states that Mrs. Guise herself taught Preston Zerbe in York Springs the art.

as published in the 1973 Wednesday, 8 Aug issue of The Guide.

It has been twenty years since I wrote my book on Pow-Wow.  In that time I have used for hundreds of people and provided instruction as opportunity presented itself.  In that same time I have been accused of a variety of sins by a variety of factions from fundamentalist Christians to self-appointed Heathen experts, from pompous magickal folks seeking negative attention to die-hard religious academics who enjoy analyzing the system; but, haven’t the courage to use it.  Yet, had I not walked into Pow-Wow from a Wiccan point of view, I would not have done the system the justice it deserves.  I do not regret, nor provide the reader with excuses for my own faith.   I am a Witch — and that’s that.  My main focus was, and still is, to provide information that you can use for yourself when you are sick or in need.  How critics want to pigeonhole Pow-Wow is, to me, their problem — not mine.  While they are wasting their time analyzing flap-hand-whatever — you and I will be IN the system using it to our own advantage.  We’re not getting lost in history, we are using the knowledge of history to make our own.  Pow-Wow doesn’t work BECAUSE you are Christian, Wiccan, or Heathen or whatever — it works in the TRINITY of yourself, the person who needs help, and the pure field of Spirit.

That said, I have delightfully found two more commonalities in the system that I will add to my list.  The first is a closing line that Preston used as a final seal, and the second provided Eric Fasick in his article “What is this dream, that thou hast dreamed?”: Conversations with a Dauphin County PowWow Doctor– printed in the Susquehanna Heritage in 2006 — on how the individual feels who is experiencing the Pow-Wow.  Although researchers have long concentrated on the Braucher through the memories of the patient, little is said how the patient felt during the process either because the memory is so old or because, to the interviewer, it isn’t a question they think to ask. In his article, Mr. Fasick generously gives a detailed examination of his feelings during and after the process, which absolutely matches what I have felt myself, and what others have indicated to me about how they feel after a session.  I was also delighted to read the following on page 21 of the article:  “The tradition of powwowing, or brauche, is passed on largely by oral means.  There is no grand ceremony, only the communication of the necessary information, consisting of teaching the appropriate phrases to be used in the treating of different types of illnesses, along with the physical processes which accompany them.  This information could be written down for memorization and then later discarded when the information was comitted to memory.”

In general, the person who undergoes the Pow-Wow treatment normally feels light, calm, peaceful, serene, or unburdened right after the session.  Like peeling the layers of an onion, each step of the Pow-Wow’s treatment seeks to remove negativity from the outside as well as the inside.  This is why at least three treatments are often sought.  The first to cut the outer negativity, the second to cut the inner negativity, and the third to bring balance within and without.  If you have received the assistance of a Pow-Wow and wish to add to this post on your experiences, please do so.

Oh, the final seal?  Here it is:

This I credit unto thee as the true nature of Spirit.  Everything Gets Right.


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The Magick of July — SRW Recap

Sunny Summer Update! is now back under my control.  Unfortunately, we had a slight ownership snafu and the site was NOT under my control for quite some time, which is why you found me so active on FaceBook.  I’ve had such a wonderful time with FaceBook and my new FaceBook friends that I will continue to keep posting there and sharing pics, ideas, and other information.  If you haven’t visited the rebuilt RavenWolf site, do take a peek.  We have message boards and other great, interactive ideas.  Soon, you will be able to access my three Pow-Wow podcasts from the site and we’re also working on some video shorts.

HedgeWitch Gardens

In April we were blessed with a few great days of weather, which allowed me to get out there and start the season early.  May, however, brought tons of rain and gobs of weeds (oh-thank-you-so-much).  By June I was seriously considering just putting up a sign that said — Back Next Year.  Lucky for me, my daughter-in-law got out there with me and we were able to pull out most of the offending interlopers.  By the third week in June I was back on track, finally got the tan bark down around the entire property, and planted most of the season’s flowers.   Mother Nature treated us very well, bringing back just about all of our perennial herbs and a few floral surprises.  I’ve posted pics on FaceBook and we’ll have them on the website as well.   I built a new healing area with flat stones (pictured below) thanks to Omega Wolf members who so kindly braved the pouring rain to unload the skid of stones from my son’s truck.  One of our Texas clans visited in June and several of those folks were nice enough to bless the area.

Spiritual Cleansing Area

The end of June brought our Grand Coven (known as Clan Clamping) where Black Forest Covens from all over the United States and Canada come together for ritual, learning, celebration and reconnection with love and friendship.  Black Forest Covens do not hive — we multiply.  Celebrating over twenty years of happiness and laughter, this year’s event was the smoothest running, most delightful three-day event we have ever experienced.  Most gratifying?  This year’s celebration included members from Germany and Italy!  And even better?  No drama.

Genealogy Research

MindWalker and I are still hot on the trail of our family mysteries!  In the past two months we’ve visited several historical societies, a ton of graveyards, oodles of libraries and spent a great deal of on-line time tracking down the bits and pieces of our heritage to piece together our legacy for our grandchildren.  What started as one small notebook has morphed into three huge ones and we’ve just scratched the surface.   In the meantime I’ve also built a new website (not open yet) specifically for those of you who are interested in this topic.  We had to break away from our grave task for a bit due to clan camping and other spiritually oriented pursuits; but, soon we’ll be back in the truck again, bounding through hazy hill and darkened dale in our red pick-em-up to see what other secrets we can unearth.

Simon Hinkel Soldier and Fence Maker

Pow-Wow (Braucherei) Work

MindWalker and I have continued to collect information as we traveled to different historical societies.  After several months of  interviews and hands-on research we have developed a spiritual cleansing technique designed specifically for Pow-Wow and Braucherei students.  I presented this technique first at the Turning Wheel in Baltimore and then at Celtic Myth and Moon in Reading.  By Grand Coven it was ready for presentation and teaching to all BFC members.  I spent the week after working one on one with many BFC members including our local groups and those from out-of-state.  The baseline of the technique utilizes the Braucher chants and charms and the type of session Preston Zerbe taught me, coupled with the later information from Ray Malbrough (for the herbs used) and JB (our Amish raised Pow-Wow BFC member) and his energy work.  We currently have plans for doing short videos to explain the technique to anyone who is interested in using it.  What sets the Braucher Cleansing apart from other sessions you may have participated in are the specific Pow-Wow chants and charms used within the working, and the focus on two primary elements — Ice and Fire (or Water and Fire).

The results after over 100 cleansings are most interesting.  Most receiving the cleansings agree that they feel calm, at peace, and uplifted after the technique is completed.  Several have remarked that in the week after, they felt more empowered to deal with the stresses of every day life.  Others have experienced a spiritual breakthrough.   Many have shared that they experienced a heightening of creativity or were able to finally finish old, outstanding projects.  The basic premise of the Braucher Spiritual Cleansing is to bring balance so that you can move forward in your chosen future tasks.  It claims to heal nothing nor fix anything, although some individuals have been delighted at the results in the area of personal healing.  Another interesting result appears to be in the area of information retrieval.  For example, you may have been trying to find something important in your studies or on your career path, or needed personal information that appeared hidden.   Within a few days of the cleansing, many folks wrote to me to tell me that the information they needed manifested at just the right time.   Finally, if you employ the Evil Be Gone chant as a choice in the cleansing — get ready for hidden, nasty things, to walk out of your life! — usually with a bit of fuss.   Which, in retrospect, is not a bad thing.  In Pow-Wow, the individual doing the working only TRIES — the engine is Spirit.

I do hope you’ll join us at the new Silver RavenWolf website, where you’ll find more info in the months to come on Pow-Wow, Healing, Herbs and much more!  I’ll try my best to keep you posted!

Notice:  Next Healing Circle will be July 15th.  I’ll be posting on FaceBook and the website for your prayers.
In service