The Powwow Guy

Home of Robert Phoenix and Traditional Christian Pennsylvania German Powwow


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 10 years ago or so...

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Easy homemade candles!

Posted by Rob Phoenix on May 22, 2023 at 12:25 AM

There is so much satisfaction in crafting your own things, like home remedies or candles.

The is the quick and easy way to make lovely beeswax candles to add a touch of light and color and fragrance to your home. Here is what you need:

Beeswax pellets

Candle color chips (optional but preferred)

Scented oils

Candle molds

Double boiler

Candle wick string

The beeswax and the color chips are melted in a double boiler...

Once everything is melted, turn off the heat, add your fragrance, and pour into your candle molds! Make sure your wicks are centered!

Once the wax has hardened, remove from the molds and you are ready to use your new candles! 

Homemade candles make great gifts. In the Powwow tradition, there isn't much use for candles for healing purposes, but the crafting of them is definitely a part of the Pennsylvania Dutch culture and you can infuse your candles with prayers and psalms while you make them, which adds a spiritual and holy element to them!

Family history

Posted by Rob Phoenix on April 24, 2023 at 10:25 PM

I've been piecing together my family history for over twenty years and am very proud of what I've managed to find.

My family is sacred to me; particularly through my father's side.

In the mid 1800's, Solomon and Sarah Koenig fled Austria to Pennsylvania so that they could honor their German Reformed religious beliefs. 

Here in Pennsylvania, they gave birth to three children; two of whom we know their names are Henrietta and Mary. The third child is "unnamed" in our family tree.

Henrietta met a man named George Whitley from Wales. Together, they had at least two children: Arthur (my grandfather) and Olive, my Great Aunt.

Meanwhile, Mary married a Catholic from the Lancaster area with the last name Chretian. Because of this association with the Catholic church, she was "persona no grata" in my family. However, Mary is interesting because history records her as a Braucher!

Mary's daughter, Emma, is also recorded in history as a Braucher. From her, the records are lost. However, she would be my Great Aunt.

I remember when I was young, my Great Aunt Olive (who lived in Wales), reached out to my grandfather Arthur that she would like to travel to Pennsylvania to visit and meet his family (they were brother and sister, after all). My Grandfather said "no" and she never came; thus cutting us off from that piece of the family tree.

My grandfather's aunt Mary, the one who married the Catholic in the Lancaster area, was a subject that was not allowed in my family. He simply refused to speak of her because she married a Catholic.

And so that's the story of the religious animosity within my paternal family. The Koenigs are traced through my great grandmother, Henrietta Koenig, and her sister, Mary (the braucher). 

I am very proud of my family history. I don't alway agree with the positions held by my ancestors, but I am grateful to God for all of them.

Bowling Angels

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 23, 2023 at 8:30 PM

Tonight, as I type this, we are experiencing a rare but much-anticipated thunder and lightning rain storm. Generally speaking, we get thunder and lighning storms like this about once a year. They were much more frequent when I was a youngling. I'm honestly not sure why. If any of you know the science behind it, I'd be glad to hear it!

When we were young, thunder would rumble and crack loudly, causing the whole house to shake and filling our imaginations with terrible images of the End-of-Days or the violent retribution of God.

My mother would tell us that the rumble of thunder was the angels bowling! And the loud cracks and booms were when the angels hit a strike!

There are many modern folk practitioners that might see thunderstorms as a time of power; possibly to "charge" their crystals or what-have-you. Today, just before the sky broke open, I took a trip to my personal and private hexenkopf, which is basically the folk magic equivelent to a landfill. Only paper or biodegradable twine or sticks/stones are placed at the hexenkopf so that nature may reclaim the items and recycle them into something positive. But for the most part, it is a place that has built up a "creepy" energy over the past few years thanks to the items (verhexed, etc) that I've disposed of there.

As I was finishing burying my recent anti-verhex working, the sky cracked open with a loud boom and the rain began to fall in great torrents. I ran all the way home through the trees and the darkness, but I had no issues getting back inside, just as the angels were playing one of the loudest rounds of bowling I've heard in years!

There is something inarguably powerful and ominous about a thunderstorm. You can feel the electric charge in the air, the pent up tension in the atmosphere released by the low rumble of the thunder. The ground welcomed the water and I welcome this post-storm ozone-charged cooler air, the sound of tree frogs in the night, and the gentle splashing of the fish in the pond outside.

Next time the angels are bowling, try to find some peace with the storm and maybe you will be able to tap into the power of it just as I did at my hexenkopf.

May God bless you in all that you do.

New Orleans Plantation Vodou

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 12, 2023 at 12:20 AM

I learned so much from this video and I especially loved his clarification of what Vodou really is (and really is not) and how Hoodoo is a magical practice and Vodou is a religion. So much great information!

Powwow newspaper article 1976

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 11, 2023 at 2:05 PM

Here's an old article from the Lock Haven Express, November 1976.

Appalachian granny magic

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 10, 2023 at 8:30 PM

The following documentary is a fascinating look at the Appalachian "granny" healers!

The Bayou Treateur

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 10, 2023 at 8:05 PM

In Louisiana, the very same practices that are kept by traditional Powwowers are also kept alive within the tradition of "treatuer" which is basically the Louisiana version of Powwowing. The following documentary, made 25 years ago, is a beautiful testament to this tradition.

The Regulars

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 9, 2023 at 8:00 PM

There is a young couple local to me that comes to me regularly for various Powwowing. They don't make appointments, they don't have a schedule, they just sort of show up whenever they like. And it's OK. I've known them for about five years now and I've enjoyed getting to know them as well as being able to help them.

Today I was walking one of the dogs and as we walked through the car port into our backyard, my regular clients emerged from the pathway along the side of my house.

We chatted for a few minutes, the normal pleasantries, and then I took the dog inside the house and came back outside to do the Powwow they needed.

Sometimes Powwow is like that. A person stops by, they have a need, you chat for a few moments, then you do what they need and send them on their way.

Today I sent them home with a jar of homemade pickles. That's not typical, but I was feeling like they could use a little gift. Like I said, I enjoy their company and am always happy to see them when they show up.

The Regulars, as I call them, pop in maybe two or three times a year. They don't live far, they can walk to my house. They don't have a lot of money, they are just honest, salt-of-the-earth folks, and I'm happy to help them out.

As you grow your reputation as a local healer, you'll likely build a list of "regulars". And that's a good thing. As time passes, they become something like friends. They trust you, you know them, and the Powwow is effective. And if you can send them home with a jar of your own pickles, even better!

The three crosses

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 5, 2023 at 6:25 PM

Powwow charms are all spoken in the name of the Holy Trinity as found within Christian tradition. 

In all of our early grimoires, we see this instruction as far back as the late medeival Catholic church in England. Cunning folk were unquestionably Christian according to the grimoires we have from the 1400's to the 1800's.

The three crosses were a universal understanding placed at the end of each charm or ritual to mean "in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost."

This instruction still remains here in Pennsylvania within the Pennsylvania Dutch tradition of Powwow.

Where is PA Dutch Country?

Posted by Rob Phoenix on March 4, 2023 at 5:20 PM

When the waves of immigration began in the 1600's from the German-speaking lands to the rolling hills of Pennsylvania, a majority of those first brave souls settled in the Philadelphia area of Pennsylvania. As time passed, those folks moved north and east of Philadelphia and eventually the Pennsylvania Dutch Country was created.

The vast majority of Pennsylvania Dutch Country is the middle Eastern section of Pennsylvania, the southeast, and the south central counties of the state (as seen in the below image). Certainly, German-speaking immigrants have infiltrated all areas of the Commonwealth, but those that were exclusively "Pennsylvania Dutch" tended to stick to these particular regions.

The Pennsylvania Dutch Country is marked by it's architecture, culture, folk art, and way of life. Even in the modern day, the influence of the farming and gardening and religious traditions of the Pennsylvania Dutch remains. Indeed, the Pennsylvania Dutch country is often referred to as "the Hex Belt", which is the region where Powwowing has a strong history and remains a part of the modern culture.

I think the Pennsylvania Dutch are an extremely interesting culture as we have traditions and beliefs that have influenced religious and holiday traditions throughout our entire country. But nowhere are these traditions more prevalent than here in the region that is PA Dutch Country.

May God Bless you all in all that you do.