Have you ever heard of Urglaawe? Urglaawe is a Heathen tradition in America that has developed from Pennsylvania Dutch folklore, mythology, folk healing and magical practices (“Braucherei” – folk magic for healing & protection & “Hexerie” – witchcraft). I recently discovered this homegrown form of Heathenry stemming from Germanic PA Dutch descendants.
Their ancestors came over from Germany during the Thirty Years War and were often called “German Palatines” here in New World. These are my ancestors too on my father’s side who came to New York in 1710 on a ship called the Leon. From there, some of my German ancestors continued onward to Pennsylvania and others settled in the Schoharie Valley and Hills of New York. These German immigrants kept their folk healing and magical traditions often Christianized as one would expect for that time. I am presently working on a short compilation of folklore regarding such practices here in New York called “Granny Apple Magic.” This title reflects that “granny” was a term for certain witches in NY folklore…and apples, well they go together with New York like PB&J.
Urglaawe presents a rich and vibrant lore regarding psychopompery – the transition of souls to the afterlife. I have been a practicing psychopomp for earthbound souls (a.k.a, “ghosts”) for a decade. Much of this work is done through astral travel at night where I find individuals, or more often groups of earthbound souls, that my guides would like me to help. I spent last night among the earthbound dead of the Pennsylvania Dutch.
As I interacted with a community of women, men and children dressed in Amish clothes, a group of psychopomp spirits appeared. They were tall, beautiful women holding hunting bows. I immediately thought of the Wild Hunt and felt that they were loving hunting for souls to transition. They said “we are like the Valkyries” and then talked to me about soulmates. They explained that part of why it is important to transition earthbound spirits is because your soulmate is a part of our own soul that has split off. That part needs to be reunited at some point to determine the soul’s next steps in its journey. They showed me a beautiful ball of bright golden-white energy and I watched as a part of it split from the whole.
Through a soul journey today, I revisited the place where I found the PA Dutch souls and worked with the Valkyrie-like spirits to transition them into the Light. Afterward, I went down a rabbit hole into Urglaawe mythology, and boy did it make sense with what I had experienced.
Let me start by saying that for me, the Wild Hunt is over by now. The Hunt is a massive earthbound spirit transitioning event – or more accurately “events” – that occur from Samhain (October 31st) through the Winter Solstice (December 21st), and occasionally, through to Imbolc (February 1st). But then comes the Light Half of the year and I am back with the living more than the dead – although I still do psychopomp work, just not in as great of numbers.
For the Urglaawe, the Wild Hunt – called the “Wildi Yacht” is still occurring. It runs from “Allelieweziel” (October 31st) through “Walpurgisnacht” (April 30th). The Wildi Yacht is headed by the goddess Holle, the main deity in Urglaawe who processes the souls of the dead between lives. She is a “Wane” (Vanir) goddess who oversees the life, death and rebirth cycle. She finds souls who have fallen out of the cycle of reincarnation (the Lewesraad cycle) and helps them to get back on track, so to speak. Holle in Old World Germanic lore was the goddess of fertility, rebirth, weaving and agriculture, as well as a sky and weather goddess who was one of the leaders of the Wild Hunt.
Urglaawe practitioners believe that Holle takes the souls of the dead to her mill (or hall) called “Die Miehl.” There Holle separates the soul into its part – the “Urleeg” (Orlog in Norse tradition), the “Hoch” (the Higher Self), the “Glick” (Luck or Hamingja in Norse lore) and the “Folyer” (the Fetch or Fylgia in Norse mythology). The Glick, Hoch and Urleeg sometimes remain together or are separated after life into new “constructs,” essentially new incarnations, for the spiritual development of the soul. At the mill, the Folyer is also freed to find a new incarnation to attach to.
Remember the soul I saw splitting in my dream – this may be what I witnessed! Soulmates might not be another person but instead a piece of our own soul that we seek to be reunited with if we split apart during a particular incarnation for soul learning. This reuniting cannot happen if one part of the soul does not transition, but instead stays earthbound. Perhaps people are looking for their soulmate in others when they have always been really seeking a part of themselves. It is interesting to contemplate.
The Urglaawe faith believes that Holle has always been a part of Braucherei – especially when the healing work is connected to lost souls. Holle’s role as a psychopomp has a long history in Old World Germanic folklore through her role as a leader of the Hunt.
As a Wane goddess – a “Vanir” deity – she is connected to fertility, wisdom and magic. Fertility is another way of saying – the growth of nature. From Allelieweziel to Walpurgisnacht, Holle is on the Hunt – finding the souls of the deceased in order to transition them; and after Walpurgisnacht, during the Urglaawe Light Half of the year, she tends to the fertility of the land. I have long believed that psychopomps are both life and death beings – helping souls to be released from Earth in fall and winter to provide the energetic room for new souls, and therefore new life, to be guided to the Earth in spring. Life and death are two sides of one coin.
I believe that the Valkyrie-like women in my astral dream were helpers of Holle on the Wild Hunt with their bows. I felt blessed that they shared their knowledge and wisdom about soul parts and soulmates. In the Urglaawe faith, the Valkyrie are the “Walkyrie” – semi-divine female spirits whose role is generally not to bring the slain to Valhalla, as is it in mainstream Heathenry. They are less defined, thought to possibly be death harbingers like the banshees of Irish lore, guardian spirits, or…wait for it.. “soul hunters” who find the dead and take them to deities to begin the rebirth process. The stately women with their bows makes sense in Urglaawe lore.
I want to thank the Urglaawe Walkyries who took the time to share their wisdom and blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of their Hunt. Hail Holle! And hail the Walkyries!
~ “The First Book of Urglaawe Myths,” by Robert L. Schreiwer (2014)
~ “A Dictionary of Urglaawe Terminology” by Robert L. Schreiwer & Ammerili Eckhart (2012)
2 commentsAdd Yours
V…….You are an unbelievably interesting, informative & amazing woman.
Thank you soul sister! I feel the same way about you!