Deitsch -- Pennsylvania German -- Heathenry

Kannsege - Ceremony of the Corn

Through Braucherei we know that plants have spirits that are different from those of humans, but they are still spirits engaged in the birth, life, death, decay, rebirth cycle. Part of the Zusaagpflicht, or the Sacred Duty, is to forge the relationship between humans and plants. The Butzemann bridges both realms. We cultivate his "children" and he, in turn, helps to ensure healthy crops and safe land. The Kannsege represents both birth and rebirth. It is the birth of a new Butzemann but the rebirth of the plant spirits contained within him.

A knowledge of Braucherei would help here, because one may need to move the energy of the plants into the remnants of last year's crop. However, typically, the energies are still present in the remnants.

The remnants are placed into the form of a scarecrow. I typically chant runes over the form while creating him. I physically insert the runes Ingwaz, Othala, Jera, and Fehu into his clothes, but I usually chant other runes, particularly Ansuz, over him. We're working to arouse the plant spirits.

I then insert a symbolic "heart," which often comes from the root of a plant such as maize, sunflower, or other annual. I sew him up (if need be) or tighten the components. Right now, he is just a scarecrow with some runic energy.

During the Ceremony of the Corn, the Ansuz rune plays a major role in the mind's eye. The purpose is to communicate the runic energies of the mind to the runic energy in the scarecrow. We then breathe into the "mouth" of the scarecrow, now activating the plant spirits and giving plant consciousness to the Butzemann.

He is then given a name.  The names in Urglaawe follow old, perhaps antiquated, Deitsch naming conventions. See the article below on naming.

He is then given numerous blessings and well wishes... Offerings of food are placed before him, and he is given instructions. The instructions include what he is to watch, how he is to protect the land and scare away intruders, and how he is connected to you (he is a manifestation of the land upon which we live). We make an oath to look after him and to tend to him, to the "mother" of his children (the land, hence the lack of a Butzefraa), and to his children.

He is then walked around the perimeter of his turf so he knows what he is to guard. Then he is perched at his post where he should remain throughout the growing season. If his perch breaks, it should be replaced respectfully.

Throughout the growing season, the Butzemann should be given offerings of milk, honey, mead, incense, flowers, etc.

Two important Verbots (taboos) come through Braucherei's lore to us: 1). As his clothes are the Butzemann's only possessions, they must never be used again on a human or another Butzemann; 2). A Butzemann must not remain beyond Allelieweziel (October 31). Otherwise, his spirit follows Holle on the Wild Hunt, leaving behind an activated shell that is attractive to baneful wights.

The burning time can take place as early as Erntfescht (Autumn Equinox/Second Harvest), but, typically, in Urglaawe, the burning takes place as close to Allelieweziel as possible.

Butzemann Naming Convention

In Urglaawe tradition, the naming of the Butzemann follows an old-era Deitsch convention that includes a surname derived from the Butzemann's eldest known ancestor. He then is also given a patronymic as a middle name.

Here is an example of how the process works!

At the Kannsege (Ceremony of the Corn) last year, we activated the first Butzemann of one of our kinfolk. A Butzemann may either state his own name or be given a name by his landlord. This Butzemann was given the name of Arnold.

Next year, when the material of Arnold's children form a new Butzemann, the new Butzemann will have the surname of Arnoldsen. Yes, the -sen ending is an old Deitsch tradition (appearing even in Lambert's Pennsylvania German Dictionary). While the -n or -in ending is still quite common among Deitsch speakers, the practice of referring to children with a -sen ending is seldom witnessed since the end of the Suppression Era.

So let's say that Arnold's son tells you that his name is Besereis. His full name would be:

Besereis Arnold Arnoldsen

Besereis is the first name, Arnold is the patronymic (name of the father), and Arnoldsen is the name of the clan as it relates to offspring.

Here's where it gets a little muddy!

Around Hoietfescht (late July or early August), Besereis Arnold Arnoldsen's children will be "mature" enough that Besereis will drop the -sen ending from his name. Until his task is done, his name will be such:

Besereis Arnold Arnold.

Now let's assume that Besereis has a son named Deffel. Deffel would take on the patronymic of Besereis:

Deffel Besereis Arnoldsen

The -sen ending is again added until Deffel becomes a full adult around Hoietfescht.

The naming is typically conducted at the moment of activation at the Kannsege. The community bears witness to the lineage of the Butzemann.

So, the four Butzemenner that were activated at last year's Kannsege bear the following names:

Arnold (technically Arnold der Nei, or Arnold the New)

Otto Eirich Henrichsen

Kunraad Aamet Aametsen

Muunyaager Schtoffel Müsselmansen

Plus we have the later activation of Axel der Nei vun Wuntender. :)

Heel zu de Butzemenner!

Tags: Braucherei, Butzemann, Day, Deitsch, Dutch, German, Groundhog, Grundsaudaag, Kannsege, Pennsylvania, More…Urglaawe

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Interesting read.  I had no idea that "scarecrows" had such significant practices attached to them.

My Butzemann is almost done. He needs his heart and clothes. Would it be rude to post a picture before he is activated?

Only activated scarecrows! Actually, there are similar customs in other countries... In some cases in other countries, the Butzemann figure is more of a scapegoat.. in other he is a Bogeyman (which is what tradition states he becomes if he is left unburned after Allelieweziel and his shell gets occupied by a Butz (Puck, pucca)). I recently was leading a discussion at the Pennsylvania German Heritage Center in Kutztown, and I referenced the stories about a Butzemann-Bogeyman that many Deitsch parents would use to scare their children back into bed on Christmas Eve... I noticed so many heads nodding at their childhood memories... :)

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