These people came to be called "Dutch," which is only an English interpretation of the name they had for themselves, which was in fact"Deutch"(doy-tch) meaning "German."
The German immigrants had many types of views on magic. Most Germans when in need would resort to the "Hexenmeister" (Hex Master). The practice of using hex-signs comes at least in part from the pre-Christian magical practices of the ancient Germans.
At one time or other you have probably seen so called "Pennsylvania Hex-Signs" in your travels, photographs or in American Folk Art books, but very little has been written about the use of these signs in practical magic. Being from Pennsylvania and German, myself the Hex-Signs are a subject near and dear to my heart.
Today there are probably no, or very few traditionally trained (Hex-Masters). But the magical lore has survived and been written down so that the modern Hex-Master can revive a uniquely American form of Germanic Magic.
Using Hex Signs
In theory the magic of using Hex-Signs works just like Icelandic magical signs or galdor-staves. The magician or witch designs the sign, executes it with full magical will and intention. Then they speak an incantation over it to "charge" or load it for a magical purpose.
There are three major "parts of speech" in the "language" of Hex-Signs.
1. Segments or zones into which the universal circle is divided.
2. The symbols and geometrical shapes which give form to the various zones of the circle. These come in three main types: the decoration to the bands between the zones, the geometrical figures that often give shape to the body of the sign, and the other symbolic images (natural objects like tulips, hearts etc.)
3. The colors which provide an inflection to the message of the sign.
Examples of Traditional Hex-Signs:
This sign brings good fortune into the general environment. The Distlefink rules over the heart, indicating good fortune reigns in matters of the heart, and the tulip enforces faith and loyalty in Love. It should be displayed in the living area of the house.
This sign draws virility (symbolized by the acorns) and vitality (symbolized by the oak leaves) from the outer objective wold and makes them manifest in the inner life of a person. The inner rosette is blue (spiritual strength); the acorns are brown (sensual pleasure; the small leaves coming off the acorns are yellow, indicating a sublimation of sensual pleasure into revealed truth (sexual magic); while the large leaves are red (physical strength) and half yellow (spiritual strength.) The eightfold pattern symbolizes the fruits of the real world. It should be displayed in a work or bedroom.
This "classic" Pennsylvania Dutch Hex-Sign is made to act on the environment of the sign, bringing romantic love and stability to the household. This is a balanced and mature love with emotional and erotic fulfillment. The six hearts (red) bring a balanced emotional love, while the six fold rosette itself brings a dynamic yet balanced love on all levels. This can be displayed in the living or bedroom areas of the home.
Hexing is a very creative and magical art. The only real limits on this art are set by the Hex-Master's sense of aesthetics. Have fun with it and imbue your home with the magic of this ancient tradition.
Brightest of Blessings,