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Huginn’s Heathen Hof

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Entschtanning 8: Butzemann, Kannsege


The Butzemann, the related honoring Butzemannsege (honoring of the plant spirits within the scarecrow), and the Kannsege (Ceremony of the Corn, which is when those plant spirits are awakened) are among the most “woo” traditions within Urglaawe. It stems directly from Braucherei practice, and it appears to be connected to other scarecrow traditions in neighboring European cultures.

This is the construction and activation of the Butzemann (note: the plural is Butzemenner).

In Deitsch, a scarecrow is called a “Lumbemann” or a “Butzemann.” Within Braucherei and Hexerei, though, there are connotations to those terms that carry into Urglaawe. A “Lumbemann” is a simple scarecrow; a Butzemann is a scarecrow in which the dormant plant spirits have been ritually activated and awakened. You may sometimes hear us saying, with a bit of levity, that a Butzemann is essentially a “zombie plant spirit.”

In a sense, though, there is some truth to this. Remnants of old Germanic lore cite a particularly close connection between humans and plants because we are constructed from plant parts and rely on plants to feed ourselves. Plant spirits are said to be able to be broken into parts and to stay dormant within dead physical plant material until reactivated. These spirits are what gives a Butzemann “life.”

The Butzemann is symbolically (and often literally) the father of the coming year’s crops. He is traditionally constructed from the remnants of last year’s crops (sometimes still containing seed). Do NOT use Elder in the construction of a Butzemann. The mother is the soil, signified at this time by the honoring of the goddess Freid.

The activation rite is called “der Kannsege,” or the Ceremony of the Corn. Some of the traditional ritual is under Verbot, but it can be effectively done in an altered format. I have gone over this ritual with numerous informants, and quite a few of them instructed me that the key to the process is to seek the “Anwadde” (the “answer”). Although I had learned of this process during my Braucherei training, it was from other practitioners that I had learned the actual process. The first was a Braucherin who was activating her own Butzemann. She drew a symbol with her thumb over where his pineal gland would be until she received the answer. I asked her to draw the symbol with a pen, and it looked somewhat akin to an Ansuz rune. How old that function or that symbol is unknown, but she was not the only one to use it. Others used the heel of their palm. The Braucher (or adept layperson) “steps out” of this realm and into the Weschtbledder (Western Leaves of the World Tree), which is sort of like Grand Central Station for evolved spirits. The Braucher becomes a bridge for the plant spirits in the Weschtbledder to carry reviving energy through the Braucher and into the Butzemann. The dormant spirits wake up and “answer” the calls of the transitory spirits. The Braucher then closes the bridge, and the Butzemann is awake and active.

Since we discussed the Idise on Night/Day 7, I should mention that these plant spirits are comparable to our evolved ancestors. They are, essentially, the Idise of the plants.

The activated Butzemann must be given a name and I’ll be posting some articles below in Comments related to all of this. The named Butzemann often starts a lineage that has a naming convention. Oaths are often taken to the Butzemann and to the plant spirits, often relating to ways they will be honored. The most critical oath, though, is that the Butzemann will be released from his duties by being burned no later than Allelieweziel (starts at sundown on October 30) so that he may join the Parade of Spirits/Wild Hunt.
The Butzemann is shown the turf he is expected to patrol. He is then perched and will stay there through the growing season. Anything that is given to a Butzemann MUST be burned with him; to take it back is considered an act of inhospitality. There are stories about Rumlaefer (wanderering laborers, hobos) from the Colonial Era became hexed because they stole the clothing off a Butzemann.

A Butzemann is most typically burned sometime between the Autumn Equinox and Allelieweziel. They often take with them things we intentionally discard from our lives, but they also take well wishes with them.

Deitsch folklore is riddled with stories about a Butzemann who was not burned by the designated time. It is common in many Deitsch households even today to scare children into staying in bed on Christmas Eve by saying, “The Butzemann will get you!”

At its root, the word “Butz” is akin to a puck or a pucca. A Butz is also the “it” in games like tag, but a Butzemann is not a puck. Instead, pucks are the creatures who are most commonly said to take over the shell of an unburned Butzemann. These pucks are given specific names in Deitsch lore, all of which refer to the “buckled man” (Buckliches Mannli, with numerous spelling variations).

There is no requirement in Urglaawe to build a Butzemann, and not everyone takes the lore behind the Butzemann so literally. However, even those for whom the shamanistic elements do not resonate, it is easy to see the importance of our relationship to plants and our need to respect the Plant kingdom.

Naming Convention:

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