Pennsylvania Dutch Hex

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A hex is a form of manipulative magic that can be used to alter behavior. Etymologically speaking, the word hex is Norwegian in origin, and derived from the German word for witch: hexe. It was brought here by 17th century German and Swiss immigrants that left their own countries in search of greater religious freedom. A large number of them ended up settling in southeast Pennsylvania, eventually gaining the moniker “Pennsylvania Dutch.” Many of the common definitions one may find for the term liken it to a curse, or otherwise negative in nature. In truth however, hexes have no negative connotations, and differ from curses in a couple of ways. First and foremost, hexes can be used to help whereas curses only serve to cause harm. Second, hexes…show more content…
Curses however, can be directed at any person place or thing. There are people that may use a hex in a negative or unethical way and this tends to overshadow the fact that hexes can and are typically used to help, not harm. Hexes may be used by modern Wiccans as a form of protection for themselves and/or others. The Pennsylvania Dutch painted what are now called hex signs on their barns. The signs typically feature birds, flowers, leaves or symmetrical geometric designs within a circle. There is some debate as to why they originally did this. Some contend that it was an interpretation for Fraktur, a highly stylized folk art used to decorate family records and other important documents. This theory suggests that these early hex signs were simply a way for the immigrants to celebrate and express their heritage. Others claim the hex signs were a modern take on the European pre-Christian pagan practice of painting runes and other symbols on buildings to ward off witchcraft and bring about good fortune. Whatever the original purpose of the signs may have been, over time…show more content…
The origin of the term itself is Norwegian, and in German translates to the word witch. It was in brought here by German and Swiss immigrants in the 17th century. The majority settled in Pennsylvania, thus becoming the “Pennsylvania Dutch.” They are responsible for two common forms of a hex: hex signs and pow wow. Hex signs are symbols the immigrants painted on their barns to protect against things such as misfortune and to ensure fertility for crops. They are circular, and most often contain flowers, birds, leaves and other elements of nature. They became popular in mainstream society the 40’s after local man Jacob Zook began screen printing them to sell in his tourist gift shop. Pow wow or hex craft as it is sometimes called, is a mix between Christianity and Native American spirituality. Its primary focus is healing. Wiccans use hexes as well, most often as a means of protection, but there is a bit of a debate in the Wiccan community regarding whether or not it is ethical. Hex is one of those terms that almost everyone has heard, but very few know its true definition. It is pegged as pretty much a different word for curse, when in reality the two are very different. A curse has no upside. It only harms. Hexes however, can help and that’s an enormous fundamental
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