JFA: What is your art background? How did you get into painting hexes?
HY: My mother was a painter and I inevitably created most of her stretchers that I made from wood that floated downstream after the spring floods on the Saucony creek that flowed though our farm where I grew up in Berks County, Pa. She took painting lessons in Allentown at the Baum School from a teacher named Martin Zippen, landscapes, still lives, portraits, that sort of thing. She took me along and I got a free evaluation from Martin who concluded that I had very little talent. My father viewed my painting career a different way. He gave me a brush, paint, and a forty foot oak ladder and told me to paint the barn. Painting one of these monstrosities was no small feat. But being continually in the scheisse haus so to speak for one reason or another, usually involving coming home at cockâ€™s crow on school nights, there was little room for negotiation. I guess I was sixteen years old.
That was when and where I confronted my first Hex Sign. They were actually inscribed into the wood, three on the front bay, and one on either end, but none on the back bank sideâ€”eight-pointed stars, with a radiating outer border. So I repainted them. The old man grumbled at the extra expense since the â€˜jobâ€™ was to just paint the whole barn one color, ha!
JFA: What is Hexology? What is the difference between Hexerai and Asatru?
HY: Hexology is a form of Hexerei. Hexerei is Germanic Witchcraft. Various forms of Hexerei include Sprachzauber, spoken magic, Hexology, painted 'prayers' Runenzauber, magic of the Runes, Wahrsagezzauber German equivalent to Seidr, or Anglo Saxon Soothsaying, Augercraft, or tree magic, and Braucherei or healing magic. That is from my Book, 'The Backdoor Hexologist,' 2008.Â http://www.thehexfactory.com/apps/webstore/products/show/497080
Asatru is a Nordic Aesir heavy based religion. Hexerei is more Vanic.
JFA: How does Polytheism help you from day to day?
HY: Well I am a Polytheist as opposed to Monotheist. The essential difference is Polytheists won't kill you in the name of a single god, they have several to choose from depending on what day of the week it is.
JFA: What is involved with casting good intentions as well as curses?
HY: Curses are easy, 'Good' intentions' take a little more effort. I could tell you about cursing, but then I'd have to kill you.....see what I mean?
JFA: How and why did you gravitate toward the Germanic Runes? What is your favorite
Rune and why? How do they work? How does numerology fit in?
HY: As we discussed in our conversations, my own experience with the Elder Futhark has been an intuitive approach to understanding them. I was introduced to the magical alphabets of Hebrew and Greek, prior to my interest in the Elder Futhark. Those Mediterranean/ Middle Eastern alphabets seemed foreign and difficult to relate to. The Runes were immediately compatible with my sensibility and of working with my hands in particular wood. There seemed to be a genetic reverberation that was very welcoming. My real entry into the Runic Wheel was with the Ingwaz Rune. I viewed it as the Rune of Hexology, of the farmer, of male fertility. Its oppositional pairing with the Thorasaz Rune, the Rune of Donar or Thor, confirmed my beliefs and my continued interest in Male Fertlity Gods. I have no favorite Rune as such just tendencies, and an evolutionary relationship with them and the Gods and Goddesses. The Gods and Goddesses appear in scenes behind a grand Runic structure that orders the multiverse in my mind's eye. This and subjective things that make up the minds eye are just beyond the grasp of recollectionâ€¦â€¦
With any magical alphabet, the letters also have numerical values. The Elder Futhark is no exception. Each Rune corresponds to a number between one and twenty four according to its position in the Futhark. It is that simple.
JFA: What does it mean to be a Heathen?
HY: Heathen was actually a derogatory term used by Anglo Saxon Christians to describe Pagans that were 'of the Heath' I prefer the German, Heiden as someone who is aligned with the pre-Christian gods and goddesses and Germanic tribalism.
JFA: Describe Zaubereigarten-the actual garden and the website.
HY: Well Zauber means magic in German, Garten is garden. Besides the paintedÂ
Hexes, I grow magic plants and have been doing that for over forty years, learnedÂ
from a Deitsch character named Bumbaugh and just plain old trial and error.Â
I can make things grow. I love to clone now from cuttings. How about aÂ
JFA: What is your interest in rabbits? Symbolism, metaphor, etc?
HY: I like to raise animals. I used to have fifty hives of honeybees, back in Berks County.Â
They were impractical to have in the city and my daughter came home with a NetherlandÂ Dwarf rabbit we named Dr. Octagon. We got a female and kept them uncaged in theÂ backyard in Brooklyn. After a while we had so many, I was trading rabbits for rabbit foodÂ
at the pet store. Other than that, rabbits very interesting. I remember coming downstairsÂ one night to find two males double teaming a nice female, didn't know animals did that. Anyway I have em down here in Philly now. They are nasty little rabbits and growl and bite if cornered.
JFA: What can one expect out of your newly released book Heiden Hexology: Essays and Interviews.?
HY: â€œHeiden Hexology, Essays and Interviewsâ€?, is a collection of published work . Heiden is theÂ
German version of the Anglo Saxon, Heathen. It views recent developments in pre-ChristianÂ
Germanic tribalism from a Pennsylvania German perspective. In the book, I explore the worldÂ
of magically charged objects, the pre-Christian Germanic Gods and Goddesses, the ElderÂ
Futhark of Runes, Germanic Witchcraft known as Hexerei, Sex Magic and the use of magicÂ
plants. The book documents the proliferation of the practice of Hexerei by the emergingÂ
Germanic Heathen community internationally including my interviews of Rune magiciansÂ
and Folk practitioners .
Its a fun read with lots of Hex Signs you won't see at the Kutztown Folk Festival.
JFA: You've done an amazing job renovating an old Kensington building and transforming it
into the current version of The Hex Factory. Most would have hired a contractor, but youÂ
fixed thingsup--right down to replacing the old floors. Can you tell me anything about theÂ
history of the building? Is it haunted?
HY: Yeah its haunted by an old lady named, Mrs. Kelly. Place used to be a bookie den. Built like a ship. Nothing had been done to the place since the Twenties, built in 1880. That's the way I like em, no Home Depot quicky fixes done by illegal alien contractors. Did one up in Brooklyn. After awhile I got pretty good at 'completos' I did it all, plumbing, wiring, carpentry, tile work, etc.