Zisasege/Erntfescht (Urglaawe) South Jersey

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Troth Related
Date: 
Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 10:00 to 17:30
Location: 
Cedarbroom, NJ
United States

Hybrid Event: Please use the link above to let us know if you will be attending in person.
For those wishing to join us remotely, please use this link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89440358766

ERNTFESCHT is the original Pennsylvania Dutch Thanksgiving and is rooted in Old Heathen Era harvest home traditions that continued into the present.

ZISASEGE AND ASTRONOMY THREADS How can YOU observe the Feast Day of Zisasege as a solitary or new practitioner of Urglaawe?

 

ZISASEGE (actual Feast Day is September 28; Distelfink will combine it with Erntfescht on September 25 for group ritual). It is possible that the feast day of ZIsa was a harvest home celebration.

 

Zisa is a fascinating goddess. Virtually unknown within most Heathen circles until Urglaawer began to observe the feast day, more and more probable links to existing lore have turned up over the last dozen years.

 

This is one of those cases in which the Church unintentionally preserved lore about one of our goddesses after having relegated Her to an aspect of Mary. Mary Undoer-of-Knots encapsulates many of the aspects associated with Zisa. She is the remover (or placer) of obstacles for just causes.

 

Her name appears to share the same root as that of Ziu, which makes a connection between the Sky Father and Zisa. Some words that relate to Ziu in German instead referred to Zisa in the Suevi dialect. The word for Tuesday, "Zistag," was replaced by the Diocese of Augsburg with "Aftermontag' ("after Monday") in order to try to erase the goddess' importance. The modern city of Augsburg was Zisa's city, "Zizarim" or "Cisarim" at the time when the Roman army was defeated in an attempt to seize the city. They happened to choose September 28 (current calendar) of the year 1 BCE, and discovered that the city had three times (more or less) the anticipated population because many Suevi from the heath had come to the city for celebrations.

 

There are references in Deitsch lore that can easily be connected to Her. A charm refers to the South Star being the delight of the North Star's eye. The association between the North Star and Ziu are known, but, for many years, I was puzzled by how a northern people knew of the South Star. To the rescue came Ben Waggoner of The Troth, who guided me toward references of the star Vega being used by northern navigators as a reference point to the south. Vega was once the North Star and, due to the vagaries of our axis precession, it will be again in about 13,000 years.

 

Norse lore's Lokasenna makes a reference to an unnamed wife of Tyr, whom Loki says bore him a child.

 

There is evidence of some conflation between Zisa and Isis due to Roman recorders' placing Zisa into a context they understood.

 

Centuries after conversion, Duke Esnerius (or Esenerius), Duke of Swabia Castle chapel to Zisa at Hillomondt(modern-day Kempten). The Swabians are the successors of the Suevi, serving as an indicator of the importance of Zisa even so far after the Church attempted to wipe out the memory of Her.

 

Pine cones are sacred to Her. She protects the Suevi the way the pine cone protects the seeds.

 

The color red is associated with her, just as it is with Ziu.

 

Newer lore: The Deitsch rune Keil (cognate of Kenaz) is associated with Zisa. Keil is proactive elemental metal, harnessed fire, and illumination of hidden information. In dry conditions with wind and fire, the pine cone releases seeds, allowing regeneration.

 

Post-modern question for consideration: Who tends to Ziu's hand after He loses it?

 

Although we often combine Zisasege with Erntfescht due to practicality and time constraints, we have separate altars for each observance. Our Zisasege altar is very much red in color with pine cones and knotted strings on the table. As part of the ritual, participants are invited to take a string home with them and to meditate upon the knots in their lives. Once the meditation is completed, they can sympathetically undo the knot while appealing to Zisa for aid. Remember, the basis needs to be right action coming from a right mind.

 

Also, some knots are better off left tied, and sometimes loose strings need a knot. If you come to Zisa for aid, be sure you understand the potential consequences of untying your knots. Many times we think our actions are pure, but they are often agenda-driven, and it is important to be honest with ourselves about that fact.

 

This is, though, a day of celebration. Eat heartily and honor this great goddess of the Suevi and of the Deitsch!