Pissing stone

Crete 2001  



Spontaneously perforated stones have stimulated people's imagination for hundreds of years, as well in the Alps as on the coast of the Northern sea. In Bavaria they wore them as amulets around their neck in order to be preserved from witchcraft - and pissed through the hole (which led to the name "Brunzelstein". I am asking myself if the magic force attributed to this particular stones wasn't in any relationship to the worms, which were held for causing inner illnesses and toothache. Didn't the holes look like the traces of such a worm, as if the stone had been able to get rid of such an invader: the stone mightier than a worm ...  


This explains the power attributed to the "Trude"-stones:

"Die Wirkung des Trudensteines galt als apotropäisch gegenüber dem schädlichen Einfluss von Zauberinnen und Unholdinnen; er musste über ein Loch verfügen und möglichst klein sein" (Britta-Juliane Kruse, Die Arznei ist Goldes wert, mittelalterliche Frauenrezepte, 1999 p. 165).



Christianity of course didn't appreciate this view and banished the holes and the worms into the remotest corners of the farms:

"Im Volk haben solche Steine den Namen „Hühnergott“ bekommen. Vor langer Zeit hielt man Steine mit natürlich entstandenen Löchern für Talismane, die Hühner vor Behexung und böser Geister schützten, der Züchtung und der Fruchtbarkeit der Hühner beitrugen. Der „Hühnergott“ sollte die Hühner vor allem vor Domowoj und Kikimora schützen (böse Geister), die ihnen Federn ausrupfen. Manchmal konnte man statt des Steines auch eine Scherbe mit Loch oder einen Hals vom zerschlagenen Krug als Hühnergott benutzen. Ich weiß nicht, ob solche Talismane auch jetzt irgendwo in Dörfern benutzt werden, die Steine mit Löchern aber sind auch heute als Gegenstände bekannt, die magische Kraft besitzen und von Menschen als Glücksbringer wahrgenommen werden" (Oksana) 

"Auch in Norddeutschland sind diese besonderen Steine weit verbreitet, meist sind es Feuersteine mit Kalkeinlagerungen, die mit der Zeit ausgewaschen werden. In früheren Zeiten wurden diese Steine gesammmelt und neben oder über der Haustür angebracht. Sie sollten dort böse Geister fernhalten.Auch heute ist es schön, an der Ostsee beim Strandspaziergang solche Steine zu finden. Manche haben so viele Löcher, daß die Steine fast wie ein Schwamm aussehen. Und als Talisman sind sie immer noch schön" (Doro, Internetforum).


The 4 cm diameter stone we show here lay on the small beach of Lissos on the southern coast of Crete where we gathered it in 2001 ...



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Scapular (1)



The scapular originated from the cloak of the Carmelite Order's garb in the Middle Ages. The robe showed images of Our Lady of Carmel and the Heart of Jesus, for protection against evil.
Pope John XXII. announced on 03.03.1322 in the Bull Sabbatina, the Blessed Mother had promised who wears the scapular, observes the befitting chastity, prays every day the little Marian times of the day and fasting on Wednesday / Friday / Saturday (eating no meat) Get rid of purgatory Saturday after his death. Pope Pius X recognized this bull on 16.12.1910 and explicitly extended this privilege to those who wear a consecrated medal instead of the fabric shredder.

In the rich treasure of the Sacramentals of the Holy Church, there are several scapulars of various orders. But the most important - and most widespread - is the brown scapular of Mount Carmel. The five-fold Scapular (according to the Blessing in Roman Ritual) contains the following scapulars:
- the white scapular of the Trinitarians
- the red scapular of the Passion of Jesus
- the blue scapular of the Immaculate Conception
- the black scapular of the Servants of Mary (Servites)
- the brown scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (real woven wool!)
This big scapular can not be replaced by a medal.


In some places, once every child and almost every adult wore a scapular, with the children a "simple", the adults mostly a "five-fold" had. The simple scapulars were consecrated on the "Skapuliersonntag", the Sunday after July 16, by the local pastor in the church, the adult capuliers, however, were mostly consecrated by the penitents in the missions or distributed by Kapuzinerpatres. These scapulars were worn around the neck and were designed to protect against misfortune, danger and all evil spirits. The scapular amulets have occasionally been used in folk medicine to help the patient make a decision - either to die quickly and without wasting time - or to heal quickly, but not so.

"Fourthly, when one brings such a picture to the sick, at whom they doubt whether to die or recover: and, once upon a time, such things, or hung up on them, the sick have soon changed to dying, or living been.
The scapular was also used to facilitate heavy births and thus took on the role of the rarer St. Margaret's bands ...
"Fifth, it has helped in different diseases, when such picture Mariae was laid out, especially to those hard-hitting women, when they were put to them the picture on the hertz, and roused the same with devotion".
(L. Hansmann, amulets, magic, talisman, Nikolverlag Hamburg 1999. p. 189).


If you look at the history of the Munshausen church, you must also mention the more than 300 years old veneration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Our Lady of the Scapular). The Scapular Brotherhood, founded in 1671 during the difficult years of the plague, lives on to the present day, albeit on the back burner. "He who wears a scapular on his skin will not die a sudden death" (Lux, Land 1884 p.528) (cit Pol Tousch, Of Customs, Morals and Superstitions, RTL Edition, 1985).
According to an old custom one should not take off the ribbon once it has been created. It offers protection against mischief, brings happiness and inner contentment. If the ribbon becomes brittle and falls off, the wearer fulfills a wish ...


Parallel object
Lice sacs (Laüseseckli, Luusbündeli) are small, often heart-shaped bundles of tissue, which are usually filled with blessed hay flowers. The infants are placed in the cradle for protection from vermin or stapled on the dress on the left shoulder. The Läusesäcklein were here and there produced in women's monasteries and brought by the Capuchin monks among the people. Usually as a gift for donations. Here are parallels to the "scapulars" obvious. The best lice bags were filled with palmgrass (nodding perl grass, Melica nutans) whose seeds look like lice. The grass / seed was therefore the object of protection against lice: similia similibus.


Scapular (2)



St. Simon was born around 1165 in the English county of Kent. According to tradition, he lived as a hermit in a hollow tree (hence the name "stick") until 1237 Carmelites came to England. He then joined the Carmelite Order in 1241 and was elected General of the Order in 1245 in Aylesford. In 1251, at Cambridge, he appeared to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who presented him with a scapular. This scapular became part of the religious habit. The Marian apparition deepened the pious imprint of the Order. From this also the Skapulierbruderschaft developed. On 16 May 1265 Simon died during a visitation trip in Bordeaux (Wikipedia).

In its original form Simon Stock was presented with a scapular, which had only one image, the Virgin Mary. Only in the course of time was added a second portrait.


Found on a flea market on the pl. Guillaume in Luxembourg on 16.9.2012.


St. Rochus medal


Saint Roch, bevare us from plague - these medals were worn in contact with skin.


Relics of Saint Rochus

251801537997 1


"Ex ossibus S. Rochi conf(essoris)" - part of the skeleton of st. Rochus the Confessor.

19th century reliquary theca with sealed first class relics of saint Rochus. Similar reliquaries are rather frequent. They show, that people need heawenly assistance since ever, when suffering or when exposed to severe danger as pestilentia.


The "Confrérie Saint Roch" was the predecessor of the master bakers association - it was NOT the love for small bread rolls that led me to buy a Rochus reliquary, but rather a whole series of medieval cultural details illuminate the relic ...

                    "Eat Durmedil and Bibernell, then you will not die so fast" (Volksspruch, 1348).
                    Pestgarten (Stephan Lochner Altar in Cologne, a Pest meadow)

- The Red or Common Butterbur (Petasites hybridus) owes its name to the fact that in the Middle Ages it was used against the plague that was hoped to be driven away by the unpleasant odor of the plant's essential oils.
- Bloodroot, Armetill
- Bibernell

According to tradition, Rochus came from Montpellier (France), where he was born around 1295. He had the wonderful gift of healing plague victims with a sign of the cross.


Swallowing picture



    Swallowing pictures are not a phenomenon of the Middle Ages, they are only detectable from the middle of the 18th century! Baroque home medicine, created at the same time as the filthy pharmacies ...

The food, swallowed resp. the incorporation of images can be interpreted as a primordial, immediate form of taking possession, in which the image of a healer is permanently stored in itself. As the names "Schluckbildchen" and "Esszettel" suggest, the main function was that of a "spiritual medicine", in the Baroque period one also spoke of "gratia medicinalis". As a "paper pill" the notes were soaked in water, dissolved or added food, to be subsequently swallowed by the sick (human / animal).

Against fever and other internal illnesses, small pictures of saints were swallowed that could be bought in many places of pilgrimage. The Pharmacy Museum in Basel has a swallow from Salzburg (18th century). Also in Einsiedeln such swallowing pictures were printed. The pictures were especially eagerly printed in Maria Zell



Ch. Schneegass, Schluckbildchen, in: Volkskunst, Zeitschrift für volkstümliche Sachkultur 6, 1983, S. 27-32.


Votive heart

Opening votive heart




As Theresia from Lisieux died from lung tuberculosis in 1897 it is understandable that Mrs. H. adressed her prayers specially to this saint, when her husband was seriously thick with pneumonia.



Irony of destiny: while mrs. H. died in 1938, her husband survived up to 1997 ...