Saturday, March 26, 2011

Vertraue Niemandem

Back in the fall of 1996 I presented an academic paper at an international symposium on the Reformation.  The conference took place in Augsburg, Germany, and I already knew that one of the participants, a professor at the local university, was going to be brutal. Who is this American graduate student to tell us of our history? I was a bit nervous, as my German wasn’t up to snuff.  I was staying at the apartment of a friend, Helmut, who told me to see a buddy of his.  “Wolfgang can help you with your problems,” he assured me.  “Yeah, is he a therapist or what?”  “You could say that.  He’s a healer.”  I had one free day before the conference started, so I figured I’d see what he could do for me.   It turns out that Wolfgang was a witch, that is to say, a neo-Pagan practitioner of ritual magick with the gift of healing.  His preferred method was a combination of aromatherapy and gem healing.  He had me lay down on a couch and placed amber, topaz and jasper on my head for about a half hour.  He was talking about the Mother Goddess the whole time, but I couldn’t really understand him because he spoke in a thick Swabian accent.  “What brings you to Germany?” he finally asked.  I didn’t want to tell him that I’m studying the Reformation, because most pagans take a dim view of anything pertaining to Christianity.  After the session was over, he looked at me squarely in the eyes and said, "Vertraue niemandem (trust nobody)!"