Pennsylvania "Dutch" Hex Signs — Barn Signs — Folk Art Decor
traditionally hand drawn and hand painted hex signs, empowered prayers and folk art by hexerei Starwalker

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Jj Starwalker
Corinth, ME

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Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign features on Ross Svebeck show KMSP-TV Minneapolis, MNStarwalker's work was featured July 16, 2014 on Ross Svebeck's segment on The Buzz from Fox9, KMSP-TV. Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN.

As shown in this article from the Bangor Daily News website, a prosperity hex sign by hexenmeister Jj Starwalker was chosen by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to represent that state on the 2010 White House Christmas Tree . The tree will be decorated with ornaments representing each of the 50 states and will stand in the Blue Room during the holiday season.

Sacred Signs Bangor Daily NewsSacred Signs - Embracing a tradition steeped in power and energy that invites good, a West Corinth artist creates hex signs for clients nationwide by By Jessica Bloch, BDN Staff from the Friday, November 6, 2009 issue of the Bangor Daily News

In The Beginning....

It began with the curiosity of a young girl visiting her Grandmother. There were people who would come, quietly, to the back door. Grandmother would shoo the cousins away and would sit with the visitor, on the back porch, talking quietly.

Usually visitors came to the front door, you know. They were shown into the parlor and offered food and drink. The cousins were hurried off for a quick wash-up and then, if we could behave, we were invited in to sit on unforgiving furniture and answer questions about our age and schooling. “Yes, M’am,” “No, Sir,” and perhaps offered a cookie before being released.

But when these “back door” visitors came, things were different. There were hushed voices, and serious faces. Sometimes Grandmother would get up and go to the locked cupboard. She would take out a battered old bonnet and put it on but instead of heading for the garden she would sit on the porch hunched over some sort of work. We never could quite see what, and if we approached, we were run off with a stern look. After a bit the visitor would rise, tuck something into pocket or purse, and depart. The bonnet went back into the cupboard and oftentimes the cousins would be sent on some small errand… those that hadn’t disappeared from her sight, that is, and life would continue.

For years I was curious about these goings on, but Grandmother would never explain and avoided my questions in all manner of ways. I never connected her secretive, bonneted doings to the painted decorations that graced her home, the circular designs with many pointed stars, flowers, hearts and fanciful birds, though they were connected.

Later, a few years before her death, she began to reveal to me her doings behind the bonnet that had sparked my youthful curiosity. I learned that she had been taught, against much tradition, the art of the hexenmeister and powwow. The hexen were the circular designs with which she “decorated” her home and the reason for the back porch visitors. Her father had entrusted her with the knowledge, even though in those days women were not generally taught such things and certainly were NEVER found on a ladder, at the peak of a barn, painting the designs in their traditional location. He wanted the knowledge of the design and empowerment of these “painted prayers” and the healing traditions of the “pow wow” to continue and instructed her to teach one of her sons.

My only uncle showed no interest and it was on this account that, in her declining years, Grandmother decided to once again break tradition and instruct a girl. I was the granddaughter she chose. The eldest daughter of an eldest daughter, as was Grandmother, we all are marked with identical moles… as are my eldest daughter and her first daughter. So, as the “talent” has found a path, the tradition continues…

Grandmother did not have time before she passed on to impart to me all that she knew, but at her knee, bonnet on her head, she taught me the basics:

  • To cover my head when Working, out of respect for Deity
  • To take great care when asked to prepare a Hex, following the Threads of Life and Possibility far into past and future prior to taking the commission, and to respond “I will try for you.”
  • To create sacred space in which to work and to center the hex with Deity and to set the radius as I draw with the reach of that Power, with the lines and symbols bringing to the physical plane energies from the spiritual realm.
  • To empower the Hex, when completed, to seal and “light up” its power.

Whether drawn upon request, as a powerful prayer for good fortune, change, growth, protection, prosperity, love, happiness, balance… or painted “just for pretty” the hex sign designs are powered by symbols reaching to antiquity.

Jj Starwalker began her career at a folk artist in the 1970s. Using batik as her medium, she created hexen and stuffed dolls and other pieces. Her first major showing was at the Los Angeles, CA gallery The Egg and the Eye (now Craft and Folk Art Museum.)

She exhibited in the She exhibited in the Worldwide Women Artists Organization international show, through March, 2007, at the New Port Ritchie (Florida) gallery. The show was entitled "A Woman's Work is Never Done" and Ms. Starwalker's work, shown to the right, was entitled "Everything She Touches Changes." Click the image to see a larger version.

She is now pursuing paths that includes her hex craft, subsistence farming and a spiritual path as a spinner and hearth keeper, working with Frigga and her Handmaidens. She has recently been granted credentials as clergy by the Maine Pagan Clergy Association in recognition of her role as a Volva