At Salt Lake Comic Con this year, one of my favorite panels was on writing and roleplaying authentic magicians; fellow panelists included Paul Draper, Kevin Nielsen, Charlie Pulsipher, and others. The conversation ranged to interesting places, but I want to add some footnotes on this blog, because the subject is interesting and because it relates to my forthcoming epic fantasy novel WITCHY EYE.
A himmelsbrief is a letter from heaven. In the Pennsylvania German Christian magical tradition called braucherei, these are more or less standardized blessings that are written out beautifully by concentrating braucher and are then worn or carried by the recipient, or hung on a wall (or hidden inside the construction of a house). Their power comes from their origin: they are said in the first instance to have appeared miraculously (they are letters from heaven) and to have remained present only long enough to be copied.
There are also, natürlich, teufelsbriefe… letters from hell.