Maidens at Worship: Kneeling Before the Sacred Flame
Every Frisian town had a burch (citadel), run by a burchfâm (Burgtmaagd, or Borough Maid) and her 28 fâmna (maidens), as priestesses. Seven of these were at worship, in 3-hour shifts, at all times (OLB, Ch. 7) – kneeling before the foddik (lamp), a perpetually burning flame lit by the sun. Up to seven more aldfâmna (elder maidens) might also be present, with the burchfâm presiding twice a day.

On bended knees, the Maidenschaft, as they were known, offered their thricefold gratitude to Wr-alda, the All-father – “for what you have received, for what you do receive, and for the hope of aid in time of need.” (OLB, Ch. 5). Strictly celibate, they wore a short, plain tunic known as the tohnekka (OLB, Ch. 36), and avoided all bodily poisons and passions, lest they polluted the light.

Refounding of the Maidenschaft, July 1936 – maidens kneeling before the foddik.
Rebuilding the Citadel: Ancient Wisdom for the Modern Age
Interest in the Oera Linda Book was revived in the 1930s by writers such as the Austrian mystic, Karl Maria Wiligut (1866–1946), and the Dutch historian, Herman Wirth (1885–1981).
Under Wiligut’s supervision, the 17th century Wewelsburg Castle, Westphalia, was converted into a Frisian-style burch (citadel). The vault under the North Tower was redesigned to house a perpetually burning flame, to be fed by a gas pipe under the floor, and twelve stone pedestals were set up around the wall for the maidens. Plans were drawn up for a vast, circular estate around the castle in the shape of a 6-spoked jol wheel, but war put a stop to these, and the flame was never lit.
The modern order of maidens, or Maidenschaft, takes its inspiration, in part, from the writings of Karl Maria Wiligut – and its rites, rules and regulations from the Oera Linda Book itself.
1. Maidens adhered to a frugal, vegetarian diet comprising two daily rations, eaten directly after worship. Fasting on Fridays and during festival weeks, they served communal feasts to the people. All drugs, bodily toxins and sexual activity were banned, on pain of immediate expulsion.
2. While at worship, left knees on the ground, right knees pointing to the foddik, maidens drew the spirit of Wr-alda – the All-father – into their bodies from above, and the spirit of Jrtha – the Earth-mother – into their bodies from below, while sending both spirits, mingled, into the foddik, and from there, purified, to the land and all its people, continuously chanting “Wr-alda t-Anfang t-Bijin” (‘Wr-alda, the Origin, the Beginning), for fertility and abundance. Maidens are assigned shifts for their two daily worship sessions based on Wiligut’s Maidenschaft groups.
3. The only garment allowed for maidens was the tohnekka – a short, plain tunic in natural linen, with leather sandals, scrip etc. – to be worn at all times, in all weathers.
In 1936 the Greek choreographer, Koula Pratsika (1899–1984) – after studying in Austria and Swabia, and recognising the close links between the ancient Frisian and Greek civilisations, as described in the Oera Linda Book and the writings of Karl Maria Wiligut – re-established the Maidenschaft, or order of maidens, to inaugurate the Berlin Olympics. The following year she founded the National School of Dance in Athens, specialising in the revival of Pagan cultural and religious practices.
Every leap year since 1936, except during the Second World War, a foddik (lamp) has been lit, and a burchfâm (Borough Maid) appointed, or re-appointed, ahead of each Summer Olympic Games. Koula Pratsika was recognised as leader, or folksmoder (Folk Mother) of the Maidenschaft until her passing in 1984, to be succeeded by her deputy, Maria Hors (1921–2015).
(1) Wewelsburg Castle, Westphalia. (2) Koula Pratsika as burchfâm, kneeling before the foddik with her maidens, 20 July 1936. (3) Maidens changing shift between watches.
Daily Watches: Maidens Worshipping at the Citadel
Perfection through purity of body, mind and spirit. All maidens must:

1. Abstain from meat products, intoxicants, orgasm and sex.
2. Bend knees in worship for six hours every day.
3. Wear a short, plain tunic at all times.

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Watch

1. 12am–3am
2. 3am–6am
3. 6am–9am
4. 9am–12pm
5. 12pm–3pm
6. 3pm–6pm
7. 6pm–9pm
8. 9pm–12am
Earth

Worship
Work
Learn
Sleep
Worship
Work
Learn
Sleep
Air

Sleep
Worship
Work
Learn
Sleep
Worship
Work
Learn
Fire

Learn
Sleep
Worship
Work
Learn
Sleep
Worship
Work
Water

Work
Learn
Sleep
Worship
Work
Learn
Sleep
Worship
The Frisian day comprised eight watches of three hours each. Maidens knelt in worship for two watches every day (am and pm) at the citadel, and in the others worked, learnt and slept (OLB, Ch. 40). After seven years they became aldfâmna (elder maidens), taking roles as guides, teachers and judges, and becoming eligible for appointment as burchfâmna. The chief burchfâm was the folksmoder (Folk Mother), ruling her people in succession to Frya, ancestress and lawgiver to the Frisians.
A maiden’s worship shifts were determined by her birth element, according to the Frisian calendar (see below under ‘Yule: The Wheel of the Year’). Months 1 to 3: Earth. Months 4 to 6: Air. Months 7 to 9: Fire. Months 10 to 12: Water.
Wr-alda (‘most ancient’), the All-father, to whom all worship is due, is the Creator. His name evolved into ‘world’ in modern English. “Wr-alda, who alone is eternal and good, made the beginning. Then commenced time. Time wrought all things, even the earth.” (OLB, Ch. 4). Jrtha (‘earth’), the Earth-mother, brought forth three maidens: Lyda, Finda and Frya, the foremothers of the human race. Frya became the eponymous ancestress of the Frisians, who lived among her children for seven generations before summoning them together and issuing her Tex (laws) in 2194 BC (OLB, Ch. 5), during the Great Flood, and then ascending to her watch-star.
The Frisians later came to revere other deities, too. Wodin was a famous warrior, and Thyr was a Finnish god whom the Frisians adopted. Fæsta, Mêdêa, Thjanja and Hellênja were all priestesses who became goddesses. The worship of these, and others, is disparaged by the Oera Linda Book in favour of Wr-alda alone, but the Pagan Frisian folk-religion was constantly evolving, eventually engendering an entire pantheon of gods and goddesses.
The Frisian alphabet, in its ‘standing’ and ‘running’ forms, as introduced by Frya and Fæsta respectively.
Yule: The Wheel of the Year
The Frisian calendar, like its writing system (OLB, Ch. 20), was derived from the jol (Juul, or Yule), or 6-spoked wheel. There were six annual festivals, starting at the winter solstice, and twelve months, alternating between 31 and 30 days in length – with the third being shortened to 30 days, except in leap years. The festivals occurred at the beginning of the 31-day months, and all except the first, Jol-fêrste (Juulfeest, or Yule Feast), were named after the months in which they fell (OLB, Ch. 35). The Jol-fêrste was originally determined by observation, but in the table below is fixed as 21 December. Days were apparently counted backwards from the festivals (OLB, Ch. 8), a practice that survived, in modified form, among the Romans.
 
Month

1. Herdemônath
2. Sellamônath
3. Êrjêrmônath
4. Gârsamônath
5. Minnamônath
6. Sümermônath
7. Heamônath
8. Arnemônath
9. Hjerstmônath
10. Windmônath
11. Slachtmônath
12. Wolfamônath
English

Hearth Month
Blessed Month
Fore-year Month
Grass Month
Merry Month
Summer Month
Hay Month
Corn Month
Harvest Month
Wind Month
Slaughter Month
Wolf Month
Length

31 days
30 days
30/31 days
30 days
31 days
30 days
31 days
30 days
31 days
30 days
31 days
30 days
Dates

21 Dec–20 Jan
21 Jan–19 Feb
20 Feb–21 Mar
22 Mar–20 Apr
21 Apr–21 May
22 May–20 Jun
21 Jun–21 Jul
22 Jul–20 Aug
21 Aug–20 Sep
21 Sep–20 Oct
21 Oct–20 Nov
21 Nov–20 Dec
Festival

Jol-fêrste

Êrjêr-fêrste

Minna-fêrste

Hea-fêrste

Hjerst-fêrste

Slacht-fêrste
English

Yule Festival

Fore-year Festival

Merry Festival

Hay Festival

Harvest Festival

Slaughter Festival
Date

21 Dec

20 Feb

21 Apr

21 Jun

21 Aug

21 Oct
 
Years were numbered from the sinking of Atland, or Aldland (the ‘Old Land), in 2194 BC – a date that is fixed by the Letter of Hiddo (OLB, Ch. 1): “Written at Liuwert, in the three thousand four hundred and forty-ninth year after Atland was submerged—that is, according to the Christian reckoning, the year 1256.” It should be noted, however, that many previous writers have incorrectly given the year of the destruction of Atland as 2193 BC, not having allowed for the absence of a ‘year 0’ on the Christian calendar.
The Oera Linda Book mentions just five months by name – Herdemônath, Sellamônath, Minnamônath, Arnemônath and Wolfamônath (OLB, Ch. 41) but those of the others can be reconstructed from later Dutch sources.
Like us, the Frisians also recognised a 7-day week (OLB, Ch. 26), with each day dedicated to one of Frya’s ‘seven virgins of the week’ – though we are not told their names. It can be presumed, however, that the ‘Frya’s day’ mentioned elsewhere (e.g. OLB, Ch. 6) – observed as a joyful feast by the people, and as a fast by the maidens – was Friday. Like ours, the Frisian day began at midnight.
(1) Layout of a burch, or citadel (OLB, Ch. 40). (2) 7th century silver bowl, found at Oegstgeest, Holland. (3) Julleuchter, or Yule Lantern, to house the sacred flame. (4) Koula Pratsika as burchfâm, lighting the foddik with the sun’s rays.
The Maidenschaft: According to Karl Maria Wiligut
“So, for example, it came about that virgins who were chosen as BURGMAIDENS had to conform to special conditions... in order on the one hand to ensure the limitation of their sexual activity, and on the other hand to prevent them from generating descendents. The organisation of this corps of burgmaidens (Berg-Maidenschaft, whereby ‘berg’ means ‘the concealed’) clearly indicates clues in this direction when we look at its construction. The corps of maidens was organised in four groups...
HEXAS: Fâmna (maidens).
“The lowest group, the HEXAS, had as their duty the care and preservation of the eternal flame and its kindling for purposes of signalling (by day with smoke, by night with a bright flame). Fire was fetched from these women as a part of certain ceremonies or ritual customs... for the lighting the hearth-fire of newly married couples. As a part of land-taking or new settlement ceremonies, or when perhaps the hearth-fire had gone out, fire was kindled from live coals from these eternal fires. The Hexas were initiated into herbology and the arts of animal-healing and served as animal healers in some tribes and communities in addition to their service relevant to the fire.”

DRUDAS: Aldfâmna (elder maidens).

“The DRUDAS, however, provided service as ‘Wise Women.’ They were counsellors (in all affairs having to do with love and marriage) and midwives. Additionally, they provided service as healers of human beings. To this belonged not only knowledge of surgery, but also knowledge of herbs with the power to heal the human body. Therefore they had to have a considerable amount of knowledge about herbs at their disposal.”
WALAS: Burchfâmna (Borough Maids).
“Those belonging to the third group, the WALAS, not only had to possess the knowledge of the previous two groups, but were also in charge of the Maidenschaft which was self-contained and lived separate from all other tribes. Additionally, they had the assignment of being counsellors in all sorts of matters having to do with the well-being or suffering of the whole tribe. For this reason they had to have at their disposal meaningful historical data about the tribe and its individual clans, and had to know their characteristics by reason of this knowledge precisely. From this they drew logical conclusions as to how the tribe was to act in certain important events. Therefore from a knowledge of the history of the characteristics of the clans and a knowledge of the past of the tribe the concept of prophecy as well as necromancy was developed. It is therefore erroneous to believe that a kind of ‘sorcery’ was connected to these concepts. Pure concrete knowledge of the past as well as a clear perception of the present situation led to the correct conclusion as to how it was necessary for the clan or tribe to act. Because women have an innately clear vision relating to what is important in life, the Walas very often saved heatedly agitated men from disadvantageous actions by means of emergency decisions.”
ALBRUNAS: Folksmoderum (Folk Mothers).
“Finally, the ALBRUNAS, as the highest group of the Maidenschaft, were, like the Walas, counsellors—however, they acted as such for the entire folk. The position of Albruna was naturally very desired. So only those women who possessed especially excellent spiritual qualities were called upon for this from within the ranks of the Maidenschaft. From this presentation of the basic division of the Maidenschaft it is clear what a deep meaning the position of women had in past times. In the clan she was the protector and director of the honour of men as well as women. In the tribe she was the representative of high idealistic flights of thought and the kindler of enthuasism for great aims in the interest of the tribe and folk.” (Karl Maria Wiligut, Hagal 12, 1935, transl. Flowers & Moynihan, The Secret King, 2007)