Walpurgisnacht – Night of the Witches

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Last night witches transformed the Harz mountains in Germany into a bizarre spectacle of heathen rituals and pageantry on what is known as Walpurgisnacht.

April 30 is probably the spookiest date in the Teutonic calendar.

Snaggle-toothed witches in long pointed hats dance wildly around a fire in the woods, chanting and clapping. Known as Walpurgisnacht, Hexennacht or the Night of the Witches, May Day eve is believed to be the time to ward off evil spirits and banish the winter.

During heathen times it was a festival of major importance and even today it continues to seize the mind and feelings of the Germanic folk.

The mountainous Harz region in central Germany is the birthplace for most of these legends and rituals, which are still enacted yearly on April 30.

Source: http://www.dw.de/watch-out-for-the-witches/a-510316

WALPURGISNACHT / BELTANE

Two days until …

VALBORG / WALPURGISNACHT / BELTANE.

Most Ásatrúar celebrate 30 April as either Walpurgisnacht (German) or Valborg (Swedish).

My Wiccan friends celebrate the date as Beltane (Irish/Scottish).  They have a different idea , or concept,  religion-wise but the basic idea is the same.

This is one of two nights in the year (the other being 31 October), that the separation between the world of the living and the world of the dead is at it’s thinnest.   This night celebrates the end of winter/death and the beginning of spring or summer/new birth.

I found this to explain the Wiccan view.

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VALBORG / WALPURGISNACHT / BEALLTAINN

Five days until the scariest time of year.

Some Heathen called it Valborgsmässoafton (Swedish) or just Valborg .

Other Heathen call it by it’s German name of Walpurgisnacht.  

Some Heathen and Pagan call it Bealtaine (Irish), Bealltainn (Scottish Gaelic) or more commonly in the States, Beltane.

It’s a time to celebrate the end of winter with it’s cold weather.  It’s a night of magik and evil spirits.

It used to said that witches and demons resided at Brocken, Germany and would come out on Walpurgisnacht .

Brocken

Sometimes the summit of Brocken is covered in clouds and mist giving it an other-worldly appearance.  The fog and mist also create optical illusions and I can understand why people used to think the mountain was haunted.

brocken-spectre Brocken-tanzawa

The tradition is to light bonfires to keep the nasty creatures away.

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On that night I like to honor the goddesses Freya, Hel, and Frigg as the repository of the glorious dead.  I also like to remember the female members of my family who have passed into Hel.  I will be happy to meet them at the Gates of Hel and feel their love.

Hail Goddesses!  Hail my Mothers!