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Saturday, 1 May 2010

Walpurger`s Night/Beltane


Yesterday evening the kindred that I ward celebrated Walpurger`s Night, the eve of the Goddess of May, known in the German lands as Walpurger. Typically after the enforced christianisation of the Germanic peoples this Goddess was `converted` into a christian saint.
The evening of the 30th April and the 1st of May has for millenia been acknowledged as a sacred time in the calendars of the ancient Germanic and Celtic peoples. The Celts themselves call this special time Beltane after the God Belenus. This is generally a celebration of the arrival of Summer in the northern lands. Bonfires would have been lit and young men and women would have danced through the smoke of the fires to encourage fertility.
On the 1st May which even today is a national holiday in may parts of the world maypole dancing is still practiced in some English villages and in small towns and villages throughout the Germanic world. The maypole is of course representative of the phallus.
May eve as with Samhain[31st October] is a time when the portal between this and other worlds is weakened and those who possess psychic powers may experience unusual supernatural phenomena.
In the Harz mountains of Germany where my mother was born the witches would gather on the highest peak known as the Brocken. On a stormy Walpurgisnacht the Wild Hunt led by the God Wotan would chase the Goddess Walpurger and the Harzhexen[Harz witches].

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