Walpurgisnacht: Why it has nothing to do with Anglo-Saxon Benedictine nun Walburga but everything with Paganism

mother_earth_by_d_signeer-pregnant-tree
written and copyrighted by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt

Surprisingly the misinformation that Anglo-Saxon Benedictine nun Walburga (710-779), who proselytized in Germany (ironically in Heidheim, “Heathen Home”) is the originator of Walpurgis’ Night and that it is a Catholic holiday is a wide-spread one.
This is even something promoted by German bloggers on wordpress, one of them even mentioning that “some” believe there “might be” Pagan roots to this holiday, but “this has never been definitively proven”.
A rather strange claim to those who have researched sources other than wikipedia or the countless Pagan and witches’ forums, groups and pages on here.

e2ef1bd22365c056b66eba738b479a42

No. No. No. The Christian nun Walpurgis/Walburga had *nothing* to do with Walpurgisnacht, the ancient Pagan holiday…!

A translation of the name Walpurgis might already shed some light on the meaning of this holiday. Wal is a word with many translations and meanings, amongst other things, it means “large” and “staff”/”wand” but also “chosen” and “corpse”.
For example: The Walküren (Old Norse: valkyrjar) are the ones choosing the corpses off the battlefield. These Einherjer will fare to Walhalla, the hall of the slain, the chosen warriors, and reap the rewards of their bravery.
As already mentioned on this blog in https://paganmeltingpot.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/its-a-girl-thing-germanic-heroines-warriors-seers-witches-and-goddesses-part-1/, Waluburg (Walborg, Walburg) was also a famous seer of the Semnone tribe.
Naturally, her wand was her instrument of power and she was believed to – metaphorically – carry inside her the (knowledge of the) fate (=life and death) of her tribe if not mankind in general. This is the origin of the (term) “mental pregnancy” that various occult traditions adopted about a thousand years later.

berkano

Walpurgisnacht was also called Hexennacht (witches’ night). Magic conducted on this night would “ripen” especially fast and “be born” in the course of May, the ultimate “birth-month”.
Purgis for once is related to the German word Burg, homestead, castle and to the word Berg, mountain, and it also means motherly womb.
The rune Berkana in which the German words “Burg” or “Berg” are being preserved, is the “May”-rune, the birch-tree rune, also known as the rune of birth, rebirth, (fertility), motherly nourishment.
What does Berkana look like? Like a big-breasted and pregnant woman from the side. Mother nature at the height of her life.
Around the time of Walpurgisnacht nature really is “pregnant”; about to give birth to the fruits and flowers of the forests and fields, animals are having their litters, nature is basically exploding with new life.
The cycle of life, especially birth was not only viewed as something sacred but also female mystery and magic.
Metaphorically speaking we are all being suckled at the breasts of mother nature around this time of year: She is the great sustainer, the nourisher who is encouraging us to be fertile, to be productive, to create.
This is why the spirit of especially fertile creatures was “invoked” during this time also – the rabbit and the hen especially.
We already know that Christians also stole Easter, amongst many other things, but indeed the idea of easter eggs and putting up small figurines of rabbits, chicks and spring flowers is a Pagan one. It is unclear whether Eostre (“Ostara” – Easter) was an actual Germanic Goddess or a figure like Frau Holle that was later apotheosized or whether she might have any correlation to Norse Skadi, the “hare-headed” Goddess. This might be a blog post for another day.
Anyhow, May is also the time of year we still celebrate Mother’s Day in Germany and as far as I know also in several other Northern European countries.

milgaei3

Needless to say, the Christian Church hated the idea of women holding such a special, sacred and “powerful” role as creators of life and weavers of magic. The whole Christian religion appears to have been built on males’ inferiority complexes mainly anyhow.
The idea of pregnancy not conceived by the “holy spirit” but ordinary means, was a constant reminder of “original sin” and to celebrate it a sacrilege and an outrage. In the spirit of Exodus 22:18’s “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”, magic was condemned and banned just the same.

Like with so many other Pagan festivals and holy days, the Christian monks had trouble weeding out the beliefs and celebrations associated with Walpurgisnacht and thus claimed it for themselves.
Conveniently the above mentioned nun Walpurga was made the Christian matron of this celebration, May 1st was dedicated to her.

And suddenly the holiday was not so much about birth but about warding off evil witches and ungodly powers.
As if that was not enough, it was also the day in the middle ages, on which evil witches were hanged, drowned, burned and otherwise tortured to death during public spectacles. This event was then lavishly celebrated with dance and song.

trial12

This is why it is exceptionally hard to bear that even today’s Pagans and Heathens subscribe to this Christian nonsense. Many Pagans of different traditions gather at the Blocksberg (Brocken area, Saxony-Anhalt/Germany), a mountain (“Berg” > Berkana!) of age-old spiritual significance, and celebrate in a manner that does not befit this blessed day of Mother Nature giving birth.

hexenaltar-teufelskanzel

View over the Brocken area (near Wernigerode in Saxony-Anhalt) from the Blocksberg. This stone altar was renamed “devil’s pulpit” by Christians, a term modern Pagans kept unfortunately…

Instead they are warding off those”evil” powers known as birth, rebirth, motherhood and the magic of creation – without even knowing it (or at least I strongly presume they don’t!)
Nowadays’ Pagans and witches will often sweep the area around the Brocken mountain on April 30th with fern, also known as “devil’s brush” since the early middle ages. This is to keep away the devil, demons, evil spirits and so forth. An obviously VERY Pagan thing to do…

There are several other disturbing traditions that modern Pagans and witches follow without questioning them even once. Why? Because they read them online or in “some medieval book”.
Those who have read the accounts of Tacitus or Cesar on the Germanic tribes know that just because a book is ancient, it is not necessarily completely true. These two above mentioned Romans were experts in confusing facts and even names.

So how can we reconstruct Walpurgisnacht? Even Felix Bartholdy Mendelssohn Theodor Storm or Johann Wolfgang von Goethe had it more right than most of today’s polytheists. One of our German “Bauernregeln” (country sayings/folk lores) states that “Ist die Hexennacht voller Regen, wird’s ein Jahr wohl voller Segen”. (If it rains during the witches’ night it will be a year full of blessing.) Another indication of this holy day being a celebration of fertility and (re-)birth. Despite brutal Karl the Great’s conversion of the Saxons to Christianity the “Tanz in den Mai” (dancing into May) remained a beloved and popular religious holiday here, up until today.
Dancing around a Maypole – think about this.
The Maypole symbolizes the phallus. (In our case Ingivi-Fro/Saxnot-Balder’s phallus). The men and women dancing around this pole were blessing his fertility, they were celebrating life itself and ultimately the union or the end-result of the union between “the God and Goddess”.
Our Irish brothers celebreated “Beltane”, not only etymologically related to the Semitic/(Hittite)God Baal or in the North “Balder”.
If you want to celebrate a more authentic Walpurgisnacht, do “freestyle” as much as you like, but always remember the actual reason and intention of this sacred day. Dance around a Maypole, is invoking the powers of the Mother, “Frija” and Saxnot or her/his equivalent, depending on your tradition. Otherwise, meditate, invoke your fertility and “love” deities, divine, drink, eat, be merry, make love in honor of the Gods who made us, who love us and sustain us, still – despite everything we are doing to their worlds – but don’t banish them with silly fear-filled rituals originating in a monotheist religion foreign to us (and basically foreign to life itself).
A popular recipe from early medieval times is the “Walpurgisbowle” or “Waldmeisterbowle” (woodruff punch). It was said to grant everyone who consumes it “the freedom to fly, imagine the future, see (reflect) on the past. (Of course the amount of sugar ensures that you will get drunk rather soon, the punch itself has a similar effect as Absinth has, meaning it will get you “high”) and Basically this punch consists of half a quart (500ml) white wine, half a quart (500ml) champagine, 1 ounce (approx. 30g) of sugar and a handful of woodruff leaves.
Enjoy your “inner journey”.

770082w

Advertisements

Balder, Frija and the Relics of the pre Germanic Fertility Cult

ceres-neuss
written and copyrighted by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt

The hero was inextricably connected to the matriarchal Goddess. Just as she, the Earthmother, was the embodiment of the cycle of life as maiden, mother and crone, the hero, Sunfather, in his birth/son, sacrifice and rebirth aspects was too.
He was not permitted to age or die of old age; otherwise the cycle would have been broken. Instead, he was sacrificed.
In other words, he was given back to the cycle during the height of his fertility, so he would return renewed, refreshed and the cycle would begin anew.
By returning into the Earth (mother) he fertilized her until she was ready to give birth to him again.
Some people are offended by these apparently “incestuous” ideas, but it is important to understand that they are not to be taken literally.
These were metaphors known in almost every ancient culture. They were merely a way of explaining the circle of life in a non-scientific way with strong images everyone could relate to at that time.

3438152372_b2f6075bc2

Frija/Frigga/Frikka the great Weaver, depicted with swans (also the attribute animals of the Valkyries and Idisen).

Traces of the Earthmother/Sunfather idea can be found in the tale of Balder and Frija (Frigg). Balder (Lord) and Frija (Lady, originally “beloved” from Sanskrit priya) belong together as the later siblings Frikka and Frikko or Freija (Lady) and Frey (Lord) do.
Originally these were not divine names but only titles with which they were respectfully addressed.
These titles lived on the Old High German word frouwe and nowadays German Frau for “woman”, “miss/misses”, (“wife”) or Fräulein for “young miss” (literally: “little lady”).

The-Death-of-Baldr-300x243

Balder’s death

Balder is not just gentle and fair, his beauty is so overwhelming that it is described as “gleaming”, he is “like the sun”, loved and appreciated by all.
Frija, his mother, knows the future of all beings. She foresaw Balder’s death.
It is hard to believe she would just “forget” to ask the thistle to swear an oath on not harming her beloved son.
Especially if she foresaw that in order to rule in the New World Balder had to “die”/fare to Hel so he would survive Ragnarök.
She must have acted in accordance with Loki and the “masterplan”.
This was remembered in the annual ritual spearing of a boar, slaughter of a white horse or the stag that was shot with an arrow around the time of harvest. This ritual sacrifice and the following celebration were similar in style to the original Celtic Lughnasad celebrations, although the background stories differ mostly.
By the way, boar, white horse and stag are attributed to the God Frey as well.
(Compare https://paganmeltingpot.wordpress.com/2014/09/22/holy-horse-horses-in-the-germanic-and-other-polytheist-traditions/).
In this charm Balder is first called “Phol” (Foal God) before it is mentioned that the foal he was riding on had twisted its ankle. Most scholars were quick enough to identify Phol as Frey, but for some reason refused to equate him with Balder.

bacchus03In Southern Germany Frija was known as Frikka. At least two local legends in the Schweinfurt (“Pig (boar)’s ford” – !) area near Frikkenklingen are about her and her son Lall (also: Loll, Löll, Lell, Lull), meaning “Little Lord”, to whom a fenced iron statue was dedicated.
It was the statue of a young boy with poppy wreath draped around his neck and shoulders and curly hair as fair as the sun (>sunwheel/cycle of life).
With his right hand he was touching his tongue in lustful jest (>maturation), in his right hand he held a cup of wine filled with ears of corn (>sacrifice).
He was naked save for a loincloth and the effigy of vitality, fertility, youth and beauty, a remnant of the ancient “Sunfather” God, youthful companion of the Mother Goddess.
The German word lallen (to babble) is directly based on the child-God Lall. He marks the transition from babbling infant to child and child to young adulthood. These children are still called “toothers” (Zahner) in German.
This is also where the idea of the “tooth fairy” comes from:
A Swedish legend says that when Frey was little the Gods gave him Albenheim (Alfheim) as a gift for growing his first tooth.
A custom that was adopted by many peoples in the North, giving little gifts to their toothing children in order to soothe their pain and welcome the next stage of their lives.

tooth-fairy-silhouetteAs the patriarchal Wotan cult and the Roman influence altered the originally matriarchal structures of pre and early Germanic society from simple to developed to dependent matriarchy and then – at last – patriarchy, this had to be explained in lore somehow.
This is the origin of the Wanen-Asen war.
The Wanen deities were given male counterparts who dominated them or had distinctly more power.
In some cases they were replaced by superior male Gods; in Saxon Nerthus’ case: Njörd who was made father of Freija and Frey.
Wotan did not replace but marry Frija, but he “stole” her presidency as head of the Wild Hunt, amongst many other things.
In fact Frija, the weaver of fates, the Nornen Queen, was suddenly good for little else than to bless marriages and watch over them.
When her husband had been away on his travels for so long the Asen thought he was not to return anymore, his brothers Vili and Ve decided to divide all his riches but share (!) Frija.
This humiliating practice was common law in the Germanic and Norse societies in the early middle ages.
Furthermore, Freija, both maiden and crone aspect of Frija, the mother, was degraded to being a whorish love deity who slept with four dwarves for a necklace…amongst other things… Welcome to patriarchy.

FriggSpinning

It’s a Girl Thing! – Germanic Heroines, Warriors, Seers, Witches and Goddesses *Part 1*

383618_2880245605995_1159744734_n

written and copyrighted by Týra Alrune Sahsnotasvriunt

 Germanic lore is filled with heroines, fierce women, both mortal and immortal. It seems important to note that neither mortal women – priestesses and seers, amongst others – nor the Goddesses were meek, gentle loving mother figures; the warrior aspect was very strong in each of them.
Too many Pagans pervert Freija into nothing but a “Love Goddess”, completely ignoring her role as head of the Walküren. – Once the Walküren bring in the slain warriors it is not Wotan who first gets to choose the strongest, bravest and boldest ones but Freija. If you have ever listened to German or Scandinavian folk tales in which Freija angrily rides on her chariot drawn by gargantuan cats bearing their claws, you might not look at her as nothing but a gentle deity of love anymore.

The Sibyllen (Seers)

seerThe Sibyllen (seers) had a very high standing in Germanic culture.
Waluburg is one that deserves more credit than she receives these days; the Walpurgisnacht fest is named after her. On the contrary to popular belief it does not derive from Christian Benedictine nun Walburga who lived in the 700’s AC. – !
Walurburg’s name was mentioned on Greek ceramic shards found in Egypt from around 2 AD.
Another source for her existence was found on a list of Greek-Egyptian soldiers – “Waluburg, Semnoni Sybilla”, meaning Waluburg, Seer of the Semnone tribe.

It is unclar how she wound up in Egypt, it may be concluded that she was either a hostage or more possibly accompanied a Germanic troop of the Roman army. Seers were highly valued by both the Germanic and also the Roman people.

In fact, Waluburg’s name already points to her profession. Walus means stave. Sibyllen worked with rune staves but also a wand-like stave with which they directed power.

gambara

Gambara is another potent Sibylle. She was a Winnile high priestess who represented the female principle of the Goddess(es) and of her tribe, just as her two sons, warriors, represented the male principle. The name Gambara also reveals her position. Gambara comes from gand, gander, gandr = stave and bara means to bear.
The Laiamicho-myth describes in detail how the Langobards received their name and Gambara’s role in it. But it is mainly a tale about how the formerly rather Goddess-centric culture and religion of the Winniles saved their tribe from Vandal annihilation by converting to the Wotan cult, quickly spreading up North from the Nether-Rhine region. The Mother cult was long dead before the rise of Christianity for those tribes who followed the Wotan cult.

 220px-Velleda

Weleda/Veleda/Velleda of the Bructeri might be the most commonly known of the Sibyllen due to the accuracy of her predictions during the Batavian rebellion. Seers often had a great amount of political power as well. Tacitus writes in his “Germania” that Veleda was requested as a referee and witness during a dispute between the Tencteri tribe with their Roman neighbors.
On a side-note she appears not to have been held in high esteem by the Greek. A satirical poem on a marble fragment speaks of her as “That long (tall) snobbish virgin who is venerated by the Rhinewater-drinkers”. Message received.

Veleda’s name might derive from the word völva, another term for Seer or possibly from the Celtic word welet, to see. Some argue that her name might mean “good leader” from vel/vael = good and leda = to lead.

The Matronae

 

How much of the Matron cult was Roman- and Celtic-inspired is unclear. Votiv-stones were primarily Roman and the layout of the temples and altars dedicated to the Matrons reminded of Celtic traditions.
The ancient German votive-stones, altars and temples were meant to honor the Mothers, both human and immortal, with inscriptions such as “To my Germanic Mothers” or “To all Sueban Mothers”.

Interestingly, the Matrons were always depicted in pairs of three, one virgin, one married woman (as illustrated by her bonnet) and one elderly woman.
You might recognize a familiar principle here. – Maiden, mother and crone.
Matrons, similar to the Idisen, are female guardian spirits and worshipping them was a highly personal and individual matter.
In the family home this motherly spirit was represented by a serpent and little bowls of milk were offerings to her.

From Anglo-Saxon historian Beda Venerabilis (673-735 AD) we know that Yule Eve was called “modra nect” – Mothers Night and the temples of Matrons were overflowing with offerings that night.

Saxo Grammaticus (1150-1220 AD) describes how a man named Fridlevus, who was deeply immersed in prayer, approached the shrine of a Danish temple depicting three Teutonic Goddesses.

The Nornen (Norns)

 index

The Nornen are three sisters (here we have the threefold Goddess theme again) who weave every being’s fate from birth to death. They weave our wyrd, personal fate and our orlog, family karma/fate.

Urd is the Norne of the past. Her name comes from the word wurd and even in modern German the word “wurde” means “was”. Her name is also related to the term wyrd, fate, something that was also determined in the past.

Verdandi is the Norne of the present. In German she is“die Werdende”, becoming. – The present is a rather timeless zone, it is gone as soon as you think “now” and not just there yet whenever you think “soon”, so it is constantly becoming.

Skuld is the Norne of the future. The meaning of her name is a little harder to translate into English. Skuld can mean guilt but here it is rather debt, to owe something. Etymologically the English word “should” probably comes closest. In the future there is always something you “should” or must do.

Apart from those three there is a wide variety of other Nornen, some of them of divine origin, some of them Dunkelalben (dark alfs), Vaettiir/Vaesen (wights), Dverger or of other descent.

In ancient times it was believed that the good Nornen grant good, happy, easy lives whereas the bad Nornen granted difficult lives filled with strife, illness and bad fortune.

A runic inscription in a 12th century church (!) in Norway says, “The Norns determine the good and the bad, to me they only brought sorrow”.

What they determine for us is the law, only they know why they weave our lives the way they do and we only have a limited amount of free choice. No matter what we do, we are always being led back to crossroads or situations determined for us. Personality or conduct don’t matter, all must bow to their universal law. A harsh truth, but a truth nonetheless.

The Norns are basically the rulers of the multiverse, not even the Aesir Gods can escape the fate woven for them – they will fall in the end battle of Ragnarök to make way for the New World.

The Idisen (Disir)

 1922685

The Idisen are a group of semi-divine origin. They were named in the Merseburger Zaubersprüche (Merseburgian Incantations):

“Eiris sazun idisi, sazun hera duoder,
suma hapt heptidun, suma heri leridun,
suma clubodun umbi cuoniouuidi:
insprinc haptbandun, inuar uigandun”

Once Disir were sitting, sitting here and there.
Some were binding fetters, some were restraining the army.
Some were undoing the fetters, ????????
Free yourself from the fetters, escape the warriors!

As mentioned before the Idisen were female guardian spirits, mostly thought of as ancestors watching over their family line. In the above incantation they intervene during war, on the battlefield. I’m curious as to what the Walküren would think of that!

Etymologically the word Disir derives from the indo-Germanic root dhei. Flamish “dyze”, old Slavic “deva” = virgin and the Sanskrit words “devi” = female aspect of the divine and “dhisanas” = female godlike beings are related to it as well. The singular Idis or Dis is synonymously used as Lady (or Queen), for example Wanendis is another title of Freija, Lady/Queen of the Wanen. Jodis is another name for Hel, Queen of the Dead.

see

Countless places, especially forests and lakes in Germany and places in Scandinavia attest to exactly how venerated the Idisen were. Diseberg, Disevid, Disasen, Disin (Sweden), Dispe, Dissau, Disinsfurt in Germany. Also Itzehoe (Itz being etymologically related to Dis) and hoe meaning forest.

In the same way in which the Idisen were revered as the female guardian spirits of a family clan the Alben (alfar, elves) were revered as the male guardian spirits of a clan or Hof (family farmhouse). However, the veneration, blot, sumble, libation, etc. was always conducted by the women of the house. This is also accounted for by Sighvat of Norway. In 1018 the Christian skald traveled from Norway to Sweden. When nightfall came he stopped at several farms, asking for a place to stay. The men of the houses did not answer him. Finally one woman confronts him and yells at him,

 Heathen_altar

“Do not dare come inside,
you miserable man!” said the wife.
“I fear Odin’s wrath, for we are Heathens!”

The nasty woman, who senselessly
chased me away from her farm
like a wolf said
that they were having an Alfablót inside.

The Idisen were also offered to and worshipped during the Rauhnächte (the twelve days of Yule), also still called the Mothers’ Nights in the Ore Mountains of Germany and in Bohemia (In nowaday’s Czech Republic).

Modraniht

Next up: Part 2 including the Valkyries, the White Lady: Frau Holle and more.

Everyday Aspie

Relationships through the eyes of an autistic

Ask my Cards

How to read divination systems by Madame 'Jozefa' Seaqueen

I Still Find It So Hard...

A WordPress.com journal about the life and times of a Powell Aspie

Meanderings of a Tellurian Metaphorist

a poet, a bear, a moon-child-esoteric, a history geek, a writer and a woman of a certain age

Eric Edwards Collected Works

Miscellaneous Writings & Articles

Hedniska Tankar

En Hedning Ser På Världen

The Mockinghare's Song

A blog on anything pop culture, psychology, serial killers and more

Process Church Of The Final Judgment

Resource site for The Process Church and the works of Robert De Grimston

Celto-Germanic Culture, Myth and History

A Germanic Pagan's Musings, Religious and Magical Studies, Green Pharmacy, Recipes, Rituals and more

Aleph's Heretical Domain

"I must create a system or be enslaved by another man's; I will not reason and compare, my business is to create" - William Blake

Regarding Myatt

About David Myatt, A Modern Mage

Old European culture

A Germanic Pagan's Musings, Religious and Magical Studies, Green Pharmacy, Recipes, Rituals and more

Naturally Ariana

Eat better - not less

Rapunzelturm

A Germanic Pagan's Musings, Religious and Magical Studies, Green Pharmacy, Recipes, Rituals and more

Spiritual Satanist Blog

A Germanic Pagan's Musings, Religious and Magical Studies, Green Pharmacy, Recipes, Rituals and more

satanicviews

Left Hand Path; religion; philosophy; mind; technology; current affairs.

Nordic Wiccan

A Germanic Pagan's Musings, Religious and Magical Studies, Green Pharmacy, Recipes, Rituals and more

Choose Life.

Just another WordPress.com site

SjpielseWolf

Shared thought and interest of an indiginous germanic heathen

%d bloggers like this: