Posted tagged ‘walpurgisnacht’

Quick Update – Contest Announcement for Spring 2016

February 16, 2016

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since we’ve done a contest, so let’s do one now! We mentioned it in our first February episode, but this post will give you all the nitty-gritty details. Basically, we want to do a second round of our Audio Spellbook, so all you have to do is send us the sound of *you* describing your favorite spell which uses everyday ingredients (things you could find in a spice cabinet, grocery store, or backyard, for example). You can check out Episode 88 – Everyday Magic or any of these posts to get an idea of what we mean:

How to Enter

You can either record your spell and email it to us (in .mp3 or .wav format, please) at compassandkey@gmail.com or call us and leave us a voice mail on our official NWW hotline: (442) 999-4824 (that’s 442-99-WITCH, if it helps). You can also get extra entries (one each) by sharing either our Patreon page or this Contest Announcement via your favorite social media (make sure to tag us or get a screen capture you can email to us). Make sure we have your email address so we can contact you if you win. Also, please let us know what name you want us to use when sharing your audio spell (and announcing your name if you win).

2016 New World Witchery Annual Mailer package

2016 New World Witchery Annual Mailer package

Prizes

What will you be entered to get? We’re giving away one of our New World Witchery Annual Mailers, the same one we sent out to this year’s Patreon patrons, which includes:

  • A brand-new, highly exclusive New World Witchery t-shirt
  • A handmade bottle of magical condition oil or mojo bag
  • A pair of quite fancy coasters upon which you can rest beverages of choice while listening to your favorite podcasts

I may throw in another item or two, as well. The picture above gives you a pretty good idea what it looks like. In addition to the mailer, I’m also throwing in a couple of books from previous, current, and future guests:

Pretty sweet, right? So get your entries in as soon as you can! Our deadline is Walpurgisnacht, April 30th, 2016 by midnight Eastern Standard Time.

We’re looking forward to seeing what you share! Thanks to all of our readers and listeners for all you do for us.

-Cory

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Tales from the Witching Hour No. 3

May 1, 2012

Shownotes
A short episode in which we do a pre- and post- discussion of our Walpurgisnacht 2012 celebration.

Listen: Tales from the Witching Hour No. 3

Play: 

Music
“Serenade,” by Schubert. From http://www.archive.org/

Blog Post 126 – Walpurgisnacht 2011

May 3, 2011

A Hornie Fellow

Stones and bones, brooms and fire.  In the olden days, the night before May 1st was spent burning brooms or effigies of witches in big bonfires to ward off evil.  Witches were thought to gather at the Brocken, a mountain in Germany where they held their strange revels around infernal fires of their own.  Dead things might come galloping up out of their graves to follow the witches and join in their wicked revelry.  Wild storms preceded and followed the witches and the Wild Hunt on their nighttime gallivants.

It’s terrifying stuff, but like most fairy tales, people don’t really believe in it anymore.  But maybe they should.

I’ve loved Walpurgisnacht since I first started observing it as a complementary holiday to the more often observed Beltane or May Day.  I even did a post on it last year, which has been one of my most popular posts to date, actually.  This year, the group I do my social witchcraft with celebrated Walpurgisnacht together, and it may have been one of my favorite gatherings to date.

It started with a bonfire in a park about 500 feet from a big Boy Scout campout.  Or, rather, it really started the day before when I am sure I piqued the curiosity of a few neighbors by hiking into our local woods, dropping handfuls of something powdery and muttering to myself at certain locations on the forest perimeter, then emerged moments later with a big, heavy object under my arm.  I spent the rest of the day piecing together all of the elements I would need to fulfill my duties at Walpurgisnacht—sorting candles, making magical gifts for my co-coveners, bringing the appropriate skulls and bones and broom and stang down to my car under cover of darkness so I wouldn’t have to drag them out the next day while the neighbors looked on (they already had enough reason to look at me funny, why add to that?).

When I pulled into the camp, the scouts were swarming.  As I struggled to gather some firewood from a rather flooded site, a number of the boys approached, waving glo-sticks and flashlights and demanding (in a charmingly pirates-and-lost-boys way) “Who goes there?!”  Apparently some older kids had been running around trying to scare them earlier, so I had to vouch that I was not, in fact, a “robber” as they put it.

New Brooms Against an Old Tree

By the time our leader  had arrived, the scouts had pretty much removed themselves to the far side of the camp and were engaged in what looked like a snipe hunt (bless ‘em). We  got the fire going and arranged everything we would need for the night.

I can’t say too much about what happened next, but I will say that the following things may have been involved:

  • Black-strap Molasses Rum offerings
  • Leaping the fire on a broom
  • Hedge-Crosser’s Smoke from Forest Grove Botanica
  • An exchange of several magical gifts
  • I may have worn lipstick at one point

Because it's just not a party until someone breaks out the ram's skull...

Walpurgisnacht proved to be a great night for a few witches to gather around a bonfire, calling upon the dead, riding brooms, leaping through flame, and generally doing all the things the fairy tales say.  We may not have had storms on the Brocken, but the winds definitely started rising before all was said and done.  At one point, I very seriously had to say, “If you hear the sound of horses’ hooves, drop to the ground and don’t look up.”  Maybe it was just my imagination at that point, but the air certainly seemed ripe with witchery.

So, what did you do on Old May Eve? (Or the next day, for that matter.)

-Cory

Blog Post 56 – Walpurgisnacht

April 30, 2010

A caveat before I begin today’s post:  Walpurgisnacht is not terribly “New World.”  Most of it will be related to the British Isles and Europe, though I will include a little bit on New World practices, too.  But I think it’s still relevant to witchery, so I’m going to write about it anyway.  Mostly because, well, I really want to.

This is quite possibly my favorite witchy holiday, with the conditional exception of All Hallows/Halloween.  I do like May Day/Beltane celebrations, of course, but the night before is really what I love.  The association of this night with witchcraft seems to go back a long way.  The name of the holiday comes from a Catholic Saint who died in the year 777 C.E, St. Walburga.  Rosemary Ellen Guiley, in her Encyclopedia of Witches & Witchcraft, says this about the holiday:

“In the Middle Ages, Walpurgisnacht, or Walpurgis Night, was believed to be a night of witch revelry throughout Germany, the Low Countries and Scandinavia.  Witches mounted their brooms and few to the mountaintops, where they carried on with wild feasting, dancing and copulation with demons and the Devil…In Germany, the Brocken, a dominant peak in the Harz Mountains, was the most infamous site of the witch sabbats…[S]o common was the belief in the sabbats that maps of the Harz drawn in the 18th century almost always depicted witches on broomsticks converging upon the Brocken” ( EW&W, p.347)

What shifted the focus from holy martyrdom and sainthood to witch-filled revels?  Well, there’s no single reason why that I’ve found, but the date is directly opposite Halloween in the calendar year, so that might have something to do with it (what, you thought witches would be content with one night of fun a year?).

There are lots of stories about this night.  One from the Isle of Man between Scotland and Ireland tells the story of two witches and their (mis)adventures on Old May Eve.  Dennis Wheatly’s occult novel The Devil Rides Out features a Walpurgisnacht ritual rather prominently, as it does in Goethe’s Faust tragedy.  The scene at the end of the original Fantasia film featuring Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” also makes heavy reference to the revelries of Walpurgisnacht (I think I mentioned this in the Media Episode, too).  There are also many unusual traditions associated with this night.  When I was living in Prague, they had a tradition of building huge bonfires on hilltops on this night, and burning brooms or effigies of witches to keep evil spirits at bay, for example (it was really more of an excuse to drink around the bonfire).  Vance Randolph, in his Ozark Magic & Folklore, describes an Ozark tradition for May Eve:

“On the last night of April, a girl may wet a handkerchief and hang it out in a cornfield. Next morning the May sun dries it, and the wrinkles are supposed to show the initial of the man she is to marry. Or she may hold a bottle of water up to the light on the morning of May 1, just at sunrise, and see apicture of outline of the boy who is to be her husband” (OM&F, p.176)

My personal practice incorporates a storytelling bent, and there’s one story that I turn to every year as part of my Walpurgisnacht ritual.  “The Horned Women,” as recorded by Lady Wilde (in a collection with many tales also recorded by W.B. Yeats which I’ve mentioned before—Fairy & Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry), is not explicitly about this wild night.  Yet certain elements—the assembly of a coven of witches, and the prominent mention of a mountain where they revel, especially—have always called to mind this tale in relation to May Eve.  I glean much in the way of magic from this story, and incorporate things from it into my workings (such as the use of “feet water” to guide all harmful forces away from my home).

Walpurgisnacht doesn’t register on everyone’s radar.  Some are definitely drawn towards the Beltane side of this holiday, and I rather love that celebration, too.  But Walpurgisnacht will always have a special place in my heart.  There’s no night I more earnestly wish I could climb on a broomstick and sail off into a moonlit sky than this one.

Thanks for reading!

-Cory


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