Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Merry Beltane Fires

May Pole 

The Festival of May Eve, also known as
Beltane, or Walpurgis Night.

Tuatha De DAnaan arrive to Scotland,
known as the Sidhe or Faerie Folk,
Faeries dance to the music of 
Faerie pipes all through the night.
Carry a Primrose and peek at the
 Faeries over its petals.
If you don't want the mischievous 
Faeries in your house,
scatter Primroses in front of your door.

Although not widely known in the US, this May-Eve night shares many of the traditions of Halloween and is, in fact, directly opposite Halloween on the calendar.
According to the ancient legends, this night was the last chance for witches and their nefarious cohorts to stir up trouble before Spring reawakened the land. They were said to congregate on Brocken, the highest peak in the Harz Mountains - a tradition that comes from Goethe's Faust. In the story, the demon Mephistopheles brings Faust to Brocken to consort with the coven of witches:

Like Halloween, Walpurgis has its roots in ancient pagan customs, superstitions and festivals. 
At this time of year, the Vikings 
participated in a ritual that they hoped 
would hasten the arrival of Spring weather and ensure fertility for their crops and livestock. 
They would light huge bonfires in hopes of scaring away evil spirits.

Green and White variegated Trillium, 
But the name "Walpurgis" comes 
from a very different source.
In the 8th Century, a woman named 
Valborg (other iterations of the name include 
Walpurgis, Wealdburg and Valderburger) 
founded the Catholic 
convent of Heidenheim in Wurtemburg, Germany. 

She herself later became a nun and was known for speaking out against witchcraft and sorcery. She was canonized a saint on May 1, 779. Since the celebration of her sainthood and the old Viking festival occurred around the same time, over the years the festivals and traditions intermingled until the hybrid pagan-Catholic celebration became known as Valborgsmässoafton or Walpurgisnacht - Walpurgis Night.

May your fires burn warm for the coming 
 Beltane Day Celebration!

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