Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Walpurgis Night

For the month of April I will be taking part in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. I will be using two tools besides my trusty computer - my imagination and my dictionary -The American Heritage Dictionary, Second College Edition.. I will turn to the letter of the day, flip the pages and let my fickle finger of fate find the word. Then I'll write - might be a story, might be a rant, might be a poem. Who knows! Do let me know what you think. To go to the list of other participants go here - There's a heck of a lot of blogs and there are many more signed up below me. If you make a comment I will do my darnedest to check out your blog and comment. Spread the love around!

Walpurgis Night n. 1. The eve of May Day, believed in medieval Europe to be the occasion of a witches' Sabbath.

The writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) in Faust writes that the witches come on Walpurgis night and sing:
"Now to the Brocken the witches ride; the stubble is gold and the corn is green; There is the carnival crew to be seen, And Squire Urianus will come to preside. So over the valleys our company floats, with witches a-farting on stinking old goats."  
Well! A-farting on stinking old goats indeed! Typical of Goethe to see it that way. We merely wished to be left at peace but the Papal edict made that near impossible. We wanted to honour our goddesses in the old way. To gather altogether and rejoice that we had made it through another cold fearsome winter. That we could ask the land to give us sustenance and it would without celebrating her beneficence was a ridiculous and arrogant notion.

So we gathered in the mountains and drank our mead and talked to the newest crop of young women who wished to follow the ways. We talked, as women will, of how to help each other through this time of great tumult. Women are hated by the so-called one true church. We knew it for a fact - they wanted us on our knees from morning to night. If we weren't there to scrub floors or clean out the fireplace then we were there bending over for any knave that wanted relief.

Our young women had to learn the ways and rituals so that the harvests would be good, babies would be born whole and bellowing, sheep and goats would be plentiful and the sun and moon would ride through the heavens in an orderly fashion. If we let it about that there were sacrifices and bad-doings it was only to make the common folk from stopping us out of fear. They had given it all away for the new church and forgotten their old mistress. Well, we wouldn't.


Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I love the perspective and voice here! The old ways had worked for so long from that point of view that it would be madness to change them. You've captured that very well.

ShannonAnn said...

I only have one cauldron, but I actually know someone with two! I think you must be very wise.

Jennifer Duggin said...

Women would be wise to come together on Walpurgis. Too many times they are driven apart by the demands placed upon them. It is only in unity that our voice is heard. Your voice here is clear as day. Thank you. Jennifer a.k.a Urban Gypsy Girl

Mechtild Opel said...

Thanks for that great piece!
Yes, old Goethe wrote it this way. But, the same Goethe, in the same play "Faust", also wrote this: "Das ewig Weibliche zieht uns hinan" - in English: "The Eternally Female Draws Us Onward". ONWARD !!! ;)

Jan Morrison said...

thanks all dear women! I never knew about Walpurgis until I found the word for this challenge. Funny, as I am a winter solstice baby and definitely pay attention to some of the old ways.
Mechtild - how nice to see you here! When are you coming home? Ha! How do you like that nerve??! I think this place is your spirit home.

Mechtild Opel said...

Jan, you are right. Can't wait to be back. Hopefully in June. See you then?