Well…I’m going to go ahead and guess a whole bunch of folks. But not me, until just today.
May Day is Walpurgisnacht. The rituals happened at the same time, with different sets of rural farming peoples, who saw the world differently. Celts celebrated in the day and through the night. Northmen celebrated in the night and through the day. The point of the festivities was the same: Yay! Warmth! Sunlight! Our food is going to grow!
Depending on which text you read and from which area the text is derived, Walpurgisnacht is either driving away Witches (or celebrating Witches, as is the modern case) or purely the welcoming of the warm weather with Summer Finding or, another multi-night festival dedicated to Odin.
It is said Odin hung himself from Yggdrasil for nine nights to gain the knowledge of language and the Runes. Walpurgisnacht is then celebrated from April 22 (aka Earth Day) to April 30th. The Celts began their celebration on May 1st with Beltane.
This year, the family is going camping for Hubby’s tiny truck driving competition. We are going to be right smack in the middle of the woods on Walpurgisnacht. How beautifully fascinating is that?
We have sicks with ribbons and bells left over from a friend’s wedding which we will bring with us to celebrate the holiday as we pick a tree to dance around. Perhaps we’ll just dance around the whole camp ground.
Either way, I’m excited to continue to learn more about the Nordic Wheel and develop my craft in line with the gods who have chosen me.
Perhaps next year we will do all nine nights for the gift of the Runes.
There are many variations, which will lead to lots of studying.
Poor me! I have to get my student on! (If I could make a living being a student, I would do so in a heartbeat!!)
Beltane, as I see it, is a fertility holiday. The phallic maypole is decorated to bless the phallus to give seed to the womb. Bonfires are lit and dances are had. Fire is clearly metaphoric for passion, and with passion comes sex and with sex comes the next generation. Dancing is also an aphrodisiac, physical, passionate, firey movements which ignite the senses to carnal activities.
Beltane is a look at “What is the point of life?” If we listen to most music and poetry, the point of life is love. If we look at biology, the point of life is procreation. Both avenues end in the same place: igniting an animalistic passion for the purpose of passing along a genetic code to sustain one’s species.
Blessed Beltane to all! May everyone enjoy the warming weather, the blooming flowers, and the sights and signs that Nature is again fertile and ripe.
Last night as I was falling asleep, I had a poem flow through me. I stubbornly decided I was awake enough at the time of its inception that I would be able to remember the whole thing in the morning. Alas…I had bits and pieces and one line from each stanza. What I remember: sunshine through the leaves, the word “canopy”, “birdsong in the distance”, “gold and auburn dancers”, “bare and barren bark”, and the idea and imagery of buds stretching and reaching towards the sun. Using that, here is what I have created:
After some great inspiration, I began decorating for the season. Leaves and yellow flowers on the entryway table, plastic gourds on the mantle. The first weekend of October, I’ll be putting some plastic pumpkins in the yard, creating a pumpkin patch. Two larger plastic pumpkins will flank the front door and an aluminum caldron will sit at the base of the fire place. Lastly, a ceramic piggy bank, painted as candy corn will sit on the bookcase.
The wheel has completed another turn! Blessed Lammas! Blessed Lughnasadh!
This sabbat is the first of three harvest sabbats. As my family is not a farming family, we take the literal harvest into a metaphoric meaning. (I’m still working on flowers and if that goes well I’ll try veggies). The time of harvest is a time for gathering what you have and beginning to make plans for the coming winter. We review what we wanted to accomplish, and set plans to get our projects done. This weekend is also tax free shopping weekend, so we will have initial preparations of the coming fall by purging our closets of clothes that no longer fit, or that we just haven’t worn in the past year. When we go shopping, we like to replenish only half of what we have purged, to not overwhelm our space. If we didn’t wear those ten shirts, why would we wear these ten shirts? Ten shirts purged means a max of five bought.
Seeing as how it is August in North Carolina, winter is a long way away. Still, winter is a very busy time in our house, with the school year in full swing and tax season picking up. I begin making frozen meals to keep us sane through the winter. Stews and soups frozen in single serving containers, roasts sliced and wrapped in single serving bags, complete dinners with cooked, sliced meat, blanched veggies, and a rice pilaf, barley, quinoa… I don’t make enough meals for each night through the winter (I don’t know what I would do with it!) but I make enough for lazy Saturday’s when even preparing a meal is too much work in the cold grayness. Or super busy nights revolving around our work schedules.
Lammas gives us a start date to begin to prepare both mentally and physically.