Halloween isn’t the only night when the supernatural rules.
There’s a penetrating chill in the wind. The bright moon rises behind the shivering, nearly naked trees. A profound sense of foreboding permeates the darkness. This is the night, after all, when witches ride their broomsticks through the sky, and the natural world is forced to confront the powers of the supernatural. 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.
Walpurgisnacht is known as a night on which witches and sorcerers gather together to do magic.
This date sits 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.
Walpurgis Night even features its own version of Trick or Treat in some parts of Europe, especially Germany. People dress as witches and toss away all reserve as they dance around fires. Huge bonfires – as tall as 8 metres – are built and burnt in the evening, preferably on top of hills
In the Czech Republic the local variation is Carodejnice, which sees huge bonfires lit all over the country, including on Petřín hill in Prague. Old brooms are also burnt and there’s partying through the night.
Edinburgh has it’s Beltane Fire Festival. Since the mid-1980s the Beltane Fire Festival has been held every year on the night of 30th April on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. A spectacular procession inspired by their mythic past draws a crowd of upwards of 15,000 when Calton Hill, with its neo-classical folly, becomes Scotland’s Stonehenge.
It’s May Eve, or Walpurgis, traditionally celebrated with bonfires to help fuel and clear the way for all the fresh, growing, birthing energy of May. So go through your home and yard and collect all the dry brush, both literal and figurative. In your yard, this might mean dead-heading flowers and pinching off dead branches. In your home, look for things like old papers, trash, and clothes that you no longer wear.
Since this is a turning-tide when the season is not quite one thing or another — a ‘between-time,’ it is very suitable for occult divination and spellcraft.
Together with Samhain, this night is the most powerful in the year for Witches. Walpurgisnacht is the dark twin of May Day. The purpose of rituals performed tonight is to drive the Hag of Winter back to her cave for the next six months. The dark of the Moon now is a powerful time to banish obstacles, troublesome situations, and difficult people out of your life. Imagine they all represent winter, with its dreariness, cold, and illness. Before you build a fire, either in fireplace or cauldron, write down all of these things to banish and consider old thoughts and habits you wish to cast off. Then throw into your fire. As you watch the flames dance above the cast-off bits of your life, visualize the old habits and thoughts consumed by the fire and going back into the earth, the womb of regeneration. When the fire burns low make wishes for the summer.
Light a black candle at sunset and begin this spell. Visualize the problem and see it removed from your life in a positive way.
Tonight I banish and cleanse all negativity,
With the dark of the Moon phase, and the power of three.
Now I push all discordant energy away,
Forever gone, broken and banished it must stay.
As this black candle burns your power will fade,
My magic grows stronger as the charm is made.
By all the power of three times three,
As I will it, so shall it be.
Allow the candle to burn out in a safe place.
Here’s to the gritty, truth-seeking goddesses who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
Here’s to the creative vixens who breathe their sun-soaked, moonlit, windswept, star-dusted dreams to life, every damn day—rain or shine.