Beltane/Walpurgis NightPosted: April 29, 2013
I have been celebrating Beltane ever since I became a witch in my late teens. It has become an important landmark in the cycle of the year for me. Each Beltane is a bit different, some I have celebrated alone, some I have celebrated with others, some felt very spiritual and some were more raucous than others. This will be the first time I have celebrated with my Satanic coven and for them the festival is better known as Walpurgis Night. Will that; should that make any difference to the feel and type of ritual and celebrations?
For me Beltane always gave me a sense of getting in touch with my pagan soul. It was a celebration of life, of fertility, of being a hot blooded woman, of being part of nature, of being in tune with the seasons, of being a witch; and I suppose, of not being Christian. It has been about being out in nature, sweeping the forest floor to prepare the ritual site. It has involved chanting, dancing, singing incantations, performing magic, drinking wine or mead and sometimes having sex. It was about vital existence, being true to who I was at my core.
And that is what Satanism is about too. I don’t see a discrepancy between my Paganism and my Satanism. And I don’t expect this years celebrations to be all that much different. It will in a sense be special though. When I first celebrated Beltane I was nineteen years old and I thought like a nineteen year old. I am now approaching my mid thirties and my soul and my beliefs may be a little darker and more mature. I still feel very young, but it will be good to underline the fact that I have grown and changed with the years. In an important sense I feel more balanced now. In pagan terms perhaps the Mother and Crone aspects of my persona have come into their own a bit more strongly, although the Maiden is still very much there too.
I think the Beltane celebrations of most modern pagans are in fact a mish-mash of various pre-Christian traditions. The Bel Fires seem to owe more to Celtic mythology while other aspects of the celebrations may originate in other traditions including the Germanic/Scandinavian Walpurgis traditions. (I am not going to write a historical account of where these things originated but they are not hard to find on other blogs or elsewhere on the internet).
The fact that Satanists celebrate Walpurgis Night seems to be mostly due to the fact that Anton LaVey is said to have established The Church Of Satan on Walpurgis Night back in 1966. Ironically Walpurgis was actually an English Christian missionary who together with her uncle Boniface travelled to Germany to convert the German Heathens and Pagans. The pair were quite successful at least on the surface but the fact that the pre-Christian traditions are still celebrated, and sometime incorporated within Christian traditions show how persistent Pagan traditions can be.
Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day’s eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods…”
Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre and for witches’ revels which reputedly took place there on Walpurgis night.
The Brocken Spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown onto a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken. From Wikipedia.
Personally I may always think of the transition from 30 April to 1 May as Beltane but this year, as I celebrate with my Satanic Coven, Walpurgis Night will have special significance for me. It marks their acceptance of me despite my pagan leanings and beliefs which are unlikely to change much. But it also marks my acceptance of them and of the fact that Satanism is now my chosen path and philosophy. Yet it will also be like my first Beltane and all the others, in that I will be celebrating my true nature, my true self.
I wish all who celebrate Beltane and Walpurgis Night the fullest blessings of the season.
- The Height Of Spring – Beltane (witchesofthecraft.com)
- Walburg & Mayday (theasatrucommunity.wordpress.com)
- Spring Witches (streetsofsalem.com)