I wrote this post four years ago just after I fully transitioned from Paganism to Satanism. That post gives a reasonable summary of what Beltane and Walpurgisnacht mean to Pagans and Satanists.
A few years later and this celebration resonates with me as much as ever. I think it is probably my favorite time of the year. Now Sophie and I lead our own coven celebrations which tend to be raucous affairs! This year we will also be squeezing in an extra birthday party for our daughter Tina who will go on to enjoy her first full blooded Walpurgisnacht with the German coven she is in the process of joining.
I feel deeply blessed by Satan that my partner and my daughter are as fully immersed in Satanism as I am. Indeed I am probably more inspired by them than by anybody else.
So while we are misbehaving and having riotous fun this weekend our best wishes go to all fellow Satanists who are partying hard and blessings also to all pagans and heathens who are celebrating too.
When you have sex with somebody you love, the feelings and connection you have with your lover do not end with the climax but rather are multiplied and remain with you in a blissful afterglow. It makes you desire your lover even more and so each time you make love this afterglow becomes a more substantial and tangible aspect of what makes you who you are. That is how it is with Cassie and I; but it is also how it is with us and Satan…
A well planned and executed ritual can have a similar impact to sex (especially when there are sexual elements within the ritual itself). Thus a ritual can be a way of building up the connection between your self and your deity (or your higher self). Our Walpurgisnacht ritual was special in several ways, not least because it was the first we celebrated alone together.
For me personally I think it was a turning point. It was the closest I have ever felt to whatever Satanic energy is, and it left me with the clearest sense of dedication and purpose I have felt in my spiritual life.
There was a point during our ritual when contrary to my normal sceptical and quite dominant nature I wanted to submit and totally give all control of my will over to Satan. Anyone familiar with the emotions felt during sexual dominance and submission role play might understand something of what I was feeling. And yet…
Satan (whether that is my own higher self or an actual entity) did not and does not want that. I had a strong sense that what Satan actually wants is for me (and all people) to fully take control of my own life. I knew that before, but the drama of ritual made it clearer and hugely empowering.
I have always been a free spirit and independently minded but this ritual was like a sudden bolt of lightening which illuminated areas of my life which need work and could be more authentic.
By authentic I mean living according to what I truly feel and believe rather than pretending to accept things simply because that is the path of least resistance. (Thanks for that phrase Cassie!).
Of course there are some things which it is wise not to speak about too openly as Satanists. There are times when it is intelligent not to rock the boat. But it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the boat ultimately does need rocking and that the majority view is not necessarily the right one.
In my own case I have realised there are political things in Switzerland which I go along with although I think they are wrong and actually I don’t have to. There are things I don’t say in various aspects of life because my views would be unpopular or controversial, but some of them could be said without doing myself any harm. There are times when I allow people to assume things about me which are false when in fact “sometimes” I would be doing both myself and the other people a favour by not seeming to meet their false expectations.
All of the above things are probably true for most people at some time or other, maybe it is good to have a lightening strike once in a while to show up the areas where we could live a bit more authentically. I doubt if many people on their death-beds regret being themselves. In many magazines I have read that people who have been close to death or who have had near death experiences often say the lesson they took with them was to live more fully as themselves and not spend so much time trying to fulfill other people’s expectations.
In any case this is the message I took with me from Walpurgisnacht and I will adjust a few aspects of my life accordingly. It was not the only message though…
I must confess I have had some problems with using the term Satanist as the main description of my spiritual path. I have never doubted the philosophy and lifestyle of satanism since I began to investigate it, my problem is something else… I have always thought it important to be what we call in German, “konsequent”. Most dictionaries do not translate this word very accurately into English. It is not quite the same as Consequent or consequence. It sort of means doing what you say or that your actions flow logically from what you claim to believe. It is an important concept for me and is very similar to the notion of living authentically. It means the things you actually do or say in your life should accurately reflect the beliefs and values you claim to hold.
For many years I used the term Buddhist to describe my values and the change to Satanism seems like a big jump. I was not sure if I was really being Konsequent. Moreover, if you are really being konsequent can any religious, spiritual or philosophical label be meaningful if there is a possibility that it can change?
During our ritual this question came into sharp focus and so did the answer. It came into my head that Satanism is above all things a state of mind in which you question things without prejudice, including your own assumptions… A state of mind that values independence of thought, education and growth. It is a state of mind which is not static but which embraces change. In this way I have always been a Satanist and always will be, even if my understanding and interpretation of specific things changes along the way.
As a result of all these things becoming clear to me during our ritual I am feeling full of positive, satanic energy at the moment. There is a part of me that would like to go to my window and shout out to the world how beautiful and empowering Satanism can be. (Don’t worry, Cassie and my daughter are keeping me well grounded)! One thing is for sure and that is that I feel much more positive and confirmed in my satanic path going forward and there will be at least a few consequential changes.
P/S. As some of you may know from previous posts, Cassie and I are both smokers. A while ago we were discussing the fact that these days to admit that you enjoy smoking is almost as taboo as admitting that you are a Satanist! Well since we quite enjoy challenging taboos we have decided to start a new blog project on the theme of smoking. If anybody is interested or would like to know more please visit us a at http://smokerswrites.wordpress.com/
pps this is our second attempt to post this; WordPress seemed to be sleeping the first time round.
Tomorrow I will return home after a few weeks in Austria and The Czech Republic to celebrate Walpurgisnacht with Sophie in Switzerland. It will be the first time we celebrated this festival alone together in our own home, which makes it kind of special.
Walpurgisnacht is a festival with Pagan origins and is very much related to Beltane. It’s main themes are fertility, fire and witchcraft and it also marks the beginning of spring. The Satanic significance of Walpurgisnacht was enshrined in modern times in 1966 when “Anton LaVey,” proclaimed it the first night of the “Year One” of the “Age of Satan.”
As a witch I have come to appreciate over the years the importance of preparation for any ritual, celebration or magical working. Sophie and I have been exchanging ideas via phone and email for the last couple of weeks about how we want to celebrate this festival with a ritual of our own making. As a result of these conversations and plans our minds are more attuned to the themes and tales associated with this time of year. We have also been meditating, chanting and using various other occult techniques to prepare ourselves and fine tune our minds so that the actual ritual will be a climax in more ways than one.
As a result, while we have not been posting much we are actually full of creativity and bursting with ideas to blog about. Hopefully these things will surface as actual posts in the not too distant future.
Meanwhile to all those who celebrate Walpurgisnacht or Belatane, we wish you powerful rituals and joyful celebrations. Above all on this particular point in the Pagan and Satanic year… Have fun!
My Walpurgis/Beltane night was an amazing experience. I expected it to be but it exceeded my expectations. I guess any ritual in any spiritual tradition can have deep impact on those taking part if it is well organised in advance and well choreographed on the occasion itself. I was lucky that the high priest and priestess of my coven were very experienced and insightful and they handled everything beautifully. Whatever nerves I had were soon dissipated and I was able to relax and give myself over to the atmosphere and intent of the ritual completely. Whether it was psycho-drama or supernatural event, I felt the power of Satan moving through me and in me, gushing through my veins, my body and my mind. It was transformational and yet I must point out I was not brainwashed or possessed against my will. It was more of a mutual coming together. Satan does not want or need mindless slaves, Satan wants to empower thoughtful, critical people who can make the most of themselves and all the opportunities the modern world has to offer.
The immediate aftermath of Walpurgis night was like an extended post orgasmic bliss but that transformed into a time of meditation and thought. Thinking things through and gaining new perspectives…
One of the big personal spiritual questions on my mind for quite a while has been how to relate to Hathor. Hathor was the Goddess I related to most strongly since my early days as a pagan. She has been like a friend and mentor to me since long before I openly became a Satanist. And yet since becoming a Satanist her place in my spiritual life has been much reduced. There have been times, including this Walpurgis Night, when I felt that perhaps there simply wasn’t room or space in my spiritual life for any deity other than Satan. I was, I admit, quite prepared to ditch Hathor altogether. I am not proud of that. Above all things I think of Hathor as a friend, and that is not a very nice way to treat a loyal friend. Yet I have fully dedicated myself to Satan and Satanism now, with all my heart and soul. I am Satanic to the core of my being. It is as much a part of me as my blood type, my gender or my eye colour. So what am I to do?
I started to think about the meaning of Beltane and Walpurgis. In essence they are fertility festivals which celebrate the fertility of the Earth and it’s people. It is very much about sex. But in Pagan tradition Beltane is also the celebration of the Horned God’s maturity and his coming together with the Goddess in sexual union not as an occasional lover but as a life partner; a protective father. Both the Goddess and the God give up a certain amount of freedom in order to fully love each other and to create.
I was first drawn to Satanism to rediscover the ancient Horned God; to see him as he is and not as he is portrayed by his enemies. In doing so I have discovered an entity, a deity, a power that is beautiful and whom I truly love. But his union with the Goddess, whether it be actually, figuratively or symbolically is key to his wholeness, to his balance and harmony. To his power. To his nature.
To reject the Goddess who embraces and consummates his love would be wrong and unbalanced.
Actually as I have said before I am virtually atheistic. I understand Satan and Hathor as spiritual energies I can tune into rather than supermen or women that live in the clouds. The stories and traditions associated with them are symbols and archetypes that help us to focus on their energies. Strict LaVeyans might argue that they are totally internal constructs. I am open to the possibility that they are also external forces. Whatever that truth may be; I have come to understand that in order for there to be balance and harmony in my way of understanding the spiritual realms; I want and need to relate to both the Goddess and the God.
Satan is my God and in many respects my “calling”. Satanism is my philosophy, religion and way of life. But Hathor can and does exist within that framework. She is in many respects a dark Goddess in that she confounds social norms. Her nature is Satanic in the good and positive ways that I respect. As the “Golden Calf” she was one of the first Goddesses to be demonised by the Bible. She is a Goddess of love, magic, sex, music, art, and the protection of women and children. She is also a Goddess of death who guides souls as they pass from life to the next stage. For me, most importantly, she is my friend and I apologize if my doubts have offended her.
Rituals and celebrations can be fun, energising and even life changing. But they should also give insight. The reflective process they engender is just as important as the preparation and the ritual itself. In thinking about this past Walpurgis Night I have come to a new understanding of certain things, some of which I have mentioned here and others I will expend on in future posts.
I hope and pray that Satan and Hathor will walk together in my life and that their union in me will be productive and creative.
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)