Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Glory of Walpurgisnacht and the Moifescht

This weekend witnessed a flurry of Walpurgisnacht activity across the region. On Sunday, Distelfink joined with the Norsewind tribe for a beautiful ceremony at the Sacred Oak in Oley, PA. Along with a tip of the hat to the site's Lenape predecessors, we honored our deities and ancestors. This was truly a blessed event. We celebrate the bonds of friendship and frith that are expanding throughout the Heathen community.

The tribes' combined altar by the Sacred Oak

The small stream (Heffners Runn or Heffner's Run, though there may be other names in English and Lenape) that feeds the roots of the great Sacred Oak carried away the flowers with our well wishes to the deities, the ancestors, and the Lenape warriors and tribe. We are honored to have access to two significant Lenape legacies (the Sacred Oak and the Warriors' Ring nearby), and their contributions to the Deitsch colonial survival must not be forgotten or ignored. Similarly, the long-standing friendship of the Deitsch and the Lenape is well recorded historically. We must reinvigorate these bonds and celebrate our shared love for this land.

Heffners Runn
Walpurgisnacht began at dusk on April 30 (30. Oschdret). By Urglaawe reckoning, dusk begins the next day, so the event starts actually at the onset of May 1 (1. Wonnet). We welcomed Holle back to the land with a large fire that represented the end of the Dark Half (Dunkelhelft) of the year. 

Feier im Brischtol

Holle's return to Hexenkopf (with visits to other locations, such as Hexebaerrick and Hexefeld) also means an end to the Wild Hunt (Wildi Yacht). In Urglaawe tradition, Holle now changes Her focus from seeking the lost souls of the departed to reinvigorating the land. The wights (Wichde) that accompanied Wudan and Her on the Hunt now return to the land and to the streams and rivers. 

At this time of the year, we focus on the compassion (Mitleid) that Holle holds up to us a virtue. This understanding is reflected in the "fairy tale," which is more aptly called a "folk tale," of Frau Holle. In the story, Holle rewards the diligent girl for her acts of compassion towards the baking bread and the ripened apples while punishing the lazy girl who ignores both. Industriousness and generosity are also known aspects of Holle's personality and disposition towards humankind, and it is our responsibility to embrace these virtues in order to build community and Fruchsfriede (frith).

Dawn on May 1 brings the Moifescht (Mayfest), also known as the Wonnetdanz (Joy Dance). The Wonnetdanz is represented in the decorating of the Maypole or Queschtbaam. Between now and the Midsummer (Summer Solstice), we are to recognize the joy of life. Celebrate love, family, and friends. By now, New Year's Resolutions should be in effect and the seeds of change should be planted. We are in the Rebirth phase of the Lewesraad (Cycle of Life), and our spirits should be rejuvenated along with the land.

Moifescht greetings and blessings to all!


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