Tonight, as darkness descends on Brocken, deep in the Harz mountains of Germany, witches and devils will gather to revel in Walpurgisnacht. While the holiday takes its name from Walpurga, an eighth-century Christian saint, it is more closely associated with pagan rituals that herald the coming of spring. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, male authors of witchcraft treatises conflated paganism with Satanic evil. Through their narrow-minded and misogynist male gaze, the festivals of the furrows and fields—including celebrations around May 1st—took on a blackened hue. And so this sacred night that was meant to honor the earth, with her milk-heavy breasts and seed-laden womb, was cast as a Witches’ Sabbath—a time of dancing, drinking, and debauchery with devils.
Now, sisters, we claim that darkness as our own. Clad in black, we are the queens of the night, fully alive to our primal power and limitless potential. Tonight we fly to Brocken to conjure love, to dance beneath the stars, to chase away the winter, and to honor the processes of rebirth within and around us.
If you can’t make it to Brocken by broomstick, consider traveling by cookie! In honor of Walpurgisnacht, I offer up these shadowy confections, each of which bears a reminder of this night’s true meaning.
The Journey to Brocken
High on the mountain, once covered with snow, greenery blossoms, just beginning to grow.
We glide on our broomsticks, through the cool air, our sisters and brothers, we soon will be there!
The world tree below us, Yggdrasil grows, connecting all things, above and below.
The fires burn to chase away the winter. With them remember all those women who died much too soon.
As the bonfire burns hot and smoke fills the sky, we remember the women who long ago died.
In the dancing red flames, soon devils appear, while spirits and demons gather quite near.
And together we dance and honor the moon, our mother Hecate, her loving womb.
We welcome Queen May from the fields to the sea, and whisper devotions, “All Blessed Be.”
Let these be my intentions for this Walpurgisnacht. You are creatures of dark power and wonder, Dear Darklings!