Monday, April 21, 2014

Pagan Festival Shout Out: Walpurgis/Thrimilci

1Okay it isn’t quite April 30th yet but I put Walpurgis in my calendar on the 22nd as the 9 nights begin and start my ceremonial offerings to the gods for a prosperous spring, and protection from the coming darkness as we edge deep into the spring’s enveloping warmth. I place various tokens that symbolize the spring gifts the gods give us on my altar. It allows me to build up my thrill for Walpurgis Night. I also use this time from April 22 to April 30 to gather and form my pyre. As a solitary and only pagan member in my family it a lot quieter than the revelry of groups and large circle gatherings.

The festival of Walpurgis, a night both of revelry and darkness.  The nine nights of April 22 to April 30 are venerated as rememberance of the All Father's self-sacrifice upon the World Tree Yggdrasil.  It was on the ninth night (April 30, Walpurgisnacht) that he beheld the Runes, grasped them, and ritually died for an instant.  At that moment, all the Light in the 9 worlds is extinguished, and utter Chaos reigns.  At the final stroke of midnight, the Light returns in dazzling brilliance, and the bale-fires are lit.  On Walpurgisnacht, the dead have full sway upon the earth; it is the ending night of the Wild Hunt.  May 1 is the festival of Thrimilci; the beginning of Summer.  Thrimilci is a festival of joy and fertility, much like Ostara; however, most of the Northern World is finally escaping from the snow at this time.

The holiday is often celebrated with dancing and bonfires. It is exactly six months from All Hallows' Eve. Walpurgisnacht (Walburga’s Night / Walpurgis Night) is a popular Germanic holiday celebrated at the same time as Beltane. It has a colorful history which, from what I can find, dates from after the Christian conversion in Germany making it one of the few holidays that pagans might have adopted from a Christian festival, instead of vice versa.* Now famous for the bonfires that light the hills of Sweden, the champagne toasts in Finland, and the pranks of southern Germany it has been known as both a witch’s holiday and the feast day of a saint.

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