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Preparing for the Wonnenacht

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Wonnenacht is coming (sundown on Sunday, April 30), which starts the twelve-night Urglaawe observance of Wonnezeit (“Time of Joy”)! Here are ways that you can prepare for Holle’s return and the end of the Wild Hunt!

1). In Urglaawe, we strive to stay attuned to the cycles of life, particularly the seasons. Around this time, we are seeing some plants grow from infancy to young adulthood, and this matches the phase of the year that we are entering. Young adulthood brings with it increased reasoning and logic abilities, which may be one reason that Holle carries an association with reason. Ponder the evolution of your mind over the course of your life, and continue to work on any resolutions set at New Year’s Day.

2). Finish your Spring Cleaning. Clear pathways from the front to the back of your house on all floors. Deitsch (Pennsylvania German or Pennsylvania Dutch) tradition holds the Holle conducts Her inspections of our homes as the Wild Hunt passes through the land.

3). Prepare signs welcoming Holle into your home (“Wilkum Holle”). The signs may be as plain or as elaborate as you wish them to be. Tradition is to place a sign outside on each window or doorway starting in the morning on April 30 and leaving them there until after sundown on May 1.

4). As far as it is safe and doable, open all windows and doors from sundown on April 30 into the daytime on May 1. Along with the signs, this is an old Deitsch/Braucherei tradition that appears also in our Wonnenacht myth. If you can only open a window or two, do so, but be sure a sign is on the windows that are open.

5). Set out or plant offerings. May lilies (lily-of-the-valley) have an association with this time. Elder branches are acceptable offerings (do not burn), particularly if the flowers have not appeared yet; however, I tend to allow the elder to grow unless I have to trim it back from the sidewalk, in which case the branches become offerings. Mugwort (burned or otherwise) is also acceptable and traditional, as are molasses and honey. A linden branch or two in honor of the hero, Gedreier Eckhart, would also be acceptable. Various offerings to the returning Landwichde (landwights) are always appropriate.

6). Remember that in Deitsch myth and in our folklore, Berchta plays a major role in Wonnenacht, too. She is closing out the Dunkelheft, or the Dark Half of the year, and offerings of evergreens to Her are also encouraged.

7). If you are able to make a visit to Hexenkopf, the sacred seat of Holle in the Deitscherei, ask me for contact info for the owners and request permission to visit the site. Be respectful and honor any time limits that they may implement.

8). Celebrate life! This is a time of joy. Life is springing around us everywhere!

9). Do not put tender plants out yet. Three Reifries (Frost Giants) attack at the end of Wonnezeit (overnight on May 12, May 13, May 14). May 15 is the traditional date for all plants to go out.

Hail Holle!

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