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Huginn’s Heathen Hof

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Wonnenacht and the Exchange


This is a very busy time for Urglaawer and other Germanic Heathens. A pivotal annual moment is drawing near, and there are still some old tasks to complete and new tasks to prepare for. That moment is sunset on Thursday, April 30 by solar reckoning, which is 19:54 or 7:54 PM here in Bristol, Pennsylvania.

Although the cosmos are not beholden to our calendar, observances are important, and calendars help us to keep attuned to the cycles of the world we live in.

The final Lenzbutzerei (Spring Cleaning) chores are to be done by sunset tonight, April 30 by solar reckoning but May 1 by Urglaawe lunar reckoning. The last chore to bed done is the sweeping of any doorway area (porch, etc.) that goes from any living quarters to the outside.

Signs welcoming Holle’s return adorn the homes of Urglaawer at Wonnenacht

I have my front and back porches to do. Apartment dwellers typically sweep the area in front of their unit’s door. The sweeping is to be as straight as possible from the door outward. If there is a walkway, the walkway is also to be swept.

Some folks extend this practice to include any building on their property. I do sweep in front of the door of my shed.

The literal and ritual cleaning and organizing, are in preparation for Holle’s return, which is described below.

The items listed below as targets for cleaning are not exhaustive but were drawn from many responses in interviews with Braucherei and Hexerei practitioners. Having had a jam-packed house myself for many years, the matter of Spring Cleaning was always somewhat stressful for me.

Deitsch folklore states that the Geischderschtruzt (Parade of Spirts, a.k.a. the Wild Hunt) passes through the homes and farms on the final leg of its journey, and there must be unimpeded passage from one end of the house and property to the other. Cleanliness is of particular note. Clutter to be set aside to make room for the parade of spirits to come through, but the presence of the clutter is secondary to the effort to put clutter in order.

Rule of thumb: If you think you have a clutter problem, then you probably do. It does not need to be resolved all at once or even in one season, but any problem that one has that is known yet not addressed can become a burden over time. It took me a few years to resolve the clutter issues in my home to the point where I am comfortable having people come in, and that effort was initiated as part of Lenzbutzerei. Much of this process is about intention and effort.

So, here’s what our list consists of:

– Floors are to be swept free of dirt and debris.

– Paths through the house are to be free of obstacles. The path could have books and magazines stacked, narrowing the walkway, but, as long as none of those books or magazines is actually in the walking area, it meets the letter of the law.

– Items that can easily fall or be knocked over should be moved to a safer space.

– Items need to be donated or removed that you have known for three years (some say six, which I support, because six has some “sacred disposal aspects to it) are no longer useful yet you hold into thinking, but I might need this someday.”

– All dishes, pots, pans, etc., cleaned and put away.

– Oven cleaned. This would include microwaves, toasters, toaster ovens, etc.

– Clean other appliances, including refrigerators; check dishwasher, washer and dryer. This would also include the outside of the appliances

– Windows cleaned (safety is a factor to consider) and opened with signs welcoming Holle.

– Clean the bathroom.

– Dust furniture. Urglaawer should dust their altars.

– Porches swept. This is tied to April 29 on solar calendar but for Urglaawer would be by sunset on April 30.

– You do not need to do everything in the house, but try to do a bit more than you think you can.

Align disposal with the Lenzbutzerei season that begins at Entschtanning (begins with Grundsaudaag on February 2) and ends at Wonnenacht (sunset on April 30). This means almost three months to work on getting things into minimum order. This time is principally about cleaning up the physical environment, but the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual are all related.

At the opposite end of the calendar in October is Allelieweziel, where there is another major observance related to disposal, thought that tends to focus on the final removal of poor habits and items or events that weigh us down.

As each season approaches, make the cleaning an expression of your spirituality. It may take a few years to finish it, but, as you see the changes, you might find yourself feeling empowered.

So quite a few things happen at sunset on April 30:

– Since Urglaawe “days” begin the night before, May 1 on the Urglaawe calendar begins at sunset on April 30 on the solar calendar.

– Lenzbutzerei (Spring Cleaning) ends with the sweeping being the last rite of the season.

– Oschdrezeit ends along with the Dunkelheft (dark half of the year)

– Wonnezeit begins along with the Brechtheft (the bright half).

– We cross from the childhood phase of the wheel of the year and into the teenage/young adult phase. This is reflected in minor fertility rites (remnants of these appear in things like Cherry Blossom festivals) and early crop harvest festivals.

– The first observance of Wonnezeit begins at sunset on April 30 is Wonnenacht (Night of Joy), when the observance of the Parade of Spirits’ return to Hexenkopf is observed and Holle and Berchta (who are understood as sisters in Urglaawe lore) embrace in the Wonnedanz (Dance of Joy, also called the Hexedanz (Witches’ Dance, particularly in one instance described below) to “dance away winter” and reawakening the sleeping world.

– Although the terms Wonnedanz and Hexedanz are often used interchangeably because they happen on the same night, there is one rite that is directly tied to the Hexedanz that is not related to the Wonnedanz: the unfurling or disassembly of last year’s Gwetschebaam or Maypole. The energies and intentions collected since last Moifescht are commended to the earth.

– The Germanic psychopomp, Gedreier Eckhart, leads the Paade to its final destination: die Miehl, or The Mill, where the souls are crushed and certain parts are sent on to their next experience in a unique soul construct.

– Sunrise on May 1 begins another observance within Wonnezeit: Moifescht (Mayfest or May Day), wherein the residents of Mannheem (home of humanity; where you keep your stuff) are celebrating the awakened energies and rising fertility and fecundity of the world around them. These observances often include a Gwetschebaam or a Maypole, which is assembled or furled until next year’s Hexedanz.

There’s a lot going on, and Braucherei lore states that Wonnenacht (also called Walpurgisnacht in different contexts, including some with very biased perspectives) is another auspicious night (after Allelieweziel and Grundsaudaag) for engaging in soul work, journeying, and other esoteric practices that work with those who have gone before. It follows that the deities most closely associated with this exchange between the dark and bright halves of the year are the liminal goddesses, Holle and Berchta.

– Several other observances fall into the twelve-night, twelve-day observance of Wonnezeit. I’ll write about them as they approach.

So, hail to the Mighty Dead!
Hail to Holle!
Hail to Berchta!
Hail to the reawakened land!

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