[Christine O’Keeffe’s May Day Customs]
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Bealtaine/ May Day History
WITCHES (in Chorus):
The witches toward Broken Hill strain,
The stubble is yellow, the grain is green.
The crowd collects at the great throne,
Sir Urian sits on top of.
So coming over stone & stick.
The witches fart, it stinks of goat.

The ancient goddess Βαυβώ comes alone,
She rides on a mother sow.

So honor be, where honor is due!
Woman Βαυβώ 1st! & led!
Mother on a sturdy sow,
The whole witch party follows now.

Which way do you come?

By Princess Ilse’s Rock Palace! There I peer at the owlet inside her nest,
Making a pair of eyes (staring)!

The way is wide, the way is long,
What is that for a raving throng?
The pitchfork pricks, the broom hurts,
The infant chokes, the mother bursts.

We creep slowly like the snail in-house,
The Women are all in front.
Then, going fast from the Mad-House,
The Woman has a 1,000 step lead.

We don’t take the lead so precisely,
The woman takes 1,000 steps
Oh how she can hurry herself,
With 1 spring the man makes it.

VOICE (above):
Come, Come, from Rocky Lake!

VOICES (from below):
We’d like the sky.
We wash, & We are entirely clean;
Yet also eternally sterile (unfruitful).

It silences the Wind, it flees from the Star,
The cloudy Moon conceals herself.
The magical choir speaks by whistling.
Many 1,000 fire sparks.

VOICE (from below):
Stop! Stop!

VOICE (from above):
Who calls from the rocky quarry?

VOICE (from below):
Take me too! Take me too!
I have been striving for 300 years,
& cannot reach the peak.
I want to join my equals.

Carry the broomstick, carry the stick
Carry the pitchfork, carry the goat.
Who cannot rise now,
Is eternally a forlorn Man.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832) Faust ©1808

HEXEN (im Chor):
Die Hexen zu dem Brocken ziehn,
Die Stoppel ist gelb, die Saat ist grün.
Dort sammelt sich der große Hauf,
Herr Urian sitzt oben auf.
So geht es über Stein und Stock,
Es farzt die Hexe, es stinkt der Bock.

Die alte Baubo kommt allein,
Sie reitet auf einem Mutterschwein.

So Ehre denn, wem Ehre gebührt!
Frau Baubo vor! und angeführt!
Ein tüchtig Schwein und Mutter drauf,
Da folgt der ganze Hexenhauf.

Welchen Weg kommst du her?

Übern Ilsenstein! Da guckt ich der Eule ins Nest hinein,
Die macht ein Paar Augen!

Der Weg ist breit, der Weg ist lang,
Was ist das für ein toller Drang?
Die Gabel sticht, der Besen kratzt,
Das Kind erstickt, die Mutter platzt.

Wir schleichen wie die Schneck im Haus,
Die Weiber alle sind voraus.
Denn, geht es zu des Bösen Haus,
Das Weib hat tausend Schritt voraus.

Wir nehmen das nicht so genau,
Mit tausend Schritten macht’s die Frau;
Doch wie sie sich auch eilen kann,
Mit einem Sprunge macht’s der Mann.

STIMME (oben):
Kommt mit, kommt mit, vom Felsensee!

STIMMEN (von unten):
Wir möchten gerne mit in die Höh.
Wir waschen, und blank sind wir ganz und gar; Aber auch ewig unfruchtbar.

Es schweigt der Wind, es flieht der Stern,
Der trübe Mond verbirgt sich gern.
Im Sausen sprüht das Zauberchor
Viel tausend Feuerfunken hervor.

STIMME (von unten):
Halte! Halte!

STIMME (oben):
Wer ruft da aus der Felsenspalte?

STIMME (von unten):
Nehmt mich mit! Nehmt mich mit!
Ich steige schon dreihundert Jahr,
Und kann den Gipfel nicht erreichen
Ich wäre gern bei meinesgleichen.

Es trägt der Besen, trägt der Stock
Die Gabel trägt, es trägt der Bock
Wer heute sich nicht heben kann
Ist ewig ein verlorner Mann.
–Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832), Der Faust,Walpurgis-Nacht ©1808

The wall between the spirit world and the human world is thin on Nech na-Bealtaine, the night before Bealtaine. Called Freinacht: Free Night or Drudennacht: Druid Night in Bavaria, Germans believe hags fly into the Harz: Heart Mountains. They meet at the Brocken: Broken Hill, the highest peak. In 12 days they must dance the snow away; then Spring begins. They can appear as maids. Noisemakers are used to frighten away evil spirits. Hags also meet in the Blocksberg: Wood Mountains of Sweden. Bealtaine Eve was changed by Christians to Walpurgisnacht: Love Night after St. Walpurga, Waelbyrga: Love, Abbess of Heidenheim: Heather Realm. After her death, a miracle-working liquid or oil, deoca: liquor of health, flowed from her tombstone at Eichstatt: Oak City on the first of May. Bealtaine was changed to Maifest: May Day Fest (1, 6, 7)

Folk Customs Today: Bees are thought to understand human speech and they keep secrets well. If someone dies in a beekeeper’s family, the bees must be informed. In Sweden young villagers collect greenery and branches from the woods at twilight to adorn houses. Payment is made in eggs. (4)

May Eve: Traditionally celebrated with dancing known as Valborgsmässoafton: Walpurgis Mass in Sweden, Vappen: Finland, Walpurgi öö: Estonia, Valpurgijos naktis: Lithuania, čarodějnice: the witches & Valpuržina noc: Walpurgis Night in Czechoslovakia. 9 nights before the 1st of May is Walburga in flight, a crowned white lady with long flowing hair dressed in gold shoes, carrying in her hands a 3-cornered mirror that shows the future, and a spindle, turning grain into gold. Her dog of nourishment left from the Wild Hunt. People leave their windows open so she can be safe behind the cross-shaped windowpane struts. For this, she lays a little gold piece on the windowsill. Saint Walpurga’s names: Auboué, Avangour, Avongourg: River Water, Falbourg, Gaubourg, Gualbourg, Vaubouer. (7)

Harz Mountains: Heart Mountains: Princess Ilse’s Rock Palace forest, daughter of the Harz Kings, is where fairy tale children Hansel and Gretel are taken to look for strawberries in winter. Strawberry eating is popular. The granite mountains are covered in snow from September to May. Fog shrouds them up to 300 days a year. The mean annual temperature is only 2.9 °C /37.2 °F. Coordinates 51°48′02″N 10°37′02″E is the radio transmitter & botanic garden. A weather shadow surrounded by rainbow-like bands called Brockengespenst: The Brocken Spectre. Johannes Thal described the mountain flora in Sylva Hercynia ©1576.

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© 1999. Christine O’Keeffe Ver. 1.0. Wednesday, April 30, 2014