Blessed Beltane and Happy Orthodox Easter!

Blessings bright on this beautiful, summery (here in Chicago, we’re looking at bright sunshine and temps in the mid-80s again!) Beltane and Eastern Orthodox Easter Sunday! As my friend Szmeralda observed, “You’ve got double the magic!” in my household as dual-faith observances, begun on Friday, continue. 

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Biljini Petak: “Herbal Friday” Before St. George’s Day

Once again, pre-Christian Celtic and pre-Christian Slavic magico-religious observances overlap at this time of year. While many Pagans in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate May 1 as Beltane, and bring the greenery o’ the Wildwood into their homes and ritual spaces, my Serbian Witch self celebrates this Friday as Biljini Petak, the “Friday of Gathering Wild Herbs and Flowers.” Celtic or Slavic, this time of year is held sacred as the start of summer, and some very ancient Powers are revered and thanked for Their blessings of returning the earth to vibrant life and verdant fecundity after the barrenness and tedium of winter.

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Walpurgisnacht Chant

A blessed May Eve/Walpurgisnacht/Beltane to all who celebrate in the Northern Hemisphere, and a blessed All Hallowstide/Samhain to friends Down Under! Here is a little chant we used to do in my coven after the balefire has been consecrated and we danced around it to raise energy:

Walpurgisnacht

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Walpurgis Night, the time is right,

The ancient powers awake.

 

So dance and sing, around the ring,

And Beltane magic make.

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

 

New life we see, in flower and in tree,

And summer comes again.

 

Be free and fair, like earth and air,

The sunshine and the rain.

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

 

As magic fire be our desire

To tread the Pagan way,

 

And our True Will find and fulfill,

As dawns a brighter day.

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

 

The Pagan powers this night be ours,

Let all the world be free,

 

And sorrow cast into the past,

And future blessed be!

 

Walpurgis Night, Walpurgis Night,

Upon the eve of May,

 

We’ll merry meet, and summer greet,

Forever and a day.

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If you’d like to read about traditional witch lore regarding Walpurgisnacht and Germanic folklore, you’ll probably find this blog post I wrote to be of interest.

Hail, the Queen of Elphame!

Our Gods Are Not Vending Machines

I was relieved to have recently been unfriended on Facebook by a woman who didn’t like my response to her questions in a post she’d tagged me in. This woman–let’s call her Rachel–announced that she was going to embark on a quest of “serious magic” to not merely land herself a lover, but a life partner “willing to put a ring on it.”

“So for the working I plan on doing,” Rachel wrote, “I’ve been doing some research on which goddess to call upon. I’ve narrowed my choices down to the following: Frigga, Freyja, Erzulie Freda, Astarte, and one Slavic goddess whose name I can’t pronounce. Anna, who should I go with? What do you think?”

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Biljini Petak i Djurdjevdan: Vestiges of Serbian Paganism in St. George’s Day Celebrations That Welcome the Start of Summer

“…Gde Djurdjev hodit, tam vam polje rodit…”

“…Where Djurdjev walks, there your field gives birth…” –Old South Slavic folk song

While much of the Pagan world in Western Europe and North America–from London to Lexington, Kentucky–celebrates the well-known Celtic festival of Beltane, the “fire of the god Bel,” this first of May (which is Lei Day in Hawaii, incidentally; I wish a very happy Lei Day to my local kine friends and followers on Oahu–Hele mei hoohiwahiwa!) is special to me as a first-generation Serbian-American with more than a passing interest in my culture’s pre-Christian beliefs. The Friday before May 6, the fixed date of St. George’s Day, the traditional start of summer, has a lot of unique customs surrounding it that attest to very old and widespread pre-Christian beliefs preserved in rural as well as urban Serbian communities. This particular Friday that comes but once a year has a special name: Biljini Petak. The word Petak means “Friday” and biljini  is an adjective related to wild herbs and flowering plants; hence, Biljini Petak can be best translated as “The Friday of Wild Herb-Gathering Before Saint George’s Day.” The fact that this year’s Biljini Petak falls squarely on Beltane pleases me greatly, as there is a lot of overlap between Serbian/Slavic and Celtic observances that clearly hail from a Pagan past.

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