We have arrived at the last night of the Rauhnächte as we call the 12 nights after the Winter Solstice in the German speaking greater Alpine region.
This night is dedicated to the third of the three Goddesses of old, Borbet, Christianized St. Barbara, who is most prominently referred to as Mother Percht on that night.
Mother Percht is the crone and with that the death aspect of the three-fold Goddess. She leads the Wild Hunt and visits homesteads at midnight with her entourage. In some Christianized version that are the souls of the unbaptized children who died before the Church could make them her own.
In other tales a smorgasbord of creatures is with her: witches, the Habergeiss we talked about in a previous article, the Baumwercher, the bear and its handler, the king and all kinds of other characters, different from region to region.
In her honor (at least the way I see that), Perchten Runs are held in many a town or village in the Alps, where this train of figures walks/dances through the streets and, in smaller communities, enter the houses, sometimes challenge the people dwelling there, and almost always drink a shot of Schnaps (fruit brandy). Their function is to scare the remanences of anything old and no longer necessary out of the house to make room for good look and prosperity.
One can often see the witches sweeping the floor towards the entrance, to cleanse the house from “old dirt”.
And there is of course a lot of incense burnt.
Aside from these rather organized shenanigans, here is what you can do in this night:
- Like in the 4th Rauhnacht, this is one where you assess what “went wrong” in the previous nights. An omen might not have been advantageous, or the divination you did revealed difficulties. Tonight, you can revisit, draw an extra card from your Tarot or toss an extra rune or Ogham stick.
- If you have a well of your own, or have access to one, pull some water from it. The water’s powers for blessing and healing are particularly enhanced tonight.
- Cut a divining rod today (best from a hazelnut bush, and such that you have nine “eyes” on the lower end before the fork) and dedicate it to Wilbet to find gold, to Ambet to find water, and to Borbet to find silver.
- Cleanse important things, especially magical tools, with incense. Lots of it. Do the same with hats which makes you think clear and fends off headaches.
- Open all windows and doors at midnight to let the wind in.
- At the same time, only go outside if you dare.
- Ask your livestock questions, you will get an answer.
- In some regions, people talk into the fireplace or chimney to ask to be safe from lightning and storms.
- And finally, put a white(ish) tablecloth on your table and prepare some milk and bread for Mother Percht and her entourage to take a break from their travels all over the land and to feast. As a thank you, she’ll bless your house.
You could use the milk to bake cake the next day.
This is the night of miracles, so do expect one or at least the setting of the stage for a miracle.
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