Sylvester – Rauhnacht (Dec. 31)

As I drew they daily Tarot card (from the Druid Craft Tarot) this morning, I got the High Priestess, and she reminded me of continuing my Raunächte discussion. The prompting moment was this particular sentence in the description of the card: ‘The High Priestess’s power is internal, and mediates the forces of the Otherworld. Her eyes are closed in trance and ecstasy,  symbolizing the connection with the inner worlds and her union with the Goddess […]’ it says in the book.

And on a day like today, which marks a transition (albeit an insignificant one from my perspective, I might add *jabbing pope Gregory and his meaningless calendar*) this might be a good thing to do. Besides feasting and celebrating, of course.

So, how do we listen. A great deal of Alpine lore and customs tell us about the so called “losen,” again a term that is hard to translate because it is a) a dialect word and b) is linked to multiple sources. My preference is the one that connects it to listening, not the least because my late grand father and his hunter companions called it “losen” when they talked about a deer or something lifting its head, looking around, because they heard something, and listening. And, it’s also the many recommendations for losen which have in common that one is supposed to listen to the sounds when doing this divination method.
Let’s start with where one should be listening. Pastor Willibald Leeb tells us in his “Lore Journey Through The Pielach Valley; Myths, Tales, Stories (Sagenreise ins Pielachtal, Sagen, Erzählungen, Geschichten):

During the Raunächte, courageous people can divine their fate of the next year through “Losen” (listening). You listen on cross-roads, in cemeteries, alongside little creeks, under black cherry trees, damson plume trees, sour cherry trees, or prune trees, and on Christmas Eve in the barn doorway. When you listen under trees, you should shake them.

Good luck finding these special and rare trees in this Monsanto world, where every apple and pear looks alike and taste, well, like nothing much.

The technique of “losen” itself is simple…you think about something you would like to divine and then listen to the next sound. Then it is all up to your intuition when it comes to interpreting what the sound means in relation to your question. The following recommendation of Pastor Leeb’s is somewhat telling about the tension between such old customs and Christianity:

Those who want to listen must not pray for nine days, must not use holy water, and must, after the evening bells, walk silently, without turning back, to a cross roads or under a black cherry tree. The listener must not leave their position, no matter how horrific the vision.

So, it’s pretty easy: find a strange place, think about your question, and listen. Close your eyes in trance and ecstasy,  and connect with the inner worlds and your personal union with the Goddess.

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One Response to Sylvester – Rauhnacht (Dec. 31)

  1. Rylin Mariel says:

    Thanks, wish I’d seen this 5 days ago (of course I was sick, so I still wouldn’t have been able to go out). In this part of the world, Monsanto be damned (which, well, they most likely will!), there are Wild Cherry’s everywhere! One of my favourites grows next to a wall which in the Summer allows me to get up and pick the cherries! I could of course go (next year) and pick the presentiments of the coming year! Thanks!

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