Germany’s Walpurgisnacht Witches

Walpurgisnacht is celebrated in Germany on 30 April (Beltane or May Eve). On this night witches are thought to fly to a plateau on Brocken Mountain deep in the Harz Mountains. (At 1141 metres, The Brocken is the highest peak in the Harz Mountains). The plateau is known as the Hexentanzplatz, the witches’ dancing place. In the eighteenth-century German maps almost always depicted witches on broomsticks converging upon the Brocken; and it is here that Goethe set the witches’ sabbat in his Faust (1808, 1832). By the turn of the century a thriving tourist industry had prompted the publication of numerous witch-themed postcards. The following five cards, featuring sexy witches, date from 1899 to 1901. Note the various modes of ‘transport’ used by the witches!

[UPDATE: for later posts on this subject, see Brocken Money (1922) and More Brocken Money]

10 Responses to “Germany’s Walpurgisnacht Witches”

  1. KandelHexe Says:

    the text says “Brocken Mountain (Germany‚Äôs highest)”. That’s definitely not the case. the Brocken is only the highest peak in the Harz Mountains and is only 1141 metres high. It is by no means the highest Mountain in Germany, though. Even most Peaks in the Black Forest (Feldberg etc.) are higher. The highest mountain in Germany is the Zugspitze with 2,962 m (9,718 feet) in the bavarian alps. Many peaks over there are well over twice as high as the Brocken.

  2. Red Witch Says:

    Thanks for this info ‘KandelHexe’. As you can see, I have corrected the text above. Let me know if you notice any other errors. RW

  3. Anonymous Says:

    What gorgeous postcards. The graphics are breathtakingly beautiful.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    My name is Marshall and I’m from America. I don’t know about all these sexy witchs of the Black Forest; but in America, we have the THREE P’S….


  5. Anonymous Says:

    I am an American who’s proud of her German Thuringian heritage and love to hear about the witches of the Harz mountains. In America, we also have one more “P,” to exemplify the commentor above:


    ~When he describes PUSSY, he’s talking about himself in case you didn’t know.

  6. kittydiggins Says:

    Happy Walpurgas Night
    to all the sexy witches
    and to the Grandmothers

  7. kittydiggins Says:

    Also, in the vein of many of our noted holiday /holy day celebrations, these are a mixture of Pagan/Christian origin.

    St.Walpurga was an exiled woman more or less embracing the two concepts.

    She was revered on this day being May Eve.

    Various things occurred.

    Since the Eve of Beltane /May Day was a day of Pagan reverence in the seasonal calendar , it was noted by the newly Christianised population as a time when people who still recognised “the old ways” would be celebrating , that the the converted people would take to the “streets” or mountains in this case and go out in gangs,banging pots and pans or other implements of noise ,to disrupt the ceremonies of the nature oriented folk thinking that this noise would drive away the evil spirits that were supposedly being conjured.

    Not to demystify the sexiness of the supposed orgiastic and glamorous nature of it all, that is the just the simplistic reality of it all.

    No demons were being sexually consorted with , it was just a bunch of people who either hadn’t caught on to , or didn’t want to catch on to the new religion.

    These were just regular farmers and country folk going up the mountain to drink their spring wines or beers and prey to the gods for good crops and wot not.

    Like a bunch of geeks taking their telescopes out to watch a meteor shower and being in awe of the wonders of nature.

    But we do like to romanticise , don’t we?

  8. […] to the artwork: the anonymous artist has produced a complex Walpurgisnacht […]

  9. Redwitch, you are — as always…2cool 4school. I love this blog.

  10. riverwolf1ofokc Says:

    As another American that is very proud of my German heritage, I found the site very informative. The detail in the art above is wonderful. BB

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