Yesterday, I celebrated Allelieweziel, which translates to “the goal of all love”. If you’re not familiar with the holiday, you can get an overview from this awesome article on The Wild Hunt. I’m so excited to see Urglaawe getting more press coverage lately! The way I see it, it’s more Heathens for Holle, and the more the merrier.
I took my celebration to Riverview Park, which is a historic park not too far from me that has been around since the late 1800s. It was originally a zoo. One of my hobbies is collecting antique postcards of areas that are special to me, and this is one such postcard. (The image is from Card Cow, which is actually the company I bought this card from, and if you love postcards as much as I do, I can’t recommend them enough!)
The part of the park that used to be a zoo is now completely forested, and last I hiked there, you could still see just a few remnants of some of the old pens. But it’s just one part of Riverview, which covers a pretty huge area. It’s one of my favorite places in the city, and I love to go there to relax and commune with nature.
Yesterday I went there to conduct my Allelieweziel ritual, which includes honoring Holle and Wudan as They depart on the Wild Hunt, honoring our Ancestors and remembering those loved ones who have died in the past year, and laying to rest the Butzemann created in February to watch over our land, plants, and animals.
I was there to send Schaeffer, my first Butzemann, on his final journey. Butzemenner have to be burnt after the Autumn Equinox, but no later than Allelieweziel. This is an oath that you make at the time that you create the Butzemann, so that he will be set free to join the Wild Hunt. You burn his body and clothing so that they do not become the residence of a baneful spirit. This is the “payment” that you give the Butzemann, in addition to your offerings, for watching over your property throughout the growing season.
Schaeffer was an excellent Butzemann, helping my orchids to flourish and aiding one of my guinea pigs who was sick. His name means “shepherd” and it will now become part of the names of all the Butzemenner to follow him that will be watching over my home, as a family name.
But I learned the very important lesson that you do not take on the responsibility of creating a Butzemann unless you have the means of fulfilling your oath to him! I was very nearly not able to follow through on my promise to send Schaeffer on the Wild Hunt, until my father made the trip up here and gave me a ride to the park. (Thank you so much, Dad!) Next February, if I don’t have the means on hand to burn a Butzemann, then I will postpone making a new one until the following year. I also am probably not going to knit my future Butzemenner, because the wool proved to be very difficult to burn, as well as the baby clothes I used for his outfit. It would simply take a much larger fire than I’m able to provide in the city in order to send him off effectively–a problem my Deitsch ancestors didn’t have to wrangle with!
Riverview was a lovely setting for the ritual. This is a view from the Parks Conservancy of Centennial Pavilion, which was a nice out of the way spot for it. I have used this area in the past as a ritual venue too, and the land is very welcoming. I didn’t have my camera on me yesterday, but there wasn’t a lot to see from my ritual because I didn’t do a full altar setup.
I made offerings of beans and cracked corn to the land and animal spirits there, and gave offerings of herbs and mead to the Gods, Ancestors, and Schaeffer during the ritual. I added my troubles and negative traits that I want to be rid of, written on paper, to the fire, for Schaeffer to take with him as he departed.
As soon as the ritual was concluded, I felt an immediate sense of relief. When I got home, some of my neighbors were waiting on the steps of our apartment building handing out candy to trick or treaters. They offered me a piece, and we got to discussing the heat in the building. When I mentioned I hadn’t been able to take out my air conditioners yet because I’m not strong enough to move them by myself, he immediately offered to help. We made an appointment for 1:00pm the next day (today!) which meant I had to do a massive cleaning of my house in order to make room for him to do the work. I laughed, because one of the things I had asked Schaeffer to take with him was the mess in my home. This forced me to get on that right away! It was nice to have confirmation so soon afterwards. The house isn’t in perfect shape yet, and I still have lots of decluttering and releasing of items to do, but it’s dramatically improved in less than 24 hours. I feel a further sense of release and calm as I open the windows where the ACs were to air out the house before it’s too cold to do so. 2015 has been a very difficult year, and I’m thankful to release all that no longer serves me.
Next in the Urglaawe calendar comes a period of contemplation about what goals you’d like to set in the new year. Far from being the cliche New Year’s resolutions that most people make and break within the first week of January, these are genuine changes that you make to improve yourself, and thus do your part to help improve all of humanity, fighting the forces of chaos. Chaos includes things like apathy, rootlessness, mindless consumption, lack of community, and abuse of natural resources. In Urglaawe, we combat these forces by cultivating virtues. You’ve probably heard of the Nine Noble Virtues, but Urglaawe has ancillary virtues, or Newereenheide, as well, including Self-Improvement, which is what I need to contemplate in the dark half of the year.