Friday, December 26, 2014

Season's Greetings

Here's to the bright New Year
 And a fond farewell to the old;
 Here's to the things that are yet to come

 And to the memories that we hold.

image by Jane Brighton

Friday, December 19, 2014


 Krapus is the stuff of nightmares.  His name comes from the German and is translated as ‘claw’.  This counterpart to jolly St. Nicholas is the son of the Underworld Goddess Hel from Norse mythology.  

Human in size, he traditionally bears a dark and hideous mane, his body covered in matted fur and hellish burning eyes.  With a head possessing horns and the all too familiar sharp fangs from his gaping mouth, his is a frightening visage during this holiday season.  

Shaking his bells and chains, he hurries down the streets and lanes swatting at children with his birch bundle and peeks into windows in search of those who were naughty not nice.

Christmas celebrations in Germany begin to get underway in early December; the 6th of the month is known as Krampusnacht or Krampus Night.  A shoe or a boot was traditionally left on the doorstep by the child of the house in hopes that it would be filled with goodies. To peek under the shade was risky business as Krampus was about and he knew all to well if that child had misbehaved.  The family would explain to the quivering youngster that "there would be no last minute reprieve and it would be down, down to the Underworld with you if Krampus discovers how naughty you have been!"  Alas! Krampus night was forbidden eventually by the Catholic Church, not because it was frightening for children, but due to its pagan origins.

 However, never fear, the tradition has been revived in parts of Germany and the Festival of Krampus is alive and well.  Children are still subject to a light swat and a scooping up but the Underworld condemnation has been replaced by feasting and merriment.

Friday, December 12, 2014

All Acts of Love and Pleasure

  “All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals” ~ The Charge of the Goddess

All Acts of Love and Pleasure is a companion guide to inclusive Wicca, which includes all participants regardless of sexual orientation, disability, age, or other differences, not by erasing or ignoring the distinctions, but by working with them creatively within initiatory Craft. Tracing the development of Pagan and Wiccan ideas about gender and sexuality, authority and tradition, we can see that the Craft has evolved since the 1950s, and will continue to develop in the future.

The author examines different ideas in relation to initiatory Wicca, such as eco-spirituality, science, truth, the sacred, sexuality, consent culture, tradition, and magic, and how these concepts can be explored as part of a liberal religious tradition and training as a priestess or priest in Wicca. Each chapter offers further reading, a meditation or visualization, and practical ideas for rituals and discussions. By examining the origins and relevance of Wiccan concepts, the reader is challenged to explore their own views and how they express their own spirituality.

Although the aim of this book is to act as a guide to existing initiatory covens who want to make their practice more inclusive, its scope is much broader as it deals with wide-ranging issues including group dynamics, coven leadership, ritual, ethics, and Wiccan theology and practice.  It is sure to appeal to Pagans, Magicians, Druids and Witches, of all persuasions and views.

This is a 'soon to be released' title available through

Yvonne Aburrow was initiated into Gardnerian Wicca in 1991.  She is an author and poet, with an MA in Contemporary Religions and Spiritualities from Bath Spa University.  All Acts of Love and Pleasure is her eighth published work.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Perchten Pagan Festival

Perchta or Berchta, also known as Percht, is a goddess in Southern Germanic paganism found in the Alpine countries and means "the bright one".

The word Perchten is the commonly used when speaking of her entourage; it also refers to the type of masks worn in the mountains of Austria that are animal or fantasy-like.  

During the 16th century it was believed that the Perchten took two forms, some were beautiful and benevolent bringing prosperity and good fortune to the inhabitants.  However, there is a darker more demon-like variety of Perchten known as 'Schiachperchten' who were terrifying.  They possessed ugly faces, protruding eyes, sharp fangs and tail of a horse; these were the ones that were called upon to drive out any demons or ghosts from the village.

A form of exorcists for home security, this particular form of Perchten were invited into the home in order to find and drive out any ill-spirits that might be hiding, causing misfortune and havoc for the inhabitants.

The tradition continues as part of the holidays of Salzburg and Austria today.

Perchten Pagan Festival