Let’s take a break from all the Easter eggs and bunny rabbits for a moment to talk about witches… You won’t see this in the public calendar, or on your village hall notice board, but every year on 30th April witches gather together to celebrate Hexennacht, otherwise known as Witches’ Night, to honour the Goddess of Nature. This little known festival, often referred to as the Spring Halloween, was celebrated long before Christianity. And witches know how to party, with feasts and celebrations going on into 1st May. So gather up your fellow goddesses and celebrate with these witchy rituals!
1 Light red and yellow candles and open the windows to let the fresh spring air in. Chase winter away and embrace the new season by opening up the front door at midnight and walking through the house with fresh sprigs of foliage.
2 Decorate the front of your house with spring flowers that are now in full bloom, such as tulips, fragrant hyacinths and purple and pink lilac. Never cut white lilac as tradition states that these belong to the Goddess and could bring bad luck for the rest of the year.
3 Plant sunflowers on this night. They are the embodiment of high summer and warmer days, so plant as many as possible and give some shoots as gifts to friends when they emerge.
4 Read or quote your favourite poem aloud – even better if it is about nature. Poems resonate energy and we need to harness this power to bring about some of the powerful changes that can happen in the spring. Dust off your broomstick and join the sisterhood in a special spring celebration
5 Connect to your inner witch by dancing like nobody is watching. Put on your favourite music, turn it up and just go wild round the house or garden with your best witchy moves.
6 Light a bonfire. In Scandinavia, bonfires are lit and parties are held on this night, to chase away evil. Many people make noises too and there are trick and treats antics with people wearing masks and costumes.
7 Witches’ Night is traditionally regarded as one of the most powerful times of the year for ghosts, demons and all manner of scary beings. Perfect for going on a ghost hunt!
8 Try your hand at scrying (seeing the future) by looking into the flames of a burning candle and watching what images form in your mind’s eye.
9 Have a midnight picnic. Drink sparkling wine and embrace the cool spring night air. Don’t forget to raise a glass to the Goddess.
10 Try something new. In Lincolnshire, many hang cowslips on doors and windows to ward off evil!
11 Create a floral display inside your house and really let the spring time in with flowers and plants that are now in full bloom.
12 Create your own personal ritual on Witches’ Night to praise the Goddess. Welcome her into your garden and life by thanking her for all the good and wondrous things she has brought to life in the garden.
Tudorbeth has been practising witchcraft for over 40 years, and is the Principal of The British College of Witchcraft and Wizardry. thebritishcollegeofwitchcraftandwizardry.org