Another holiday that we celebrate in the LV-426 Tradition is Walpurgisnacht, which falls on the night of April 30. (Though, to be honest, Walpurgisnacht tends to get the short end of the stick compared to our other festivals, which I’ll explain further in a just a moment.) We think of this festival as being the “Samhain of springtime,” and the name Walpurgisnacht itself is taken from the Christian Saint Walpurga. It’s essentially the Germanic equivalent to the Celtic Beltaine or May Day, and as such, it represents the half-way point between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. (Unless you happen to be living in the southern hemisphere; in which case, Samhain occurs on April 30 and Walpurgisnacht occurs on October 31.) In this context, Walpurgisnacht represents the true beginning of the “light half” of the year and is a time for warding off demons and the last vestiges of winter. This is done in Germany by wearing scary costumes, lighting bonfires and making all kinds of racket to scare away the evil spirits. In my opinion, this idea of performing execrations during Walpurgisnacht and other spring fertility festivals that occur at the end of April or beginning of May is, in fact, the origin of “spring cleaning.”
It may seem strange that we celebrate a Germanic festival while worshiping an Egyptian God, but as with Samhain, our enthusiasm for Walpurgisnacht has less to do with our theology than with the time of year itself. I’ve talked about this before, but as strange as it may sound, I always feel “Halloweeny” every year in April. As a child, I would become obsessed with watching all of my family’s video-taped Halloween specials throughout this entire month (including the Garfield, Charlie Brown and various Disney Halloween specials). After I entered middle school and discovered the Halloween films, I developed a tradition of watching them not only in October and November but every April as well. It wasn’t until after my conversion in 1997 that I discovered where this strange compulsion might actually come from. It was by reading Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible (Avon Books, 1969) that I first learned about Walpurgisnacht, and upon further investigation of this arcane date, I learned that there actually is a “second Halloween” of sorts that occurs at this time of year.
For the first several years after my conversion, the only person I had to celebrate Walpurgisnacht with me was Seth Himself. Usually this didn’t work out quite the way I planned; there was almost always school on the following day, which made it very difficult to stay up and spend the night in fervent prayer. (This doesn’t mean I didn’t try; there were a few years when I went to school the next day without any sleep – and it sucked.) But probably the best Walpurgisnacht I ever celebrated before my brothers came along was the one in 1999. It fell on a Sabbath night that year (meaning there was an entire weekend of glorious freedom from school to follow), and it was also a full moon. So I sat on the porch that evening, and after saying some prayers to Big Red, I played the first Black Sabbath album in His honor. It was just me and the Big Guy, rockin’ to “The Wizard” and “Nativity in Black” out there in the moonlight, and it was great. (I might also mention that this was in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and that I lived mere minutes away from the as-yet-undiscovered mass grave of Duffy’s Cut. There are many reasons why I feel like Malvern is a very special – and perhaps even sacred – place, and that’s just one of them.)
After my family and I moved to Texas later that summer, it became much harder for me to celebrate Walpurgisnacht (or any other LV-426 holidays, for that matter). I’ve always preferred to have privacy while interacting with Big Red, and when you’re living on your own or in a house that’s yours, this is simple enough. But I was just a junior in high school at the time, and the early summer of 1999 was when I finally “came out of the crypt” to my father. His reaction to my faith was extremely hostile, and it became almost impossible for me to even so much as pray aloud at home (except very quietly in the middle of the night, when everyone else was asleep). This is why I had to develop the astral ritual technique I discussed a few months ago. But on a night like Walpurgisnacht, I wanted to exchange words of power with my Master without any fear or shame, and the only way I could do this was by going for a walk outside somewhere in a deserted area. Alas, we lived in a small gated apartment complex for the first year that we lived in the Lone Star State, and there were no deserted areas nearby.
Things didn’t change very much the next year either, for while we moved into a house down the street (which just happened to be surrounded by deserted farmland), the Eve of May was on a school night that year, and senior finals were just gearing up. Then, during my third Walpurgisnacht in Texas (the one in 2002), I was acting in a play at my college and there was a performance scheduled for that night. The same thing happened again in 2003, so up to that point I really only had one proper Walpurgisnacht celebration under my belt. This wouldn’t change until Walpurgisnacht 2004, which was the first to occur after I initiated my best friend Tony into LV-426 (thereby promoting him to “brother” status). Now there were three of us (counting Seth), which made it easier to celebrate somehow. (It also made it easier that Walpurgisnacht was on a Sabbath that year.) What an experience it was to finally go to a forest with someone on this day, to call down our Lord together and to headbang with Him while blasting some Danzig where no one else could see or hear us. I’ll never forget how red the sky became as the Sun descended that evening. When we returned to Tony’s house afterwards, I showed him The Wicker Man (1973), which has since become annual Walpurgisnacht viewing for us and our families.
Walpurgisnacht 2005 (which fell on a Saturday) was even better. I was living in Houston, and Tony drove down to visit me for the whole weekend. I had transferred to the University of Houston to finish a degree in theater, but I’d also become disillusioned with that career path and dropped out of school. I was working a dead-end minimum wage job as an inventory clerk at a really shitty craft store, hoping against hope that I wouldn’t have to go back to living with my family (which I eventually did later that summer). But none of that mattered from the night of Friday, April 29 to Sunday, May 1, for during that three-day stretch, Tony and I hit Houston like bricks fired from a machine gun. We roamed every Hooter’s, strip joint, antique book store and vintage record shop we could afford, growling the lyrics to our favorite death metal songs and shouting a random “HAIL SETH!” at every turn. It was a weekend full of booze, lewd jokes, hot women, horror flicks, and tons of heavy fuckin’ metal. When it was over, we both knew Seth was mighty pleased with us. We were both fighting a constant battle against
Apophis at that time in our lives, but that evil motherfucker just couldn’t touch us for that entire weekend. Walpurgisnacht 2005 has since gone down as the one of the most legendary (if insane) events in LV-426 history.
Sadly, subsequent Walpurgisnachts have not been so memorable. I honestly can’t remember what happened in 2006 or 2007, and to be honest this is probably due to willful forgetfulness. (Those were both really bad years for me and the Tonester.) Things brightened up again by Walpurgisnacht 2008, but I can’t remember much about that occasion either. (All I can recall is that we were both re-watching the original Indiana Jones Trilogy and getting psyched for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, which was due for release less than a month later.) I can’t even remember 2009, and that was the last one that Tony and I were able to celebrate together (since I moved to Michigan not too long afterwards). I do know that 2010 was the first Walpurgisnacht I spent with my wife, and that we marked the occasion by going to the Calder Dairy and Farm, where you can pet and feed all the farm animals you could possibly want. (I got to pet not one, not two, but THREE donkeys that day! I was a very happy Typhonian indeed!)
2011 was my first Walpurgisnacht with Brother Patrick, who was initiated into LV-426 in December 2010 (on the seventh anniversary of Tony’s initiation date, no less). But we often find it difficult to meet for worship on this date, usually for work-related reasons. (I might also point out that the three of us never been able to observe Walpurgisnacht together in person.) This year is no exception; I have a pretty crazy schedule this time around due to my job, and even my regular Sabbath festivities are going to be cut short due to having to work over the weekend. (Argh!) So unfortunately Patrick and I can’t even celebrate Walpurgisnacht the day after. The three of us could probably get away with taking this date off from work for religious reasons, and we could probably figure out a way to celebrate it together. But truth be told, our resources and our vacation time are limited, and it’s generally more important that we save them for Samhain instead. In any case, hopefully this will all be much easier next year since Walpurgisnacht will be on a Saturday in 2016.
In any case, here’s hoping today is a really great day, despite all the heartache and headaches that are happening right now. Merry Walpurgisnacht 2015, everyone! “Summer Is Icumen In,” and may the Gods bless us all.
Courtesy of the Lord Summerisle and His People