The Little People

Even though many might have forgotten it and even though many might have no knowledge of it anymore. There was a belief in Eurasia, North America and Africa that our Ancestors had in common. Nowadays, these things are seen as primitive, silly – or these symbols are twisted, turned around and used by New Age-Esotericists. There is almost no tribe on this earth, who didn’t know them. Do you know them, too? Did you grow up with them? Have you heard of their tales, the fairy tales?

There is a kind of people, who are tiny, really small, and they usually like to live in nature, amongst the rivers, mountains and forests. Anthropologists refer to that belief as Animism. The belief in a consciousness and soul of nature. There probably isn’t any ancient culture, who didn’t have tales about them. So did Europeans, and the Ancestors of the modern Europeans, too. The Proto-Indo-Europeans. Well, it is up to each if you’d like to believe in them, or try to grasp the message, the symbolism behind it. But, let’s see how wide spread this belief really was. Dwarves and gnomes seem to prefer to live in nature, being left alone. In Scandinavia, they are called the “Tomtenisse”, with their little hats and cute way of looking, they can appear as both well mannered or they can play tricks on you. The Småfolk, the little people, live in Sweden. They love to steal your socks, steal your livestock or damage your property, if you have not asked them for permission to live there.

The Romans, Germans, Celts and the Slavic tribes all knew them. Amongst Germanic tribes it was believed that they have the power to put you right into ecstasy, filling you with sexual lust and desire. The Celts knew about their presence. They are usually hard workers, farmers and they took care of animals and other living beings that were in need. It is especially around Beltaine, Maifest in German, that their presence was most powerful and had the most impact on us humans: It was then, when they were manipulating us and our instincts, forcing us to procreate and have children. The Maypole, Maibaum, is a phallic symbol for a reason. There is many symbols behind their appearances. Their hats can be seen as a symbol of sexual desire, of lust, a phallus. Their beards are a symbol of wise, knowledgable and old, ancient beings. Sometimes, they prefer to live within certain trees, such as the Holunder, the Elderberry or the Birch (Elderberry is the Frau Holle tree, the pagan Goddess Holda, the Great Mother, and the Birch in norse Myths is connected to Freya. Freya is fertility. You see the connections? All these symbols have a meaning, a reason!).

In India, they are known as the Deva. And the Deva do indeed contain life force and energy, breathing life into the plants and animals. The Great Mother of everything, Maha Kali, will give birth, nurture and recycle in the great cycle of life and nature. She can be dark because she brings transformation and death, but also gives birth. She isn’t evil. She is one Aspect of the forces of life. Just like the German pagan Goddess Holda. Holda, Frau Holle, Berchta (or the norse Hel, if you wish) is the Great Mother, gives birth to everything. It is because of her, that the Perchtenläufe take place in the Alps, even though this has become more and more forgotten, too. Her name is Berchta in Bavarian, she makes sure that the winter spirits of darkness will be removed. She brings transformation. Or the greek God of Pan with his flute. They all have their little people, their little folk and they all work for them, the Great Everything.

In North America, amongst the Pueblo-Native Americans, the Kachina-people play an important role. The Kachina are THE reason, why people can live there. They make sure that this arid place gets rain, that there is water, and that people can grow food. They will appear with their masks during deep shamanic dances. The Kachina can have a darker appearance, too. They demand respect and acceptance. You need to offer them respect, so that they will work with you. Otherwise, your garden will fail and it will be a bad year for you and your family.

Amongst the Crow-Nation of Native Americans, the Apsáaloke, it is a wide spread belief that the Nirumbee, the little people, live in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. At times, they will come and steal tobacco and food. And because of that, you offer them something as a sign of respect and acceptance, otherwise they can cause problems. Just like the Austrian and Aavarian traditions of the Alps, where farmers, especially in Tyrol, used to offer flour and beer to the Bergmandl’ and the Salamander that inhabit areas of the Alps. They can cause bad weather, make your hike miserable and steal your diary cows. In Iceland, there is the Huldufólk. These little fairy-like people live in the mountains, amongst water and ice, deep down in the soil. You have to ask them for permission to live there, build your house and have your livestock on THEIR land. They are also seen as wise, ancient and old. And they also do have different Aspects, both light and dark. These are old, ancient ideas and beliefs.

This has got nothing to do with New-Age trends, nothing to do with weird Guru’s. Somehow, most of these ideas were known amongst all ancient hunter and gatherer cultures. We Europeans were hunter and gatherers, too. Indeed, we were. When people talk about Asatru and European Paganism, we shall take a look at these hunter and gatherer cultures and their animistic beliefs. Without them, there would have been no Odin and no Thor. It’s true. The basic belief is that these gnomes and dwarves are the consciousness of mother nature itself. They’re full of symbols that one needs to understand before waving it off as primitive or ridiculous. They truly are a pagan piece of history.

These tales are old and in fact, modern science has proven through phylogenetic Analysis, that the fairy tales that we all love and grew up with are in fact up to 4000 and even more, up to 5000 years old. Tales like the Beauty and the Beast, the Smith and the Devil, Little Redriding Hood, these tales have their origins back to the Stone and Bronze Age. The so called Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index has compiled a massive amount of tales and analyzed them. It seems as if some of the most famous tales do have their origin from the Proto-Indo-Europeans and even though we hardly know anything about this ancient language and the origin of these pre historic people, much points to that fact. There is multiple theories on whether or not they came out of what today is the Ukraine or the Punjab region of India. But one thing is clear:

Next time you see a garden dwarf, smile but don’t just think how silly the belief in them is. Try to grasp and understand the deeper meaning, the message and the symbols instead. You don’t have to belief in little people with hats, but the message of the wonders of life and consciousness is something to ponder and think about. It’s way older than us. It is ancient.

Der Buttnmandl-Lauf

Der Buttnmandl-lauf (bairisch Buttn: scheppern) im Berchtesgadener Land ist eine weitere altbairische Tradition, welche am 5. und 6. Dezember zelebriert wird. Nach christlichen Überlieferungen ist es ein Einkehrbrauch zum Heiligen Nikolaus. Der Nikolaus kommt in Begleitung von Kramperl und Gangerl, und den in Stroh eingewickelten Buttmandl, welche bei dem Lauf eine grosse Kuhglocke um die Taille gebunden tragen. In Begleitung dieser geisterhaften Gestalten wird lauter Lärm gemacht, damit die Natur aus dem tiefen Winterschlaf geweckt wird.
Die Gangerl benutzen ebenso, wie der Krampus, eine Rute und gehen vorallem jungen Frauen leichte Hiebe. Dies soll die Fruchtbarkeit und den Segen für das nahe Jahr erhöhen und gleichzeitig alles Negative verbannen.


Wie bereits in meinen vorherigen Artikeln angesprochen, gibt es im Alpenraum einen sogenannten Perchtenkult. Die Geister, welche vornehmlich in den Rauhnächten auftreten, aber auch vor dem 21. Dezember den Menschen in den Dörfern einen Besuch abstatten, sind ein uralter Brauch mit vorchristlichen, heidnischen Ursprüngen. Manchen Theorien zufolge gehen diese auf keltische, germanische und auch römische Einflüsse zurück. Die Sagen um die Percht und der Wilden Jagd findet man fast überall in Europa, und haben jedoch in den Alpen am längsten überlebt.
In den Alpen gibt es verschiedene, viele sogenannte Mandl’. Das Mandl’ beschreibt einen Geist, der sowohl freundlich als auch neckisch auftreten kann und entweder mit einer bestimmten Jahreszeit, oder einem bestimmten Ort gebunden ist. Es gibt ein Manuskript, welches den Brauch der Buttnmandl ausführlich beschreibt und dürfte den Überlieferungen zu folge bereits in 16. Jahrhundert schon ein fester Bestandteil des archaischen Brauchtums in den Alpen gewesen sein.

Das Tragen der Masken, bei den Buttmandl’ sind es die sog. Larven, findet man in sehr vielen vorchristlichen Bräuchen wieder und scheint eine Art der schamanischen Verschmelzung der Menschen und den Geistern der Natur zu sein.
Heute ziehen die Buttmandl’ mit dem Heiligen Nikolaus um die Häuser, ermahnen die Kinder und geben den Haussegen für das kommende Jahr frei.
The Buttmandl-lauf (bavarian dialect “buttn”; clattering) takes place in the bavarian Berchtesgadener Land and is an old bavarian Tradition which is practiced on the 5h and the 6th of december. According to the christian heritage of the Alps, the Buttmandl’ are Guides of the Holy Saint Nicolas. He has many Guides along his way from village to village, amongst Kramperl and Gangerl and the Buttnmandl. They are dressed up in straw, with a large cow bell around their waist. It’s their job to make as much loud noise as possible in order to wake up the essence of life within the sleepy winter landscape. The Gangerl use, just like Krampus, a rod and hit young women with it.

The main belief and intent behind that was to evoke fertility and new life within women. As said in much other articles, there is an archaic cult around the Perchten (Bavarian Alpine Goddess Berchta) in the Alps of Europe. The spirits that will step out of their realm during the darkest nights of the year, the Rauhnächte, is, essentially, a pagan belief in the cycles of nature. Darkness will give birth to light, and death will transform into new seeds.
The tales of the Wild Hunt vary and you might find them almost everywhere in Europe, but somehow, in Bavaria and Austria, these traditions have survived for a long, long time and have become and essential part of the customs. The reason behind that might have been, that the tribes that have lived in the Alps, didn’t want to give up all of their pagan heritage when Christianity took over and converted most of the population.
That way, it became both: Christian custom, but with pagan roots. Some theories state, that the Buttmandl might be an interesting mixture between roman, celtic and germanic beliefs. But, in one way or another, almost all of them believed in the Wild Hunt and the spirits of winter. There’s a script from the 16th Century that talks about the Buttmandl Tradition in detail, which leads us to believe, that this tradition must have already been an integral part of Bavarian culture and was celebrated every year by the rural population.

The masks are mainly a symbol, called the Buttmandl-Larven, and you may find the wearing of masks within many, many traditions of pre christian and pagan heritage. It seems to be some sort of shamanic reunion between the human population and the spirits of nature. Today, the Buttmandl roam the countryside with Saint Nicolas, from house to house, to advise the young kids and to give their blessings for the upcoming year.

Animismus: Der Bärenkult

Der Bär ist ein starkes, mächtiges und bisweilen auch furchteinflößendes Tier. Er personifiziert Schönheit und Wildheit. Von vielen, vielen Völkern wurde er geachtet, angebetet und ihm wurden spirituelle, mächtige Eigenschaften zugesprochen. Germanische Stämme sahen in ihm das höchste, vollendete und mächtigste Tier, denn er galt als besonders mutig und stark. Auch sie glaubten, dass besonders starke Männer, welche im Kampf und Wehr gestorben sind, als Bär wiedergeboren werden.
Die Bärenklaue galt als besonderes Anhängsel, wer es trug, dem war die ganze Kraft und Stärke des Bärengeistes sicher.

Ja, den Bär findet man in unterschiedlichsten Mythen, Erzählungen und Geschichten. Keltische Stämme opferten der Bärengöttin Artio und auch bei den Griechen gab es die Herrin der Wildnis Artemis, einer Bärengöttin. Doch ist der Kult um den Bär älter. Wir finden seine Wurzeln in der Steinzeit wieder, bei den Indogermanischen Jäger und Sammler Kulturen, welcher später zu sesshaften Bauernvölker wurden. Die Indogermanen praktzierten einen Animismus. Jedes Tier und auch jede Pflanze hat eine Seele, ein spirituelles Wesen inne. Bei den Indern nennt man diese Essenz auch “Deva”. Jede Pflanze hat solch eine “Deva”. Als Totem wurde er verehrt und wer ihn bezwang, war als starker Mann herangewachsen und initiert. Diese archaischen Schamanenkulturen sind alt, bisweilen sehr komplex und vorallem nicht “primitiv”, wie es viele glauben. Die Germanischen & Keltischen Stämme sahen in ihm auch ein Fruchtbarkeitssymbol.

Bei den Neandertalern gab es viele Riten, Tradition und eine Sagenumwobene Geisterwelt. Bei der Grotte de Bruniquel in Frankreich gab es einen interessanten Fund. Man fand mehr als 80 Bärenschlafplätze und eine grosse Feuerstelle mit angebrannten Bärenknochen. Es gibt einige, archäologische Belege für eine Art Bärentotem im steinzeitlichen Europa. Im Bihor-Gebirge in Westrumänien fand man zahlreiche Bärenschädel, welche von Menschenhand angeordnet niedergelegt worden sind. In der nordischen Mythologie wurden Begleitgeister meist als Tier, als eine Art Krafttier, dargestellt.

Wir kennen dies von Odin’s Raben und Wölfen, aber auch der Bär und das Pferd hatte hier seine Bedeutung. Der skandinavische Männername Björn leitet sich aus dem altnordischen ab und hat einen direkten Bezug zum Bär. In den skandinavischen Sagenwelten steht der Bär in Relation zu den Berserkern, und auch hier wieder mit einer Betonung auf die starke Kraft dieses wilden Tieres. Und auch in Sibirien kennt und verehrt man den Bär, ihm gilt eine besondere Kraft. Sowohl die Inuit, Nivkh als auch viele andere Nordamerikanische Stämme sehen in dem Bären ein Totem und Krafttier, er gilt als Ahne des Menschen und oftmals auch als weiser Lehrer.


Grotte de Bruniquel, Frankreich

Animism: Bear Cult

The bear is a strong, wise and powerful spirit animal. He personifies beauty and wilderness. And indeed, he was worshipped by many tribes in pre historic Eurasia. Many Indo-European cultures were deeply animistic and as part of their worldview, the spirit totem was very important to their realm of practice. Many perceived the bear as the most powerful, highest animal there is. Germanic tribes viewed him as extraordinary strong and mighty. Some Germanic tribes believed that brave men, who died in battle, were reborn as a bear. In the German saying there is references to the force of the bear, “wenn etwas bärenstark ist”, something that is strong as a bear.

You’ll find him in many fairy tales, myths and other folklore. To wear parts of the bears body was seen as an act of shamanic initation into manhood. Some celtic tribes worshipped the Goddess Artio, Goddess of the wild and the bear, and others, like the ancient Greeks worshipped Artemis, another bear Goddess. But the cult and the spiritual practice around the bear is old. It is in fact ancient. It seems from the early Stone Age, and Indo-European hunter and gatherer cultures. He was worshipped as totem and the initiated could seek communication with the bear spirit. Everything in those cultures had a soul (Anima, lat. soul, Animism). Plants did and so did all the bears and animals. That is the very foundation of what we call “Paganism”, or so, at least, it should be. It’s the origin of it.


The Neanderthals had a very profund belief in spirits and their beliefs were way more complex than most people tend to believe. Germanic and celtic tribes often referred to the bear as a fertility spirit. Inside the cave Grotte de Bruniquel in France, Archeologists have found 80 places where bears have slept and a large fire pit with burned bones from bears.

In the Bihor-Mountains of western Romania, scientists have found a lot of bearskulls inside a cave, who were perfectly put in place by human hand, obviously as a part of some sort of ritual. In norse Mythology, there is the Fylgja, the spirit animal. And they are often animals. These beliefs are way older than the Viking Age. These beliefs stem from the Neanderthals. The totem of that animal was powerful, mighty and wise. In case of the Cave in France, we’re talking about 47600 years old. Odin’s Ravens and his wolves are Fylgja spirits. The bears are also known as the Beserkers in norse Mythology, with many tales surrounding them. In Siberia, the bear is an ancient Ancestors and is worshipped amongst these old shamanic tribes. The Inuit, Nivkh and other north American animistic cultures view the bear as a totem animal, powerful and spiritually wise and knowledgeable.

Grotte de Bruniquel, France

Harvesting natural ressources. Creating something all natural for body and soul.


So. Ich bin ja gern draussen im Wald und versuche, so nah wie möglich mit der Natur zu leben. Oft sammle ich dann diverse Kräuter oder andere Dinge und verarbeite diese dann. Das ist meine selbstgemachte Fichtenharzsalbe. Hilft wunderbar und ist einfach herzustellen. Die Zutaten sind ebenso denkbar einfach gehalten:

Evtl. Naturreines Tannennadelöl oder Latschenkiefer

Dazu löst man das Harz im erwärmten Öl auf und gibt dann das Bienenwachs hinzu. Mir ist es ein besonderes Anliegen, neue Wege und Möglichkeiten aufzuzeigen. Wir modernen Menschen sehen oftmals den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht mehr, können die natürlichen Stoffe in der Natur kaum noch entziffern und wissen auch nicht mehr, was wir damit anfangen sollen. Und dann fangen wir an, anstatt selbstständig abhängig zu werden.

I always harvest herbs and other things while out in the woods. I’m not into this way of life for theory so I want to learn and do as much as I can in order to live with nature. Here’s my homemade pine sap salve.

It helps and is easy to make. It contains olive oil, beeswax and sap that I’ve harvest myself while out in the woods. It is simple and easy, everyone can do it. It is of importance to me to point out that we still have possibilities even though we all are part of modern society. There’s still possibilities to live more naturally, and to become more self sufficient in our everyday life. The problem is that we have forgotten most of this. We can’t identify plants, mushrooms and other things in nature anymore, we don’t know what to do with it. And thus, we become dependent. Slowly less free, and more dependent. The knowledge isn’t lost and something as simple as natural cosmetics for your own household is not a big deal.

Every step is important. There’s plenty of possibilities out there.

The Funkenfeuer and its pagan origins

The Funkenfeuer is an old ancient tradition from the swabian-germanic-allemanic tribes, reaching from Switzerland to the Black Forest of Germany, to the Allgäu (where I grew up), and even to Tyrol and northern Italy. Towers made out of straw or wood are built high into the sky, which are burned down later on after sunset. Scientific research states that this is definitely one of a few pagan traditions still alive, with a possible germanic-allemanic origin. The Funkenfeuer takes place on Sunday in lent. By burning the tower, the fire symbolizes a holy union between the soil, earth and power of the sun. The sun as a life-giver, and also as a banishing, cleansing ritual of saying farewell to the spirits and forces of darkness and winter.


The German historian Josef Thaler said in 1798, that this tradition is pagan, pre christian in origin and was most likely dedicated to the Mother Goddess of Holda (Berchta in Bavaria), an ancient Goddess whose origins reach back to the early Stone Age, and the Sungod of BalduR. It’s about the reunion of the soil, the earth, and the Sun creating new fertility and giving new life back to nature.

Franz Josef Fischer said 1921 in his book “Der Funken und Küachlesonntag in Vorarlberg”, that this tradition has also celtic origins, reaching back to celtic tribes such as the Rhätier, which are also Etruscan in origin. Celtic tribes have, as all Indo-Europeans, worshipped the forces of the earth, the sun and the light as their beliefs are rooted deeply in animism and shamanism. Other historians and scientists state, that the Funkenfeuer is definitely pagan, but most likely roman in origin. But nonetheless, there is a lot of common ground no matter what origin. The Indo-Europeans have recognized the powers of nature, the cycles of nature and tried to live within these cycles. The Sun and the light is essential to all life. Without, nothing would exist.


Das Funkenfeuer und seine heidnischen Ursprünge

Das Funkenfeuer ist ein uralter Brauch aus dem schwäbisch-allemannischen Raum von der Schweiz in den Schwarzwald ins Allgäu, nach Tirol und bis nach Vinschgau kennt man diese uralte Tradition. Hierzu benutzt man entweder einen Strohhaufen oder einen aufgeschichteten Holzturm, welcher bei Nachteinbruch verbrannt wird.
Forschungen gehen davon aus, dass es sich hierbei um einen uralten, vorchristlichen, germanischen Brauch handeln könnte. Dieser Brauch findet am ersten Sonntag nach Fasching, also dem ersten Fastensonntag, statt.
Das Feuer soll Furchtbarkeit, neues Leben spenden und ebenso die Geister des Winters und der Dunkelheit vertreiben.


Der Landeshistoriker Josef Thaler erwähnte dieses Brauchtum 1798 und sprach ebenso deren heidnische Ursprünge an, welche durch das Christentum entsprechend uminterpretiert wurden. Nach seinen Forschungen zufolge handelte es sich hierbei um einen Brauch, welcher der Mutter Göttin Holda, einer ur-heidnischen Göttin der Natur und der Fruchtbarkeit, und dem Sonnengott Balder gewidmet waren. Das Feuer selbst ist eine Union dieser beiden Kräfte, Furchtbarkeit und Sonne.
Franz Josef Fischer sprach 1921 in seinem Buch Der Funken und Küachlesonntag in Vorarlberg und Liechtenstein von den heidnischen Ursprüngen des Funkenfeuers. Demnach haben keltische Vorfahren, wie die Rhätier, wie alle Indogermanischen Völker, das Licht, die Sonne und die Fruchtbarkeit der Erde. Sie verehrten BalduR und Mithra.
Andere Quellen besagen, dass das Funkenfeuer zwar heidnisch, aber römischen Ursprunges ist. Man geht jedoch allgemein davon aus, dass das Funkenfeuer ein heidnisches Fest der Beziehung zwischen Erde und der Sonne ist.
Denn die Natur benötigt Licht. Das Leben braucht die Sonne. Die Sonne ist ein zentraler, essentieller Grundstein allen Lebens. Ohne sie gäbe es hier auf Erden nichts.


The Walurgisnight

The Walpurgisnight takes place on the 30th of April to the 1st of May. It is a night full of myths, customs and folklore. The roots of this very important spiritual festival reaches far back in time, when Germanic tribes have settled the area around the Harz mountains in northern Germany. It was on this night that the death of winter and the arrival of spring, new fertility and the seed of new life was celebrated and honored. It might be one of those festivals that every pre-christian tribe and mythology celebrated in one way or another. The spirits of winter were banished, cast way into the abyss of the Underworld, very similar to the alpine-pagan tradition of the Perchtenläufe with the very same intent: To call upon new fertility and to cast aside the spirits of winter.

It was around 1000 years ago, that Christianity has condemned this festival as pagan, heathen, and as devil worship, similar to the greek God of Pan. The Goat was a spirit animal, phallic, referring to the potency of nature, the importance of procreation to ensure survival. Walburga from England was a very religious woman from a Monastery, and was declared holy by Pope Hadrian II. It was said that she had a profund knowledge in casting aside negative and evil spirits.

The Brocken Mountain in northern Germany, also called Blocksberg, is a magical place full of myths, fairytales and dark folklore. It was here, that people were seeking communication with the spirits of the Otherworlds. The witches-dance-place in Germany, Hexentanzplatz, in a town called Thale is dedicated to this pagan Union and the folklore surrounding this place. It was here, that the image of a witch with a broom, flying around in the Sky, was created and brought out into the world. The symbolism is that a Hagazussa, is a woman who is capable of “flying”over the fence with a broom. It is a symbol for spiritual trance-like Astralprojection.

A lot of rural customs stem from this pagan festival. The Maypole, der Maibaum, is usually a birch tree and the birch tree had mythological relations to the Goddess of Freya and her spirit of fertility. The Walpurgisnight was known in Bavaria as well and declared as a Rauhnacht. A Rauhnacht is one of these few nights of the year, where the veil between our world and the world of the Dead, of Hel, of Berchta, was very thin and one could go out into the dark woods, the dark corners of the village and communicate with the spirits of this very dark world and realm. During a Rauhnacht, people seek to either caste aside all spirits via burning incense (thus the name Rauhnacht, from Old German Rûch, smoke), or they think of their beloved ones who have passed away and now reside within the spirit world.

Die Walpurgisnacht

Die Walpurgisnacht in der Nacht auf den 1. Mai ist eine Nacht voller Ereignisse, Mythologie und Aberglauben. Ihre Wurzel reicht weit in eine vorchristliche, heidnische Zeit zurück, als Germanische Stämme das Harzer Gebirge besiedelten. Dabei wurde das Ende des Winters und der Neubeginn des Frühlings, der Fruchtbarkeit und der Beginn neuen Lebens zelebriert. Dies war für alle vorchristlichen Völker ein wichtiges Ereignis im Jahr, wenn der Winter sich gen Ende neigt und neues Leben erblüht.
Die Geister des Winters wurden ausgetrieben, ähnlich wie beim Brauchtum der Perchtenläufe mit der gleichen Intention, und die Fruchtbarkeit der Natur und des Lebens wurde herbeigerufen und gefeiert.


Vor circa 1 000 Jahren wurde diese Feier mit der Christianisierung als Teufelsverehrung verdammt, ähnlich dem Hirten- und Waldgott Pan, welcher ebenso zum Sinnbild des Teufels wurde. Die Ziege war in vorchristliche Zeit immer ein phallisches Symbol der Potenz der Natur und stand im direkten Zusammenhang mit dem Kreislauf der Natur.
Die christliche Nonne Walburga aus einem Kloster in England wurde von Papst Hadrian II an einem 1. Mai heiliggesprochen, ihr wurde ein grosses Wissen zur Austreibung böser Geister nachgesagt, und so entstand der Name Walpurgisnacht.
Der Brocken im Harzgebirge ist ein Ort zahlreicher Mythen, Sagen rund um Hexen, Naturgeister und der Anderswelt. Hier ist ein Ort der Kommunikation zwischen dieser Welt und der Welt der Ahnen, Geister und der Toten. Der Hexentanzplatz bei Thale ist ein Denkmal der vorchristlichen Menschen und ihrem tiefverankerten Glaube an Geister.

Hier im Harzgebirge war es, wo das moderne Bild der Hexe auf einem Besen fliegend, in die Welt getragen wurde. Die Gundelrebe hat an dieser Nacht eine besondere Bedeutung, soll sie zur Abwehr jener Geister dienen. Und noch heute leben sehr viele heidnische Walpurgisriten in traditionellen Maibräuchen auf dem Lande fort, wie etwa das Peitschenknallen und Maibüsche. Der Maibaum ist oft eine Birke und die Birke hatte in der heidnischen Mythologie Mittel- und Nordeuropas eine mythologische Verbindung zur Göttin Freya, ein Sinnbild für Fruchtbarkeit. Auch in Bayern kannte man diesen Brauch und die Walpurgisnacht war als eine Rauhnacht bekannt, einer Nacht, wo der Schleier zur Anderswelt besonders dünn gewesen war. In solchen Nächten ist die Schwelle zwischen Leben und Tod besonders durchlässig und Menschen kehren in sich, meditieren oder Gedenken der Toten.
Bild könnte enthalten: Wolken, Himmel und im Freien

Are plants intelligent?

We human beings can communicate via language, non verbal language, we can express emotions and thoughts. To some, it is difficult to even acknowledge that animals have a consciousness, and intelligence on their own, even though recent studies about the social behavior of wolves and certain apes has certainly acknowledged their very complex behavior. When I talk about Animism, I am talking about an ancient form or spirituality that has acknowledged an inner soul, consciousness or intelligence within nature as a whole. But how can I find out, if nature is indeed “alive”, and what else in nature has an intelligent, living Aspect, apart from humans and animals? And what about plants and trees?

Are they alive, are they intelligent? They can’t really move, don’t have legs, not a brain. So, there’s people out there that assume they’re dead. not alive. What does modern science say about that, about the intelligence within trees and plants? It’s a truth that no one can deny that recent, modern forestry has viewed trees as a natural ressource that should be fast paced in growth and easy to harvest in order to make a profit. But nature, it seems, is a very complex system within systems that are all dependent on each other. Plants, and certainly trees, too, react and respond to their environment. They need water, light, minerals. But they also can defend themselves. Some plants have thorns for a reason. But there’s other means of them protecting themselves. They can communicate via scents. If a tree is under attack by insects, the tree will respond with a scent that will attack certain predatory insects, for example. And it is done via biochemical cents. That way, it can warn all the other trees as well. That plants and trees communicate via biochemical scents was known and proven around 20 years ago.

When a tomato plant, or the tobacco plant, is under attack, it will produce toxins. Nicotine is such a toxin. Nicotine can and will kill certain insects and animals. And there’s other ways of communication, too. Trees can communicate deep down in the soil via roots and fungi through electrical impulses. It’s been proven that trees can adjust to a certain environment, learn from it and somehow remember what they have experienced in the past. How this is done, no one yet knows. The University of Bonn suggests that this might be accomplished by the roots, that somehow function as a network of nerves. They can solve their own issues, respond to their environment, protect themselves, warn other trees and from relationships to other trees and fungi. This is where it gets very complex.
Fungi are very important to the soil of a forest and very beneficial as well. They are masters of transformation, recycling, filtering and digesting dead organic matter. The fungi called Mychorriza forms a bond with trees in order to receive a sugary substance from the trees, while the trees in return get minerals and water. Sounds like a good deal?
They’re dependent on each other. Fungi break down matter, recycle and return beneficial minerals back into the soil. And their fungal mycelia, that spreads out deep down underground, connects with the roots of other trees. They are constantly exchanging biochemical and electrical impulses. It’s a deep relationship going on deep in the forests, and yes, plants and trees do communicate but not via language as we do. They have their own, very unique ways of doing so. And it is very complex, way more complex that what we would have imagined.
There certainly is some type of awareness and intelligence going on. If plants would be dead, they wouldn’t adjust, learn, protect, defend, and exchange with other trees and fungi.

University of Bonn
Max Planck Institute