Friday, October 12, 2012

witches tales

Multi-views are probably my least favourite postcards, though some are done well. This card came from Postcrosser Eva in Thale, Germany and shows some wonderful rugged scenery. She wrote that the symbol from the Harz is witches, but gave no reason as to why. So I had to resort to the internet which led me to various awkwardly translated pages about this National Park. I learned that this is a highly regarded spot for hiking and camping, and that tourism is the main source of employment. All in spite of the witches.

It was a favourite walking place for Goethe and he used the setting for one of Faust's memorable scenes where he is taken by the devil up the Brocken (the highest peak in the Harz mountain range) where he "watches a wild night of revelry with witches and other evil creatures". 
When Goethe climbed the Brocken, it was before the hordes of tourists and he reportedly found it a lonely experience. "So lonely, I say to myself, while looking down at this peak, will it feel to the person, who only wants to open his soul to the oldest, first, deepest feelings of truth."

The witches actually all come out in anticipation of Spring on Walpurgis Night (April 30 - May 1) which is of course exactly six months from All Hallow's Eve.

The dense forest and mountains are often shrouded in mist and clouds which lends a mysterious atmosphere that contributes to the reputation as a legendary home to witches and devils.

The witches are said to have arrived on broomsticks where they dance around a huge bonfire and worship their lord the devil who then bestows them with new magic power.

Closer to the truth may be that these witches were just poor pagans who were forced by Charlemagne to convert to Christianity. They kept their pagan religion secret and went to the uninhabited mountains shrouded in hoods and masks to protect themselves as they worshipped their gods.

Postcard Friendship Friday


  1. I like the broomstick riding witch, watched by owls and nearly struck by lightning ... poor thing has lost her shoe - and still has a friendly wave and smile!

  2. That explanation seems most likely and it is a shame that certain traditions want to shroud every original story into something much more scary and absurd. We do have the Christian Church to thank for that.

  3. You are right! That is probably how it went!
    Great card

  4. What lovely bloomers! I have heard of the mysterious beauty of those mountains. Did you know it was the little people of those mountains who finally defeated the Roman empire? 'Tis true. Germans are a tough sort. I say so, because I am a quarter German. LOL

  5. Wow, that's really interesting and I love the bright colors on the card!

  6. Interesting. I feel so sorry for anyone forced to convert to another religion.


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