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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in Sabbat Mount

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Social Imperative of the Sabbat

In the topsy-turvy world of the Sabbat, the witch returns to the Dreamtime, in which all social norms are overturned.

At the Sabbat, there are no distinctions of “race,” of sex, of class, of gender.

At the Sabbat, all are equal.

At the Sabbat, if nowhere else, we encounter full social equality.

The stories of those early American Sabbats tell of indigenous, colonial, and enslaved all coming together to dance as one: red, white, black, all equal.

The Sabbat dreams of a new world, a world (as in the beginning) of radical equality.

The Sabbat embodies this dream.

In fact, the Sabbat predicts it.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Night on Bald Mountain

I suppose you could call it the witches' Olympus.

A place both real and mythic, the Sabbat Mount stands at the center of Witch mythology, both modern and ancient. It is there that we gather for our broomstick jamborees, both legendary and—increasingly—actual.

The Sabbat Mount is a real, live place. While the best-known is probably the Brocken in Germany's Harz Mountains, it has many other incarnations as well. Where there are witches, there will also be Sabbat Mounts.

In France, the Puy de Dôme was well-known as a gathering-spot for witches; at its summit, in Gallo-Roman times, stood a temple to Mercury, interpretatio Romana of the witches' virile, naked god.

The famed Italian Monte Venere (“Mount Venus”) inspired Richard Wagner's opera Tannhauser; Mount Triglaf (“three-horn”) was the site of the wild Midsummer revels of the Ukrainian witches, subject of Modest Mussorgsky's Night on Bald Mountain.

Swedish witches gathered (and, apparently, still gather) at the Blåkulla (“black [or blue] hill”), often identified with the coastal island of Blå Jungfrun, the famed “Blue Maiden.”

In the New World, the Sabbat Mount of Pennsylvania's Deitsch country, the wooded hill known as the Hexenkopf (“witch's head”), was the site of witch revels past and present.

Here in the American Midwest, the wooded island in the middle of the Mississippi, now known as Trempealeau (“Stands-in-the-Water”) likewise plays host to Grand Sabbats both legendary and actual.

The Sabbat Mount is not merely the site of the Grand Convocation of the witches; it also marks the place where, in ancient times, the Horned, god of witches, descended from Heaven to bring Fire to the children of Earth. On the Sabbat Mount, Heaven and Earth conjoin.

Here's the mystery: although there are many Sabbat Mounts, they are all the same Mountain.

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Witch Island, or: Stands-in-the-Water

The way they tell it, Him that we call the Horned came down from heaven. Like a star he came down.

He came down to bring us Fire.

They say he looked down and saw that the People were cold and hungry, and in darkness, so he brought us the Fire of the gods. Like lightning he fell from heaven, or a star.

And that's where he landed: the Mountain that stands in the Mississippi.

Hay-nee-ah-chah, the Indians called it (that would be the Ho-Chunk): “soaking mountain,” and Pah-hah-dah, “moved mountain” (that's the Dakota). Trempealeau, the Frenchies named it, le montagne qui trempe à l'eau: the mountain that wades in the water.

Stands-in-the-Water, they call it, or the Black Mountain, because it's dark with oaks and maples.

(There's rattlesnakes out there, they say, to guard it.)

They call it the Sabbat Mount.

Nobody goes out there much, except for kids. Well, Indians too. There's mounds out there, if you know where to look for them, old mounds, some of them shaped like birds, or deer.

Well, and witches, of course.

Ever since he came down, that's been Witch Country down there, the Driftless. Witches all over. That's where they go for their jamborees, the witches, out to the Mountain that stands in the River.

You've seen the fires burning out there at night, and heard the drums. So have I.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
A Night on Witch Island

Have you ever been to Witch Island?

You know the one I mean. That island out in the river (or: lake) where the witches go for their...doings.

You've heard the stories. Nobody else goes out there.

(Well, there were those kids that once. Did you ever hear what they saw there? All that weird shit carved on the rocks? The big pile of ashes? The bones? Did you hear what happened to those kids?)

You've seen the fires out there among the trees at night. You've seen the shadows of the dancers.

You've heard the drums, the crazy singing.

You've heard the howls.

The screams.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Many Mountains

They say that there are many paths to the top of the mountain.

Maybe so.

But in my experience, different paths lead to different places.

Some paths lead to the valley. Some paths lead to the sea.

Yes, some paths do lead to the top of the mountain.

But, of course, there are many mountains.

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  • Tacy West
    Tacy West says #
    I have been so blessed to grow up at the foot of the Rocky Mountains. In my decades of wandering around the valleys and peaks of

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