Berchta

The Fierce Love of Berchta – Anthology

The Fierce Love of Berchta

Correspondences

Number6 (as in Jan 6, or 12th Night)
ElementEarth/Air
Planet/AstrologyMoon
DayYule
AnimalSwan
StonePearl
PlantsHolly, Mayflower, Birch
WorldUnderworld
SeasonWinter, Winter Solstice, Yule
ColorsGreen and White
Photo via Pixabay

Her Story and Faces

Berchta is a Winter Goddess with many threads (and names!) throughout Germany, Austria, and the region of the Alps. There are still areas where some rituals to Berchta still take place even after her demonization by the Church.

She appears as either a veiled young woman (Perchta) with pearls woven into her hair or as a disfigured hag, with unruly hair and dirty clothing. As the young woman, she carries keys and mayflowers. As the old woman, she carries a distaff (for unspun wool). Her plant spirit allies are Holly, Mayflower, and Birch. 

Image found on Pinterest

In Bavaria, she is one of the Leaders of the Wild Hunt. Leading the procession of those she protects, it is a Yule time procession of the ghosts of women, children, and animals. Other stories include her sovereignty over the fields, as Holda, Goddess of Abundance shaking the snow from herself over the ground that will allow the rebirth and abundance of the fields in Spring. Like many of our Dark Goddesses, she is a bridge between the living and the dead or the cycle of death and rebirth.

Perchta, Holda, Diana, Frigga, La Befana

The list of names and energetic similarities of this Winter Solstice Goddess expands through archeological discoveries by the likes of Marija Gimbutas and many other historians. From appearing with a Swan’s foot, as a Maiden or a Crone, to her demonization by the Church and slitting bellies if not properly behaved and consuming the right “meals”– Berchta and her conflations and sister Goddesses are here to teach us how to regain our own sovereignty through our renewal and rebirth.

Photo by Kaycee Reeves

Welcoming Berchta – Kaycee’s Experience

Like most other Goddesses, I was deeply intrigued by Berchta. Pre-Christian forms of Goddesses hold so many dualities, are all encompassing, but are historically demonized to control the populace instead of being beautiful stories explaining the seasons and highest connections to divinity. After creating the Berchta Candle, I set out to get to know her even in her darkest forms.

The Stomach Slicer

The stories of Berchta slicing open the stomach of those who didn’t leave the right food or who consumed it all and didn’t leave any for her caught my attention. When I connected with her about this story, this story was changed to inspire fear. In fact, the feeling was that her demonization led her to becoming the Stomach Slicer to free those who are being mercilessly controlled. She explained she is emptying the contents of what has been force fed to us so we can find our inner wisdom, our inner fire, our inner motivation, and purpose. This clearing out and imminent death allows the transformation of rebirth with the return of the solar fire, not just the celestial sun, but the fire within us.

Looking to 2022

Berchta asked me what I am cutting myself open for in 2022. I was taken aback, but she was very persistent with this question. How am I growing my fire? How can I expect this flame to grow without the space available for air to reach it? What must I carve out myself? She tossed her distaff at me, the end having a blade attached. She said this is also a key, I would know where to cut and where to weave when the time is right, but the time is approaching quickly. I look forward to continuing my work with the fierce love of Berchta!

Photo by LUM3N via Unsplash

Sources

Berchta. (n.d.) Encyclopedia of Christmas and New Year’s Celebrations, 2nd ed.. (2003). Retrieved November 30 2021 from https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Berchta

Illes, J. (2009).Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Saints, Angels, Fairies, Demons, and Ghosts (Witchcraft & Spells). HarperOne.

My Journey with Berchta

2021 has seen many upheavals in all of our lives. We have lost loved ones through sickness, conspiracy, and growth. Mother Berchta has taken the pieces I could no longer hold and tossed them into the aether. I am grateful to her for doing so!

Image via Pinterest

I started the month knowing the shifting and cracking of bones was necessary. We are all remade over and over, if we allow that growth to lead us to all of the places and spaces meant to be ours. As I get older, I see shades of my own grandmother begin to appear. It was never more prevalent than this holiday season.

Kaycee has spoken about a tradition we started for ourselves this year that we’re affectionately calling Witchmas. It is her, myself and my dearest sister Wendy, we are the Witches Three. In all the years I’ve known these two lovely Witches, we hadn’t spent a December holiday together. That needed to change! With a plan hatched, my beloved checked maps and found a place of roughly equal distance for us all to travel to meet.

I began to plan gifts and Hygge became the theme. It was for all of us, without even knowing it. Selfcare during the busy holidays is a must. It’s not too late, head over to 12 days of Self Care and bring in the new year at peace.

This is where my beloved Gran came in. I crafted teas and cocoas, flavored sugars and mulling spices. Even charmed planner clips. I found an adorable Etsy shop or three and obtained the most luscious hand lotion, soap and shower gels.

Photo by allison christine on Unsplash

I’ll be the first to admit, I went overboard. Yet, Berchta sat with me as I crafted, nodding her head or showing me a better way, depending on what I was doing. I even made Wassail as an offering to her. Then sat with her and sipped it.

The Wisdom of Berchta

There are words of wisdom in the breeze and as I sit here, writing this, there is something I must pass along.

“You love so hard and so deeply that sometimes it gets you wounded. Those that are your tribe understand that. They will ALWAYS have your hand when you need them most. This world needs more of the souls that love that deeply.”

The people in my life, that have seen me at my best and my worst, and stayed anyway? Those are the people that carry a piece of me with them. Those that I come to with an idea and they say “Let’s figure out a way to do that!” They ARE my tribe.

Tonight, I will sit with Mother Berchta and release the things I didn’t know I still held.

I am forever grateful for her gentle nudges toward my own mother. For the first time ever, my gifts were something so truly me. It is only Berchta that I feel could have planted that seed.

She is wise.

She is caring.

She is the Mother.

She is me.

And she is all of you.

Building it Up

This is a free series from Dark Goddesses Collective and is a part of our December 2021 work. We believe that it is important to empower each other, this includes providing free information that provokes or encourages knowledge of self, of sovereignty, and that which builds intuition. Over the course of 12 days we will be building up a practice of selfcare that invites in the deeper knowledge of self and building up awareness of the importance of Full-hearted selfcare in our practices of magic.

We are building a network of Sovereigns too! Stay tuned!

A candle & a key, With Darkest Gratitude,
Kaycee & Ivy

You can also now find us on Facebook and Instagram!

Wassail as an offering to Berchta

It’s time to dive inward!

Since last month, I have known I wanted to honor our Dear Berchta with something that always warms me in the cold winter months, Wassail! If you haven’t had this wonderful hot beverage, read on, my recipe is at the end. Its warmth almost feels a rebirth as we step away from the old and into the new.

The coming days can be full of needless stress. Sitting down with a cup of Wassail and inviting Berchta in can be the calm in the raging storms outside. It is absolute FIRE for the soul.

Photo by Author

Witches, you can’t pour from an empty cup. You can not do for everyone else and expect that you will suffer no consequences. There are ways of coping coming your way. In the meantime, sitting down with a cup of Wassail and a slice of your favorite pie can recharge and re-energize you. Even if only temporarily.

Steal that 5 minutes. I give you permission!

I decided that I would make this lovely beverage, invite our DGC Goddess of the Month, Berchta, to join me at the hearth fire and just listen. She seemed incredibly pleased with just being asked to partake and shared wisdom with me freely.

So let’s get to why you’re here, my Wassail recipe.

If you’re creating this as an offering for any Deity, it’s important that you set your intentions. Light your BSC for her, if you have some Holly, have it nearby (yet not TOO close), burn some cedar or evergreen of your choice. Really set the mood for the task at hand.

Ingredients

Photo by Author

8 C. Apple Cider (1/2 Gallon)
2 C. OJ
1/4 C. Lemon Juice
4 Cinnamon Sticks
12 Whole Cloves
1/4tsp-ish Nutmeg
1/4tsp-ish Ginger

I add a few thin slices of Orange to mine. You can also add Star Anise and/or Whole Cranberries

The first picture of the post, is what it looks like all together in the stockpot before the heat is turned on. Turn it up to Medium Low and wait until it starts steaming a bit. Turn it down and let it simmer for about 45 minutes. Stir it a few times during the process. But do so with your intentions in mind. This is an active potion and needs to be infused as such. I also do not use ANYTHING with Teflon. It is a forever chemical that has altered us in so many ways.

Photo by Author

Once it’s ready, it will look similar to this.

Berchta’s Offering

I decided that she deserved the very best serving container I could provide. Which was my Great Grandmother’s 22k Gold rimmed glasses. I took one of them and placed hot water in it so it wouldn’t break. Once the glass was heated up I ladled it in held it for a moment and then placed it at the setting I had laid out for her. Unfortunately, dealing with heat and camera phones can be tricky. So please forgive the lack of final photo. It ended up way blurrier than I realized!

Witches, please, over the coming days, take time to ground, center and just breathe deeply. We’re all going through the same stressors. We’ve got this!

With Darkest Gratitude, A candle & a key,
Ivy & Kaycee

Please be sure to check out the previous post on our Berchta Witchmás 2021 Candle

You can also now find us on Facebook and Instagram!



The Berchta Witchmás 2021 Candle

Tis the season of diving inward, but it also is the season of long held traditions across the world. Dark Goddesses Collective is embracing and calling in Berchta (Perchta, Frau Holle, Hertha, Holde, she of many names).

The Black Sacred Candle

The main reason for the Black Sacred Candle in my practice is to ensure that when I light it, I have a space that is immediately sacred, cleansed, protected, and blessed. Performing on the spot magic is much easier and it is a part of my “work smarter, not harder” practicality.

Photo by Kaycee Reeves

This month I wanted to create the Black Sacred Candle in layers that honors the main purpose, but also is a call to Berchta, as well as a blessing to a new tradition – Witchmás!

Base Layer

  • Personal Oil of choice
  • Mugwort
  • Sage
  • Myrrh

Secondary Layer

Berchta has many names and faces, with some rituals still taking place in regions near the Alps. She appears as either a veiled young woman with pearls woven into her hair or as a disfigured hag, with unruly hair and dirty clothing. As the young woman, she carries keys and mayflowers. As the old woman, she carries a distaff (for unspun wool). Her plant spirit allies are Holly and Mayflower. To call her in all her forms, I added Holly, pearl charms, and used a branch wrapped in cord.

Photos by Kaycee Reeves

*Please remove branch and cord while burning and follow fire safety protocols*

Third Layer

The adding of the Holly berries is multipurpose. While Holly in all its forms is a nod to Berchta, it is also because they represent the fire element of the plant. When I am bringing something new into creation, such as the tradition of Witchmás, it too is the fire of creation. I added a few extra drops of my personal oil to the berries to really tie it together.

Photo by Kaycee Reeves

Are there any new traditions you are creating this year?

A candle & a key, With Darkest Gratitude,
Kaycee & Ivy

You can also now find us on Facebook and Instagram!

Feature Image Credit: Kaycee Reeves

December Witchery

Inward with December

As we go deeper into the darkness of winter, we recognize the silence of the frozen landscape. We know the journey inward is well underway. The time for our own inner reflections, potent self-discovery, and full heartedness is upon us as well. Sink deeply in with us here at Dark Goddesses Collective as we dive into the Winter Goddess Berchta.

Photo via Pixabay

The Month of December

Our Theme: The Full-Hearted Witch

This month we are sinking in to traditions of selfcare. 12 Days of it!

Our Goddess: Berchta

Berchta is a Winter Goddess with many threads (and names!) throughout Germany, Austria, and the region of the Alps. She is over the Hearth and Home, Women, Children, the fields, and the animals. The journey between maiden and crone, across her threads and domains, can allow us to peer into our own preparations for 2022.

Photo by Meddevi via Deviantart (Also known as Laura Tempest Zakroff, a phenomenal artist, creatrix, designer, witch, and author – ALL OF THE THINGS!).

Some of what we have planned:

As the month progresses, other work may present itself. Be sure to subscribe to our blog feed for new posts. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram.

A candle & a key, With Darkest Gratitude,
Kaycee & Ivy

We are equally excited to announce that our private network is coming along beautifully. Its creation will be for those who are interested in doing the deeper, life-changing, intuitive work of reclaiming their power with Dark Goddesses and a tribe committed to fostering change in their communities. Stay tuned!

Feature Image Credit: Dark Goddesses Collective, via Pixabay