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Words empty as the wind are best left unsaid.

~Homer

A picture is worth a thousand words.

~Napoleon Bonaparte

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Puck, Walpurgisnacht, Goethe' s Faust, Saul and the Witch of Endor, Witches' Sabbath

In English folklore, Puck is a mythological fairy or mischievous nature sprite. Puck is also a generalised personification of land spirits. In more recent times, the figure of Robin Goodfellow is identified as a puck.

 A 1639 depiction of the traditional Puck or Robin Goodfellow

Puck, also known as Robin Goodfellow, is a character in William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream.

 Puck, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, for the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery

 Aside from Shakespeare's famous use of Puck, many other writers have referred to the spirit as well. An early 17th century broadside ballad, "The Mad Merry Pranks of Robin Goodfellow"—which is so deft and literate it has been taken for the work of Ben Jonson—describes Puck/Robin Goodfellow as the emissary of Oberon, the Faery King, inspiring night-terrors in old women but also carding their wool while they sleep, leading travellers astray, taking the shape of animals, blowing out the candles to kiss the girls in the darkness, twitching off their bedclothes, or making them fall out of bed on the cold floor, tattling secrets, and changing babes in cradles with elflings. All his work is done by moonlight, and his mocking, echoing laugh is "Ho ho ho!"
Robin Goodfellow is the main speaker in Jonson's 1612 masque Love Restored.

John Milton, in L'Allegro tells "how the drudging Goblin swet / To earn his cream-bowle duly set" by threshing a week's worth of grain in a night, and then, "stretch'd out all the chimney's length, / Basks at the fire his hairy strength." Milton's Puck is not small and sprightly, but nearer to a Green Man or a hairy woodwose. An illustration of Robin Goodfellow from 1639 reflects the influence of Pan imagery giving Puck the hindquarters, cloven hooves and horns of a goat.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puck_%28mythology%29

Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill, painted by Arthur Rackham

Puck's trademark laugh in the early ballads is "Ho ho ho."
In Rudyard Kipling's Puck of Pook's Hill (1906), Puck, the last of the People of the Hills and "the oldest thing in England", charms the children Dan and Una with a collection of tales and visitors out of England's past.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puck_%28mythology%29


 Puck by Carl Andersson, Midsommarkransen, Stockholm, Sweden

Goethe also used Puck in the first half of Faust, in a scene entitled "A Walpurgis Night Dream", where he played off of the spirit Ariel from The Tempest.

Walpurgis Night - The thing is happening in the Harz mountains, where the top of the Midsummer Night seek various witches and ghosts. There are also Mephistopheles and Faust. At the top is a witches' sabbath, There is also Lilith.

Walpurgisnacht
A folk belief holds that in the night between April 30 and May 1, upon the boulders in the Harz mountains, the witches meet in celebration with the devil. The celebration is a Bacchanalia of the evil and demonic powers.

 Engraving by W. jury after Johann Heinrich Ramberg-Walpurgisnacht scene from Faust 1

 Witches' Sabbath - Johannes Praetorius

Walpurgis Night (Walpurgisnacht) is a traditional spring festival on 30 April or 1 May in large parts of Central and Northern Europe. It is often celebrated with dancing and with bonfires. It is exactly six months from All Hallows' Eve.

A scene in Goethe's Faust Part One is called "Walpurgisnacht", and one in Faust Part Two is called "Classical Walpurgisnacht". The last chapter of book five in Thomas Mann's The Magic Mountain is also called "Walpurgisnacht". In Edward Albee's 1962 play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Act Two is entitled "Walpurgisnacht".

 Ernst Barlach, Woodcut from the series Walpurgisnacht

 Albrecht Durer, Witches' Sabbath

 Luis Ricardo Falero, The Witches Sabbath

Francisco de Goya painted several paintings on that subject. Strange fascination.

Francisco  de Goya, Witches' Sabbath

  Francisco  de Goya,  Witches in the Air

  Francisco  de Goya,  Witches Sabbath (The Great He-Goat)

   The Bewitched Man

 The Conjuration
 Caprichos Plate 68 Lovely Teacher

 Caprichos Plate 60 Experiments or Trials

 Caprichos Plate 48 Tale Bearers Blasts Of Wind

 Caprichos Plate 52 What A Tailor Can Do

 Caprichos Plate 63 Look How Solemn They Are

 Caprichos Plate 64 Bon Voyage

 Caprichos - Plate 43: The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters

 Caprichos Plate 66 Up They Go

Caprichos Plate 72 You Cannot Escape

 Caprichos Plate 70 Devout Profession

In Germany, Walpurgisnacht, the night from 30 April to 1 May, is the night when witches are reputed to hold a large celebration on the Brocken and await the arrival of spring.
Walpurgis Night (in German folklore) the night of 30 April (May Day's eve), when witches meet on the Brocken mountain and hold revels with their gods..."
Brocken is the highest of the Harz Mountains of north central Germany. It is noted for the phenomenon of the Brocken spectre and for witches' revels which reputedly took place there on Walpurgis night.
The Brocken Spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, thrown onto a bank of cloud in high mountain areas when the sun is low. The phenomenon was first reported on the Brocken.
Oxford Phrase & Fable.

In some parts of northern coastal regions of Germany, the custom of lighting huge fires is still kept alive to celebrate the coming of May, while most parts of Germany have a derived Christianized custom around Easter called "Easter fires" (Osterfeuer)
 
In Finland, Walpurgis day (Vappu) is one of the four biggest holidays along with Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and Midsummer (Juhannus). Walpurgis witnesses the biggest carnival-style festival held in the streets of Finland's towns and cities. The celebration, which begins on the evening of 30 April and continues to 1 May, typically centres on copious consumption of sima, sparkling wine and other alcoholic beverages. Student traditions, particularly those of the engineering students, are one of the main characteristics of Vappu. Since the end of the 19th century, this traditional upper-class feast has been appropriated by university students. Many lukio (university-preparatory high school) alumni (who are thus traditionally assumed to be university bound), wear a cap. One tradition is to drink sima, a home-made low-alcohol mead, along with freshly cooked funnel cakes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walpurgis_Night 

More painters were fascinated with witchcraft and sorcery.

  Hermann Knopf,The sign of the witch

 Antoine Joseph Wiertz, The Young Sorceress1857

 Kandaurov Anton - Witch

Witches prepare a magic ointment 

 Sorcery - Paramour with the devil

 The Four Witches
  

Frans Francken II, Witch's Kitchen

Frans Francken II, Witch's Kitchen

 Frans Francken II, Assembly of Witches

 Hans Baldung,two witches

 Johann Heinrich Füssli, The Night-Hag Visiting Lapland Witches

 Johann Heinrich Füssli,The Three Witches

 Fuseli,  Macbeth and the Witches

 Theodore Chasseriau,  Macbeth and Banquo meeting the witches on the heath

 Ryckaert, David III, The Round of The Sprites Sprites

 Dominicus van Wijnen, Witchcraf  Scene

 Deatail

Dominicus van Wijnen, Allegory of witchcraft

 

 Salvator Rosa, The Witch

 Salvator Rosa,  Witches at Their Incantations

  David Ryckaert, Witches Sabbath 

 David Ryckaert, Witch Chases Away Demons 

David Teniers de Jongere, Witches

 David Teniers de Jongere, Witches

 David Teniers de Jongere, Witches and Demons

 Witches dance in Roman architectural ruins

 Hieronymus Bosh, Beehive and witches

The witch of Endor, sometimes called the medium of Endor, was a woman who apparently called up the ghost of the recently deceased prophet Samuel, at the demand of King Saul of the Kingdom of Israel in the First Book of Samuel, chapter 28:3–25
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witch_of_Endor 
 

 Salvator Rosa, The Shade of Samuel Appears to Saul

 Jacob Cornelisz  van Oostsanen, Saul and the Witch of Endor

 D. Martynov, The Shade of Samuel Invoked by Saul

 Mikolaj Ge, Witch of Endor

 Benjamin West, Saul and the Witch of Endor

 Matthias Stom,  Saul and the Witch of Endor

 Washington Allston

 William Blake,  The Witch of Endor Raising The Spirit of Samuel

 Dore

Johann Georg Faust (approx. 1480 - 1536 ) - lso known in English as John Faustus , was a medieval magician , an alchemist , physician and astrologer of the German Renaissance.Studies never completed, though according to legend, he was a student of the Cracow Academy . Dabbled in black magic , evoked the spirit of Helen of Troy . While in Erfurt that led to students ghosts of heroes of Homer . He claimed that he could recreate the lost works of Plautus and Terence .

Because of his early treatment as a figure in legend and literature, it is very difficult to establish historical facts about his life with any certainty. Possible places of origin of the historical Johann Faust are Knittlingen (Manlius 1562), Helmstadt near Heidelberg, or Roda. Knittlingen today has an archive and a museum dedicated to Faust. According to the researches of Frank Baron and Dr Leo Ruickbie, the evidence most points to Helmstadt as his place of birth, or family name.

For the year 1506, there is a record of Faust appearing as performer of magical tricks and horoscopes in Gelnhausen. Over the following 30 years, there are numerous similar records spread over southern Germany. Faust appeared as physician, doctor of philosophy, alchemist, magician and astrologer, and was often accused as a fraud. The church denounced him as a blasphemer in league with the devil.

Johannes Trithemius in a letter to Johannes Virdung dated 20 August 1507 warns the latter of a certain Georgius Sabellicus, a trickster and fraud styling himself Georgius Sabellicus, Faustus junior, fons necromanticorum, astrologus, magus secundus etc. According to Trithemius, in Selnhausen and Würzburg Sabellicus boasted blasphemously of his powers, even claiming that he could easily reproduce all the miracles of Christ. In 1507, Trithemius alleges, he received a teaching position in Sickingen, which he abused by indulging in sodomy with his male students, evading punishment by a timely escape.
He was unpopular contemporaries accused him of contacts with the devil, as indeed he confirmed. Wherever he appeared, created performances incomprehensible to humans. We all feared him, felt an embarrassment. In this situation, Faust sold his soul to the devil . He died in a tavern Under the Lion, in unexplained circumstances, where they found the mutilated corpse. Legend has it that the devil was rebuked for his soul by taking her to hell and the dead body of Faust cling face to the ground, not giving you the possibility to reverse it into the sky.

Dr. Faust became the hero of many literary and musical works, such as Ch. Marlowe's "Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" (1588), T. Mann's Doctor Faustus (1947), opera Ch. Gounod's Faust (1859), a dramatic legend H. Berlioz's Damnation of Faust (1846). Johann Wolfgang von Goethe visited in September 1790 Krakow and was interested in Faust.  He visited the Collegium Mains and chamber called Alchemy. The first fragments of Faust wrote just a year of his stay in Krakow.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johann_Georg_Faust

 Rembrandt,  Faust

At Walpurgisnacht festival, Mephistopheles draws Faust from the plane of love to the sexual plane, to distract him from Gretchen's fate. Mephistopheles is costumed here as a Junker and with cloven hooves. Mephistopheles lures Faust into the arms of a naked young witch, but he is distracted by the sight of Medusa, who appears to him in "his lov'd one's image": a "lone child, pale and fair", resembling "sweet Gretchen". 
Gretchen has drowned the newborn child in her despair, and has been condemned to death in consequence. Now she awaits her execution. Faust feels culpable for her plight and reproaches Mephistopheles, who however insists that Faust himself plunged Gretchen into perdition. Mephistopheles accuses Faust of initiating the pact: "did we force ourselves on thee, or thou on us?", but finally agrees to assist Faust in rescuing Gretchen from her cell.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faust,_Part_1

 

 Faust dissatisfied with all forms of knowledge, drawing by Eugène Delacroix 

 Mephistopheles Over Wittenberg (From Goethe's Faust)

 Faust Trying to Seduce Margarete

   Faust with Margarete in Prison

 Eugène Delacroix, Mephistopheles at the -itches sabbath from Goethe' s Faust

 Luis Ricardo Falero,The Vision of Faust

 Luis Ricardo Falero, Faust's Vision