There is a place which can still be found on the map and it’s called, Baviaria. In this beautiful spot located in the southern regions of Germany, a tradition continues that has it’s roots stretched from a long past. The festival is called, Almabtrieb. (Also known as Viehsheid.)
Almabtrieb marks the end of a season when the the cattle return from the mountain. They spent approximately 100 days grazing there in what is known as, the Alpine Meadows.
Now while this is a tradition that still goes on today, it touches on a fertility rite from more ancient times. In centuries past, cattle were dressed in colorful ribbons, if the season had been a good one, and even in bells—which were said to drive away demons and the evils the most superstitious folk, fear.
Fertility Rites were a very important part of our Ancient History because not only did we want to further our own bloodlines, but we needed our animals to do the same. The Rites were a way to tap into the productive powers of the earth, of water, of all important life-giving things. We need and needed good and abundant harvests and we needed the world to renew itself within the Seasons and for those Seasons to close only to be reborn again.
In a way, when biblical writers said, “We are made in the imagine of God,” this was correct in all things even in Paganism, which the sentence also mimics.
We mirror nature and nature mirrors us. There is a connection. And together, we mirror the myths, beliefs and legends of the Gods and Goddesses.
As the God goes into the earth for his sacrificial death, so do we when we die. So does the Seasons when they come to an end. But just as the Great Mother gives renewed life to the God come spring and he is reborn, so are the Seasons – as so reflects the proof that we can be in one form or another (depending on your belief).
These Rites survived even when more dominant Religions swept across the land attempting to drive out the Old Ways and Ways of the Goddess. Yes, even Christians and Muslims had and have prayers and blessings done by those who were and are ordained by their Faith, hoping to invoke their God’s blessing over the fields and seasons.
Whether it be Religion, Seasons, Life, Deity, Spirit… it seems nothing ever really dies or disappears forever. It changes. It is renamed. Maybe it’s rejected but sure enough, an echo of it lives in something, somewhere.
May every single one of you have a blessed day, whether you celebrate Almabtrieb or something or nothing else. Be thankful for all you have gained or have even lost from the previous Season as we are able to witness a new one unfold.