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Jane Wagoner
              My Harz Mountains

     “Magic seems inevitable in the mysterious forests and valleys of the Harz Mountains. Witches and goblins and elves have been the unseen companions of the inhabitants of the dark hills since the Bronze Age. It’s not surprising that when Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm began to collect the folk tales that they would one day make famous, they mined the legends of the Harz. 

     “The Harz lie in the center of northwestern Europe, rising quietly above the German plain. For millennia restless travelers had moved across the ancient hills, alternately conquering, settling and disappearing. Fey Celts, fierce Germanic tribes, Roman legions, Charlemagne’s troops, have all left traces of their civilizations in the hills and woodlands.

     “History pervades the mysterious hills. Pagans once worshipped at secret places high above healing springs, and each spring on April 30, the eve of Walpurgis, all of Europe’s witches are said to gather at the top of the infamous mountain called the Brocken. On that night every dwelling in the Harz is guarded by branches cut from the sacred rowan tree. The rowan, impervious to frost and wind, keeps the steep mountain slopes in place with its deep-grown roots, and provides potent protection from enchantments. “




    
Learn more about this wonderful area at:

    
http://www.worldandi.com/specialreport/walpu/walpu.html
    
http://www.die-drei-suedharzer.de (in German only)
   
http://www.sankt-andreasberg.de/gb/229.shtml
Excerpt from Bells of May
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