Raun Nights: Rituals between the years: find peace and strength during the Christmas season. Living with an awareness of natural rhythms.

The Raunachten (also known as Rooknachten, according to the old spelling Rauhnächte), twelve nights (also twelfth), Glöckelnächte, Innernächte or Unternächte are 12 nights around the turn of the year that take on a special meaning in European customs. It is usually the Twelve Days of Christmas from Christmas Day (December 25) to the Feast of the Epiphany (January 6).
So, what makes these nights so special? The lunar year consists of 354 days and the solar year consists of 365 days. There are twelve nights between the two periods. These nights 'out of time' are considered mystical and magical and are the moment when the laws of nature are overthrown. Fate can be redetermined during this time. Even though nature seems frozen and silent, sensitive people can feel a certain buzz in the air. According to popular belief, the souls of the dead move closer to material reality in these 12 days and it is possible to hear them whisper prophecies of the future. Of such days, it is often assumed in mythologies that the laws of nature have been suspended and therefore the boundaries of other worlds fall. In many cultures that use such a calendar system, this period is often associated with rituals and folk customs.


More and more local people in the Alpine region have acquired the habit of burning herbs during the Raunächte. One of the reasons for this may be the growing interest in natural remedies based on knowledge about the beneficial effects of the aromatic substances found in herbs and plants. This is also related to the desire of many people to connect more closely with nature and to live in accordance with its rhythms. That's why many people use the time around the Raunächte to reconnect with their roots and nature.

Herbs are usually burned during the four most important nights in this period: the feast of St. Thomas on December 21 (winter solstice), Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, and the feast of Epiphany on January 5 and 6. Dried bundles of herbs are finely chopped and burned in a heat-resistant earthenware dish with incense and charcoal. Smudging out of the house with herbs starts at the oven (the stove, or the fireplace, if you have one) and moves clockwise to the corners of the kitchen, followed by all the other rooms in the house. This continues even in the outdoor area, the barn, the stables and around the farms. The following types of blessings are spoken to draw goodness into the home:

"May everything that is dark, everything that no longer serves us, disappear from these rooms. We invite: the love, the light and all the blessings. May the room shine with a new, fresh and brilliant energy and give us peace, serenity, balance and strength. Thank you.'

This is meant to ward off the evil spirits and demons that roam the Alps during the twelve days and to get rid of bad energy. It is also believed that it brings good luck if beds and laundry are aired outside, as the demons can become entangled in clothes, bedding – and laundry. Regardless of whether you believe in these supernatural things or not, it's hard to escape the magic of this tranquil time in the Alps.

Despite central heating, street lights, and full supermarket shelves, we humans still feel a certain respect for the time that passes between one year and the next, which in Austria, southern Germany, and parts of Switzerland is called the Rauhnächte (literally "the harsh nights"), similar to the tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas in English-speaking cultures. To connect with this time and use it in your own personal way to feel connected to the natural rhythms, you can try this little ritual here:


1. Preparation: Before the start of the Rauhnächte (before 21.12), write 13 wishes separately on small pieces of paper. Fold the notes so that they are indistinguishable from the outside and put them in a box or bag.

2. DO: Every Rauhnacht you pull one of the 13 sheets of paper out of the box or bag. Burn it in a fireproof bowl without looking to see what it is. Through combustion, the wish is transformed and transferred to higher powers, who ensure the fulfillment of your Rauhnacht wishes. It's best to start this Rauhnacht ritual in the evening, make yourself comfortable in a quiet place, light candles, and think about your 13 wishes. Breathe in deeply and calmly and feel the Rauhnacht. You can even receive messages during a Rauhnacht meditation that represent the month in the new year (12 nights, 12 months in the coming year). Write down your thoughts in your journal. Finally, thank the spiritual forces for their support.

4. Special feature: on the night of January 6, you will have one last piece of paper left. Read the wish out loud because you have to take care of it yourself in the new year so that it comes true. The Spirits always appreciate it when you strengthen your autonomy by doing things on your own.

Enjoy this Christmas season in your own way, maybe by doing a ritual or not. Living in connection with the natural energies will result in a more grounded, fulfilled life.

Merry Rauhnächte, cozy and relaxing Christmas & all the best for 2024,


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About the Author

Ik ben een pro actieve mensen mens gespecialiseerd in out of de box oplossingen.Door mijn achtergrond in drama, filosofie, systemisch werk en Sjamanisme neem ik grotere verbanden waar, hoor ik het ongezegde en ben ik ondertussen expert in de verruiming van waarneming.Ik stel de vragen die openen, voorbij het zichtbare. Daarmee faciliteer ik verandering in vastgelopen situaties. In de persoonlijke sfeer, in teams en voor ondernemers.

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