The Roughnights: what are they about?

Naomi Mirkrida
November 27, 2023

The Roughnights, it almost seems like everyone is talking about it, but what kind of nights are they exactly?

The Roughnights are a translation of the German Rauhnächte. Called Rooknachten in Dutch. All these names refer to the darkest time of the year. Roughly the period from Midwinter to Three Kings Day on January 6.

Mother’s Night used to be celebrated around Midwinter on December 21. A night dedicated to the great foremothers from Western and Central Europe.

In other words; Mother Holle in her many guises. Mother’s Night is also a very suitable night to connect with your personal mother line. The line of powerful carrying mothers who came before you.

Photo: Hanna Geels

Back to the Roughnights as a whole: this is the darkest time of the year. The sun is only seen for a very short time each day and the energy of this period is rough and rugged.

Within the Sittan tradition, we see the period from Winternachten (October 31) to Walpurgis (April 30) as the Dark Half of the year.

The Roughnights are the darkest nights that fall within the Dark Half. This literally applies to the absence of light and the nature that is dying, but also to the processes within yourself and around you.

In order to cleanse and keep yourself and your house clean, it is important that you actively engage in energetic cleansing during the Roughnights. During the Dark Half, heavier energies enter your home and energy field more easily. So it is not surprising if it feels a bit restless in the house or if you have difficulty falling asleep.

The best way to cleanse during the Roughnights is to burn many different herbs and incense and go through your house with it. This way, you keep unwanted energies out or remove them. Ideally, you start with a large purification ritual on Mother’s Night, where you go through your entire house with smoke and check all rooms for disturbances and unwanted energy. Don’t miss any room, threshold, or corner, and really take your time.

Photo: Jeanine Schot-Schuil

Then burn incense or herbs such as mugwort, pine or rosemary every 13 nights until January 6. (Be careful with mugwort if you are pregnant! This highly abortifacient herb is not suitable for you.)

Although cleansing your living environment is very important during this period, cleansing yourself also deserves attention. The Roughnights are very suitable for cleansing yourself by reflecting.

What kind of bad thoughts do you actually have? About yourself or others? In what ways do you block yourself? Do you carry hatred or envy within you? If so, in what way? It is important to be aware of this and cleanse yourself.

These types of thoughts lead to blockages, frustrations, and energy leaks in yourself and others. Very few Western forms of spirituality pay attention to this. However, in the Sittan tradition, this is of great importance. Self-reflection is inextricably linked to (spiritual) growth. We do not attach so much importance to concepts such as “being enlightened”, but we do value progress and self-awareness.

Photo: Jeanine Schot-Schuil

Mother Holle and Perchta are connected to the Roughnights as primordial spirits of the Netherlands and Germany.

They enter our houses at night during the Roughnights to help us purify. Sometimes this is done quite subtly, but these ladies are also known for being heavy-handed and very pragmatic.

Acknowledge their presence and the labor of love that they perform every year by placing offerings for them during the dark Roughnights.

Consider, for example, fatty and sweet foods such as oliebollen, cookies, bread with butter and other delicacies.

And something else to remember:

Reflecting and purifying is rarely easy. Vrouw Holle and Perchta bring you into contact with those parts of yourself that need to be worked on right now.

If you find what you encounter during the Roughnights confrontational, that is a sign of growth!

Would you like some extra guidance during the Roughnights? Then follow my online Roughnights retreat.

I wish you a wonderful dark time!

Naomi Mirkrida ©️

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