The Venus Mountain near Uffhausen

The Schneeburg is a castle on the Schönberg mountain near Uffhausen, which lies about one hour away from Freiburg. In old times, a knight lived there who committed many and great crimes over the years, and wasted his days and nights in excess and pursuit of sins. Finally, his conscience woke up from these fantasies, and he resolved to lead a different way of life. But since no local priest was willing to absolve him from his sins, he made a pilgrimage to Rome so that he could receive absolution from the pope himself.

But this, too, was in vain. Instead, the pope was so aghast after hearing the knight’s confession that he told him: “It is more likely that the staff I am holding in my hand will sprout roses than that your sins will find forgiveness before God.”

In despair, the knight embarked on the long path across the Alps towards his home. But, when he rode up the valley towards his castle, he saw an open entrance to the mountain at his side. Inside, the heathen goddess Venus held her opulent court. Beguiling music and sweet songs wafted towards him from it, and lured his despairing heart with irresistible force. Thus, in order to forget his pain, he raced into the depths of the mountain with his horse.

Two years later, the pope’s staff - the same which he had held in his hand in the presence of the knight - started to green and sprout roses. Then the Holy Father remembered the already-forgotten sinner. Immediately, the pope had a report sent to the knight’s widow still living on the Schneeburg. The poor woman immediately had people dig into the Venus Mountain. And, indeed, they found the knight in the depths of the cave which forms the entrance to the court of Venus. But he was dead, and still straddling his horse.

(Compare with “Taschenbuch für Geschichte und Alterthum” by Dr. Heinrich Schreiber. Freiburg, 1839, Emmerling. p. 349)

Note: The legend of the Venus Mountain can be encountered in the Upper Rhine valley in addition to Thuringia.1) The beautiful, natural landscape and the mild climate[6] encourage outdoors celebrations in the open air. And many knights - such as Tannhauser - who were warned in vain by Faithful Eckart - might have vanished during such merry celebrations near the outskirts of the forests. Then it was usually claimed that Venus and her entourage had lured him into the depths of the mountain. And, while dances and games and all sorts of festivals were celebrated in crystal halls, the return to the surface world was forbidden for all time.

Source: Schnezler, A. Badisches Sagen-Buch. Erste Abtheilung: Vom Bodensee bis zur Ortenau bis zum Mainthal. 1846, p. 395f.

Notes & commentary: With The Old Gods

A similar Venus Mountain also appears near Waldsee in Swabia, among other places. “Bericht des Schaffners der Universität Freiburg über den Zehendstadel auf dem Venusberge”.