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21 Mar 2010

Creative Destruction ~ The Hammer of Healing ~ Editorial

Not long ago I was directed to a story in Gylfaginning where Thor, while staying at a farmer’s house, kills his goats to make a meal of them for himself, his companions, and the family who dwell there. In the morning he waves his hammer over the goats’ skin and bones to bring them back to life. What a strange vision! I ask him to try this on me sometimes when I am feeling out of alignment. His hammer, like a giant magnet, seems to pull me into balance again. I can literally feel my muscles relaxing, my vertebrae shifting, life-force freely coursing from sacrum to skull. …

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21 Mar 2010

Musing on Volund

The figure of Volund has held fascination for me since I myself nearly lost the use of my legs at a young age. The accident itself was a powerful transformational experience, and as a result I have been given an artistic vision best conceived as a lifelong endeavor. To say nothing of myopic and impatient instructors in art school, following this vision has put me at odds with the very structure of modern society, as any contemporary self-employed artisan can understand. Yet this struggle is one of the central endeavors that I perceive for Heathenry if it is to have any meaningful impact on putting Midgard to rights – what we do to survive daily must be both meaningful and honorable if we are to escape the banality of the dominant consumerist culture. For me this has meant exploring and truly living as a metalsmith. …

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21 Mar 2010

Scandinavian Memoirs

After only four days in Iceland, four days out of the five weeks that I will spend in Scandinavia, I can already tell you that I have seen too much. Rob, my traveling mate, and I have just returned from a three day road trip around Iceland’s Highway 1, affectionately nicknamed the “ring road” by locals and tourists alike, which lines the circumference of the country. In these three days I have seen things most will only read of. I have walked the grounds of Reykholt and dipped my hand into the pool used by Snorri Sturluson; I have stood at the edge of Goðafoss and peered into the waterfall of the gods; I have wandered the paths of Dimmuborgir and stood inside the church of stone, or perhaps even looked into the entrance to Hel; I have seen Bergþórshvoll, the site of Njal’s burning; and I have climbed upon the law rock at Þingvellir and looked over its fields. …

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21 Mar 2010

Old Swabian Spring Dishes and Customs ~ Seasonal Recipes

I would like to share some traditional Swabian recipes associated with the seasonal period from Landsegen (“Land-Blessing” or “Charming of the Plow”) to Ostara, together with some of their associated customs. Seasonally, the time between these two tides is marked at the beginning by the soil being ready for sowing and at the end by the start of crop growth. After Ostara, Walpurgis marks the point when grain begins to sprout from the new crops, and summer is the time of grain growth and maturation. While the outward festivities of Fasching, i.e. the revelries more commonly known as Shrovetide or Carneval, are the better-known public face of the season leading up to Ostara, it is also privately and inwardly a time of meditative self-examination, moderation, and purification. Some mistakenly believe that this is a Christian custom associated with Lent. It is not, for it was part of the agricultural rhythm of life in Swabia long before there were Christians. Why is this the case? …

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21 Sep 2009

Old Ways for a New Day ~ Editorial

With this issue of Hex, the magazine’s slogan has been changed – no longer is it “For the Heathen Household,” but rather “Old Ways for a New Day.” The change represents a refinement of, and rededication to, the magazine’s essence. “Old Ways For A New Day” invites us to go beyond literalism. Our folk heritage is more than dusty museum pieces: this slogan reminds us that Heathenry is a living force that embodies a much more fertile world view than those that reign in this modern age. The world view I have in mind is called optimism. I think optimism – choosing to look for and live out the positive story lines – was essential to the flourishing of the premodern European peoples and their traditions. Living so much closer to nature, to death, and to mystery must have demanded it. Optimism must have carried many generations of folk through the hardships of harvests, migrations, winters, and wars. …

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21 Sep 2009

Returning to Our Ancestors

This is not a scholarly work, although I’ve read and researched quite a bit. My purpose is to share the insights and thoughts in my path from a childhood in Buffalo, New York to the Heathen way of life. This may help others identify similar dormant yearnings in themselves or others who are moving towards Heathenry. I also want to document the awakening process of coming home to our ancestral religion and culture. The title started out, Returning to the Gods of Our Ancestors. But in writing this article, I saw that my return was two-fold. My first step was to acknowledge the importance of ancestors in our lives. Through them, I was able to take the second step towards a relationship with our Gods. This article explores my first step. …

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21 Sep 2009

What I Learned From My Grandparents: My Opa, Pierre Repping, Was...

My Opa, Pierre Repping, was an inarticulate Dutchman whose hands created marvellous gadgets, could fix anything, were pretty skilled at painting, and crafted elaborate grandfather clocks. He had been an instrument maker for most of his working life. When I was a child we spent hours and hours in his garage, making wooden swords, go-carts, and half a hundred other projects. …

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21 Sep 2009

What I Learned From My Grandparents: My Grandparents Came From Sweden...

My grandparents came from Sweden. As both my parents worked full time, I was practically brought up by them. They were Lutheran; she (Hulda) very much so, he (Nils) not so much. But they were still both very Heathen by American standards. Standard fare for bedtime stories was Grimms’ Fairy Tales – Copyright MCMXLV Grosset & Dunlap, Inc. (I still have the book), along with stories about Trolls, Giants, and the Gods. They still spoke Swedish and delighted in teaching me, an only child at the time. …

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21 Sep 2009

What I Learned From My Grandparents: Although both of my grandparents are resting within the Earth...

Although both of my grandparents are resting within the Earth, their spirits, and their lessons, walk beside me every day. …

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21 Sep 2009

What I Learned From My Grandparents: In Memoriam For Carolyn McManaman – Born Carolyn Potratz

Besides making the best spaghetti I’ve ever had, the overwhelming memory I have of my Grandmother is that she was kind and accepting. She never treated me like the black sheep that I am. I remember a Christmas when I was 16 and she confided in me that she finally figured out how to shop for me. “I can get you a skirt, but it has to go with combat boots.” No judgment. No lecture about how young girls should behave. …

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21 Sep 2009

Od's Girl

if you were not a fool you would see me for what I am you who sits so comfortably in the fine saddle of a fine mount you who dares to ride out to war without paying me my due …

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21 Sep 2009

Spicy Pickled Vegetables

The longer they ferment, the better the flavor… …

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21 Sep 2009

Dutch Apple Cinnamon Bread

This is a recipe that will fill your Home with the familiar fragrances particular to the Yule Tide. …

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21 Sep 2009

Venison Paprika Stew

There is nothing finer than to come in from a cold, wet day to enjoy this hearty stew. …

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21 Sep 2009

Butter Grog

This is an extraordinarily rich beverage, and will no doubt contribute to the weal of your “winter coat”! Prost! …

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21 Sep 2008

Do it by Hand ~ Editorial

Do it by hand. When I ask myself, “how did folks do this before?”…“By hand,” is usually the answer. From cooking over a fire, or in a hand-built stone oven, to cobbling a pair of boot soles back together; when you do it by hand your whole body gets involved. And not only that – a little bit of you is transferred into what you’re doing. Your thoughts, dreams, and intentions all get woven into your work. It’s what we’ve been doing for nearly forever, and it just feels right. Imagine being so intimate with all of your possessions and the world around you! Imagine yourself working everyday for the health and prosperity of your family and community. Doing sometimes hard but always fulfilling work, that directly supports those you love, instead of laboring in exchange for enough money to pay the bills. …

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21 Sep 2008

Four Dimensions of Myth

Recently, I re-read an early twentieth century presentation of Norse Mythology in the form of H. A. Guerber’s Myths of the Norsemen from the Eddas and Sagas. While this book presents the myths themselves in quite an aesthetically pleasing and thorough manner, the typical late nineteenth century interpretation of myth that it displays is a little grating. The main reason for this irritation comes from the trend of that era to only interpret myth from the viewpoint of what Georges Dumézil would term the “Third Function”—a function that is equivalent to the societal role of the farmers, peasants, and thralls. Although Third Function interpretations can help form a basis for the understanding of myth, ultimately, they are not complete, as they only account for the functions of the natural world to explain its meaning. And myth is far more complex than that. …

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21 Sep 2008

A Horse is a Bridge Between Land and Sky ~ Seasonal Recipes

The first thing you notice is the color. Horsemeat is a startling blood red in hue, an effect produced by its myoglobin content. The fat, distributed in a sleeve around the meat, is tinted yellow from corn or pasture flora and is easily sliced off. Succulent equine flesh is sweeter than beef, with a finer grain, most similar to deer in flavor (an inexperienced taster probably could not distinguish between the two), and recommended by dieticians in many countries for its healthfulness. …

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21 Sep 2008

Ringbreaker

I am he, the one eyed, terrible deity. He stares back into my eye and laughs. How absurd that we are ever not one? …

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21 Sep 2008

Kindred Blót (a kyrielle)

We come gathered with our kin, Welcoming Ancestors in, Using sacred mead, or ale, With horns held high, the Gods we hail! …

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