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7 Feb 2012

Imbolc/Charming of the Plow News 2012

Imbolc/Charming of the Plow 2012

In this Edition:

Hex Announcements
Kitchen Medicine & Magic: Gardening Time!
Runic Reflections: Wunjo
New Music from Ruhr Hunter

~ Hex Issue 10 is Coming! ~

Support Hex! We are a community-supported not-for-profit publication. You can support us by heading to and ordering magazines, CDs, and prints, and by spreading the word to all like-minded folk!

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Hex Folk Market ( is here! Join our online market community in celebration of folk ways and sustainable living. Browse through our selection of international merchants or set up your own shop for free!

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Leather Bound Limited Edition of Issues #5–8 + CD!

An edition of 13, and signed by the artisan (Jason Hovatter) and editors of Hex.

Each copy is $100 + shipping. If you want to order send me an email:
It’s first come…first serve!

Note: Issue #5 is sold out – this is a small reprint run.

All proceeds go to Hex Press to support its continued effort to provide folks with an excellent volunteer-based, community-supported, not-for-profit publication.

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Feeling Hexy?

Hex is putting out an initial call for Heathen Erotica. For a side project, not a regular issue. It will be published when we get enough material.

Accepting submissions for stories, poetry, art, photography, recipes, whatever. You can submit under your own name or a nom de plume. The usual high standards of quality apply! IE: if it’s smut, it better be really good smut!

Send submissions to

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Kitchen Medicine & Magic:
Gardening Time!

This year the Charming of the Plow will herald a doubling of our garden space – thanks to the generous donation of fencing from a local Military Heathen and his family who have been transferred to another state. (Thanks again y’all!) The old garden has become the fertile organic place we envisioned nine years ago when we first broke ground. Now it’s time to make it large enough to supply even more of our everyday needs.

The Charming of the Plow is often noted by today’s hearths as being celebrated around February 2nd, but adapt this time to suit your personal needs. A variety of ideas for creating a meaningful ceremony to dedicate land for a specific purpose are found in the 11th Century Anglo Saxon charm known as the Land Ceremonies Charm, or the Aecerbot, or simply as the Field Remedy.

This work is relatively straight forward and to the point, assuring the user right from the start that it is a “remedy” to “improve fields” and protect them from “magic or witchcraft.” If a copy of this charm isn’t in your current library it can be found on the Internet (try Google). Be sure to personalize it and make a charm that works for your needs.

The ritual can take anywhere from a few minutes to overnight; it could have you turning in circles or crawling on the ground depending on what parts you may decide to adopt! Towards the end the plow becomes important: the instructions note that when plowing one should on the first furrow greet the earth as the mother of men “filled with food.”

Once the earth is parted “a loaf of bread as broad as the palm of the hand” should be made from each type of meal, and placed into the earth with milk and (special) water.

Be sure to also add your own touches. In the past we have decorated the gas tiller, or tied ribbons to garden tools, or placed special stones or statuary as a gift. We’ve placed wreaths on the compost pile and placed grain dollies into the furrows (which grew some grains for us one year!) instead of bread.

In connection to these observances you may want to pause for remembrance and celebration of the Disir, Idis, or ancestral women of your hearth – the full moon period from February 8-10th would be a good time for this.

I’ll be remembering my own grandmothers who were both gardeners. It is great to experience the things they did throughout their lives and I wish I could have learned more from their experiences.

Speaking of which, this is also the time of year to start a new garden, but be ready to do some planning: often the soil needs some amendments to make plants thrive. Look for a link to your local Extension Office for information about starting a garden and the all important soil tests. It’s an easy thing to do and can mean the difference between a barely functioning garden and a surplus of budget-friendly delicious and nutritious foods.

The decision to go organic takes some research and does not mean you don’t have to feed your plants! Some things helpful for a natural or organic garden include manure, bulk greenery like leaves, grass clipping or pine straw, and of course lots of water. Another helpful thing is the compost pile, where nutrients are broken down and made ready for plants to recycle them into more plants.

One thing to remember is to avoid garden contamination from fresh manure or anything that touches manure on plants you plan to consume soon, otherwise you risk ingesting unhealthy pathogens. Sometimes this can be one of the causes of food poisoning in commercial vegetable and fruit production.

That said, manure is great; just use in in the field early and give it time to break down, or better yet put manure in the compost pile and use it after it’s been recycled. And always wash your foods well before you eat anything in the garden!

Another important factor in planting a garden is what and when to plant. Again the Extension Office should be able to provide you with some great guides. This year when you buy seeds you may want to double check if their planting zones are correct. The USDA has finally joined the Arbor Day Foundation and other similar groups in updating the planting zones map, but many seed companies did not update their information in time. The zone map was last changed in 1990.

This lag in updates is significant because the average global temperature has risen three fourths of a degree according to data collected between 1976–2005. Locally that small global average could manifest in temperatures rising from 5 to 20 degrees!

I can see this temperature change in my own garden now, and in nature around me. Our local temperatures are averaging 10 degrees higher during the day. Spring flowers of many types are blooming a month early. These blooms could be damaged by a late frost and their subsequent crop may not develop. This could be an inconvenience or a disaster depending on what plants are effected. Not to mention the effects this could have on the rest of nature.

Not since the Medieval warm period (about 500-1100CE) has the average global temperature been so high. This was the time period when the Heathen Way is most remembered by today’s patrons of those old ways of thinking and doing. Who knows what changes history will record for this period of global climate change!

Early planning in our garden has, or soon will, yielded a variety of foods known to old world Heathens including collard greens, spinach and Swiss chard, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, strawberries, rutabagas, carrots, lettuce, beets, onions, and sweet peas.

Taking advantage of the warmer weather, we even planted bananas last year – we might get some fruit this year. We have resisted the urge to plant warm weather crops so far, but the seeds are cheap compared to the benefits of their fruition so who knows…

“May Earth bear you up with all her powers and might!”
– Charm 64, Bald’s Leechbook

~Teresa L. Hedgewife
Pine Cone Hearth, Georgia, USA

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Old English Rune Poem
Wynn (Joy) is had by one who knows few troubles,
sores or sorrow, and has for himself
reputation and happiness, and also a fine secure home.

~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright

Joy is had by one who “knows few troubles, sores or sorrow.” The sense of knowledge here is not formal or abstract but deeply lived. We cannot know the meaning of hardship theoretically; it has to be experienced. Yet it is significant that the rune poem tells us joy is had by one who knows few troubles – as opposed to one who has few troubles.

If we wish, we can explore this emphasis. It implies that our attitudes, the habitual patterns of response we have to our experiences, contribute to our joy (or not). We might have struggles, but not be in the experiential knowing of suffering.

Likewise, challenges that some would laugh at nevertheless overwhelm others, and vice versa. Each of us has an individual geography of fear and courage, after all.

If Wunjo, joy, is in part of a state of mind, what sort of state of mind might that be? My unconscious furnished one answer, for when writing this I accidentally typed “is in part a sate of mind.” A sated mind as a part of joy? That seems rather intuitive.

With that in mind, let us consider the rest of the poem’s suggestions: that joy is not only the relative absence of troubles, but also the presence of “reputation, happiness, and also a fine secure home.” Such things – warm community, warm hearth, and happy thoughts – seem to lend themselves to the sating of desire.

Yet if we were to stop here we would be missing a deeper layer to the meaning of joy. Let us reflect again on that distinction between having and knowing sorrow. It suggests that we could be burdened with all manner of hardships and yet remain emotionally buoyant. Likewise, the poem specifically distinguishes between happiness and the having of pleasant things like loved ones and a good home.

What are we being told, then, in these particular words? We are being invited to consider our habitual responses to our experiences. Joy struggles to flow if we tend to see the glass as half empty, if we are more ready to count our miseries than our blessings. It is hard to feel a sense of well-being if we belabor ourselves with self-pity – regardless of how justifiable it seem.

It might take an effort to “look for the good,” as they say, but if we are straining anyway then we might as well at least strain towards the positive. Thomas Moore suggests that sometimes to change a bad situation it is first necessary to accept and embrace it, to be willing to find good in it. Such an attitude to life certainly sounds more conducive to joy.

The more we focus on our dissatisfactions and wounds, the more we are effectively focusing on the things we cannot do or change. This narrative of powerlessness is quite the opposite of joy, and will actively impede our attempts to follow the recipe for joy that the rune poem advises.

What instead then? To look for the good means to count our blessings – literally. It means to regularly cultivate a sense of gratitude consciously. Not a guilt-laden gratitude (older generations have shrieked “you young people don’t appreciate how good you have it!” since time immemorial, having learned to do so from their elders). But rather a quiet, even humble gratitude.

I find that when I start with small things, “I’m alive, I’m breathing, I have four limbs,” I can quickly progress up to bigger things, and it is amazing how many good things there are when I actually bother to remember them. I’m often surprised at how little time I spend appreciating the good things I have – it is easy to focus instead on the bits of life that are difficult. Wunjo invites us to give the good its due, and to do so regularly, and without fanfare.

None of this is to say that joy is purely psychological – if we can change our circumstances then this is also a way towards a more joyous existence, and worth doing. Nor is it to say we should pretend to ourselves when things are rough. The point of Wunjo is to be more attentive to the good that already exists, not to fabricate a fantastical state of denial.

The Ancient Roman philosopher Cicero has it right when he proposes that we need to base our happiness on self-acceptance and calm. For, he reasons, if our happiness depends on what happens to us, on what we can achieve, then we are almost guaranteed disappointment. Life is extremely unpredictable; it is much easier to come to terms with ourselves than with the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

The better we get on with ourselves, the better we weather life’s ups and downs, and ultimately the better we are likely to do in our relationships, careers, passions, and all the rest. If we can nurture positivity within ourselves, make ourselves a good home for good cheer, then we begin to cultivate the kind of happiness that conquers every hardship. And that sounds like true joy to me.

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New Heathen Music from RUHR HUNTER
Birch EP: A Collection of Unreleased Material

Crafted, performed, recorded, & produced by Chet W. Scott

These three recordings will be the last offerings ever from composer Chet W. Scott under the moniker of Ruhr Hunter.
Chet’s Raven Talon sigil forever turns & this spirit will now be known as CYCLE OF THE RAVEN TALONS.


I. Her Young, The Wolverine
Originally crafted in 2003 for an Ajna Offensive compilation focusing on Rorschach tests…the compilation was never published.
This is an exclusive digital release never before made available to the public..

II. A Depression In the Moss
Originally crafted in 2002 for a compilation taking shape during the Torn of This sessions…the compilation was never published. The piece is inspired by the ever growing decline in numbers & abusive nature of speciesism towards brother Wolf.
This is an exclusive digital release never before made available to the public.

III. In Memory With Blackest Wings I Fly (The Muninn Offering)
Originally released in 2003 for Crucial Blast Records’ Record of Shadows Infinite Drone Compilation.

Birch EP is available from Glass Throat Recordings / Visions

(C)(P) MMXII Glass Throat Recordings / Visions – GTR017

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By the Hum of Ullr’s Bow: Winter Songs Compilation CD
is still available!

Bands on the compilation CD include:

• A Minority of One • Allerseelen • Andrew King
• At the Head of the Woods • Beastianity • Hamramr • Irij
• Ironwood • Ruhr Hunter • Sangre Cavallum • Sieben
• Steve von Till • Svarrogh • Waldteufel • Wardruna

You can read more about the artists here:

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: Issue Six Almost Gone! :

Issues One, Two, Three, Four, & Five are sold out!
We are running low on copies of Issue Six, get in while you can.

Order at:

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Until Ostara, may you and your
household be blessed and kept. Hail!

~ HEX Magazine

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We are currently looking for:

• submissions

• funding

If you are interested in applying or have any suggestions,


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Due date for Autumn 2012 submissions

is Spring Equinox 2012


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