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2 Feb 2009

Imbolc/Charming of the Plow News 2009



Hey Folks, there’s been a lot of changes going on behind the scenes at the Hex Press. First of all, there is NOT going to be a Spring 2009 issue of Hex, HOWEVER (before you boo too loudly), there will be a Fall issue, and it might possibly include a CD of music. The reason there will not be a Spring issue, is due to growing pains, and the needed time to implement some creative solutions to make this project sustainable. Included in the plans are a website redesign, with more content more often, and new interactive features; and most definitely a switch in printing to black and white with scattered color. I know the full color is lovely and it will be a bummer, but this will make the magazine more affordable and easier to distro. In addition, changes are going to be made to the organization of Hex to make it less centralized and more cooperative.

I will try to make the absence of the Spring issue up to you, by offering a very limited number of leatherbound collections of the first four issues, handmade by Jason H. Craban. These will be offered for sale to raise funds for Hex, hopefully on the Spring Equinox. And possibly, just possibly, the first two issues will be re-issued in black and white. Will keep you all updated.

Finally, I know some people have been very excited about the upcoming Hex Folk Market website, indeed, have been waiting for months. It breaks my heart to announce that it will not be soon in coming, for I have lost my programmer, and the site is not quite finished. So, taking it in stride, trying not to pull out my hair, I have to find someone else. If you are proficient with Ruby on Rails, reliable, want a job, and want to make me really happy, contact me:

Thank you all for your continued support and involvement with Hex!

~ cheers, Arrowyn

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Beginning to show her age now, you can see where Grandmothers has been stroked regularly. Note the feather usually hangs on her back.

. : Grandmothers : .

When I think of talking, it is of course with a woman. For talking at its best being an inspiration, it wants a corresponding divine quality of receptiveness, and where will you find this but in a woman?

~ Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 – 1894)

Ancestor worship is a part of old world Heathen spirituality, and along with a belief in multiple Gods and Goddesses, is one of the huge differences between Heathenism and Christianity. For those transitioning from a Christian upbringing, learning to relate to our ancestors as part of our lives can take some getting used too. Late February and early March is a good time to investigate aspects of ancestor worship, as this is the time of year for “Disting” or the “Idis-Thing” – when blot was carried out for the Disir in Uppsala, Sweden. The Disir appear in many Heathen lore sources and are often found taking an active interest in the lives of their folk, either to protect or advise.

What are the Disir? According to The Religion of the Northmen:

“The name Dísir (sing. Dís) properly denotes Goddesses, but it is used especially for a peculiar kind of supernatural beings, who also frequently appear under the appellations: Hamingjur (sing. Hamingja), the Goddesses of Good Fortune, and Fylgjur (sing. Fylgja), Following, Attending Spirits. They were nearly related to the Valkyrjur and Nornir, especially to the latter, whose messengers they were strictly considered to be. They were imagined to be feminine beings, who, mostly as protective, but sometimes as persecuting, spirits, attended the single individual or whole races, throughout this earthly life. They revealed themselves on important occasions, sometimes to the waking eye, sometimes in dreams, and in the latter case they were also called Dream-wives (Draumkonur).” (1)

As a woman I found myself relating to these female family spirits much faster than I did to the Gods and Goddesses of the North, especially since my family has an abundance of strong feminine role models. Women who were the mothers of my family line, who never shirked the task of caring for their own.

This led me to create something to represent them and assist me in my relationship with my own Grandmothers, those who I had known, and those who have been long lost to history. I set out to look through my craft materials, no set ideas in mind, when I came across a box full of string spools. This string had been collected by an elderly neighbor. When she passed from this world I helped her daughter clear out all the accumulation of stuff in her home and she offered me the craft materials we found, including the string. I decided to make a string doll.

To make the doll I first cut the string for the body of the doll into 16 inch lengths until I had a bundle about as round as a dime, then I tied a string in the center to hold them all together leaving a long tail on the knot to hang the doll from. Then I allowed the two ends of string to hang down and tied them all together about an inch from the hanging string to create the head.

For the arms I cut another bunch of string to about 12 inches in length and the same thickness as the first bundle. About 1 inch from the end of the arm bundle I tied a knot to form the wrist, then I separated the string into 3 groups and braided them together. When the braid was about 6 or 7 inches long I again tied a wrist and cut off the excess string. Next I placed the arms under the head knot and tied another knot to form the doll’s waist. I chose not to add a face and left the string at the waist loose to form a skirt. That was it!

To decorate the doll I took a feather I had found in a recent walk through the woods and attached it with a small piece of string to the back of the dolls head, sort of like Freya’s feather cape. The feather was striped with white and brown and I believe it came from either a hawk or an owl – both keen observers. I looked through more of my bits and pieces of craft stuff and found a small key, about an inch long and tied it to one of the strings on the front of the skirt to make her a key-holder or house-mother. I also added several small beads at various places to decorate the skirt. Finally I spotted a bead that a vendor at the Flea Market had given me as a bonus, it was ceramic and had a painting of a house on it. I added this, because at the time my husband and I were looking for a house to buy.

I hung the doll over the kitchen sink, which meant it had to hang from the ceiling on a very long string. This accidentally gave the doll personality, because now she could turn freely, to look at me when I talked to her, or to look outside. Not long after I created the doll we actually found our home, purchased it and moved in. Of course Grandmothers, which I had began to call her, took her rightful place over the kitchen window in the new house.

Every morning when I come into the kitchen to get my coffee cup I greet Grandmothers by touching her and asking her to look after my loved ones today. Occasionally, I still tie things to her skirt, depending on the needs of our family. Having her has brought my ancestors to life for me. I share mead and other offerings with her and she prompts me to remember my oaths to myself.

Try making your own Grandmothers figure. Remember your Grandmothers this month, and they will remember you.

In Frith,
Teresa Hedgewife

1. Keyser; Rudolph. Translated by Barclay Pennock. The Religion of the Northmen. New York. Charles B Norton. 1854. page 179.

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Old English Rune Poem
Monn (Man) is, in his mirth, to his kinfolk dear;
Yet shall each disappoint the other,
Accordingly the Lord wills, by his law,
That the poor flesh be entrusted to the earth.

Old Icelandic Rune Poem
Madhr (Man) is man’s pleasure
And mould’s increase
And a ship’s embellisher.

Old Norse Rune Poem
Madhr (Man) is mould’s increase;
Great is the grip of the hawk.

~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright

For the new year – I still live, I still think: I still have to live, for I still have to think. Sum, ergo, cogito: cogito, ergo sum. Today everybody permits himself the expression of his wish and his dearest thought: hence I, too, shall say what it is that I wish from myself today, and what was the first thought to run across my heart this year – what thought shall be for me the reason, warranty, and sweetness of my life henceforth. I want to learn more and more to see as beautiful what is necessary in things: then I shall be one of those who make things beautiful. Amor fati: let that be my love henceforth! I do not want to wage war against what is ugly. I do not want to accuse: I do not even want to accuse those who accuse. Looking away shall be my only negation. And all in all and on the whole: some day I wish to be only a Yes-sayer.”

~ Friedrich Nietzsche, aphorism 276, The Gay Science.

Mannaz, humanity itself, is tragic. Tragic in that for all our joys, victories, hopes, celebrations and loves there is also misery, suffering, loss and ultimately death. “To his kinfolk dear; Yet each shall disappoint the other.” And in many respects this is the dilemma Nietzsche confronts too – how to be honest about our failings without then losing sight of our beauty?

To live with intention, to dream and imagine rich possibilities for the future is something of a Quixotic undertaking. How can we project into the future with the wisps of our mere desire? Urd is past and Verdandi is present, however, Skuld is not future, but rather should – there is nothing determined and we float forever on the sea of mystery.

The solution – and in a way this is what Nietzsche proposes too – is two-fold. On the one hand, to celebrate even the things that bring us suffering as part of the grander picture. Each of us inevitably falls to the claws of time – “mould’s increase.”

On the other hand, each of us might yet undertake great journeys – to become the embellishment of ships. It is not our frailties that need define us but our refusal to bow down to them, our determination to indulge in and manifest our imaginations.

The life of Spring is not yet upon us, yet the firstlings of that life begin to stir. Now as ever it is time to come back to our thoughts, to gather our desires, to heed Heidegger’s call of the conscience back to a more authentic mode of being. In this way we might set course for the bark of this earthly life in the coming year – and in this sense all life is a Viking expedition.

Mannaz teaches us to reach, to expand, to dream, hope, and act; Mannaz teaches us to accept, to understand, to wait and to grieve. As Spring’s tendrils unfurl, let us learn and practice both of these arts, and in all things become Yes-sayers too.

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Chicken Stock

– 1 whole organic free-range chicken (or about 3-4 pounds leftover chicken parts including gizzards and feet)

- whatever vegetables and herbs you can find…or have saved for the occasion, including but not restricted to: all root vegetables, celery, apples, garlic, bay, thyme, etc.

- 4 quarts of water

1. Get a big stainless steel or enameled stock pot.

2. Put the chicken and whatever else you come up with in the pot. Add water.

3. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the scum that rises to the top.

4. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer for about 8 hours or all night if you can. The longer you cook it, the richer and more flavorful it will be.

5. Add a bunch of parsley about 10 minutes before removing the stock from heat.

6. Remove chicken or pieces with a slotted spoon, and place in a bowl to cool. Remove the meat and store for other purposes.

7. Strain the stock into a large bowl and put in the fridge until the fat rises to the top and can be skimmed off.

8. Pour the stock into quart containers and freeze. The stock will keep for about 5 days in the fridge, or several months in the freezer. You’ll know if it goes bad by the funky smell. Defrost to use.

Everyone should make stock from scratch. It is extremely nutritious, gleaning minerals from the parts of animals we can’t eat or tend not to anymore, in an easily assimilated form. It is also incredibly delicious! Use stock to make soup and to cook all your grains and beans.

~Arrowyn Craban

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“[t]he Australian saviors of pagan metal with a progressive edge.” – Heathen Harvest

Album Track Listing:
Önd Ascending, The Oncoming Storm, The Raven Song, Jarnviðr Gallows, The Serpent Seeks Its Tail, Tide Of Memory, Love In Death, River Of Fire, Eihwaz Descending

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, Ironwood released their self-titled debut EP in 2007 to an overwhelming response (“perfect atmosphere … brilliant.” –

They have spent the last two years perfecting a unique alchemy of richly organic folk music and shattering extreme metal. The fruit of this meeting of Fire and Ice is their 70 minute debut digipak album :Fire:Water:Ash:.

Drawing the listener on spiraling and emotive journeys through animism, heathenry and mystery, the album dances masterfully between its folk, ambient, progressive and metal influences.

Woven artfully with the thread of atmospheric evocation, :Fire:Water:Ash: represents a rare achievement: a metal album for folk music listeners and a folk music album for metal listeners.

The album was recorded at a number of Sydney locations, including Gomorrah, the crumbling mansion in which most of the band resides. The atmosphere of the recording environment has been faithfully articulated by mastering engineer Oscar Gaona of world-famous Studios 301.

This release represents the culmination of some five years of musical and spiritual exploration,” the band explained. “We strove to meld the disparate influences of animism, heathenism, grief and creative exploration. We sought the mystery and :Fire:Water:Ash: is the result.”

Presented in a lush digipak format, :Fire:Water:Ash: can now be bought direct from the band’s website and Myspace page, and will soon be available through select distributors including Distributors and labels are encouraged to contact the band for wholesale purchase rates.

To order the album directly from Ironwood you may go to our MySpace page:

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We are pleased to announce the upcoming:

Deitsch Heathen Hexology

The show runs from Friday, February 6th through Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Deitsch is the word in ‘dialect’ for Pennsylvania German. Heathen refers to Germanic Heathenry, or the religion/culture of the indigenous European tribes prior to Christianity. Hexology is the magical practice of painting ‘Hex signs’ known in the PA German dialect as, ‘Hexafoos or Hexezeeche.’ The translation would be witch feet or witch signs.

The show features the works of the following four practitioners (3 of which have been featured in Hex magazine):

Hunter Yoder
Hunter was raised on a farm outside of Virginville, Berks County, PA. He began painting hex signs on barns at an early age before attending Kutztown University to earn a BFA in Painting. After separating from the more eclectic version of Deitsch magical practices Hunter has gone on to create hexafoos that are a distinctly Germanic Heathen. He is currently featured in the Fall/Winter, 2008 issue of HEX MAGAZINE, in the article he authored, Runic Symbology in Contemporary Deitsch Hexology.

Valúlfr Vaerulsson
Valúlfr is a Waldzauberer with over 30 years experience in the “old crafts.” He is a Rune/Galdor Master, Shaman/Sorcerer, Hexologist, lecturer and author. Additionally, he is the Director of the Wolfbund (, and has taught Germanic Culture at a local Community College. The Hex work of both Valúlfr and Swanhilde can be viewed at

Swanhilde’s interest in Heathen esoterica was piqued in 1989, and it was then that she began a path of learning that has been both mentally stimulating and spiritually fulfilling to her. Particular fields of study include, but are not limited to, the feminine mysteries as they apply to an Odinic paradigm (emulation over adoration) and the use of runes magically and in divination. She has been a guest speaker at North Central Michigan College and has taught workshops as well as being a proficient rune reader.

Patricia Hall
was born and raised in Philadelphia. She is a Rune Magician, Shaman, and Hex and follows the religious traditions of her Germanic ancestors. She incorporates her life experiences, practices, and beliefs into simple yet magically-rich works. She is a member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners, the Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and the Denali Institute of Northern Traditions and conducts workshops on Heathenry and Rune studies. She is also co-owner and co-founder of the Yahoo list site, The Backdoor Hexologist, and the PA Germanic Heathen site:

GERM BOOKS AND GALLERY, in Fishtown, Philadelphia is the crossroads for subcultural, underground, contemporary music, art, and literature. Owner, cofounder, David E. Williams is a Philadelphia-based singer-songwriter.

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A Journal of Indo-European Myth, Culture, and Religion
Volume I, Issue 2 is now available!

Featured Articles of Interest Include:
*Tyr: Primordial Indo-Germanic Chieftain and Sky Father, by Matt Hajduk
*The Allegorical Hero and the Initiatory Quest for Virtue, by Lesley Madytinou
*Of Wolves and Men: The Berserker and the Vratya, by Gwendolyn Toynton
*Slavic Family Rituals, by Zerca Rafal Merski
*Teufelskraut~ Devil’s Herb, by Amy Ahlberg-Venezia
*Music Reviews

Published Biannually
$15.00 per Individual Issue/ $28.00 Year Subscription within United States (shipping included)
International Rates are $21.00 per Individual Issue/ $40.00 Year Subscription (shipping included)
Discounted pdf digital version $3.00 per Issue/ $5.00 Subscription

Payment is accepted via cash, check or money order payable to:
“Ancestral Folkways LLC” PO Box 1221, Boston, MA 02134, USA
(For online payments, please direct them to:

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Hex needs your help! This is a community-supported not-for-profit publication. You can support us by clicking the link above and ordering magazines and prints, and spreading the word to all like-minded folk!

* * * * * *

Until the Spring Equinox, may you and your
household be blessed and kept. Hail!

~ HEX Magazine

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