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21 Mar 2012

Ostara News 2012


Ostara 2012

In this Edition:

Hex Announcements
Kitchen Medicine & Magic: Ostara 2012
Runic Reflections: Raidho
Hex Presents: 2012 Northwest Folklife Festival
Hex at Trothmoot 2012

~ Hex Issue 10 is Here! ~

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. Available at

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: Ostara 2012

The Vernal Equinox marks the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. For those who also follow a Heathen Wheel of the Year this day and night of equal length marks the time to celebrate Ostara.

For this Hedgewife, Ostara marks the time to think about Kitchen Medicine and Magic. It’s the time to start harvesting early wild medicinal plants or worts from around the home place. Many of these worts grow right in the garden, making them easy to collect. Some would consider these plants “weeds” and get rid of them as fast as they can. Yet these volunteer worts can be quite useful for people, and animals in many cases, as food sources, forage, natural medicines, living mulches, and even soil amendments. Others are simply better to have in your garden than the grass that would try to sprout in their space.

Every garden and yard is going to contain its own unique weeds and identifying them can be not only useful but fun and educational as well. One of the wild worts in my garden is the wild pansy, Viola tricolor, which I purposefully planted a few years ago. One packet of seeds will be enough for most gardens as the wild pansy readily reseeds itself through the growing season which starts in early spring and resumes in the fall, dying back in the hot summer. Once planted, the seeds will persist in the garden and come back the next year and for years afterwards. This flower was well known in Heathen homelands and was brought to the USA where it naturalized very well. Wild pansy has many names including Wild Violet, Banewort, Heartsease or Heart’s Ease, and Johnny Jump Up, which is what I call them and what the seed packet will say.

The wild pansy flower is similar to the garden pansy flower – which was derived from it – with two notable differences. One, the wild pansy flower can be from 1/4 inch to an inch wide, while the garden pansy is more showy with flowers that can be three or more inches across (although both have five petals). Second, the velvety-looking flower petals of the wild pansy are often multi-colored, as the Latin name tricolor implies, with shades of purple, blue, yellow, and white possible on one flower. In comparison, the garden pansy is often only one or two of these colors. Both varieties can contain black lines that radiate from the flower’s center. Wild pansy plants usually don’t get more than six to eight inches in height with small leaves no more than two inches at most, with scalloped edges.

Not only is the wild pansy a beautiful flower, the entire plant is edible and tasty. Its flowers look great in beverages or to decorate cakes and it is sometimes candied which is one of the few ways to preserve it. The flowers and the leaves can be added to salads or cooked dishes treated as delicate spinach leaves are. The flowers can also be used to make a yellow, green, or blue-green dye. The flowers are also reportedly useful in love charms.

As a medicinal the wild pansy is a powerhouse, containing vitamins A and C, as well as mucilage, tannins, and saponin. It’s useful for skin issues such as acne and psoriasis, also as a mild diuretic, an anti-inflammatory, and as an expectorant for congestion. It has mild laxative qualities and is thought to have blood detoxifying qualities, and assist with constipation. This little flower has many other uses – and as studies show perhaps even in some cancer treatments.

Wild pansy flowers and leaves should be collected after the morning dew has dried. Use scissors to cut off no more than half the plant or just harvest the blooming flowers. Place these in a colander while still in the garden (or anywhere you’d like to see these beauties grow) and shake gently to dislodge any seeds in particular, and any bugs or dirt that may be clinging to them. It’s thought the best medicinal qualities come from the fresh plants.

Wild Pansy Tea: To make one serving of a simple medicinal tea combine one to two teaspoons (or more) of fresh flowers and/or leaves to one cup of hot water, then cover and steep for 10 to 15 minutes before straining. This tea can be consumed three times a day as a medicinal formula or just enjoyed as a healthy tea or tea combination addition.

Wild Pansy Honey: Pack a small jar with dry, clean flowers, then fill with honey. Turn the jar several times a day for a couple of weeks to make sure the flowers stay covered with the honey as much as possible. Strain and store in an air tight jar. This pansy honey can be used a teaspoon at a time to sweeten hot tea or it can simply be eaten straight and allowed to melt down the throat.

I highly recommend reading the section about violets in Healing Wise by Susan Weed which includes information on the leaves, flowers, and roots as well as several good recipes and medicinal formulas.

Try identifying and wild crafting some of your wild worts this spring. Some of the other worts ready to harvest now are Mullein leaves, Verbascum thapsus, and Chickweed, Stellaria, both of which can be dried for later use as a medicinal tea – which should be strained well before use, especially with Mullein. In addition, this is a good time to trim some of your traditional herb plants to dry and store for later use.

May your Ostara bring you outside to enjoy the hedges of Midgard and all the gifts Nerthus provides for Kitchen Medicine and Magic.

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

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Old English Rune Poem
Rad (Riding) is, in the hall, for every man
easy, and very hard for him who sits upon
a powerful horse over miles of road

Old Norwegian Rune Poem
Reidh (Riding) is sitting joyful
and a speedy trip
and the horse’s toil

Old Icelandic Rune Poem
Reidh (Riding) they say is for horses worst;
Reginn hammered out the best sword

~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright

You are not the means of your movement through life, if by “you” is meant, “your conscious self.” Can you consciously regulate the vast complexities of hormone production, respiration, digestion, immunity maintenance, circulation, and sensation (to name just a few) in your own body? I didn’t think so.

Who, then, does all these things? Who translates our thoughts into actions and provides the physical cradle for our awareness? I would like to propose that it is the Self as a whole, both conscious and unconscious, inhabiting every part of the body and not just the brain (did you know that the stomach and heart both have important neural networks are are implicated in all manner of seemingly psychological processing through hormonal and other regulatory functions?).

So yes, riding is joyful and the horse’s toil (hopefully we treat it well!), if we take the rider to be our conscious identity and the horse to be everything beyond or outside that conscious identity. But we, as conscious beings, can get into trouble when we fail to appreciate the whole picture of ourselves. This can lead to three kinds of problems.

The first is that we abuse ourselves by not respecting the shape and nature of our whole identity. We try to force what can only be invited. “You can lead a horse to water…” after all. Anyone who has ever experienced writer’s cramp or procrastinated or been depressed or many other kinds of disruption likely has some insight into this problem. Sometimes it is caused by a lack of self-awareness, sometimes by habit, sometimes by fear or confusion.

If the psychic steed does not obey its rider we have two options for responding. One, we can punish the steed, which will work for a while, but ultimately will make it rebel, or sicken, or just plain die. This is not in our interests. Two, we can take some time to heed the needs that we have disowned, ignored, dismissed, or just never noticed. Such tarrying within ourselves may seem counter-productive, even lazy or a waste of time. Yet without a good inner relationship between all parts of the Self there is little hope of a functional, let alone joyous, existence.

The second problem is that we forget that the Self is more than the I. This can create what Jung termed an “inflation,” wherein the personality exceeds the bounds of its own worth and weight in a welter of self-congratulation.

Such excesses of self-image can in turn lead to some hard lessons when reality chooses to impose itself once more. Inflationary fantasy can sometimes persist for a while, but in the end it always collapses under its own weight. Not least because, in the grip of our arrogance, we begin to pour redundant effort into the challenges we face, trying to control things which want to happen for us anyway. You cannot make yourself move forward by willing your brain to shove against the inside of your forehead.

The third problem is perhaps the most tricky. If we realize the limits of our conscious identity and therefore try to completely obliterate them, we can end up turning our “I” self into a devil, all in the name of the unconscious. This sort of psychic laissez faire is no better than psychic repression. The conscious aspect of the human psyche is not surplus to requirements; what is needed is a harmonious equilibrium.

All of this I find evoked in the rune poems’ varied imagery. Raidho provides an invitation for humility – which is not humiliation, but simply having one’s feet on the ground (which is where they are supposed to be). When we begin to integrate the different aspects of the psyche, particularly the unknown, we can come to experience our horse’s hoofs as though they were our own. When all parts work together in mutual respect the whole begins to exceed the sum of its parts. Take some time to listen to yourself. Riding need not be toil.

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Hex Magazine Presents:

Seattle Folklife Festival
Blackened Cascadian Folk Night!

Hex is pleased to present this exciting performance
as part of the 2012 Seattle Folklife Festival.

7.30-10pm, Friday May 25th @ the Vera Stage.

Performers include:
Lasher Keen

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Hex Magazine at the 25th Annual Trothmoot!

Hex Magazine will have a stall at the 25th Annual Trothmoot, and Hex’s H. A. Laguz will be presenting a paper.

The 25th anniversary Trothmoot includes many workshops and well-known speakers and promises to be a fantastic gathering. Hope to see you there!

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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!

Only 5 copies of Issue Six remain, get in while you can.

Order at:

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Until May Day, 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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