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20 Jun 2012

Summer Solstice News 2012


Summer Solstice 2012

In this Edition:

Hex Announcements
Kitchen Medicine & Magic: Midsummer/Litha
Runic Reflections: Hagalaz

~ 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 (only 4 left!), 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: Issues Five and Six are no longer available except as part of this compilation.

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:

A sacrifice was to be made for a good season
at the beginning of winter,
and one in midwinter for good crops,
and a third one in summer, for victory

– Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway

Midsummer has arrived and with it another chance to get together with like-minded folk and celebrate life and our victories. Many of the traditional elements of Heathen celebration should be present for Midsummer, to help connect us with the natural world of our distant ancestors. You might try to include the use of fire (as noted in Heimskringla above), of water (another traditional Midsummer element), and of earth (through the use of plants).

Midsummer is known as a fire festival, often involving the lighting of a traditional need fire. Sparking this flame can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like: perhaps you might enjoy trying primitive methods of friction or sparking for a flame. This fire, however ignited, then becomes a tool to ward away possible sickness, otherworldly influences, and ill-luck.

Water is also important at this time and should be collected now as something more potent than normal. The sources of water should also be honored with words and gifts. Perhaps you could look for a natural water source for the offering of your praise.

Earth is represented as well, in the crops, food, and medicine we harvest from her! Nerthus and her plants are taking in peak amounts of Sunna’s energy and hence are doing very well at this time of year. Many food crops are being harvested already, with many more to come. The herbs in the garden are overflowing at this traditional time to harvest and this year I’ve got a plan for them: I’m creating seasoning blends to give away at Yule.

To ensure maximum usage of these plants when harvesting them, make sure the sun has dried any dew from their leaves: wet spots can cause mold. Remove any visible damage like dead leaves or broken parts. Also, look for any insects you don’t want to bring in with you.

Be sure to harvest no more than about 1/3 to 1/2 of the plant, depending on how well it is doing. Use a different container for each plant you harvest and be very careful during your final inspection to look for bits of leaves that don’t belong with what you harvested. Then, wash them and allow them to air dry.

I use my food dehydrator to dry my herbs in order to protect them from light and dust – but I don’t turn it on. Usually the herbs will retain some or all of their color if dried without heat. Once the herbs are completely dry they can be stored in labeled containers in a dark place.

Once you have your herbs ready you can choose a blend, maybe something similar to what you already purchase, or try something new; there are hundreds of herbal blends to choose from. My first blend was Fines Herbs, which was versatile and adaptable.

You can fill in your blends with herbs and spices you don’t have by purchasing them from your local whole foods source or grocery store.

My dry herbal blend this year – I’ll call it my:

Midsummer Blend!

1 part rosemary
1 part mint
1 part sage
1 part thyme
1 part oregano
2 parts chives
2 parts basil
2 parts parsley

Grind all together well using a mortar and pestle, food processor, or even a coffee grinder.
To leave the herbs in larger sizes sift them through a strainer or other screen-like device.
Be sure to always label your containers with the ingredients and the date.
Tweak the recipe as you desire or search the internet for hundreds of variations.

Whatever you choose to do to honor the passing of spring into summer, be sure to remember the peaking life energy all around you and draw some into yourself!

Hail Day! Hail sons of Day!
Hail Night and her daughter!
Look on us with gracious eyes;
Grant us Victory!

– Sigdrifa

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

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Old English Rune Poem
Haegl (Hail) is the whitest of seeds;
it spins out of heaven;
rolling with the wind’s blows;
it is turned into water thereafter.

Old Icelandic Rune Poem
Hagall (Hail) is cold seed
and a sleet shower
and snake’s illness.

Old Norse Rune Poem
Hagall (Hail) is the coldest of seeds;
Christ shaped the world (the heavens) in fore times.

~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright

Hagalaz is disintegration, the shattering of old order back into raw materials. It is like the process of decomposition but spun at tremendous speed and force. It lays waste.

I have experienced this force in my life several times, and though it might be a surprise to hear, I look forward to Hagalaz’s assault when I recognize its imminence. The reason is simple: if things have gotten so bad that only a total clearing of the decks will open a path for a new beginning, then I’ll embrace the pain of hail’s kiss.

The dual sense of destruction/creation is evident in the rune poems. Hail is cold and causes sickness for the snake (a symbol for the unconscious, animal spirit in each of us?). Yet it turns into water, and the Old Norse poem describes a process of creation (we can neatly ignore the reference to Christ in this case; I am certainly of the school which argues that the Christian veneer on these poems is thin).

In this rune we can trace the very realistic worldview implicit throughout the rune poems. Hagalaz brings destruction but also clears the way and sets the moment for new growth and life. We are free to curse our misfortunes, but we might discover that they also turn into benefits and boons.

In a sense, then, Hagalaz is a teacher of faith: in wyrd, or the gods, or the ancestors, or whatever each of us chooses to place our trust in. It requires us to recognize the moment at which there is no longer any point in resisting the tide of events we find ourselves caught in. And in return it promises to deposit us on the shores of some new and unknown country. It therefore invites unexpected adventure, and in so doing resensitizes us to the meaning of being alive.

This rune, then, is a gift and an opportunity. Through forces beyond our control, we are transformed, healed, or renewed. Through our wounds we discover our inner possibilities. Hagalaz plays in the key of grim optimism, neither lost in false self-assurance nor mired in the creaky edifice of effortful pessimism. It does not so much open doors as wrench them from their hinges – it is up to us to then take advantage, if we dare.

In this way, Hagalaz points our attention to both the limits of our power and the extent of our power. It reminds us that we are mortal, at the mercy of all sorts of forces – external and internal, natural and societal. Yet it underscores also our ability to respond to our experiences – not just blindly react – and thereby overcome and be strengthened by the irruption of chaos.

It takes a certain amount of honesty and courage to embrace the lesson of Hagalaz. We must learn to accept what is beyond our power, and to seek out the good things, no matter how small or concealed they may at first seem to be. It is up to us to make the best of what we have, and trust that Hagalaz will at least clear the field of obstructions (one way or another).

Most people who have experienced trauma or loss will agree that it somehow made them stronger, more resolved, or more compassionate; more patient, graceful, or creative. It is true that sometimes the price paid for such growth is too high; but even in such dark cases, we might as well make the most of what is at hand.

There are many such dual-aspected forces in Germanic mythology and symbolism and this is one of the reasons that I love these traditions so much: there is no wishful thinking or sugar-coating, but neither is there petulance or pessimism. They teach that “keeping it real” doesn’t mean giving up or only looking for the worst. Nobody ever won a prize for making themselves bitter.

Hagalaz: a rune of optimism amid the chaos and hurt of this world. Can we say “yes” even to a world of pain and destruction – can we still seek to live with a curious and playful spirit? Hagalaz threatens to break us, but it also threatens to make us. The choice is your own.

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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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Until Feast of Bread, 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,

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