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24 Jun 2013

~ THE TURNING OF THE WHEEL~

Summer Solstice 2013

In this Edition:

Hex Announcements
Runic Reflections: Berkano
New Novemthree Album: Renewing

~ Hexy Discounts! ~

We’re very pleased to be able to let you know
that a number of Hex items are on sale…

Issues 7, 8, and 9 are 20% off normal price.
All art prints (including a new edition of the Tree of Life) are 20% off.
Winter Songs: By the Hum of Ullr’s Bow CD is 50% off!
All available at http://www.hexmagazine.com/shop/products

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

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Hex Cookbook Project

We are now Accepting Submissions for the Hex Cookbook Project! Thistlemoon (aka The Leftover Queen, http://www.leftoverqueen.com) and Hex’s own Arrowyn Craban Lauer are putting together a cookbook full of seasonal and traditional European recipes.

We want your old family recipes, traditional favorites, or recipes with a modern twist on a traditional theme. We would love recipes that come with folklore, family stories, or historical background about the dishes or their ingredients. Bonus points if you have wisdom to share about traditional nutrition, farming practices, and the like!

Please only submit recipes to which you hold copyright, or which are in the public domain. It is acceptable to submit recipes that are inspired from published ones, but you will need to credit to the original.

Check our recipe guidelines and send your submissions to: recipe@hexmagazine.com.

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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 submissions@hexmagazine.com

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• Berkano •

Old English Rune Poem
Beorc (Birch) is lacking fruit; it bears even so
sprouts without seed; its boughs beautiful,
high on top, fairly decorated;
grown with leaves, close to the sky

Old Icelandic Rune Poem
Bjarkan (Birch) is a leaf covered limb
and a slender tree
and a spritely wood

Old Norwegian Rune Poem
Bjarkan (Birch) is leaf-greenest of limbs;
Loki bore treachery’s fortune

~ Rune poem translations by Sweyn Plowright
http://www.mackaos.com.au/Rune-Net/Primer/

There is something of the eternal youth about this rune: the “spritely wood,” “leaf-greenest of limbs.” And youthfulness implies mischief, which is nothing more than a superabundance of life overrunning heavy handed elders who are too full of pomp for their own good.

And mischief implies Loki, who, it seems, “bore treachery’s fortune.” What does this statement mean? I have a theory.

In the Prose Edda we are told of how the walls of Asgard were built. The gods struck a deal with a mason that if he did not finish the work in 18 months then he would receive no payment. A rather exorbitant payment that included Freyja, the sun, and the moon! They did not count on his marvellous stallion when they arranged this perilous contract, but it soon became clear that with the horse’s aid he would meet the deadline.

So Loki, who brokered the bad deal in the first place, was called in. He assumed the form of a mare and lured the stallion away. The mason missed the deadline, and when he got aggressive (and revealed himself to be a giant, to boot) Thor taught him a lesson or two.

Meanwhile, some time later, Loki produced a horse child who he had born as a mare. Sleipnir, Odin’s wondrous eight-legged steed! A wonderful gift for the one-eyed god indeed.

We can see how Loki’s deceit brought luck in many ways. Various myths have a similar theme – but I associate this one with Berkano specifically because the rune is often seen as connected to pregnancy and birth.

The point of all this? You never know the outcome until it has come out. When the gods realize the pickle they – or Freyja, the moon, and the sun – are in, they reasonably enough ask Loki, its architect, to solve the problem. You can bet that they were pretty worried. And yet the trouble-maker ended up bringing about a resolution that worked out for everyone, and which produced an unexpected boon.

The moral of the story is: take the long view. Our fears, our anxieties, our resentments, all of these emotions narrow our vision and focus it on the immediacy of the here and now. They cut us off similarly from the past, from the litany of successes and good fortune we have had, and without which we would never have survived.

Situated in the proper temporal perspective, almost any crisis assumes a different dimension. It is true there are some wounds that cannot be healed and some catastrophes that are uncontainable. Yet even these might, in generations or centuries time, lead to the emergence of positive events that otherwise would not have happened. Or perhaps in a year. Or even just a month. Who can know?

This is not wishful thinking; not only are the myths replete with examples of this moral, but so is history. And I am willing to bet that if you go looking then you’ll find this is true of your life and of those around you, too. But if we don’t look, we won’t see. It is easy to dwell on the negative.

The point is not to pretend that everything is great when it is not; the point is not to adopt the pretence of false optimism. The point is, however, not to become jaundiced. The birch did not achieve its fertile, luscious beauty through cynicism or pessimism. If these attitudes ruled the tree, it would never get beyond seed-hood…or beyond a quiet death still buried in the earth.

Berkano invokes the principle that it is better to act imperfectly than to passively complain. That it is better to work with a difficult situation than to throw futile emotionality at the fact that things are often not as we would like.

This takes discipline. The only way to steer ourselves away from dwelling fruitlessly on the negative is to have a plan for where to think instead…for example, to consciously think about the long, Loki-ish, point of view.

It might seem strange to associate Loki, that lightning rod of ambivalence, with a grounded, positive, long-term outlook on life. Loki, that short-term-thinking, impetuous, foolish figure, alternately a source of laughter and chaos, hardly seems like a scion for the sobriety of the long-view-minded. Perhaps this is yet another dimension of the good fortune bound up in his deceptiveness.

Ultimately what I am driving at, what Berkano hints at, is the significance of cultivating a life-affirming attitude. This attitude seems to run richly through Northern European myth and folk tales; the Brothers Grimm in particular documented dozens of stories in which plucky but overmatched heroes won the day because no matter what they did not give up.

A life affirming attitude says YES even to the things that repel, threaten, frighten, or disgust us. It suspends all the effortful weight of standing in judgment over others’ worth. It looks to the fruitful, beautiful intricacy of the world, and recognizes it hidden even in the grimmest of times and places.

The cynic will reply, “What hogwash!” All I can say is that these ideas must be treated to the empirical test. Loki never hesitates to experiment, to try, even if his judgement is flawed and motivations questionable. It is easier to be a lazy cynic than an adventurous life-affirmer.

Good thing the birch chose the affirmative path…or perhaps we would not have any of these wonderful trees to enjoy at all…

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Novemthree Announces New Album: Renewing

Revered US neofolk artists Novemthree return with an exquisite new album. Evocative sonic dreams of birth, life, and passing away into rebirth. Novemthree craft gently dark and dreamlike tunes of psychedelic-fringed folk music with verses inspired by a longing for a connection with Nature, the sense of solitude and peace in the vastness of the cosmos, meandering reflections on life and loss.

Novemthree are now accepting preorders for this new release out on Little Somebody Records! All of the funds will go directly into the production of our release. These will be real CDs housed in 100% recycled laid paper. This is limited to 130 copies and will be hand numbered and accompanied by an exclusive embroidered patch! Upon preordering, you will receive the ability to download the entire album.

Preorder here: http://littlesomebodyfamily.bandcamp.com/releases/

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By the Hum of Ullr’s Bow: Winter Songs Compilation CD
On Sale: Half Price (From $8 to $4)

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

Order your copy here:
http://hexmagazine.com/shop/products/winter-songs-cd/

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Until Feast of Bread, may you and your
household be blessed and kept. Hail!

~ HEX Magazine

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