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Posted by on in Culture Blogs



You can't flip someone off when you're wearing mittens.

Welcome to Minnesota.


Go ahead, laugh at my unfashionable hand-gear: see if I care. When the temperature gets down below zero, no gloves will ever keep your hands as warm as a good, well-knit pair of mittens.

Think of them as symbols of community. In mittens, the fingers keep each other warm.


“Hey, if they're good enough for Thor, they're good enough for me.”

This has been my quip this Winter ever since I finally caved and started leaving my fingered gloves at home. Everyone around here gets the allusion, though it's not, strictly speaking, mythologically correct.

You know the story. Thor and some friends are heading for Etinhame one night when, looking for a place to camp, they discover an oddly-shaped cave with a wide mouth and one strange little room off to the side.

Turns out, it's a giant's mitten.

Consider the implications: up here, even the frost-giants wear mittens.


Hand-shoes, the ancestors called them 1500 years ago, back in the old Hwiccan hunting-runs. In Beowulf, one of the men torn apart by the troll Grendel is named—for reasons we can only guess at—Hand-shoe.

Not even mittens can guard from every scathe.


If you've ever wondered what it would be like to have flippers instead of hands, come to Minnesota and find out.

Last modified on

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Imbolc brings an invitation into change,
to step into the forge of transformation,
to sink into the holy well of healing,
to open ourselves up to an evolving path
of growth and discovery.
It is now that we remember
we are our own seeds of promise
and while there is time yet
to stay in the waiting place
biding our time
and strengthening our resources
so we have what we need to grow,
soon we will feel the wheel
urging us onward,
the call to set forth
becoming unmistakable and strong.
Let us settle ourselves into center,
nestle into trust and determination,
and extend outward from here
feeling the sweet wind caress us
and the fiery forge beckon us
as we heed the summons to roll on,
the path opening up before us as we move.


Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Gem-Magic Get-Together

Forget the Tupperware party and have a gem-magic party with your girlfriends instead. Make popcorn, eat pizza, drink champagne, and, most importantly, make magic together. What could be more fun? All you have to do is pick a night and assign everyone two ingredients to bring—one snack and one batch of crystal beads. You provide the thread, tools, glue, and good vibes.

Think about beginning the night by making brooches. A brooch worn over the heart is a symbol of loyalty and love among friends. You’ll need to get some flat-circle brooch pins at a craft store. Give each person at the party a brooch and ask her to choose a partner. Using glue, each gal will encrust the front of her brooch with as many crystals as possible in a color and an array that best represents the personality of her partner. Then, the partners exchange brooches. Your gaggle of girlfriends will be forever bonded by their love brooches, not to mention the glue!

Last modified on


OK, Winter's halfway over: time for a completely unscientific survey. Complete this sentence:


The thing that drives me craziest about pagans is that we....


  • Please keep it short: no more than three sentences. (One would be best.)
  • Let me know by what name you'd like to be cited, what flavor pagan you are, and where you hail from.
  • Remember, please: we're talking about us here, not them.
Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs


A pagan couple once bought a house in the rural part of a Midwestern state. This house stood next to a bridge.

A few days after they'd moved in, there came a knock at the door.

“Hi,” said the couple at the door. “Our car broke down on the bridge; can we use your phone?”

(This, of course, was B.C.: before cell.)

“Sure,” said the home-owners and, being good pagans, they played the gracious host until the tow-truck arrived.

A few days later, there's another knock at the door. Another break-down on the bridge.

A few days after that, it happens again.

Finally, the couple gets pretty sick of it. (Call it hospitality fatigue.) So the husband walks over, stands under the bridge, and really lets loose.

“Listen, you!” he hollers. “I don't know who you are or what you're playing at, but I'm warning you: my wife is a witch, and if this doesn't stop right now, she's going to come over here and take care of things good and proper. And believe you me, you really don't want that to happen!

From that day forward, there were no more break-downs on the bridge.

Last modified on
Birds Have Boobs? Minoan Nippled Ewers and Beaked Pitchers

You may have noticed that the Minoans had something of a breast obsession in their art. This is apparent not just in the many images of topless women, but also in the artwork showing animals suckling their young and in the many teat-shaped conical rhytons (ritual libation pitchers).

What you may not have noticed is that the Minoans put nipples on a lot of their pitchers and jugs, like the one at the top of this post, from Akrotiri. Why the heck would they do that?

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Imbolc Introspection

I've always thought a little introspection was good for the soul, and the sabbat, Imbolc, certainly lends itself to that. If creativity can play a part in your ritual, all the better. The last two seasons of my monthly personal podcast, "Women Who Howl at the Moon," I've turned the recording device on myself. I make a point to ask aloud some challenging questions and try to be honest and open with my spontaneous answers. In a way, it's not all that different than when I used to employ my favorite toy growing up, a tape recorder. I'd record everything with that beloved instrument, and rarely—if ever—edited myself. I'd record friends, my younger brothers, conduct interviews with grandparents, act out beloved movies or spoofs on TV shows, all in the form of  a free-wheeling radio play. In some ways, little has changed, although I do admit to cleaning up too many "ums" or "tsks" if they bug me. All in all, it still remains one of my favorite communication devices of choice. You don't get hung up on the visual and distracted by that but are forced to listen closely and imagine what story you are hearing unfolding.

So Many Ways to Look Inward

In the past, I've suggested going on a peaceful winter cross-country ski in a nature setting, turning up the heat and meditating with a cup of piping hot herbal tea, or simply embracing the act of unplugging—literally all electronic devices and unnecessary noise. You can hug your inner introvert by way of a mini silent retreat with yourself. Or this year you could dim the lights, make sure you're in a sound-proof setting where you won't be disturbed, and hit record for a little self-talk. You certainly don't need any fancy recording devices or software to do this. Most Smart Phones come equipped with a recording device. Whether you choose to share your innermost thoughts or no, is distinctly up to you. At the very least, play the recording back to yourself at a later date—perhaps at the Spring Equinox, or even Lammas, since that is one of the four major sabbats, and opposite Imbolc on the calendar wheel. Check in and listen to you express your thoughts privately. See what's changed and what's remained the same. Take note in your journal and act accordingly.

Last modified on

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