Hollow Hills Coven & Grove

an independent coven dedicated to teaching wicca and magic in hearth & home, coven & craft, tribe & tradition

   Dec 20

The Long Night

This time of year everyone gets so busy with family, friends, special events, it’s good to take time for quiet and connecting to the spirit of the season. It has been ages since the last post, we have been busy as a coven, doing Seeker Classes and Dedicant classes, Esbats and Sabbats, and getting out to at least one festival each year.  With the longest night at hand, it’s time to remember that we bring light to the darkness with song, food, fire, and love. The Wyrd Sisters have a beautiful song that always puts my heart right.

We as a coven celebrated Yule last night, and we included this wonderful song in the ritual. Music is magic, in and of itself. It touches the heart, crosses the boundaries of culture, and allows us to express our emotions in beauty. Blessings and love to all on this Longest night!

   Oct 19

Knitting the Web of Wyrd

knitThis time of year makes me long for the warm comforts of scarves and gloves, sweaters and hats, as I enjoy walking on a crisp autumn morning. So I decided that this year, I get to find out what happens when a witch decides to learn to knit. Once upon a time, when I was a small child, my mother tried to teach me to knit at an age where I rather lacked the necessary discipline in this endeavor. I remember it being a difficult and complicated business and rather boring at the time, and the slippers we were knitting never were finished. I think my mother was trying to teach us discipline, or just get her twin daughters to sit still for a few moments for some peace and quiet. It was probably a combination of both.

Yesterday I took a beginning knitting class with a member of our training grove. We both have been wanting to learn the mysteries of the fiber arts for quite a while and thought we’d do better to have a buddy to start out with. The class was held at a local knitting studio in the very heart of Paganistan, and it was an amazing experience. The place itself specialized in imported yarns of high quality, though I myself came with my cheap craft store yarn. The teacher was a quirky woman of crone age who has been knitting for sixty years. There’s definitely something magical about making things by hand, about creating fabric from a single thread of yard with a couple of pointed sticks. Making things by hand can add that extra dose of love that we all need this time of year. It also allows me to connect to my ancestors as we approach Samhain. Finnish on my mother’s side, and Norwegian on my father’s side, knitting is in my blood.

Sometimes when you are running a coven, always being the teacher, it’s nice to be a student again. In this case I was blessed to share that with a member of Hollow Hills Grove. During our last full moon Esbat, we were reminded of the coming winter, and the Goddess specifically spoke to knitting ourselves closely together by telling our stories. These simple things connect us to nature as she changes her clothing from green to orange, red and brown, and will bring us closer as friends and co-creators of our coven. Sure, there are always challenges, and last night while practicing my knitting I messed up and now I’m stuck on my project until wiser hands can undo my mistakes and I can move forward again.

Learning any craft takes time and patience, and I’m enjoying the journey as a student. I’m really excited about finishing my first project, and building the necessary skills to do more types of stitches and patterns throughout the long Minnesota winter. The Web of Wyrd is like a sweater covering the whole earth, and we as witches add to it by weaving magic to create a better world, closely bound to the wheel of the year. And so we will knit a web with the ancestors at Samhain and prepare to share our stories over the long cold nights ahead.

   Jul 06

Coven & Clan, Tribe & Tradition

When Jane at Eye of Horus said there was a need for Wiccan basic training, Hollow Hills Coven took on the task last fall. The Eye provided a safe place for the Wicca-curious to come and learn more about our tradition with our Seeker Classes. For 10 years they have hosted numerous classes, musical events, art shows, and provided services such as Reiki Healing and Tarot and Psychic readings. Now they need some help because they have to close up shop in their current location and move to a new one. Please donate if you can, and keep the Eye going! Our next series of Seeker Classes will be a reality IF we can have it at Eye of Horus this September as planned.


Thank you, thank you, thank you for your support. 🙂

   May 13

May Day Celebrations

40th May Day in Minneapolis, MN

40th May Day in Minneapolis, MN

After an extra long and extra cold winter, Spring finally has arrived in Paganistan, heralded by the 40th Annual May Day Parade and Festival in Powderhorn Park. It was actually the area surrounding the park, and the people who lived there, that inspired the name “Paganistan” in the first place. The term even has it’s own website and Wikipedia mentions it under the Neopagans in Minnesota entry, but the short version of where the name came from is this:

Paganistan is the generally accepted Pagan name for the Minnesota Twin Cities, which means “The place where the Pagans live.” The term was coined by linguist Steven Posch in 1989. Paganistan has one of the largest and most diverse Pagan populations in the United States

But back to the festival. It begins as a parade, continues into a Tree of Life Ceremony followed by a festival in Powderhorn Park. It’s where all the hippies, bohemians, lefties, free thinkers, artists, musicians, and of course Pagans spend the first Sunday in May in Minneapolis. Ten days have passed since the celebration, but memories will live on, and traditions continue year after year. This year was a little different for Jack and I, as we volunteered to help with the Twin Cities Pagan Pride info booth at the festival. Preparations were begun by Jack the day before, when he was mixing up a batch of May Wine to take to a friend’s house for the traditional May Pole dance and pot luck celebration after the festival was over.

May Wine In the works

May Wine In the works

We used two bottles of Riesling, a lovely white wine, and infused it with strawberries and dried sweet woodruff and let that soak overnight. In the morning Jack strained out the herbs and put the strawberries back in to make a wonderfully fresh and distinctively spring wine. It’s a tradition that goes back to Germany, and my husband has Bavarian ancestry and visited in Germany for a short while when he was in high school. I found a lovely article about it over at the Seasonal Wisdom blog, well worth a read or even bookmarking.

I think that Sweet Woodruff is going to have to go into our herb garden very soon. It would be nice to grow our own. But I need to get back to the story of the day, the celebration. The cooler was packed up and we made it to the park and found our booth location. After helping set up the booth, Jack took off to join in a friend’s annual pancake breakfast along the parade route.  It was an absolutely beautiful day, and we met lots of people and hung out at the Twin Cities Pagan Pride booth most of the day.  I wandered around a little bit, and mostly enjoyed the lovely spring weather.


Twin Cities Pagan Pride Fall Festival booth at the 40th Annual May Day Festival in Minneapolis, MN

That’s me in the blue hat enjoying a late afternoon gyro, and Doc is the dude wearing the other fun hat. It was a day to let you inner bohemian hang out and have a groovy time. After packing up the booth, we headed over to a friends back yard for BBQ and sitting around a fire, and we sang some very traditional May songs, which was wonderfull!

“I got up in the morning, much to my surprise,
I walked out to the garden, and fell down on the ice!
It is the first of May-o, it is the First of May!
Remember, Minnesota, it is the First of May!
We sing to you of flowers, of butterflies and bees,
But when we woke this morning, it was only ten degrees!
It is the first of May-o, it is the First of May!
Remember, Minnesota, it is the First of May!”

We were joined there by students from our first Seekers Class as well as some of the other visitors we’ve had to Hollow Hills Coven and Grove. It was a lovely time with friends old and new, and all my expectations were exceeded. Now that I’ve had a week to wind down, and a weekend to work in the gardens here at Applewood Cottage, I’m just feeling very grateful for having the opportunity to mark the coming of spring with our entire community. Spring, it seems, is a time for growth for us here at Hollow Hills Coven & Grove; and with that is the wonder and joy of watching flowers bloom.  The moon will be full tomorrow, and I intend to lay out some jewelry to soak up that glorious and subtle energy.  I’m looking forward to a season of love and magic. What about you?

   Sep 02

Going Forward

The struggle of running a fledgling coven with students and no initiated coven mates can wear on a person. I doubt my vision, I doubt my abilities, and I doubt what Jack and I are able to do alone. My reminder is that I am never alone. I’ve been building relationships, a network of friends who love and support me. It is ever growing and ever changing. The thing I need to remember is that I am not in charge. There is a Unity above and surrounding all filled with love that will guide us if we take the time to listen. It is so easy to be distracted by the every day struggles of life, of dealing with difficult relationships, and just trying to find purpose.

The purpose of life is to live, and to nourish life in myself and others. Recently I began re-reading the book The Findhorn Garden, and I am filled with equal measures of scepticism and inspiration. The dull task of living a mundane life bring out the sceptic in me. But it is only by embracing inspiration that can I break the spell that tells me there is no magic in the world. Because it is a spell, one that our culture casts on all of us. I am sensitive, I am musical, I am artistic, I have passion, and I believe in magic and miracles. Not because I am delusional, but because Nature itself demands it of me. It’s time to wake up and do the hard work of listening to my inner voice, and believing with my heart and my mind that learning to live and sharing that experience is why I am here. It’s why we founded Hollow Hills Coven, and why we will continue to pursue the path that lets us walk between the worlds of Spirit and Nature, because they are not separate worlds, but one that can be brought together in unity. That the Findhorn community is still going strong reminds me of this, and I am in awe of what they have accomplished.

   May 19

Dark Goddesses

When I first encountered the Goddess, it was a light goddess, goddess of the moon, Aine of Ireland. Currently I work with Freya, who is both a goddess of love and war. Complex and passionate, I’ve been learning more about her little by little. It takes time to learn about any specific Goddess, and there are some that are quite Dark, and should only be approached with the greatest care, if at all. One of which is The Morrigan. But sometimes there is a need, that I will not deny. Life is not always sweetness and light, and in order to do no harm, sometimes that calls for a strong defense. I just discovered Omnia, and I am overwhelmingly impressed with their song to Morrigan. Watch at your own risk.

   May 14

Making Magick in Minneapolis

On a wild day in May, magick is being made in Minneapolis. In the hip part of town where all the interesting people go is a metaphysical shop called Eye of Horus, and this is where the magick is being made. Near the corner of Lake and Lyndale, you can visit this powerful place, and be inspired by the atmosphere and knowledge that you will find there.


Just so you know, in my experience magick is very real. It is something we all do to some degree or another, because it stems from our own imagination and force of will. Every day the things we do and think can either create or negate our own personal power, and force in the universe. Thoughts become things, and we really can realize our dreams if we have the tools to do so. From the very beginning Thraicie Hawkner, owner and founder of Eye of Horus, worked magick to create her business, which is a haven for seekers and practitioners of many diverse magickal and spiritual paths. My twin sister Jane is Thraicie’s life and work partner, so I have had the opportunity to see how much work it takes to make a change in the world.

Now the entire staff at Eye of Horus wants to help all of us make better, stronger, and more powerful magick in our own lives. It takes more than a thought, but an act in the physical world to create anything real and lasting. There are many tools for making magick, and one of the most versatile are conjure or spiritual oils. Used to dress candles, anoint oneself in a sacred manner, add to incense…there are many ways to use oils to provide additional focus for the intentional work of a witch. In our rituals for Hollow Hills Coven, everyone has their third eye blessed with oil  by the priestess or priest who is leading the ritual, as they come to the edge of the circle.

In the circle we come together in perfect love and perfect trust, and we work for the common good. Now Eye of Horus is about to open a powerful and magickal gateway by launching their own line of Spiritual Oils for our use, and we all can become a part of that magick. While this post may seem like a shameless plug for a crowd funding campaign, which (or witch!) it is, it is also a key that unlocks the magick in your life. Because what we put out into the world returns to us threefold, and our own will and choices and actions create the life we want, acting on this by supporting the campaign will open new paths to magick in your own life.

   Mar 26

Paganicon 34,257 SWC (2013 AD)

Paganicon 34,257 SWC (2013 AD)

Paganicon 34,257 SWC (2013 AD)

Paganicon 2013  was AWESOME! All of Hollow Hills Coven and Grove made it this year. We had a party room called the Zodiac Club based on the Night Club in the old movie “Bell, Book and Candle” (1958). This was primarily Jenny’s baby though everyone helped to one degree or another. She did all the art work for it. We were bummed the t-shirts didn’t arrive in time. Jack as usual took lots of pictures as well as having some of his photos in the Third Offering Gallery, a set called “Nexus: Transitions of Light and Dark” to match the convention’s theme of Light and Dark in Balance at the Equinox. We also went to the Prodea Ostara rite on Sunday.

For our two students this was not only their first Paganicon but their first convention generally. They were dazzled and each had a grand time. The Masquerade Ball was the most memorable for the both of them. Paginicon may wind up becoming the Paganistan social event of the year. The con was written up in Pagan News Collective as well. All in all it was a grand Ostarta.

   Mar 12

Lady Kyril Oakwind sails to the Summerland


Lady Kyril Oakwind (1951-2013)


It is with great sorrow and a little joy I have to report the passing of a Grand Lady of the Craft.  Lady Kyril Oakwind (1951-2013) left for the Summerland last Saturday, March 9th after a long battle with metastatic breast cancer.  I first met her in early 1987 (by the Goddess that is 26 years ago!) and as the Initiator of my Initiators she over saw much of my early Craft training.  I visited her and her husband Enquito’s home and beautiful land near Circle Sanctuary many times over the years both in her capacity as a teacher of Gardnerian Craft and of the rites of the Church of all Worlds.  She will be missed.  And that of course is the sorrow.  However she leaves behind a great legacy of her own children, her writings, her work with Gardnerian Wicca, the Church of All Worlds and Sweetwood Temenos left them all better for her efforts.  And of course there is much living memory of those who knew her.  That is the joy worthy of celebration. May the Goddess Grant Her a Good Rebirth.   Her obituary at Wild Hunt can be found here.


   Mar 08

The Moon Over Limnopolis I: A Tale of Two Moons

Full Moon over Minneapolis

27th Day of Ice Moon, 34,257 S.W.R

May Clio Bless This Work

Titles are fun!

When Prof. Ronald Hutton’s book “The Triumph of the Moon” came out in 1999 I knew I had heard that title some where before but I could not remember where.  I finally figured it out in my continuing calendar research in mid 2011 or so.  The calendar work had led me back once again to Isaac Asimov’s (1920-1992) Science Fact Anthology paperback book called “The Tragedy of the Moon” (1973) which I had read as a youth in the ‘City of Lakes’, Minneapolis or in all Greek: Limnopolis.  The name ‘Minneapolis’ is mixed Greek (-polis or ‘city’) and Dakotah (Minne- or sky blue as in the sky blue waters of our many lakes) or perhaps it could also be called Hirikozingirak in Basque.  Why Basque you ask?  A lot of reasons and we’ll get to those in more detail a later essay in this series though I touched on it in the first one I link to below as well as my 2011-12 Holiday Season blog.  For now I’ll just say I love linguistics almost as much as calendrics.  Dr. Asimov has two chapters on calendrics the first is called ‘The Moon over Babylon’ describing the evolution of the Western calendar and it is part of the inspiration for the title of this series of ‘short’ blogs.  The second is called ‘The Week Excuse’ describing his preferred calendar reforms.  Yes, he is fond of puns and sadly for some I have picked up that questionable habit.  I will try to restrain myself but I make no promises. I will discuss both of his calendar chapters later in my forthcoming series of ‘blogisodes’ on ‘The Skystone Witches’ Calendar’.  The point of this blog here is a different chapter in the book titled as you might expect ‘The Triumph of the Moon’.

The ‘Tragedy of the Moon’ is the first chapter of his popular science anthology as well as the anthology title.  The Good Doctor (he has a Doctorate in biochemistry) produced an amazing volume of essays explaining the science of the day for the layman as well as writing a lot of famous science fiction which we will, oddly enough touch on later.  The idea here is the speculation that Human Civilization might be much further advanced if our Moon orbited Venus instead of Earth.  This would be due to the fact that a Moon orbiting Venus (we’ll call it Cupid as Dr. Asimov does) would be visible from Earth.  Even simple Hunter Gatherers and their shamans would be able see it, a dim, tiny star always close to the brilliant Morning or Evening Star.  It would be obvious the Morning Star and Evening Star were one in the same planet from the beginning because of Cupid’s regular motion around Venus.  The Geocentric Folk Theory, the notion of the Earth as the Center of God’s Cosmos, the Universe and that Humanity was the pinnacle of God’s Creation would never have taken hold.  The Enlightenment and Science would have begun much earlier in our social development and we would far more technologically and socially advanced than we are now.

Limnopolis1bRelative size of Luna to Earth (l) Lunar Formation (r)

The next chapter is of course ‘The Triumph of the Moon’, our original use of this recycled title is where Dr. Asimov originally points out the common scientific ideas current in the 1960s and 70s that the Moon’s presence is essential to our existence.  First, through strong and variable tides that helped drive our ancestral Marine Life onto the Land.  He also speculates that primitive humans trying to understand the Moon’s cycles may have initiated counting and the earliest forms of Arithmetic and Calendrics.  His third speculation is that when pondering the problem of the planets motion along with the Moon in the early urban civilizations the Moon complicated the simplistic model of the four ‘earthly’ elements of earth, water, air and fire and the luminous celestial element of the ‘ether’.  Though Aristotle thought the Moon was ether many others thought the Moon was a world like ours and in the end, Pagan Greek astronomers like Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c.276 BC to c.195 BC) who also believed the Earth was a sphere and Hipparchos of Nicaea (c.190 BC to c.120 BC) who first calculated the distance and size of the Moon and Aristarchos of Samos (310 BC to 230 BC) who also believed the planets revolved around the Sun were proved right.  Dr. Asimov concludes the best of all situations is a moon around both worlds.

Now, some 30 years later three more science items are added to Dr. Asimov’s list: 4) The presence of the Moon stabilizes the Earth’s axis which could wobble over time causing massive pole shifts and causing abrupt and catastrophic climate change as has happened at Mars.  The other two are more speculative but related and are based in part on the Lunar samples brought back by the Apollo missions: The Collision of the planetismal with the proto-Earth may have been essential to 5) blast away a portion of the Earth’s primary crust to initiate Plate Tectonics and 6) shock away most of the Earth’s initial accretion atmosphere to avoid a runaway Greenhouse Effect that the planet Venus succumbed to early in it’s history.  Lovely Luna is vital to our very existence, which I find quite pleasing and obvious as a Wiccan High Priest.  Thus, Hutton’s title is not original though a lot of his research is.  Dr. Isaac Asimov’s Triumph of the Moon is available online.

Now I seriously doubt Prof. Hutton stole the title from Dr. Asimov because Professor of History Ronald Hutton of Bristol University is far too, um…unacquainted with the physical sciences to have seen it.  I also agree with Prof. Hutton that Wicca is a fascinating religion that Britain has given the World.  We just disagree on precisely when that happened.  We disagree on his point that it is the only religion Britain has given the World.  As a point of history the majority of Classical sources of Ancient Rome and Greece agree that Britain also gave the world Druidism early in the Classical Era.  I know Roman History is not Hutton’s specialty (that’s the British Civil War and Restoration) I would think he would have at least mentioned that.

As I mentioned above besides Astronomy, Calendrics and some other physical sciences I love linguistics and that is one of the many Wiccan relevant sciences Hutton woefully neglects.  Though he claims to be doing ‘scientific history’ no where in his “Triumph” does he define ‘Wicca’ or ‘Witchcraft’! The etymology and linguistics of the words ‘witch’ and ‘wicca’ are vital components of our history, our very language and I discuss the new discoveries in detail here: “The Roots of the terms ‘Wicca’ and ‘Witchcraft’ and Their Original and Modern Usages” (2013).  This is a longer, more detailed essay that I can later build up into a book chapter for a future text, an actual scientific History of Witchcraft. The idea of writing a ‘scientific history’ and then not defining your central terms let alone not providing a modern etymology is just stunning. Our primary concern here is Wicca (and Hwicce! Follow the link for that story too.), but we will touch on Druidism often enough.  Once, from the mid-Nineteenth to mid-Twentieth centuries, relatively few questioned the antiquity of Witchcraft. Margaret Murray had definitively and academically settled that issue in 1921 with her masterpiece “The Witchcult of Western Europe”. That has changed dramatically since the early 60s. What happened? Stay tuned for the next installment of “The Moon over Limnopolis”!