The Wild Hunt’s 2014 Winter Solstice Gift Guide

Cara Schulz —  November 28, 2014 — 37 Comments

Looking for the perfect Solstice gift for your favorite Pagan, Heathen, or Polytheist? The Wild Hunt’s 2014 Winter Solstice Gift Guide, with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest movies, books, gifts and treats can help. If you find something you like, just click on the photo to find more information or to purchase the product.*

For the Bookworm

Pagans may not be People of the Book, but we are people who own books – lots and lots of books. This is why we are kicking off our Gift Guide with ideas for the bookworms on your Solstice list. The first selection was recommended by a number of Heathens, while all the other book suggestions come to us from three Pagan book industry experts.

grimm

The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm: The Complete First Edition – The unsanitized versions of the Brothers Grimm’ tales have never been published in English before, and Jack Zipes does an incredible job of translating them into colloquial English. Even those of you who think you know the original tales are going to be surprised. The illustrations by Andrea Dezsö fit perfectly with the fairy tales. Price: $35.00

Elysia Gallo is the senior acquisitions editor for Llewellyn Worldwide, based in Minnesota. She’s also active in her local Minneapolis community and blogs for Llewellyn’s Paganism blog, Reflections of the MoonHere are her suggestions:

witches broom

The Witch’s Broom – Elysia says, “This chunky little illustrated book makes a perfect stocking stuffer for the witch in your life! Besides looking adorable, it’s packed with myth, lore and legend about the witch’s broom, as well as many practical chapters for the modern witch on how to make, consecrate, decorate, and use your own broom in spells and ritual.” It’s the first in a series being compiled on the witch’s tools. Price: $12.79

wizard and witch

The Wizard and the Witch – 2014 has been a hard year for the Pagan community as we’ve lost many of our elders, one of whom was Morning Glory Zell. Luckily she lived to see her and Oberon’s dual biography, presented as an oral history in print. Elysia describes this book as “a great tale about the love between soul mates, and should be required reading for anyone looking to learn more about the history of modern Paganism.” It has a full-color photo insert as well, showing all phases of their lives. Price: $19.99

homemade magic

Homemade Magick – “Anyone who’s ever read a book penned by Lon Milo DuQuette knows that he’s as humorous as he is wise. For anyone interested in magic, of any path, and any knowledge level, you just can’t go wrong with a book by him. This one in particular is about becoming a magician in a very DIY manner – choosing a magical motto, self-initiation, raising kids in a magical home, and more. All good magic starts at home!” Price: $16.99

merlin stone

Merlin Stone Remembered – Merlin Stone was best known as the author of When God Was a Woman. Elysia says, “In this walk down memory lane, we learn about her unpublished works, her work on racism, and her previous career as an artist. We reach touching memories of her, as written by her life partner and by one of her daughters. If she was instrumental in turning you on to the Goddess, then you’ll love this collection.” It also includes full-color insert.  Price: $21.99

Taylor Ellwood is co-owner of Immanion Press. He’s also a holistic business coach, magician, and author. You can find him on G+. Here are Taylor’s picks:

manifesting wealth

Manifesting WealthTaylor says, “I admittedly have written this book, but I point readers to it because it takes a holistic approach to the concept of wealth, focusing on not just money, but also career, health, and relationships, as a guide for creating wealth in your life.” Price:  $18.00

shade

Shades of Ritual – This is an anthology that explores ritual and magical work from the perspective of Pagans of Color. Taylor says, “Its sure to give you some great ideas for your own magical work.” Price: $6.50

tears

The Queen of the Tearling – Written by a new author, “this book has a fascinating story that will draw you in. If you like Game of Thrones, you’ll enjoy this book.” Price:  $11.50

Erin Lale is the acquisitions editor at Eternal Press and Damnation Books. She curates the Time Yarns Universe, edited Berserkrgangr Magazine, wrote Asatru For Beginners and other books, writes the Gnosis Diary blog on Pagansquare and twice ran for public office as an out Heathen.

Carnival Charlatan – This contemporary urban fantasy about a reluctant witch pretending to be a carnival charlatan won an Amazon editors’ Best Books of 2014 Medallion. Price:  $18.00

At the Edge – Pagn author Angie Skelhorn’s contemporary fiction tells us, “There is support from the unseen to guide our lives on Earth.” Price:  $16.00

Escaped – This urban fantasy novel about a bruxa, a witch of the Portuguese tradition, is one of its publisher’s top ten bestsellers. Price:  $16.50

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Games and Tarot

Alone or in groups; for fun or for insight; for adults or children, these suggestions cover everyone on your list. Taylor Ellwood offers recommendations on games.

Wildcraft  An Herbal Adventure GameWildcraft! – This family cooperative game teaches players about herbs and their uses. As players go up and down a long mountain path, similar to Chutes and Ladders, they draw plant cards, which feature herbs, and draw trouble cards, which feature common aliments such as mosquito bites. Players use the plant cards to help their own troubles, as well as other with their ailments. The game board and box are made with 100% recycled chipboard and printed with vegetable oil based inks, with no toxic varnish. Ages 5 and up. Price: $39

talisman

Talisman – Taylor describes this is as a sword and sorcery game in which you seek the crown of command before anyone else gets it. It’s fun for a game night, and has add-ons if you want to make it more challenging. Ages 9 and up. Price: $43.50

Descent: Journeys in the Dark – “This is a dungeon crawler, complete with figurines and customizable maps. It also comes with specific scenarios or you can create your own.” Ages 13 and up. Price: $52.50

forbidden

Forbidden Desert – “This is a cooperative board game in which all players are trying to escape the desert. Do you have what it takes to cooperate and build the flying machine?” Ages 10 and up. Price: $19.50

Elysia Gallo makes a few suggestions on tarot decks and one datebook

cat tarot

Mystical Cats Tarot – When recommending this deck, Elysia says, “I might be a little biased as my cat is one of the purrfectly adorable kitties featured in this deck! But seriously, if you’re going to buy a feline-themed deck this year for one of your friends who is crazy about cats, this is the one to get!” Price: $28.99

Nicoletta Ceccoli Tarot – Elysia describes the art in this deck as “just so terribly, horribly gorgeous.” Can you read with it? She didn’t know, but said, “Sometimes decks are worth it just for the art.” Price: $29.95

date bookWitches’ Datebook – At Llewellyn, there are all kinds of wall calendars, from Steampunk to fairies, but Elysia says that she “just can’t go without the Witches’ Datebook.” She adds, “It’s always on my must-have list and I know people love to receive these as gifts, too.” Price: $8.79

Music and Movies

We’ll take you slightly off the beaten path and introduce you to some music and movies you may not be familiar with.

song solstice

Jennifer Cutting’s OCEAN Orchestra – “Song of Solstice” – This is my personal recommendation for the perfect Winter Solstice album. I don’t think I’ve ever had this strong a positive reaction to a CD, especially a holiday CD, but I can’t recommend this work of pure art by Jennifer Cutting highly enough. There are original songs, old world classics in French, orchestra accompaniment, hints of steampunk, renaissance recorders, electric guitars, female singers and male singers. You wouldn’t think such musical diversity would work on one CD, but the unifying theme of midwinter pulls it together nicely. All the songs celebrate the season in some way, and while most have a distinct Pagan vibe to them, your Lutheran mother would enjoy it, too.

The next few albums were recommended by Jason Pitzl-Waters, emeritus founder of The Wild Hunt, and host of A Darker Shade of Pagan podcast and the radio station Numinosis.

faun

Faun – “Luna” – This band is out of Germany and has a sound that isn’t quite folk and isn’t quite medieval but some glorious mix of the two. My favorite song on the album is Hekate, but as a Hellenic polytheist I may just be biased. You can sample tracks at the link. Price: $9.50 for MP3

nightspiritsThe Moon and the Nightspirit – “Holdrejtek” – One reviewer said “Ágnes Tóth’s voice is a gorgeously melodic sound that invokes images of groves and faerie magic of old. The instruments are haunting and powerful. Violin, dulcimer, drums, and acoustic guitar come together beautifully in a rhythmic harmony I easily lose myself in…Mihály Szabó also provides deep and alluringly gruff background vocals that add to the stirring charm at the heart of the music that is reminiscent of something sacred and otherworldly.” Price: $8.99 for MP3

twilightLisa Gerrard – “Twilight Kingdom” – Lisa Gerrard is known for soaring, haunting vocals and this album showcases them more than any of her other works. At times almost operatic, but with mature restrain and an underlying somberness, the album sticks to simplified arrangements. If you know someone who enjoys Lisa Gerrard, Dead Can Dance, or appreciates refined vocals, this album would make a good gift. This album only comes in MP3 format. Price: $7.99 for MP3

Peg Aloi is a freelance writer, film critic and media studies scholar. She is an original founder and former media coordinator for The Witches’ Voice. Her blog, The Witching Hour, is on Patheos.com’s pagan portal. She teaches media studies at SUNY New Paltz, and has been a consultant on a number of feature films.

under skinUnder the Skin –  “This intense, unusual film is unlike anything I’ve ever seen, directed by Jonathan Glazer (SEXY BEAST and BIRTH). Starring Scarlett Johansson as a mysterious woman who travels through Scotland and entices men, it’s ostensibly the story of an alien, but there are layers of meaning that suggest it’s about the mysterious mating game we all play and feel alienated by. The nature of what it means to be a sexual being is explored via some very unusual imagery. This story commands every ounce of your attention and it is utterly riveting.”  Price: $12.99 for DVD

pridePride –  “It is 1985, a year of extremes and excitement. Punk is dead; new wave music is everywhere, Thatcher is hated, and London’s youth are on fire to change things. One group of gay activists, led by a young firebrand who wants his compatriots to be out and proud, decide to raise money for the miners who are on strike. The group travels to rural Wales and, despite initial wariness, manages to impress the locals with its passion. Based on a true story, this film exemplifies the ways that disparate groups can come together for a common cause.” The cast includes Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy and Paddy Considine. Price: $22.99 for DVD.

loversOnly Lovers Left Alive – “Jim Jarmusch’s latest is about vampires, love and survival. Tilda Swinton (Eve) and Tom Hiddleston (Adam) are an undead couple who meet up after many years apart, at Adam’s decrepit, isolated house in Detroit. They survive on blood bank supplies and struggle to maintain their undead appetites as humanely as possible. But a shift occurs when Eve’s impulsive, bloodthirsty sister (Mia Wasikowska) arrives, and the couple realizes that they may need to indulge their true natures. This film is as romantic as it is beautiful, set in Detroit and Morocco, with a haunting musical backdrop.” Price: $22.99 for DVD

Babies

You can buy the usual toys for kids. It is healthy for kids to play and that’s universal. What gets more difficult is to choose gifts that reflect your family’s religion and ethics. When you’re Pagan, Heathen or Polytheist, that can be a bit more challenging. Below are a few gift ideas for babies and children.

teething

Viking Teething Toy Set – This set of teethers was created for different dental developmental stages. Jormungandr / the Midgard Serpent in limescale green helps the first frontal buds and to develop grip, Mjolnir / Thor’s Hammer in Odin’s beard grey soothes with it’s textured internal knot, and babies can clamp down on Sleipnir / Odin’s Steed in Norwegian red for molar relief! Price: $31.59 Canadian Dollars

leather baby boot

Baby Roman Sandals – These sandals are almost cute enough that I’d be willing to touch a baby just to put them on their little feet. The store says that they fit babies at about the 10 month age, so these would be actual walking shoes. If you visit the etsy store, be sure to also check out the red fleece jacket with the long pointed hood. Price: $13

viking boots

Viking Baby Booties – Looking for something warmer for baby? How about these knit Viking baby booties? These are hand-knit using 100% pure wool, and the ‘fur’ edging is a soft polyester eyelash blend. Also available are knit witch booties in black. Price: $15.32

baby 4 piece

4 PC Wiccan Pagan Baby Set – It includes a soft onesie, booties, bib, and a knit hat.  Each is embroidered with pentacles and the phrase “Magical Baby.” There are several colors to choose from. It is made for newborns up to 3 months of age. Price: $45

Honorable mentions: This Pan onesie, and this Thor’s hammer bib and diaper cover set.

 Children

paint

Natural Earth Paints – These non-toxic paints are made with real earth. Mix them 1:1 with water for a paint that acts like a tempura or add more water to create water colors. Most of the paint kits are created from earth pigments and organic milk proteins, but vegan paints are also available. Each kit contains red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and brown. You can buy more colors individually. Price: $19.95 to $29.95

sprout

Sprout Watches – Teach your child how to tell time and be environmentally conscious at the same time. These eco-friendly watches are lead and phthalate free and feature 100% organic cotton straps, biodegradable cases and buckles, bamboo face plates, a glass cover rather than plastic and a mercury-free battery. There are many colors and styles to choose from and, these watches are one of the hot items for kids this year. Price: $30 – $75

back to roots

Back to the Roots AquaFarm – Pagans believe everything is interconnected and interdependent, but we weren’t born knowing that. This aqua farm demonstrates this very point by showing kids how plants and animals rely on one another. The plants filter the water while absorbing nutrients produced by the fish. Price: $54.99

beads

4M Recycled Paper Beads Kit – Many kids like making their own jewelry, but buying the beads can get really expensive. This bead kit helps kids turn old newspapers and magazines into very cool looking beads. Not does this spark creativity and pride in craftsmanship, it also teaches them the importance of recycling. This gift is not suitable for children under the age of 5 due to choking hazard. Price: $10

Teens

nailsPagan Symbol Nail Appliques –  As shown in the photo, there are several groups of religious symbols offered in these nail applique sets. But you can choose any one or mix and match. The Pagan set has Goddess symbols, triquetras, pentacles, triple moons, and the tree of life. Paint your nails any color (except black), put the appliques on, and seal with 2 coats of clear top coat. Price: $4.25

Erin Lale, who offered book suggestions for adults, recommended a few titles geared at teen readers.

Severed Ties – “Pagan author Angie Skelhorn’s contemporary YA urban fantasy shows what happens when teens try to save their friend with magic.” Price: $11.50

Egypt Rising –  “An American teenager unlocks the magical secrets of the ancient Egyptians amid the chaos of the Arab Spring.” Price: $16.50

Weather  – “This Young Adult steampunk novel was written by an actual young adult, and is one of its publisher’s top ten bestsellers.” Price: $19

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 Adults

colds

Fight off Colds Basket – Ahhh..the joy of winter. Snuggly winter blankets, delicious hot chocolate, and colds. This basket of goodies helps sooth the symptoms of colds and allows easier breathing. Included is an aromatherapy oil, an herbal decongestant salve, Aladdin’s Thieves oil, and a lavender, rosemary, and yarrow calming aromatherapy spray. Price: $35

light switch

Greenman Light Switch Plate or Doorbell – You can choose either the light switch or the doorbell plate. There are three finishes: vintage bronze, aged copper or blackened Iron. The artist only casts 100 of each so when they’re gone, they’re gone. Price: $18

car cling

Odin’s Raven Car Decal – This self adhesive vinyl decal adheres permanently to any vehicle or other flat surface. The decal is a recreation of the raven banner flown from raiding Viking ships to invoke Odin’s protection and his might in battle, and to strike fear into the hearts of the soft southern enemy. The raven is a special symbol that represents Odin’s ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). Price: $8.87

candleholderTealight Luminaries – These luminaries are printed with walnut ink on mango paper. There are so many beautiful ones to choose from that I had a hard time picking one for the photo. I’ve ordered from this artist before and was impressed by how wonderful they look lit or unlit. There are even a few that say Winter Solstice Greetings. Price: $10

Artemis/Diana Cuff – This adjustable bracelet shows the Goddess in the woods with a young deer. The cuff design fits well with the cameo. If Diana isn’t what you’re looking for, this Etsy shop has over 1000 other items to choose from. Price: $28

diana

For the Epicurean

Want to pamper someone on your gift list with a bit of luxury? Check out these gift ideas that combine form and function and, then, elevate it to art.

sweater

Natural Wool Solstice Sweater – One of a kind t-shirt style sweater with Celtic patterns on the top and bottom edges. One side depicts a pale winter sun shining through a bare tree. On the other side is a Celtic sun symbol. Either side can be worn as the front. The wool is 100% mountain merino locally sourced and naturally processed in Wyoming. Price:  $249

ring

Solstice Wedding Band – Preparing for a handfasting or a renewal of your vows? This titanium engagement ring or wedding band was created specifically for the Solstice with an inlay of blue opal, 14k gold, Hawaiian Koa wood and a blue diamond that looks like the new born sun on a clear winter’s day. Beautiful for a man or a woman. Price:  $1340

sucker

Groovy Baker Suckers – Not your average sucker, by any means. The Winter Solstice sucker tastes like warm gingerbread with toffee sauce. Pure vanilla, orange zest, bits of toasted almonds, pecans, chopped apricots, and dates with a spash of brandy and topped with 23K edible gold dust. Check out their other flavors, too. Price: $10 for 7 suckers

Pagan Chocolates

Pagan Chocolates – Perfect stocking stuffer for any flavor of Pagan, Heathen, or Polytheist you know. Chocolates come with Celtic, Norse, Wiccan, Egyptian, and African symbols on them. The chocolate bars come in seven natural flavors including, white chocolate made with real cocoa butter and vanilla, white chocolate bar with matcha green tea, milk chocolate, semi sweet dark chocolate, bitter sweet extra dark chocolate, a blended chocolate made with 100% Kona Coffee, and a blended chocolate infused with natural peppermint oil. All the chocolates are fair-trade and non-gmo. Price: $2.50 – $10.00

In The Womb With Moons – Artist Ellie Bryan turns utilitarian items, like this mug, into works of art. While this gift would be perfect for expecting parents, the powerful image of a child ready to be born combined with the phases of the moon speak of any potential ready to come to fruition. Know someone who is preparing to enter a new stage in their life or career? Or someone who is starting a new project, is creative, or can always see the potential in others? Be sure to check out Bryan’s other ceramics in her shop. Price: $68

Butter Parfums – Haumea Botanicals makes these incredible smelling solid perfumes out of kukui nut butter, beeswax, and selected essential oils. I own every one of them. They are so pure that I can also use them for lip gloss. Lahela Nihipali is the owner of Haumea Botanicals, and she blends each one of these perfumes by hand out of natural Hawaiian ingredients. This is truly affordable decadence. Price: $10

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For the Tree Hugging Pagan

food recycle

The Food Cycler uses eco-friendly technology to turn cooked or uncooked food waste into organic, nutrient-rich soil in only three hours! It is super fast, compact, and has no smell. Some may balk at calling it eco-friendly when it needs electricity to operate, but it can reduce food waste going into your garbage can by 90%. Price: $529

The Scrubba Wash Bag   The Scrubba Wash Bag

Scrubba –  Wash clothes anywhere, like at Pagan festivals, with the Scrubba wash bag. It’s a pocket-sized washing machine bag with a flexible internal washboard. Just stuff your clothes into the bag, add a small amount of water and biodegradable liquid laundry soap,and rub for about 3 minutes. You could do a weeks worth of underwear and socks or a pair of jeans at a time. It uses no electricity and minimal water. Price: $55.00

giftcertificate

Instead of a thing, give an experience – The dirt-worshiping Pagan in your life may prefer a pass to a state park. Or they may want to renew their soul camping with 3000 of their closest friends at Pagan Spirit Gathering, one of the oldest Pagan camping festivals in the US.  This year PSG is offering gift certificates that are good for up to 5 years. Just enter the amount you want to give as a gift and you can choose when and how you forward it on to the recipient. You can also keep adding money to that same gift certificate throughout the year. Price: Any amount

For the TechnoMage

Pagans are not just religiously diverse, we are diverse in our interests, too. Perhaps the Pagans in your life are more apt to be plugged into technology than blissed out with nature.

Automatic  An Auto Accessory to Make You a Smarter Driver

Automatic – This is an iPhone app paired with a small piece of hardware called the Automatic Link that connects your iPhone to your car’s onboard computer when you drive. So what’s it do? It can tell you why that “check engine” light came on and can let you clear the light yourself. It knows where you parked your car and helps you find it easily. If you’re ever in a crash, it alerts emergency services with your location and can contact your loved ones to let them know what happened. It can also help you become a better driver by giving you a personalized feedback on your driving. Price: $99.95

Joby GripTight Micro Stand from RedEnvelope.com

Joby GripTight Micro Stand – This small stand holds your smart phone perfectly still while you attend Pagan online video conferences or live stream a ritual with participants across the globe. Folds up to the size of your keys so you can stick it in your pocket and take it anywhere. Price: $30

pen

3D Printing Pen – Bring spells to life with a pen that ejects warm thermoplastic. This pen allows your technomage to create 3D objects that harden in seconds. It has two extrusion speeds and includes 50 plastic refills in assorted colors. Price: $99.95

Apps – If you can think of an app you wish you had, or could give, chances are it’s already out there. There are apps which give you rune readings, tell you the current phase of the moon, spells of the day, herbalism. You name it, you’ll find it. Price: Free to $10.

To Trim the Tree

While I give ornaments as gifts to friends and family, I also give them as a special gift to myself each year. It can be a bit difficult to find ornaments and tree toppers that are explicitly Pagan in nature, rather than Christianized versions of Pagan symbols, but this is a good start.

heathen ornamentsSet of 4 Heathen Ornaments – Four ceramic oval ornaments. The symbols on the ornaments are Thor’s Hammer, Vegviser Viking Compass, Vlaknut, and Aegishjamr/Helm of Awe. This Etsy shop also has fairy, sorceress, and nature scene ornaments. Price: $24

goddess ornament

Goddess and God Ornaments – Each one of these ornaments is made from wood, acrylic, varnish, glass bead, ribbon, ink, and copper, and each one has a story behind it. This ornament tells the story of Niskai, a baby born of a mermaid mother and human father. Other ornaments tell of Gods and Goddesses from Japanese, Celtic, First Nations, Greek, and Egyptian mythos. Price: $9.50 to $10

sun ornament

Beeswax Sun Ornament – These ornaments are made of 100% pure Delaware beeswax and have a wired ribbon hanger. I’m giving you all fair warning; I’m going to order a bunch of these to hang on my tree 2 hours after this guide is published. So if you want one, you better hop on it. Price: $12

We hope you’ve enjoyed the gift guide. This is just a small taste of what Pagan or Pagan-friendly artisans and stores have to offer.  As always, when possible, support your community by buying local or buying direct from the artist.

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*Disclaimer: This is a wholly independent gift guide. The Wild Hunt was not paid to endorse any of the listed products. All prices were current as of publication date.

Cara Schulz

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Cara Schulz is a journalist and author living in Minnesota with her husband and cat. She has previously written for PAGAN+politics, PNC-Minnesota, and Patheos. Her work has appeared in several books by Bibliotheca Alexandrina and she's the author of Martinis & Marshmallows: A Field Guide to Luxury Tent Camping and (Almost) Foolproof Mead Making. She loves red wine, camping, and has no tattoos.
  • Jocelyne Houghton

    A great guide! I am an avid collector of Winter Holiday music; I will definitely be checking out Song of Solstice!

    I’d like to add my personal recomendation for my favourite Solstice record, Beautiful Darkness: Celebrating the Winter Solstice. It’s wonderful:

    http://www.cdbaby.com/m/cd/jradcliffe2

  • Hecate_Demetersdatter

    There are so many wonderful things to consume listed here (and, seriously, I’d love about half a dozen of them)! However, I’m sorry to see The Wild Hunt participate in the Black Friday meme of buy, buy, buy, consume, consume, consume. I assume it’s not an accident that this post went up today, Black Friday. Many of us choose to buy nothing today, not only to, this year, protest what’s happened in Ferguson, but also to protest capitalism, commercialization of the holiday season, and the demand for constant growth to the detriment of the planet and our lives. I’m disappointed in The Wild Hunt.

    • Cara Schulz

      I greatly enjoyed highlighting talented artists, artisans, and writers and making it a bit easier for those who’d like to make someone happy by giving them a gift. This is something I did for several years for PNC-Minnesota and I get asked each year if I’ll be compiling another list. I’ve received notes from people saying how delighted someone was with the gift they found on the guide and notes from artisans telling me how the sales spurred by the guide helped them stay in business (and has led to stores carrying their items). I’m happy to continue to serve our very diverse communities in this way.

      Publication of this list doesn’t hamper those who wish to refrain from shopping from abstaining. Unless, of course, you find an item that tempts you beyond endurance.

      • Allaya

        I don’t think ‘here’s some stuff you can buy’ is a service to the community, sorry.

        I wish I could NOPE NOPE NOPE this “article” harder than just leaving a comment. I am incredibly disappointed in The Wild Hunt.

        • I agree that this kind of post isn’t really a “service” to the pagan and polytheist communities, but for a media and news blog like TWH, it’s perfectly in line with on-topic posts. That said, it’s a quite a disappointment that most of the books being pushed are from Llewellyn, and maybe a quarter of the links provided are from pagan and polytheist community artisans and craftspeople.

          The disappointment to myself is less there mere existence of the post, and the fact that for the author’s connections to pagan and polytheist communities, she opted to pitch a lot of the more-mainstreamed stuff (Llewellyn books, big-studio films) that almost everyone already knows about and, in comparison, just enough stuff that could really use this kind of exposure to try and avoid criticism.

          It could be worse, but I was also hoping for a lot better.

    • Thanks for your comment. I was not made aware that there was a specific call to “not buy” on Black Friday as part of the Ferguson protests until well after publication of this gift guide. That was a very unfortunate coincidence, to say the least. However, the guide was never meant to encourage purchasing only on Friday, but it was imagined as more of Pagan idea guide for giving, throughout the entire season and even beyond.

      • dantes

        It’s after all called “winter solstice buying guide” so I originally made no connections with Black Friday. I just thought it cam in handy with Jul on the corner and whatnot…

  • Great guide, Cara. Thanks for putting this together.

  • dantes

    What about the new Old Norse/Icelandic edition of the Poetic Edda? I sure wanna have it !

    • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

      You may also be interested in:
      Rún, magic grimoire
      2015 Gerímbóc / Anglo-Saxon Calendar

      Or you could make gifts yourself.

      I, personally, do not see this time of year as the primary gift-giving period.

      For me, that would be in either November or May.

      • dantes

        Both look great indeed! But considering I want to get more involved in Translation I really need as many editions/translations of the Edda as I can find… In any cases, I don’t buy stuff for myself at Jul (I splurge somewhat for my b-day). But Jul is the period to get back to family and such, so it makes sense to offer gifts and token then.

        • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

          I’ve heard that Ursula Dronke’s translation of the Poetic Edda is a good one to get. If you can afford the price tag.

          • dantes

            I’ve been working intensively with it. It’s one of the less worse out there. decent amount of notes but also A Lot of very questionable editing decisions and opinionated interpretations. She’s good for Philology though (she relies a lot on ) and has some use when you come to scribal variations and so on. But on the the whole, one really needs to work from several editions/translations because they’re all flawed and incomplete. The best edition is imo Gisli Sigurðsson’s in somewhat modernized Icelandic but otherwise very respectful to the text. There are other specific editions/translations of individual poems (chiefly Hávamál and Völuspá) and the German commentary of the Poetic Edda as well.

            Anyway, Gotta finish that damn MA first!

          • Lēoht “Sceadusawol” Steren

            I can only comment on the translations to English, being a monoglot.

            Obviously, the best way to read it is in the original format.

          • dantes

            There’s this almost Divine edition I used when I was in Iceland: High-Quality fac-Simile/Transcription in Old Icelandic/Modern Icelandic spelling. I would do anything to have it! So many Old Icelandic editions (almost all) don’t respect the text and copy/paste several manuscripts together.

            When it comes to English, the Larrington is quite fine actually, despite limited notes. Óðroerir should publish an edition/translation of Völuspá with an insane amount of notes and comments in the near future too.

  • Etsy has a legion of pagan crafters. EBay does too–it’s just harder to tell they are pagan &c.

    • TPW

      There was a lot of outreach done to find Pagan craftspeople for this guide.

      • Considering those whom I know and know of who could’ve used this kind of exposure, I’m finding this statement a tad hard to believe. I’m not saying that some amount of outreach and research was not done, I’m saying I see little evidence of what I would call “a lot” of research and outreach.

        This is compounded by the fact that, seriously, most (read: Not All) of the books being pitched are Llewellyn titles –and considering the author of this article (one of Hellenion’s biggest cheerleaders in the last few years, and IINM, one of the de-facto spokespersons for Elaion from some years back), I find that fact alone rather bizarre, to say the least. I get that traditional Hellenism is not the core audience of The Wild Hunt, but you’d think someone who’s one of the biggest voices for those traditions within the Pagan Community would hold a higher standard for books to give one’s “loved ones” than Ye Old Spine of the Crescent Moon —or, at the very least (cos obviously the biggest pagan publishing house can’t become so only churning out complete crap), maybe offer more than a bare minimum of info as assurance of the quality of the titles selected. An Amazon link doesn’t cut it for many discerning readers.

        Obviously this list could’ve been a whole lot worse, but it still left a whole lot to be desired. It’s almost like the equivalent of moving to a new town and asking what the cool local restaurants, coffeehouses, book stores, and other places of interest are, and being told “Applebee’s, Starbucks, and B&N” and then tacking on the local art house theatre and maybe a token ethnic restaurant with the highest rating on Yelp; maybe that’s a bit much, but that was my initial reaction.

        • Elysia

          Wow, it’s really funny that you’re comparing a family-run, independent publisher to a chain like Starbucks. Or maybe you didn’t know that Llewellyn is owned by Pagans who have done a ton for our community? I get that Llewellyn is the “biggest” of the esoteric publishers, but that does not make it some monolith of mainstream culture. As Cara noted in the article, I myself am active in the Pagan community; I volunteer lots of my personal time to making Twin Cities Pagan Pride and Paganicon happen. I try not to publish too much complete crap, but it sounds like you haven’t so much as picked up a Llewellyn book in the past 10 years. That’s probably because we’re not able to publish a lot of very nichey books that you’d be interested in, but if you look closely, you’ll find that we do, on occasion, when we find something we’re really passionate about written by good folks who know their stuff. I could give examples, but that would be another whole recommendation list. 😉

          Anyway, thank you Cara for asking for my recommendations – I don’t really believe that everyone has already heard of these books just because they’re published by Llewellyn – and next year maybe you could also ask Amber from Weiser and Sorita from Avalonia for their picks as well. Maybe the publishers could get their own post, and then Pagan craftspeople could get a separate one, perhaps that would be more democratic. 🙂

          • No, hon, I’m well aware that Llewellyn is family/pagan-owned-and-operated. Kroger is owned by the same family for over a century, too.

            The fact of the matter is, the authors you’ve published who “know their stuff” I can count on one hand, yes even books published in the last decade, cos the fact checking is notoriously atrocious –this is a well – documented fact: http://justfuckinggoogleit.com

            And yeah, IN THE PAGAN COMMUNITY, my comparison was pretty apt. Did you know that this little thing called “context” exists and is important? Maybe look into that when you assign an editor to one of those “very nichy” books you’re “really passionate about” by “good folks who know their stuff”… oh, wait. …

          • Elysia

            I still don’t think LL is the Starbucks of the Pagan community, but I’m sure many people do. I guess it’s just my vantage point as an insider, I can see what a small operation it is and how hard we work on our books. I fact check all the manuscripts I work on, and then the production editors fact check them again. But, just like typos that make it past editors, copy editors, proofreaders, and the author’s proofs, we just have to accept that sometimes inaccuracies will make it into print. (I have noted the same for other publishers as well, I’m certain it’s not specific to LL.) Since you have read some of our books recently and have noted factual errors, please feel free to email them to me at elysiag (at) llewellyn.com so that we can address them in reprints – and also, so that I can check up on the editors who are most likely to make such errors and perhaps offer them guidance. We all know how to use “the Google” but I use many other sources as well, so if I can identify what areas we’re lacking in, I can actively help the editorial department to prevent more errors in the future. Thanks so much for your feedback.

            One other thing – please don’t call me hon, we don’t know each other. 🙂

          • Good suggestions. 🙂

      • Oregonsoleil

        And yet some pagan craftspeople and authors were rather noticeably omitted, including some who write for this very website, which I find rather striking considering all the talk I constantly hear of how important it is to support those who are in service to our community…

        • To be fair, reminding TWH readers of Rhyd Wildermuth’s book may be in direct contradiction to the season of consumerism, seeing as he’s kind of all about smashing the Kapitalist system that is dependent on consumer culture.

          Just to be fair, I guess. LOL

          Of course, I added his book to my own list; his and several others, and am looking for others not mentioned here on TWH’s post to add to my list.: http://thespiae.oddmodout.com/2014/11/29/solstice-boeotian-new-year-shopping-guide/

  • Sometimes, looking over gift guides allows you to realize what you could make/do for gifts.

    For many years (when I had access to larger ovens) I would make about 20 lbs of stollen for gifts.

    My sister, who was the baklava/bi’lawee queen in our mom’s side of the family until her strike in 2008, taught me to make it. It’s an experience being taught by an expressive-aphasic! As it is, I used way more syrup ingredients, and have a reserve. Next time, NO sugar with the honey. Made no sense to me, but she indicated I had to.

    She thought I used too much butter, but no-one else who ate it did! It doesn’t take nearly as long as stollen, and it doesn’t hurt my hands the way kneading chopped nuts into dough does, nor does it use so much space. However, while you’re doing the one time-consuming chore, the buttering of the filo/phyllo as you make the layers, have someone sit with you, or play music.

    She also believes I should always cut in diamonds, but for setting out portions to give–forget it.

  • Chas S. Clifton

    It’s a common thing to attach the philosopher Epicurus’ (341–270 BCE) name to mentions of “a bit of luxury,” but actually he was not interested in luxury at all.

    He taught that this life is all that there is, and that yous hould try to live simply and hassle-free, cultivating friends and ignoring social-climbing, politics, and glory-seeking. The gods, he taught, had no interest in human affairs and were not worth worshiping — if they existed at all.

    The Wikipedia entry on him is pretty good: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicurus

    • The gods, he taught, had no interest in human affairs and were not worth worshiping — if they existed at all.

      This statement of yours clearly contradicts the article you pitched, which states:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicureanism#Religion

      Epicurus’ view was that there were gods, but that they were neither willing nor able to prevent evil. This was not because they were malevolent, but because they lived in a perfect state of ataraxia, a state everyone should strive to emulate; it is not the gods who are upset by evils, but people.[6] Epicurus conceived the gods as blissful and immortal yet material beings made of atoms inhabiting the metakosmia: empty spaces between worlds in the vastness of infinite space. In spite of his recognition of the gods, the practical effect of this materialistic explanation of the gods’ existence and their complete
      non-intervention in human affairs renders his philosophy akin in divine
      effects to the attitude of Deism.

      (Emphasis mine)

      This is not a scepticism of the existence of the gods, but an affirmation, if Deistic, view that they do exist. Furthermore, the belief that the gods are worthy of emulation due to having achieved perfect ataraxia is *argueably* a form of worship, by certain loose definitions (the same definitions that are typically applied to certain schools of Buddhism; the section reference continues, and also makes comparisons to Buddhism).

      While true that Epicurus did not advocate luxuries, believing that it would lead to dissatisfaction with life that could only be countered with simplicity in life, it’s also absolutely clear that he believed in the existence of the gods, even as material beings. Furthermore, the article you suggest, juxtaposed alongside your insistence on Epicurus’ scepticism of the existence of the gods, contradicts your insistence by making very clear statements to the contrary.

      • Chas S. Clifton

        Yeah, OK, but I did not say that Wikipedia was the last word on the matter. 🙂

        Some atheists do claim Epicurus as “one of theirs.”

        • So… That’s good enough reason to essentially contradict yourself on the matter?

          I mean, far be it from me to stop people from doing things like that, but the peer-reviewed IEP basically says the same thing, that Epicurus’ beliefs asserted the existence of the gods: http://www.iep.utm.edu/epicur/#SH3e

          Despite this, Epicurus says that there are gods, but these gods are quite different from the popular conception of gods. We have a conception of the gods, says Epicurus, as supremely blessed and happy beings. Troubling oneself about the miseries of the world, or trying to administer the world, would be inconsistent with a life of tranquility, says Epicurus, so the gods have no concern for us. In fact, they are unaware of our existence, and live eternally in the intermundia, the space between the cosmoi. For Epicurus, the gods function mainly as ethical ideals, whose lives we can strive to emulate, but whose wrath we need not fear.

          It certainly goes on, but that’s mainly the important part.

          Sure, the IEP isn’t the “last word” on Epicurus and Epicureanism, either, but it’s saying basically the same things that the Wikipedia article you referenced did. So now two sources, one “open source” and another peer-reviewed, that contradict your statement about Epicurus’ alleged belief in potential non-existence of the gods. I’m sure I can find additional sources that will basically say the same things, especially considering the worlds of difference between the two already cited. Can you give me a ballpark figure of how many one may need to cite before you admit you at least may have been mistaken about your previous statement? I have things to do this weekend, so having an estimate on how much work I need to do with this might save us both some time.

          • Chas S. Clifton

            OK, you are correct. Happy now? But it’s true about those contemporary atheists.

            ” . . . far be it from me . . .”

            I’m just a sucker for false modesty.

          • This isn’t about me. I don’t know why you think it should be.

            And hey, you can continue to say whatever you wish to, no matter how much you contradict yourself. It’s neither my job nor within my abilities to stop you. If you choose to stop because I’m also within my rights and abilities to point out when you do, that’s on you, not me.

  • Melissa Farruggio McNair

    The jewelry designer featured here is a known copycat. Very disappointed. You should have done a little more searching for Etsy artists who have original designs.

    • Most of the jewellery designers on my list are original designers. If you know any of them to be copycats, please let me know and send me the person (or people) that they are known to copy from.

      http://thespiae.oddmodout.com/2014/11/29/solstice-boeotian-new-year-shopping-guide/

      …Granted I’m not big on the concept of “intellectual property”, as it currently serves to protect the interests of capitalism, not creatives, and most art that exists is based on previous works (usually of other artists, just look at old paintings, some time, or look at the dates on a lot of music) this is a matter where I’d rather be in the good graces of the creative person than the copycat.

  • JasonMankey

    You’ll never make everyone happy, but I thought this list was a lot of fun.

    • And some people, you will never make happy. 😉

  • Once again this year, my family members have agreed we will give one another donations to our favorite charities in lieu of other gifts… with a certain amount of “cheating” in the form of small hand-made crafts and must-read books.

    I might not favor the same charities my gift recipients do, but I’m happy to honor their requests… and it takes so much stress out of the holidays.

    My own suggestion: give less (stuff). Laugh and hug more.

    Just a thought.

  • Adam Grizzly Wilkinson-Moore

    Thank you so much for featuring our Odin’s Raven Banner decal in such a fantastic list. We have a lot more Pagan decals both on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BlackSheepStickers and eBay: http://stores.ebay.co.uk/blacksheepstickers