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.
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 Moon. Here are her suggestions:
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
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 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 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
Manifesting Wealth – Taylor 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
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
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
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! – 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 – 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 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
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
Witches’ 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.
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 – “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
The 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
Lisa 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 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
Pride – “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.
Only 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
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.
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
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 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
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
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 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 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
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
Pagan 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
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
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
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
Tealight 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
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.
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
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
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 – 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
For the Tree Hugging Pagan
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
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
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 – 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 – 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
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.
Set 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 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
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.
* * *
*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.