Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Where Gods Wear Mittens



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

Welcome to Minnesota.


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

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


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

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

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

Turns out, it's a giant's cast-off mitten.

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


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

Not even mittens can ward off every scathe.


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

(Imagine having to relearn how to hold a key.)

Hey, we're Seal Clan on my mother's side, and we've got the toe-webbing to prove it. So don't you be laughing at my flippers, now.

I come by them honestly.





Frebur Hobson

"Death Flowers": Mother Berhta's mittens

Mother Berhta is the gift-bringing Yule ogress who gives pagan kids, not what they want, but what they deserve.


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