Christmas Eve offerings

This was the conversation in my house this morning between my wife and our almost 3-year-old. I had to have the last word (of course).

Wife: What do we leave out tonight?

Kid: Cookies for Santa!

Wife: YES! What else?

Kid: Carrots! For reindeer!

Wife: YAY!

Me: What else?

Wife + Kid: Silence

Me: Rice pudding for the Nisse!!!

Wife + Kid: Dumbfounded silence

Well, fine then. Keep just putting out cookies and carrots for the jolly ol’ fat man in red and his flying reindeer, but don’t give me weird looks when I insist on leaving out rice pudding for the Norwegian barn gnome. And get used to him, because next year we’re making little Nisses for Christmas crafts.

To be fair, the yuletide season is one of the hardest times in the year for me (as it is for many), for a multitude of reasons. But this year I’ve found a little hope and solace in pivoting into crafts and traditions found in Norse+Germanic folklore that fold seamlessly into our already established secular routine. With a bit of inspiration from The Old Magic of Christmas. And this is why we’ve found ourselves leaving out a bowl of rice pudding (a more modern take of the rice porridge of yesteryear) for the Norwegian Nisse. Since my living room is literally covered in old photographs of my Norwegian ancestors, it’s only fitting to honor the barn gnome our older ancestors may have left a bowl of porridge for as well.


Rice Pudding and Vodka left for the Norwegian Nisse (or barn gnome) on xmas eve, placed on the Mother’s Night Altar, mostly because it’s high out of the way of jumping kitties.

Slow Cooker X-mas Eve Rice Pudding

Because I used to cook a lot from scratch–but these days I’m lucky if I can throw stuff in the slow cooker! 5 minutes to prep, 3 hours to cook.


  • 3/4 cup long-grain white rice
  • 3 cups cashew milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar (white granulated or in the raw)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/3 cup melted vegan “butter”

To top:

  • brown sugar (optional)
  • pat of vegan butter
  • a few almonds (traditionally only used on xmas eve)

Combine all ingredients except the melted butter in a lightly greased slow cooker. Pour the melted butter on top and turn on high for 2 1/2-3 hours. When ready to serve, place into dessert bowls and top with brown sugar, vegan butter and a few almonds. Be sure to set aside a serving and leave it out xmas eve night for the Nisse (or, if you want to go old school, leave it outside on the porch or in your barn if you have one).

*Some notes on the ingredients + their magical properties

This rice pudding recipe can also be used to show gratitude for certain properties at xmas eve dinner, or, if you make another batch for new years eve, you can use the rice pudding to attract those properties in the New Year. It’s packed to the brim with goodness!

  • Rice: protection, money + fertility
  • Cinnamon: healing + love
  • Nutmeg: health
  • Ginger: success
  • Cardamon: love
  • Currants: healing
  • Apricot: love
  • Almonds: money + prosperity

Happy Holidays!



Solar Eclipse of the Heart

As much as I’m into the moon and her cycles and power, I’m also into the sun. In Norse mythology, the sun is divinely animated by the goddess Sunna (or Sól), who rides through the sky on a horse-drawn chariot. Fenrir’s offspring (or Fenrir himself under another name), Skoll (which translates roughly to “mockery” or “one who mocks”) chases Sunna across the sky. (Sunna’s twin brother, Mani, divinely animates the moon, and is chased by the wolf Hati, but more on that another day).

“The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani” by J.C. Dollman (1909)

“The Wolves Pursuing Sol and Mani” by J.C. Dollman (1909)

To honor and connect with Sunna, I went down to the beach to watch the eclipse this morning. Although we reside a few hours out of the totality band, the eclipse was still amazing to watch. I sat with my mom, and best friend, and enjoyed my family. I made solar eclipse water. I watched the shadows as the sky grew dark and the air around us got chilly. And then I felt the sun warm my skin again as she emerged from the eclipse.

As I sat there witnessing the eclipse through all my senses, I thought about Sunna racing across the sky. Some lore attributes the solar eclipse to Skoll almost catching up to Sunna and taking a bite out of the sun. But as I was out sitting on the beach watching the sun disappear with folks I love, I thought about Sunna and Mani passing each other in the sky, giving each other a high-five as they passed, and saying “way to keep outrunning your wolf!” I think it’s an image I’ll hold on to.

After the eclipse, I wanted to hold quiet space for myself. I did a three card reading for the solar eclipse and asked

  1. How can I best serve the outward aspects of my life right now?
  2. How can I best serve my inner personal needs right now?
  3. How can I best balance the duality of my outward obligations and my inner needs?
Solar Eclipse 3-card spread using The Wild Unknown L: Card 1, 8 of swords. R: Card 2, 10 of swords rx. C: Card 3, 3 of wands.

Solar Eclipse 3-card spread using The Wild Unknown L: Card 1, 8 of swords. R: Card 2, 10 of swords rx. C: Card 3, 3 of wands.

I was thoroughly called out by The Wild Unknown (this deck never ever fails to call me out with hard truths) with the 8 of swords, the 10 of swords rx, and the three of wands, respectively. There are no soft, warm hugs here at all, just hard truths. But I suppose when you ask for Sunna’s guidance you should expect glaring and obvious truths, no matter how much they burn.

Happy solar eclipse, y’all!

Gaiman’s Norse Mythology: A Witchy Summer Beach Book

NorseMythology_Hardback_1473940163The days are getting shorted here in the Pacific NorthWest, but it’s still summer and we’ve got at least another good 6 weeks of warm weather before the rain begins to fall. Which means a few more trips to the rocky beaches where I can prop myself up against a drifted log and read a book while my kid chases crabs along the tide-line. My perfect beach book consists of casual writing style and tone, an easy to digest story, relatable characters, and drama that isn’t tooooo close to home. And Gaiman’s Norse Mythology fits all of these categories, making it a near perfect beach read.

The stories aren’t new, of course, but Gaiman shows us these flawed deities through a his modern lens of tone and casual style, refreshing Norse mythologies and making them much more relatable than the 1200 BC prose from which they are derived. We are taken from creation to the end of the old gods and goddesses days in a choppy yet easy to follow flow. Gaiman shows the gods and goddesses in their fallible existence–their vanity, fierceness, selfishness, mortality, crassness, manipulation, and often indifference to the trails of humankind.

The book isn’t a comprehensive tome on Norse mythology by any means, and the stories lean masculine. But it is a little trail of breadcrumbs, a window lovingly cracked open inviting us in to explore. It’s a great witchy beach read, and perhaps as the season’s change, and we settle into a time for darker, richer stories, it acts as an arrow pointing us to a hearth-side reading of the Poetic or Prose Edda during the winter months.