Raineth Drop and Staineth Slop

Winter is icumen in, Lhude sing Goddamm
Raineth drop and staineth slop and how the wind doth Ramm
Sing: Goddamm!

—Ezra Pound

This parody of the famous 13th century English round “Sumer is Icumen In” perfectly reflects how many of us experience the month of January. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark, and it just…keeps…going.

In the mainstream Christian culture, there isn’t a thing to celebrate after New Year except for a couple of long “official” weekends with little if any widely acknowledged ceremonial significance, until Easter in March or April*.

That’s a very long drought between celebrations.

Pagans get a Sabbath at the beginning of February, commonly called Imbolc or Brighid. It is the earliest breath of Spring, when it can first really be seen that the days are lengthening again. I call it Riverain, as it is the height of the time of water in my region, but that’s a topic for another post.

Today, I speak of SLOGG.

SLOGG is a holiday whose express purpose is to break up the monotony of January and give us a chance to throw a party. As I described last year, it is an occasion for silly hats, board games and drinking the Scandinavian fortified mulled wine glögg.

That’s it. The significance of the holiday is that we are tired of being bombarded by the elements and it’s time to have some fun. Reason enough! So schedule a SLOGG party for the third Saturday in January (that would be the 18th this year), or perhaps a week later, and celebrate!

Here is a recipe for glögg to help with your festivities. Enjoy!


*  Except in places which celebrate Carnival prior to Lent

Introducing SLOGG: The Winter Demi-Sabbath

January is a hard damned month for me.

There, I said it.

After the colorful lights and parties and presents and many festivities of Yule comes a dark, cold time when we all go back to work. No fun for us now: just trudging through the snow or freezing rain, in the dark, to and from our obligations. It’s the longest, most miserable month of the year.

Here where I live, in the wine country north of San Francisco, January is a time when the hills are green from whatever rain we’ve had thus far (not much yet, this year), and rain is typically common. We’ve had flooding in January in big rain years. This year, we have to worry about mudslides after the wildfires of 2017, too.

When it’s not raining, temperatures drop to freezing at night. Gardens and outdoor pipes must be protected; roads are slick and dangerous, and Californians don’t, by and large, know how to drive on them.

Elsewhere, of course, it’s one hell of a lot colder than that.

Up in the morning…in darkness, working the day, and then off home again…in darkness.

It’s demoralizing, to say the least. Unlike the run-up to Yule, which is similarly dark, the temperatures are lower and there’s not a bright, happy, sugar-and-alcohol fueled festivity waiting at the end. Just…well, February, and more dark and cold. And wet.

It is because of this that I have decided to declare (for myself, anyway) a “demi-sabbath” in January, which I am naming SLOGG. I’m celebrating Slogg on the third Saturday in January (or July, in the Southern Hemisphere), but if February is worse for you than January, by all means, have Slogg in February. It’s a moveable feast!

Slogg is the Feast of Forgetting: a time to put away all despair and gather with friends to play games, enjoy company, and drink glogg, or Swedish spiced wine*. It is also a good time for declaring New Year intentions, which are better than resolutions because an intention can’t be “broken”, merely fallen short of. And then attempted again.

Slogg is also a time for the Wearing of Festive Hats, the sillier the better.

I will be holding Slogg this year for the first time, and I encourage you to try it out. We need to keep our spirits up in times like these! If you have other ideas for Slogg, please list them in the comments.


*I figure that if anyone knows how to get through January, it’s probably the Swedes (I couldn’t find an Inuit recipe). If people are going to drink irresponsibly, be sure to have somewhere they can sleep over. If you’d prefer an alcohol-free event, hot apple cider with cinnamon and clove and nutmeg is warming and festive.