Donut Revelations or the Rise of the Gnomes

Donut Revelations or the Rise of the Gnomes August 23, 2023

The Gnome has a message.

As Witches, we tend to talk of the hidden mysteries of the Universe, revealed by Nature in secretive whispers. But sometimes I think the Universe is yelling at us in giant billboards and bright lights and pretty much any way it can. Like gnomes.

My partner and I were at a Dunkin Donuts in the larger Cleveland metro area. We had just finished up a long 3-day weekend of performing/teaching/vending at Cleveland Pagan Pride (which was a fantastic event) and were about to set off for our 9.5 hour long trek home to New England. As we waited for our assortment of breakfast items and caffeine-blessed drinks, my eyes rested upon a figure adorning the window.

This guy in particular:

a dunkin donuts themed gnome decal clings to a window looking out into suburbia
Dunkin Donuts Gnome

Look at him. Look how freaking cute he is with his fruity cocktail, sandals, star sunglasses, and either a donut or flotation device (maybe both). I’m not sure why (maybe the early hour or sleep-deprived delirium), he made me smile. And not just because I wanted a donut.

Gnome Invasion

I mean, I’m pretty tired of seeing gnomes of every marketable variation you can think of showing up everywhere for the last several years. Like to the point of being annoyed by them being everywhere. I DO appreciate a good Tomte at the Winter Solstice and also adore the traveling garden gnome in the movie Amelie (which kicked off many inspirations.) I’ve even done a Tomte painting myself as part of my Solstice card collection. But like enough already with the year-round gnomes in every context!

But this particular morning, that beach-going, donut-nomming gnome hit my brain in a different way. After teaching all-weekend about connecting with the land, including how to introduce yourself to land spirits, center the land you live on in your practice, and seeing yourself as part of land’s story, I had a revelation.

Photo by Dorota Dylka on Unsplash

Gnome-ally Here

The gnomes aren’t some random trend. In fact, if there’s anything I’ve learned in all aspects of my various jobs over the last 20+ years, no trend is an accident or truly just a surface fad. Whether the trend is fashion, food, or deities, there’s a reason an idea comes to the forefront of society. That means there’s a reason for the gnomes.  And the Universe just loudly billboarded it at me, right there at too-early in the morning.

As magical practitioners, we know that gnomes aren’t just cute little dudes in shops. They represent Earth spirits, elementals, guardians of the land, the genius loci. In much of gnome lore, they are said to bring blessings to those who care for the land and their homes. Inversely, they are reputed to make trouble and mischief when people mistreat the land, their homes, or other things related to the earthy realm.

A gnome statue stands relaxed, looking thoughtfully to the side.
Photo by Gabriel Vasiliu on Unsplash

Heed the Gnomes

We also know and have known for quite some time that the planet is in jeopardy, thanks to steady misuse and abuse by humans. We are seeing the effects of climate change all around us with extreme wildfires, excessive flooding, unusually high (and low) temperatures, loss of natural habitats, massive die-offs of marine life, plant life, birds and insects. Seriously you have to have your head thoroughly lodged up your own asshole to dismiss any of the very serious problems the planet (and that means us as humans too) is facing.

So if you were the Universe, and you were thinking, “ok if these silly humans won’t get the message with actual science, collective evidence, practical observation, or just generally using their brains….what if I made the message cute? And pervasive? What if the earth guardians were made and distributed on a massive scale? Would that work?”

Score one for the Universe’s marketing team. We’re surrounded by gnomes. The question is: will we heed their message in time?


About Laura Tempest Zakroff
Laura Tempest Zakroff is a professional artist, author, performer, and Modern Traditional Witch based in New England. She holds a BFA from RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design), and her artwork has received awards and honors worldwide. Her work embodies myth and the esoteric through her drawings and paintings, jewelry, talismans, and other designs. Laura is the author of the bestselling Llewellyn books Weave the Liminal, Sigil Witchery, Anatomy of a Witch, and Visual Alchemy as well as the Liminal Spirits Oracle (artist/author) and the Anatomy of a Witch Oracle, The Witch’s Cauldron, and co-author of The Witch’s Altar with Jason Mankey. Laura edited The New Aradia: A Witch’s Handbook to Magical Resistance and The Gorgon's Guide to Magical Resistance (Revelore Press). She is the creative force behind several community events and teaches workshops online and worldwide. You can read more about the author here.

Browse Our Archives