Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, modern life on a heathen path, community interaction, and general heathenry.

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Erin Lale

Erin Lale

Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, American Celebration, and other books. She has been a sworn Priestess of Freya since 1989, is a Bride of the Ninefold Odin (Odin, Honir, Lodhur, Loki) and given to Sigyn. She also works with other gods of the Asatru pantheon. She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is the Acquisitions Editor at Caliburn Press. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is currently a forum admin at the American Asatru Association, and was Board Secretary during the formation of its corporation, and is gythia of American Celebration Kindred.

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Gods Who Mask As Other Gods

Loki borrows Freya's falcon cloak in the story of the Theft of Idunna's Apples. Loki is a shape shifter. In the Eddaic stories, he appears in various forms, including a fly, a seal, etc. In Continental European folklore, he appears as a red fox. It's very likely that he could have turned into a bird without Freya's divine object. For what purpose did he borrow it? It would make sense in the story to borrow it to have a greater flight time, but that would only be the answer if his shape shifting power was limited, and there does not appear to be any evidence for that. So, I think the answer is that he borrowed it to mask as Freya. So that when he flew over Jotunheim, the giants below would not know it was him. 

Freya must have known that Loki intended to mask as her when she lent him the cloak. Freya also once helped Thor mask as her, in the story in which Thor puts on a wedding gown to retrieve his hammer. 

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Call for Art for 2018 Calendars

The 2018 Heathen Calendar and 2018 Slavic Calendar need 12 artworks each. Caliburn Press is offering royalties.

The 2017 calendars were our first calendars, and we chose to use public domain art for our first year. This time we want to use art by living artists. We would like for the art to be suitable for use as devotional art after it is used for the calendar year. That is, we intend that these calendars not be disposable objects, but rather that the art will be removed and framed or used on altars. That's why we print them on heavy paper stock.

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On Loki and Teacups

Long-time readers of this blog have watched me go through a strange journey. After 25 years as Priestess of Freya, comfortable with my spiritual routines, it was weird to suddenly have Loki crack open my head and funnel all the other gods in, all because I walked out of a movie saying, "I bet I could write something more authentic than that."

It's had it's up and downs, but my life is so much better now. Some of the changes have been big, some small. Sometimes it's the small things that impact everyday life. Once, one of my friends on social media asked rhetorically "Who needs more chaos in their life?"

Well, I did. Or at least, I needed less order. I needed to be less rigid in my personal rules for myself. I had thought there was something wrong with drinking tea from a coffee cup. My mom, with whom I share a house, thought there was something wrong with making a kettle of tea and using a real teacup for a single cup when I could just microwave a coffee mug. Rather than either argue with her or use the "wrong" cup for my tea, sometimes I wanted a cup of tea and didn't make one.  Loki reduced my excessive rule-following. He showed me it was OK to have tea in a coffee cup.

One of the processes Loki led me through was to break each of my unthinking routines, one by one. Each one had to be examined to see if it was really useful or if it was unnecessary. The useful habits were kept, and the unnecessary ones jettisoned, just like going through an old closet and trying on the clothes to see which ones to keep.

I got used to being able to drink my tea from a coffee cup and not feel uncomfortable. And then-- presto! About a year later I found a box of gorgeous antique teacups in the garage. My gramma's, I guess. So now I can drink tea from a teacup again-- a better one. And that's Loki all over.

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The Apport by the Roadside

In February 2017, I was walking along a road with my friend and fellow author Jodie Forrest. What happened next, she described as an apport, a word I had to look up. It means an object produced during a spiritualist séance.

It was a sunny winter day in southern California. Ravens danced above an open field. There were always ravens around wherever Jodie was.

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Priest, nun, daughter: Relationships Between Gods and Humans

People sometimes ask, Why would a god want a human godspouse? Or, why would a god be a human's patron?

Sometimes I think we're the cats of the gods. Asking why a god would want a relationship with a human is like asking why humans adopt cats and bring them into our homes. Because we love them, of course. Why do we love them? Love or do not, there is no why.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome, and thank you for commenting! Glad to know someone got something from my writing.
  • Dragon Dancer
    Dragon Dancer says #
    "Or, why would a god be a human's patron? Sometimes I think we're the cats of the gods. Asking why a god would want a relationship

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Return to Witches' Tower

I became convinced that Hotel Circle in San Diego was cursed because every time T. N. and I went to visit his old city, some weird glitch happened with each hotel. One had a light that flickered out when the shower was in use, one had a keycard door that wouldn't co-operate and an a/c that wouldn't turn off, one had a plumbing issue that had the hoteliers tearing the wall apart as we quickly changed rooms, one hotel only booked us for one night, locked us out as we came back from the beach (wet and sandy, and cold, because it was winter and raining-- as I told the weather reporter who had to interview some fool tourist out on the beach in the rain, "the ocean is big and wet and salty whether it's rainy or sunny,") and then tried to move us into an incompletely renovated room missing such amenities as towel racks and a bed.

So, I decided that the next time we stayed in Hotel Circle, which is within the view from Witches' Tower, I would go up the Tower and perform an exorcism upon Hotel Circle. I first exorcised a place back in college, which I wrote about in my previous post The Day I Cast Out Satan. The first time I did such a ritual, I did not know any other heathens, all the people I knew in person that I could get magical advice from were Wiccan, and the only book I had about heathen magic was Futhark: Handbook of Rune Magic, so the ritual style was more Wiccan than heathen. In planning to perform such a ritual again, 30 years later, I had to decide if I was going to change anything about the ritual because I know so much more now than I did then. Ultimately I decided to change very little, because the first ritual worked, and that's the test of a magical ritual.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks and you're welcome! On the trip last month just before we visited you we stayed on Hotel Circle and had a few minor glitche
  • Jodie Forrest
    Jodie Forrest says #
    Erin, I think Hotel Circle is horrible; I've always had trouble getting on and off it and avoid it whenever possible. Mark will af

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Googlemancy

Seeing order in randomly generated patterns is the essence of fortune telling and interpretation of omens. Hundreds of years ago, people might expect to go outside and see many different species of birds routinely as part of their everyday experience. Thus, reading the first type of bird one sees after asking a question was something people could reasonably expect to do as part of their normal lives, because seeing random birds was part of people's normal lives. My everyday experience includes the internet. I see random stuff on my Facebook feed and on the day's Google Doodle as I'm sipping my morning coffee. 

Random stuff is exactly what's traditionally used for fortune telling and omens. Rune casting interprets the way lots fall on a cloth. The rune Perthro, the rune of destiny or wyrd, is shaped like a dice cup, which refers to rolling dice to read a fortune. The heathen art of reading bird omens derives a positive or negative answer from whether one sees a white bird or a black bird first. (Black is the good color, because Odin's ravens are black.) In other traditions, tea leaves make patterns in a cup, and a deck of cards has a traditional significance for each card in Tarot and in cartomancy. 

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