Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, community interaction, general heathenry, and modern life on my heathen path, which is Asatru.

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Erin Lale

Erin Lale

Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners. An updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, is coming in 2020 from Red Wheel / Weiser. Erin was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, is gythia of American Celebration Kindred, and admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press for 5 years, created the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.

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A Great Time at Pagan Pride Day 2019

My speech on the Heathen Visibility Project was a great success! A lot of people were in the group photo, including Selena Fox. (One does not have to be a heathen to be in a group photo with heathens for the Heathen Visibility Project.) She even got everyone to shout “Hail to the heathens” together for her Instagram.

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Speech on Heathen Visibility Project PPD 2019

This is the text of my speech on the Heathen Visibility Project which I gave on Nov. 9th, 2019 at Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day. Next up on my blog will be a report on PPD and on how the Project went.

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Rainbow Season part 2: the Story of Heimdall's Initiation

My kindred held our Rainbow Season ritual to mark the end of monsoon season here in the southwest desert. After the rain comes the rainbow, so after the rainy season comes the Rainbow Season. In heathenry, the rainbow is sacred to Heimdall, so as part of our ritual, I told my version of the story of how Heimdall retrieved Freya's jewel.

Here's a short video of the stage of ritual prep in which we're putting on our ritual jewelry:

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The Great Cow Mother

In heathen mythology, the first self aware being was Audhumla, the sacred cow. She licked the gods and giants out of the ice and nurtured them with her milk.

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Dance Is My Village

My international folk dance group is not a heathen or pagan group. In fact, I’m the only Asatruar in it. Most folk dance groups, festivals, workshops, and cruises are secular and intercultural, except for the ones specifically associated with a particular ethnic group or church / temple. Our group’s mission is to preserve the world heritage of dance. And of course, also to have fun. But my dance group isn’t just a place to do an activity; it’s also a community.

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Writing a Poem Heathen Style

Composing poetry in the style of ancient heathen literature follows a few basic rules which are unlike the rules of composing modern rhymed poetry or free verse. One does not have to compose in the ancient style to use poetry in a heathen context, of course. One could write galdr (spells) and poems for sumbel (toasts) and other uses of poetry in any style one wishes and have them be just as good and just as effective. But if you want to write in modern English in the manner of the ancient heathens, here are the basic rules.

 

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Composing a Song for Magic

A song or poetry for a spell doesn't have to be great poetry or a great tune. The photo here is of a little song spell I made up one day. It goes "Wind, wind, wind, blow away my troubles. Make life smooth, without any nubbles." It's not objectively a great poem, and probably only fiber artists like me even have a sensory reference for what a nubble is. (It's the individual thing that, in a group, makes a fabric nubbly.) I wouldn't send it to a poetry anthology for publication, because it's just not very good as art. But it's as functional as any of the good poems I've written. I wrote it down mainly because I enjoy writing in my personal calligraphy font and at the time I had an art project to fill a blank book with such writing.

The song was something I created improvisationally. The strong desert wind suggested the idea, since it does tend to actually blow things away, including things it previously blew in, such as clouds and leaves. If I was composing poetry for people to read as art, I would have taken the time to find a better rhyme, and make it longer. If I was composing for ritual, I might keep it short if I was going to teach it to other people as a chant, but I'd certainly find a better rhyme if I could. If I couldn't find a better rhyme for troubles I'd change troubles for some other word. Not because that would make better magic but because it would make a nicer experience for the participants and observers. But as a song for magic, just for my personal use, it's fine the way it is.

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