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 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 gythia of American Celebration Kindred.

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Heathen Calendar 2018 is ready!

For real this time! The publisher has fixed the error and the Heathen Calendar 2018 is now ready to order.

The calendar contains heathen holidays from various traditions such as Asatru, Theod, Urglaawe, Forn Sed, etc., and heathen related holidays still celebrated in their countries of origin in northern Europe. For example, April 30th is May Eve in England, Walpurgisnacht in Germany and Austria, Valborgsmässoafton in Sweden, Valborgsnatten in Norway, Maitag Vorabend in Switzerland, and Valborgsaften in Jutland, Denmark. That is one of the holidays that falls on the same date every year, but other holidays shift depending on moon phase and other reasons. 

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Hi Kevin, thanks, it's this link: Link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/http://www.lulu.com/shop/erin-lale/2018-heathen-calendar/calend
  • Kevin
    Kevin says #
    Wheres the option to purchase i was trying to see price so i can alocate funds to save

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Rite for Nevada's Dead

Oh goddess of the welcoming embrace, may you reach out your gentle arms for those who died in the massacre. Oh sweet goddess, cradle the dead to your bosom. Help them find their way to peace. If they belong in your hall, let them have a soft place to be therein. If they belong elsewhere, help them on their way to where best suits them. Oh Death, whom we in Asatru call Hela, be kind to them.

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Revising My Successful Book

I'm nervous about messing with success. Nonetheless, it's time for a new edition of Asatru For Beginners. Modernism has arisen in Asatru since I wrote my book, and a beginner's book needs to describe that. Also, on some topics in heathenry, we know more than we did around the turn of the millenium. I'm tempted to subtitle the new edition, "New and improved! Now with more gods!" 

One thing that won't be changing in my book: in my intro, I mention that my father was Native American. That information is right up front for three reasons. 1. to tell racists that my book isn't for them, unless they stop being racists. 2. To tell other mixed-race people like me that if they are called to this path, that is OK. There are a lot of mixed-race people in American Asatru, reflecting the wider American society of which we are a part. 3. Because my father's advice, "listen to the wind, listen to the corn, listen to your heart" was one of the major spiritual influences on my life which started me down the path that led to Asatru. 

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    Awesome!
Heathen Visibility Project: part 2 How to Participate

Step 1 Take photos of:

A. People (only include people who want to participate in the Heathen Visibility Project! ) including:

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Heathen Visibility Project: part 1 Why Heathen Visibility?

Last month I had to search for public domain or creative commons license images of heathen or Asatru related rituals, gods, altars, etc. to fill up the upcoming Heathen Calendar 2018 because I didn't manage to get 12 images from living artists for various reasons. (Some artists didn't finish on time, some didn't want to sign the tax form, whatever.) I had searched for public domain classical art last year for this year's calendar, and I had previously searched for some public domain heathen related images to illustrate my blog, but this was the first time I had searched for contemporary images that might be photos of actual people. I did not find much. Artists have uploaded tons of various images to sites where people can license their images, either for money or for free as the artist prefers, using a creative commons license or another type of license. So there are places to put such images where the artists could possibly get something back for their work, if they wish. I don't know yet whether I will do another Heathen Calendar next year; it depends on how many people want one. But if I do, it would be great to have some good stock photos of heathens doing heathenry to choose from. 

Just before I did those image searches for the Calendar, I had been doing image, text, and guide searches for guides to how to tell heathen symbols from hate symbols, to create the Trollslayers' Guide, which is a guide for the group moderators of the American Asatru group on Facebook to use to do background checks on people applying for membership. (We have a strict no-Nazis rule.) The publicly available guides all have various flaws and none of them were written by heathens. I'm actually thinking of trying to expand the Trollslayers' Guide into a full blown public guide to how to tell heathen symbols from hate symbols, written by heathens for heathens. The terrible thing that I discovered while looking at all that is that some of our actual religious symbols that are not inherently hate symbols are being used by haters, publicly, where they are being photographed as news and the images propagated at the speed of news. I'm tired of the loudest voices using our symbols being the hate groups. I want to drown them out in a sea of louder voices. 

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Review of Horn of the Kraken

Set in the Fate of the Norns universe originated by Andrew Valkauskas, Horn of the Kraken by Stephen B. Pearl is the first in a new series within that universe. This is a universe full of magic and fantastical beasts, where the Norns choose human champions. Based on historical conversion-era Europe, featuring some historical figures such as Eric Blood-Axe, Horn of the Kraken is also set during Fimbulwinter, the prelude to Ragnarok. Fimbulwinter is the breakdown in the cycle of the seasons in which the sun never rises again and winter lasts until the end of the world. The world’s central problem is the mass failure of agriculture, and the world’s politics centers on the impact that would have if it occurred during the Viking Age. The villains, who are Christians out to convert the heathen and control the world’s economy and political structures, are using a mysterious new superweapon, the Horn of the Kraken.

Into this come five chosen heroes. Fjorn is a nobleman and a fighter/bard. Politics stalks him because of his bloodlines. Sigurlina is a seidhkona, a type of heathen witch with powers of necromancy and healing. She serves Freya and is sworn to avenge her family against Christian ruler Hakon. Audun is a rune master who has a near-death experience at the hands of the Christian enemy that echoes the story of Odin’s runic initiation on the Tree. Ragna is a thief. She tags along to get out of town ahead of trouble. Vidurr is a werewolf who serves Surtr, the king of the fiery underworld who is prophesied to fight against the gods at Ragnarok and destroy the world. Vidurr’s sole desire in life is to avenge his family against the Christian “crusaders.” Although those who serve Odin and those who serve Surtr are theological enemies within heathenry, they join forces against the outside threat of the Christians. Pearl knows enough about heathenry to portray both the Odin’s man and the Surtr’s man as having no god-based conflict with the Freya’s woman.

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The 5 Kinds of Gods in Asgard

The heathen gods set an example of an inclusive society. Asgard has former enemies from the First War living together in friendship. The Aesir and Vanir made peace ages ago and now the Vanir in Asgard are treated as full citizens of Asgard; for example, Freyr is expected to fight on the side of Asgard at Ragnarok.

There are 5 kinds of beings counted among the Aesir in Asgard, including those born Aesir and 4 other kinds. These kinds of beings are interchangeably called races, tribes, nations, and species. The 5 kinds are the Aesir, Vanir, Jotnar, Thursar, and even an ascended human.

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  • Thesseli
    Thesseli says #
    I will never understand why some Heathens embrace racism, when the stories of their gods are full of intermarriages between beings
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Thanks, Kayly!
  • Kayly
    Kayly says #
    Hi, I recently joined the site but have been reading your articles here for a long time. I just came to say I really enjoy your w

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