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, and the updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. Erin has been a gythia since 1989. She was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. She also writes science fiction and poetry, ran for public office, is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.

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Novel Gnosis part 22: Mani and Sunna

In Asatru and other Norse or Icelandic based sects of heathenry, the name of the sun is Sunna and the name of the moon is Mani.  Sunna is a goddess and Mani is a god.

In my novel gnosis, Sunna and Mani were not born gods, but they became full gods with full god powers when the sun and moon powers passed to them after the deaths of Baldur and Nanna. During eclipses of the sun, Sunna can leave the sun chariot and travel other places. When she appears in Midgard this is what she is doing, but because time doesn’t work the same way for gods and for human beings, she may appear in Midgard at a different time than when she left. She and Mani always return to their chariots in enough time to drive their horses on and outrun the wolves who are chasing them.

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Novel Gnosis part 21: Lodhur and Loki

Lodhur is a name of Loki. Sort of. Or vice versa.

In the Fireverse, Honir and Lodhur were generated out of Odin to shape Midgard from Ymir’s body, reabsorbed, generated out of Odin again to shape humanity out of driftwood, reabsorbed, and finally Odin generated them a third time, and placed Lodhur in the jotun who was born vaette-Loki but who had the potential to become a god. Then Loki and Lodhur were the same being, “and then it had always been that way.” At that point, Honir was also permanently in existence outside of Odin, but he did not have a permanent physical form, so he only manifested when Odin and Loki were together. So Lodhur is both the same being as Loki and not the same. He is an aspect of Loki and is also older than Loki.

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Novel Gnosis part 20: Laufey

Just to set the record straight for those who may have read the Marvel version: Laufey is Loki's mother, not his father. That is Lore. What follows is my novel gnosis, that is, my insights gained via writing fiction.

Laufey lives on the Leafy Isle, which is an island in the middle of Jotunheim's major river. The island is located in a part of the river where the water is no longer really hot, but it doesn’t freeze over in the winter. Her island is full of birch trees and one of her main economic activities is to make birch oil for sale as a painkiller. Fireverse-Laufey gets into selling darker magics during Loki’s childhood to buy him forbidden books in defiance of Jotunheim’s king’s law because she intends Loki to take the throne of Jotunheim. Her older 2 sons are not sons of the king and that causes some family tension.

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Novel Gnosis part 19: Kvasir and Sif

Sif is the grain goddess in heathen mythology. She is married to Thor. Continuing my Novel Gnosis series, in which I present religious insights gained through writing fiction, today I'm talking about Sif and also Kvasir, the being made from brew. In Russian the word Kvas means a beer-like beverage.

In the Fireverse, Sif looks young with her shining gold hair, but her son Ullr looks old. Thor notices this when he marries Sif but he dismisses the thought because the appearance of age and actual age are not always related when it comes to gods and goddesses. Sif enjoys baking bread, and also enjoys eating it and other grain based foods. Sif’s representative color is gold. The cutting and regrowing of Sif's hair is an obvious agricultural metaphor, a snapshot of the wheat harvest.

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Novel Gnosis part 18: Jotunheim

Continuing the Novel Gnosis series, in which I tell you about my religious insights gained via writing a novel, we come to Jotunheim. That means the home of the Jotuns / Jotnar, aka giants.

Jotunheim is flat, but the only time in the story human characters were aware of its flatness was when Freya crossed dimensions with Ottar to bring him to see a wisewoman. Most of the time, humans journeying in Jotunheim experience it as if it were a three dimensional universe. (Most of the time, humans experience Asgard that way too, and other worlds.) When Thor and Loki visit Jotunheim, they usually arrive in an empty snowy field near their destination. Jotunheim also has forest and riparian habitat, and even city. It is always winter in Jotunheim. Some Jotnar manage to grow things anyway, variously by creating sheltered spaces, by staying close to the river, by using magic, or by choosing to grow evergreens and other permafrost adapted things.

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Novel Gnosis part 17: Jord

Jord, pronounced Yord, rhymes with horde, is the mother of Thor. Her name means earth.

Jord goes by her alternate name in the Fireverse and is part of the twin pair Fjorgyn and Fjorgynn.The name Fjorgynn is linguistically related to the names of thunder gods in other Indo-European cultures.

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Novel Gnosis part 16: Honir

Like his brothers Odin and Loki, Honir can shapeshift, but his shifting power goes far beyond theirs. Honir is a soul changer. He can not only mask as other gods like Odin and Loki can, he can actually become other gods. Odin, Loki, and Honir can borrow each other’s powers. In the Fireverse, Loki used the soul changing power once, when he needed to get a wagon full of warriors into a city and decided to do it by driving a legitimate wood cutter’s cart through the main gate using the proper passwords, which he was able to do by taking not only the cart and the carter’s appearance but the carter’s memories too (the carter was a jotun, and the city was in Jotunheim.) He was able to do that by borrowing Honir’s powers.

Honir was rarely in the story much in the Fireverse because he actually lived in Vanaheim as a hostage, and only manifested in the story in the presence of both his brothers, usually only while they were on the triple throne. Honir didn’t have a physical body but he could manifest one if he wanted to. In one of the episodes in the story, the three brothers were called to Midgard to heal someone via summoning “God, Wod, and Locke.” Honir took the role of God, and thus, he responded to a prayer ostensibly directed to the Christian deity, although the formula clearly reserved that space for the brother of Odin and Loki.

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