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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The Gold Ring from the Sacred Fire

Yes, it's a barbecue smoker lid. Yes, I really do light sacred fires in it. Because cooking for a ritual feast is a sacred act, and so is cooking for ordinary purposes when I'm intending to share some of it with the gods, so if I were cooking in my kitchen the gas flame on the range top would be a sacred fire, because that's how that works. The hearth fire through which Loki brings energy to us or from us to the gods does not have to be a replica of the hearth in a Viking longhouse or other historical type of building. I think I might draw the line at an electrical cooker or microwave, because those aren't really fire, but the wood and charcoal fire in the barbecue is just as much a traditional wood fire as anything our ancestors made.

So how did this shiny golden circular shape get here? I'm glad you asked. The story went like this. It was the full moon of Friday the 13th, which occurred in September this year (2019.) Now, Friday the 13th doesn't mean anything in heathenry-- in historical heathen calendar systems, it doesn't even exist-- but in modern American culture it's considered unlucky, which is the reason that some members of the witchy community consider it to be especially lucky for witches, along with black cats and broken mirror pieces.

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October and November 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Moveable feasts in this time period include the Feast of Ullr, which is a heathenization of the USA holiday Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving takes place on the fourth Thursday of November each year. The modern secular holiday Wolfenoot also takes place in November. It has been adopted by many heathens and pagans. Last year, 2018, was the first time Wolfenoot was celebrated, and it occurred on the same day as the USA's Thanksgiving, which gave it a boost among those seeking an alternative holiday to celebrate on that day. That also happened to be a full moon, which gave Wolfenoot a boost among those who already howl at the full moon. But Wolfenoot is a fixed date holiday, always on the 23rd of November, not a moveable feast like Thanksgiving.

October
1
Month of possible date of Disablot begins (Icelandic Asatru)

6
Oktoberfest ends (Munich, Germany)

8
Day of Erik the Red (American Asatru, American Odinist)

9
Leif Erikson Day (American Odinist), World Odin Prayer Day (Odinist)

12
Day of Leif Erikson and Freydis Eriksdottir (American Asatru)

14
Winter Nights (alternate date) (American Asatru)

28
Day of Erik the Red (alternate date) (American Asatru)

29
Winterfyllith begins (American Asatru)

30
 Winter Nights (American Asatru),
Alf-blessing (American Asatru),
Freyr-blessing (American Asatru),
Allelieweziel begins (Urglaawe)

November
1
Winter Entdeckung (Germany)

2
Winterfyllith ends (American Asatru)

9
Day of Queen Sigrid (American Asatru, American Odinist)

10
Allelieweziel ends (Urglaawe)

11
Einherjar’s Day (Universalist American Asatru),
Hollersege (Urglaawe),
Ewicher Yeeger Sege (Urglaawe),
Marten Gas (Norway) 

21
Alfablot (Asatru)

23

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Rainbow Season part 1: preparing for the ritual

My kindred’s Autumnal Equinox ritual this year is called the Rainbow Season Ritual. It’s a ritual to Heimdall and his nine mothers. Other heathen groups celebrate Vetrnatr or Winter Nights in the fall, but here in the Mojave Desert, trying to celebrate the onset of cold weather when it’s still over 100 degrees out just doesn’t feel appropriate to our local weather and landscape. If we are to honor nature, then we must take real nature into account, and not just what a date on a calendar says. I considered trying to move Winter Nights to the actual time I would expect it to start freezing out, but then it would coincide with Yule. So instead, we’re celebrating the end of monsoon season. After the thunderous, rainy, lightning-prone time of Thor comes the rainbow, the time of Heimdall.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Thunderstrike

A story about rain and perfume. And weather witching.

When I'm getting ready for the day, I put on one of the dedicated Cherry-Ka's Trunk perfumes that I keep in a little painted wooden Russian bowl on my desk. I have one of each of the Norse god dedicated scents. The four heathen scents Derin had already created before I started buying them are Silver Wordsmith for Loki, Hidden Goddess for Hel, Bilskirnir for Thor's house and family (I use that one to honor Sif), and Thunderstrike for Thor. The three I helped inspire are One-Eye for Odin, The Hornsman for Heimdall, and Vanr Volva for Freya. I also have three of Derin's non heathen perfumes, Siren, Library, and Wild Mojave. Sometimes I select the one I want to wear for the day. Sometimes I stir around in the bowl and pull a scent for the day.

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Honoring the Gods Where I Am

I live in the southwest of the USA, in the Mojave Desert, in Nevada, in Henderson, in Green Valley. This ecosystem is nowhere near the origin point of the heathen group of faiths, of which Asatru is one, which was in Northern Europe. Some things don't change-- the moon is the same from any place on Earth-- but proper times to celebrate harvest are very different here. Also, I live within a very different culture even from today's Europe, let alone the Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, or even the Viking Age.

Yet, I think my simplest rituals are not too different from what the ancient heathens did. Even here, in this very different place. Even though I'm speaking modern English. Even when my perception of what is special and unique enough to be fitting to give to the gods is filtered through a modern understanding of science, as when I became excited and awestruck over a chimera pear and decided to eat it in honor of the gods.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Sounds delicious!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Earlier this year I bought a persimmon tree and a pawpaw tree from Edible Landscaping. They are both still alive and growing tall

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Goddesses Brew 2019

Every year I've made the Northern Lights Goddesses Brew, I've added something to the recipe to honor additional goddesses. This year I added something for Hel and something for Sunna. This year's batch is going to taste similar to last year's, but sweeter. I think. I can never be sure how it will come out until I taste it. This is a story about the internal mental process by which I arrived at the ingredient to add for Hel (also called Hela.)

So there I was in my kitchen. I had all the usual ingredients out on the counter, ready to start this year's batch of brew. I had not decided on an ingredient to add for Hel yet. I usually like to plan ahead, but I had an hour of time to myself when I was not likely to be interrupted, and no more pressing task to accomplish, so I had decided it was time to get the brew going. I needed to figure out what to put in to honor Hel, and started considering and rejecting various ingredients. Nothing seemed quite right.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, the leaves can be roasted and eaten like artichoke but they're very fibrous. Around here people usually don't eat the lea
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've seen agave leaves in the grocery store, but I've never tried to do anything with them. I have never been served a dish that

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Cover Art Reveal for New Asatru Book

I'm excited to reveal the cover art and title for my upcoming book! Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path is coming Spring 2020 from Red Wheel / Weiser.

The more I look at this art, the more I like it. I don't know who the artist is, but they must know a lot about magical symbolism.

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