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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Checking With the Landwight

I was asked a favor that necessitated my asking the landwight who lives in my garden and protects all within its territory if it was OK. I rarely speak in words with the landwight. My relationship with the land spirit predates my developing a godphone, so when I do speak with the landvaette of this place, I'm used to making statements and not receiving a reply in words. This time I got a reply, though.

A friend messaged me on fb that her daughter's pet snake had died. They were planning to move to a house but had not done so yet, and they asked me if they could bury the snake in my yard temporarily and then move it later. Before I could reply I had to ask the landwight. Up until then, everything buried here had lived here. The animals buried in this land had already been part of this land and the landwight's territory. I asked the landwight with nearly the same wording that I had been asked, which emphasized that this was to be temporary. The landwight agreed.

Since the snake's owner was a kindred member, I set up the portable altar and held a sumbel. I wore the Jormungandr pendant that Tom had given to me for Yule years ago. Jormungandr is the boundary serpent who keeps the Earth separate from what is beyond it. He is depicted biting his tail, the Norse version of Ourobouros, and thus also a symbol of infinity. I hailed Jormungandr, the Great Snake, and asked him to see that this snake went where snakes go. 

The pet was in a container that would not decompose, so it could be moved later. The snake's owner's mother gave the pet owner directions on how to put earth into the grave, the first handful by hand. When it was all covered, I placed a stone from my garden on top.

On the way back into the house we stopped at the porch to cleanse ourselves of excess death energy, using the smoke of an herb from my garden. Then we went inside, and my friend announced it was time to celebrate the life that had been. She had brought an ice cream cake for this purpose.

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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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