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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Lord of the Monsters

Continuing my story of my early experiences that led me to my heathen path, I encountered a heathen god in a dream in my childhood. I did not know who he was at the time. 

I was asleep. In my dream, I saw little shadow shapes came up through the heat register in the floor under the window. They had no eyes or mouths; they were all just made of black shadow. At first I was afraid, but then one of them pulled in part of its featureless face to make a kind of smile, and I thought it was funny. It gestured for me to come with it. It dove through the window and I floated after it, flying in my dream. I played with these monsters at night many times, until one night they brought me to meet their lord. 

I followed the shadow shapes into a cave. Inside, there was a man lying face up on a rock. He was tied at the wrists and ankles with ropes that went underneath the rock. He had no clothes. He looked like he would be tall if he stood up. The cave was lit only by indirect moonlight from the cave mouth and by the man’s fiery hair. 

“Are you the Lord of the Monsters?”

“Yes.” Flame Hair smiled.

“Then you’re my friend. The monsters are my friends.”

“You made friends with my shadow monsters. You must be a very special little girl.” 

“I go out of my body and we have fun in the town.” 

“I’m glad you have fun. I glad my monsters don’t scare you.”

“Monsters don’t scare me. Only scary people.”

His eyebrows rose. They were normal red hair eyebrows, not fire like his hair. His voice sounded concerned now instead of amused. “Do you know scary people?”

“Yes. I wish the monsters could protect me.”

“Monsters, protect this girl. Child, when you go to bed at night, call the shadow monsters and post them at the corners and they will guard you in your bed every night. They only exist in the dark, though. They can’t protect you in the daylight.”

“Thank you, Lord of the Monsters. I knew you would be my friend. It’s too bad they can’t protect me in the daytime, though. Could we go on an adventure together?”

“I’d love to. But I’m bound to this rock.”

 “Is it uncomfortable on that rock, naked like that?”

“It is. It’s awful. I wish I could leave. I can’t leave because of these cords.”

“If you could leave, would you take me somewhere fun and magical and safe? Somewhere no one could touch me?”

“Of course I will. Anytime you want to get there. I can only guide your mind there, though, not your body. You’re journeying in spirit form right now, and your body is still in Midgard.”

“I know.”

“Can you free me? Really free me, I mean, free my body from these bonds, not just go on a mental trip?”

“I think so.”

“Free me.”

Flame Hair passed through the bonds as if they were not there, or as if his body had become a thought-form, insubstantial as a spirit body. Flame Hair held out his hand. “I will show you Uppland.”

“It is up, up, and away?”

“It is. First we need winter gear. I will manifest us snow suits and boots.” Flame Hair concentrated, and we were dressed in matching white padded clothes. “It’s always winter there, because it’s in the land of giants, but it’s so far up the mountain that no one goes there.”

“There aren’t any giants there?”

“There are giantesses, but they live buried up to their necks in the snow, and they never go anywhere.”

“Why not?”

“They’re waiting for spring. Come on. Use the power you used to get here and to free me and let’s float away, and I’ll navigate.”

We came to a world shining white like a pearl from all its snow. They landed in the snow. We were in a broad snow field, at the edge of the dark forest. Predawn light came from behind the hill like a light shining through an eggplant skin. “This is Uppland. It’s for you. Your private safe place. Do you like it?”

“Yes. It’s empty. It’s big and cold, and there aren’t any zucchini.”

Flame Hair chuckled. “Well, it’s not really empty. You’ll find the giantesses eventually. I’ll show you how to navigate from here back and forth to your house. Let’s practice.”

He showed me how to get back home. “Thank you, Lord of the Monsters. Thank you for Uppland.”

“Thank you, little girl. You don’t know what it means to me to be free, after all this time.” Flame Hair’s white snow suit rippled, and it turned into a black business suit. Then he walked off down the road, singing in a foreign language. He laughed and skipped around the corner.


The Lord of the Monsters and I never told each other our names. I had no idea who he was until a couple of decades later, when I was already heathen and a sworn Priestess of Freya, and having read the Icelandic mythology and thinking back to that childhood dream, I realized that I met Loki.


When I first posted this, I was afraid that talking about Loki as the good guy would make other heathens hate me, because some heathens who follow Snorri's interpretation of the mythology consider Loki to be some sort of devil figure. In the years since I first posted this, I've come to find out that most heathens don't think in terms of a Christian style God and Devil duality, and I've been talking a lot more about Loki in recent posts. 

When I first posted this, I was also a little reluctant to share this gnosis because it demanded an explanation of who the scary people were. My father abused me as a child. At the time first I posted this, I was not yet fully healed, but I am now, and that topic no longer engages my emotions. So I originally posted this as a fictionalized account with a fictionalized character standing in for me, but now I have edited it so it reflects my actual dream experience. 


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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 also works with other gods of the Asatru pantheon. 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 currently a forum admin at the American Asatru Association, and was Board Secretary during the formation of its corporation, and is gythia of American Celebration Kindred.


  • wayne bates
    wayne bates Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    Any one who judges you for your relationship with Loki is an idiot . I have never expereinced Loki myself but i do feel close to Hel and i see her as a benevolent goddess's than she is portrayed . We should be grateful for Christian authors who wrote down our stories , because without them we would have no initial knowledge of the gods , but we should also be aware of their bias and world view and how that will have coloured what they wrote . I cannot even imagine what you have been through and i will keep an open mind about the trickster . I also think you are very brave and you have nothing but my respect

    Waes Hael

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    Thank you!

    I've gotten secondhand reports of internet trolls mocking me in groups I'm not a member of where I can't see them, but so far the only negative responses here on the blog itself have been downvotes on the star rating.

    Your message of support means a lot to me. Thanks again!

  • wayne bates
    wayne bates Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    You are a example of courage that we should applaud , not mock .
    If they have choosen to do so where you cannot see it , it just shows them to be dishonourable and cowardly
    I have no time or respect for folk like that

    But I respect you and your bravery at talking not only about Loki but what you have been through . Forget the Trolls



  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Tuesday, 29 July 2014

    Thank you!

  • Brenda Caudill
    Brenda Caudill Friday, 01 August 2014

    You are beautiful and I am glad you had Loki to help you.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Friday, 01 August 2014

    Thank you!

  • Amber Drake
    Amber Drake Thursday, 09 October 2014

    A powerful and lovely story about Loki.
    I think you're a great writer.
    I also think you are very brave to write about what you've been through.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Thursday, 09 October 2014

    Thank you! I was nervous about blogging about this, so it's been wonderful to see all these supportive comments!

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