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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Novel Gnosis part 3: Asgard

Asgard is not really a three dimensional physical space, but in the Fireverse it has a geography suitable for the human to whom the story is told to understand. The World Tree can be reached from the top of a hill. It’s not growing out of the hill but is next to it and Odin is able to grasp one of the branches in order to hang from the tree. From that hill, one can look sheer down into forever. On one side of that hill there is a cliff with a stone seat carved into the hillside. There is a little foot path to the seat. This is Odin’s seat of seeing. From there, he can look into Jotunheim, or Midgard, or wherever. Just in front of this throne, the path broadens a bit and there is a short wall at the cliff edge, just right for Odin’s ravens to perch on.

On the other side of the hill stands Valhalla. It is just as described in lore, made out of spears and shields and having many doors and the Einherjar within, and a pig of unlimited bacon, and a goat whose milk is mead, and the triple throne where High, Just As High, and Third sit and rule. These are Odin, Honir, and Loki. Honir does not have a physical form unless he is manifesting between Odin and Loki. He sometimes manifests in the middle throne while Odin and Loki are both in their thrones. Odin sits in the sky throne, that is, the throne of air. Loki’s throne is fire and water. Honir’s throne is earth and ice. Just as it says in lore, the Einherjar go out and fight all day and then are resurrected and party all night in Valhalla. So, the Einherjar are not there during the day. In the Fireverse, Odin holds court in Valhalla in the day, with a lunch for any gods who want to drop in; when he’s not there all these processes continue to happen.

Odin has more than one hall; Valhalla is just his public one. He has private quarters within the hill, and other halls below that. He has places for his worshippers other than the hall of heroes. His private quarters were once Bor and Bestla’s.

All the halls of the gods who reside in Asgard can be reached by walking a path through parkland maintained by invisible servants who may be dead humans. There are dead human servants in each of the halls as well, either visible or invisible; each god’s particular favorites end up serving him after death, unless something else happens (like if they end up in Valhalla instead.) Each god’s hall is unique and particular to that god. Freya’s hall is within a huge land. This land and her house are both full of her chosen warriors, certain special women, and cats. Njord has a water feature in front of his secondary hall; his main hall is on the coast. Gods who don’t live in Asgard but who are citizens of Asgard’s society have small secondary halls in Asgard so they can visit easily. Freyr is Lord of Alfheim so his main hall where he keeps most of his dead humans is the king’s palace in Alfheim (those dead humans being the mound-dead, and the line between the mound-dead and the elves of the elf-mound is fuzzy) but he has a secondary hall in Asgard. Some of the gods have outbuildings near their main halls. Freya has a women’s asylum.  

Before Thor married Sif, he lived in a room in Odin’s private quarters under the hill. After his wedding he and Sif moved into a large house. There is a wheat field next to it, and a goat barn in the back. Sif often bakes bread from her wheat.

Before Loki married Sigyn, he also lived in his own small room within Odin’s hill, although he was often elsewhere at night. When Loki married he moved into Sigyn’s house, which is located within a garden teeming with life, especially butterflies and songbirds. Before she married, Sigyn’s housework was done for her by the birds and frogs and so on.  There was a spell on her house, presumably put there by her unknown parent or parents, the spell of the mosswife’s bargain in which a man who does housework in the house breaks the spell and becomes the house husband. That was one of the steps that led to Loki and Sigyn’s marriage. Sigyn likes to work in her garden and leaves the housework to Loki. When he isn’t there, it just piles up. They are the only gods in Asgard who don’t keep dead humans as servants.

Frigga’s hall is in a wetlands. It is reached by a small bridge. There is an above the water area and a below the water area. Her house has as many rooms as it needs to house all the child souls she collects when she rides the Wild Hunt every year. The below the water area of her home includes a ballroom with transparent walls to see out into the life of a lake. It’s like a reverse aquarium where you can see the fish swim by but you’re inside the glass tank. Her ballroom is round. It is said that only women go to her hall, but that doesn’t include her ballroom or her throne room. Her sons, when they were alive, lived in Odin’s hill, but they could visit her in her own hall. She also visited Odin’s hill often. Although Frigga and Odin each have their own hall and their own throne that does not mean there is anything wrong with their marriage; they follow an old custom among kings and queens and each maintains their own space and their own seat of power.

One branch of the path goes to Idunna’s apple orchard. The gods assemble there every month for their apple dose. At one end of the orchard is Idunna and Bragi’s house. Idunna also has an outbuilding, a smoking shed where she smokes game using apple wood trimmings. There is a fountain by the house where Bragi likes to sit and play music.

There is another mountain in Asgard besides the world-topping tree hill of Odin’s, and that is Eir’s mountain. Although Odin’s hill is a grassy topped round hill with rooms under the ground and Eir’s mountain a snow-covered peak with a stone building on it, so her mountain feels like it should be at a much higher elevation, Eir’s mountain is not actually taller than Odin’s hill. Geography doesn’t work the same way in Asgard as it does here, because it’s not objectively a three dimensional space, it just looks like one to humans who are shown about.

The path ends at the Rainbow Bridge. Heimdall’s small house is near the Bridge. The grass wore away from the area in front of the Bridge because of being trampled by many feet, so there is now a cobbled stone area in front of the Bridge. The Rainbow Bridge is always active, that is, always in the sky, from the Asgard end. Heimdall sends the other end out to wherever it needs to go. (That is, the Bridge always there except when Ragnarok is about to start, which is the opening scene in Some Say Fire in which the human character dies and can’t get to Valhalla because the Bridge is out, which shows how messed up the universe is at that point, so that it needs to be rebooted, and also leads to the human character meeting up with Loki in Helheim so the action of the story can start.) The Rainbow Bridge is not a place. It’s a way to get places. It’s not an afterlife destination for animals; animals have their own specific afterlife destinations. For example, cats go to Folkvangr with Freya. From our world, Midgard, the Rainbow Bridge only goes one place, Asgard. Those who are not planning to go to Asgard for their afterlife had best not send anyone, including animals, to wait for them there.

The other end of the path goes to the beach. Sometimes a ship can sail a straight path from Midgard across the sea to the shore of Asgard, like when the two king’s sons where fostered by Odin and Frigga pretending to be an old farm couple, and the same people can then sail back. This has not happened in a long time. This beach used to be where the dead from Midgard came when they went to Asgard, long ago before they stated using the Bridge.

The farthest hall within Asgard is Tyr and Zisa’s. It is reached by walking down the beach until one gets to the old port. Zisa has two boats there. Her old war boat no longer sails. She has not used that boat since the kingship passed from her husband; once, she brought the dead from Midgard to her home, when she was queen. She occasionally takes her fishing boat out to fish and bring the fish to Fenris, her foster-son, on his island. Tyr and Zisa’s hall is a castle, both a fortress and the old seat of Asgard before Odin assumed the leadership and put his throne in Valhalla. Above the castle on the top of the same rocky cliff on which the castle is built is a large grassy area where Zisa keeps her dogs. She also has a horse and she still rides the Wild Hunt along with Frigga on Mother Night, even though only Odin rides the Wild Hunt the rest of the time. In the castle, Tyr keeps the Heart of Hrungnir in a wooden treasure chest.

Image: Valhalla by Al Seeger via Pixabay


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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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