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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Raven Caw During Ritual

It was a warm, clear afternoon in the desert. The children had just hunted eggs and were now happily consuming their candies, busy and out of the way. It was time.

We were gathered around the altar, passing the drinking horn in a sumbel ritual. In sumbel, we pass the horn from person to person. Whoever has the horn makes a toast and then passes the horn. Holding the horn indicates whose turn it is to speak, even when people are actually drinking from individual cups. 

The man holding the horn said he was working out which gods he would follow. At that very moment, a raven cried, "Caw caw." I didn't see any birds, but it was obviously Odin's ravens, indicating Odin was his patron. When something like that happens in a ritual, it is clearly a sign. 

When it was my turn, I said that I wanted to honor Freya because I'm in my year for honoring Freya, and thank her for my household's new kitty, although I'm sure my housemate would also mention the cat since it's her cat (which she did.) But I'm grateful our kitties get along together. Then I said I also wanted to note that after the man said he was working out which were his gods I distinctly heard a raven caw. The host also said he heard it and it made the hairs stand up on the back of his neck. The man for whom it was a sign said he had not noticed, so I am really glad I mentioned it. 

This year, Amanda led the ritual for my kindred's Ostara, and Ian and Anne hosted. It was great to visit the hosts' home because I got to meet all their pets, 3 of whom are named after gods: Freya doggy and kitties Loki and Sigyn.

The man with the horn at that moment was a friend of the host's whom I had not met before. One of the great things about having someone else host a ritual is that we get some new faces from the host's friends and the area near them. After the ritual was over, I mentioned to him that it was amazing to me to meet other heathens in the area that I didn't know because I remember when there were only a few hundred Asatruers* in the whole country.

He told me that the caw sound had come from his phone. That was funny, but it was no less a sign. Odin and his ravens use whatever means are available to communicate with us humans. It should not be surprising that Odin could call him on his cell phone. He was literally called by Odin.

*My regularized English spelling of what Asatruers actually say out loud, which was originally based on Icelandic plural Asatruar. 

Image: a basket of colored eggs in front of a classical public domain artwork of the goddess Ostara, photo by Erin Lale. 



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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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