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Disambiguation: Asatru For Beginners and Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path

The only official, authorized new version of my book Asatru For Beginners is my new book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. It was published on the 1st of this month by Weiser Books. The upcoming book announced on Facebook by Mathias Nordvig last Sunday titled Asatru For Beginners: A Modern Heathen's Guide to the Ancient Northern Way is NOT my book. I don't know the man, he is not my heir or apprentice, and his book is not my book's successor. Do not be confused.The only successor to my out-of-print book is my new book.

Look for my name, Erin Lale, to be sure you're getting a genuine Erin Lale book. My name is a brand. Erin Lale is a brand you know and trust. I've earned it over the past 2 decades since I first published Asatru For Beginners. Here follows a more detailed timeline for those interested in more of the story.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
My New Asatru Book Has a Preorder Link!

Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path is the updated, longer version of my out-of-print book Asatru For Beginners. It's scheduled to be published next summer. It now has a preorder link for both Kindle and paperback editions.

New and improved! Now with more gods!

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
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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Advice for Beginners on Wiccan, Pagan & Witchcraft Paths

Advice for Beginners on Wiccan, Pagan & Witchcraft Paths

My years of experience will do no good for anyone if I do not share it with you. I hope my words of wisdom and advice help you avoid many of the mistakes I made. 

Spirituality is a process. Witchcraft is a journey, not a destination. There are many factors to consider when choosing a spiritual path. Spirituality is about devotion and practice. One cannot simply associate one’s self with a path, and call it their own. You must practice it. You must become a part of it. You must be willing and able to live that path. 

The path of Wicca, Witchcraft, and Paganism is not about shock value. It is not about making your oppressive relatives angry, or proving yourself different in main stream society. Yes, by nature we tend to go against the grain, but not always so harshly. The path is about devotion. It is about finding a spiritual balance and focus that makes you a better person. It is about finding your place in the world that also helps make the world a better place.  

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Scarlet Letter

Oh gods, not again.

Yet another neophyte wants me to know all about visions seen, psychic experiences had, predictions made that came true just as she said.

Sigh. Aînesse oblige, says a friend of mine: Elderhood obligates.

It's what anthropologists call “credibility-establishing narrative,” and in the free-wheeling world that is the pagan community, we all have our own. But there's narrative and narrative. Funny how the very act of establishing that you're not a newbie can in fact signal exactly the opposite. Once you start in, you might as well just brand a big, red N on your forehead.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    I remember the days of being completely on fire with it all. I could hardly wait to talk. So maybe I haven't changed all that muc
  • *d.*
    *d.* says #
    I'm sorry, but I can't help but think of Sarah A Lawless. Every time a friend shares her posts, I feel this pain.
Early Net Experiences Part 2: The Writing of Asatru For Beginners

I had only been a member of MSN ASATRU for a few months when suddenly one day I logged in and discovered I had been made the group's manager. The previous manager was nowhere to be found. There were no other managers, moderators, or admins. I was a still a near-total net newbie and I didn't know how to make a thread show me previous comments, let alone how to manage an internet forum. I had to learn how to use the back end controls of the time period. I had to learn some html programming so I could put text and graphics on the landing page and other pages, and create live links to photos hosted on host sites (yes, you had to known html to do that back then.)

When it came to actual content, though, I was on firm ground, having been heathen since 1986. I was always seeing newbies come on the group and ask for a beginner's book and people directing them to read the Eddas or academic papers, which can be intimidating even for adult readers, and a lot of the newbies were in their early teens, and just did not have the educational background to understand classical literature or college-level papers.

I started compiling a FAQ file on the group site. The FAQ page eventually became the first chapter of Asatru For Beginners.

At the time, my mom was a public high school English teacher. Sometimes she had free reading time in her classroom, and she kept a rack of books and other reading material for the students. I asked her what the typical American 14 year old boy read for pleasure during free reading, and she said Motor Sports Magazine. That's the reader for whom I wrote my book.

I kept Asatru For Beginners down to 20,000 words because mom told me that many average level teen readers found books longer than that so intimidating that they would not even start them. I kept the book entirely free of footnotes and quotes from foreign languages, both of which were typically found in any given Asatru related paper of the time period, since almost everything available was written for an academic readership. I wrote in American Family Newspaper style, with which I was familiar because I had written for newspapers.  I also filled my book with handy lists, so that as the book's owners became more advanced, they would still find it useful. I made my book non-sectarian, which set it apart from any other beginner's books available at the time, the others having been produced by sectarian organizations.

Since I first wrote it, Asatru has experienced some generational change, and some change sparked by the changing technology of the internet.  I'm working on a new edition to reflect these generational changes, which I hope to publish in 2017 when the book's current contract runs out. In the meantime, I still think it's the best and the easiest to understand of the beginner's books on Asatru.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs

I’m going to my first public Pagan (or Wiccan) ritual, but I’ve never been to a ritual before. What should I wear? What should I bring? What should I expect in the ritual? What should I make sure to do (or not do) so I don’t accidentally insult someone or embarrass myself?

Public rituals are a good way to get your feet wet if you’re new to Wicca or Paganism. You can meet others who share your interests, and you can begin to learn about how rituals work and feel by participating in them. Public rituals usually feel a lot different from smaller, private ones, though, so if it’s possible, I recommend you try both kinds. I’ll cover private rituals in a later post.

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