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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Coffee with Odin

Recently, it occurred to me that when I speak with the gods, and they speak back to me, they are using my brain to communicate with me, so they use whatever they find in my brain. I speak to them in my native language, English, and they speak back in English. Or, they might speak in symbols with which I am familiar, and therefore may understand. They speak in the sounds, sights, and smells that have meaning for me. For example, I might see an animal I associate with a specific god, such as a butterfly for Sigyn. The gods don't really need to communicate with signs, since I have time set aside every day for communication with them. But they send them sometimes anyway, because it brings me joy, awe, and wonder.

Daily ritual anchors the gods in my life each day. There are rituals meant to be unique and only done once and there are rituals meant to be the same every time, and both have value. My small daily rituals are meant to be similar to each other every time. 

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Did the Runes Originate With an Act of Gay Sex?


James Kirkup's scurrilous, and surprisingly tender, poem “The Love That Dares to Speak Its Name,” in which a Roman centurion makes love to (and with) the dead body of the crucified Jesus, has been twisting the nuts of pious Christians since 1977.

Behold, the heathen iteration.


If you've been pagan for more than 16 minutes, you will no doubt be familiar with the famous Rúnatál (“Song of the Runes”) from Hávamál, in which Óðinn discovers the runes in a heroic act of literal self-sacrifice, cited here in Carolyne Larrington's 1999 translation:


139 I know that I hung

on a windy tree

nine long nights,

wounded with a spear,

dedicated to Óðinn,

myself to myself,

on that tree of which no man knows

from where its roots run.


140 No bread they gave me,

or a drink from a horn,

downwards I peered;

I took up the runes,

screaming I took them,

then I fell back from there.


In the standard reading, Allfather hangs himself from World Ash Yggdrasil (“Steed of the Terrible [One]” presumably Óðinn himself), and runs himself through with a spear: the standard manner of human sacrifices offered to Óðinn. It is this terrible sacrifice which enables him to discover, and seize, the Runes, those mystic building-blocks from which what is, is made.

But how if what the Rúnatál describes is no literal hanging, with branch, rope, and swinging corpse?

What if Rúnatál is actually describing (in a very graphic sense) an act of impalement?

What if the destructive-creative act that gave us the Runes was also an act of ergi?


In the surviving literature, ergi (noun) and argr (adjective) are terms of abuse, in a semantic field encompassing translations like “shameful”, "unmanly", “effeminate”, and “cowardly.”

As any web-search will show, in our day the terms are not infrequently associated with receptive male-male intercourse, the assumption being that, to those über-butch vikings—as in machismo cultures to this day—it would have been shameful to be (willingly) penetrated.

Whether the Norse-speaking ancestors saw it this way or not has yet to be proven. Still, for the sake of argument, let us grant the premise.

What, then, are the implications that—as anyone conversant in Norse literature knows—Óðinn is himself not infrequently accused of ergi?

Might it be for this that he became known—surely one of his more enigmatic heiti, or by-names—as Jálkr, "eunuch"?


Certainly we can say that the Norse found the practice of seiðr by males to be argr: presumably because opening oneself to be a “passive” receptacle is analogous to permitting sexual penetration.

Óðinn, of course, is also said to have (transgressively) practiced seiðr.


That the act of receptive intercourse can be an initiatory experience, generating profound, transformative insights, I would be the last to deny.

Did it also—possibly even historically—give us the runes as well?


The remaining question here can only be: granted the rest, on whose “tree of life” is Óðinn “hanged”?

(On top, even when he's being receptive. Yep, that would be Óðinn, all right.)

To anyone conversant in the lore, there can really be only one answer: whose else but that of his ettinish oath-brother, whose argr credentials—as himself the mother of Sleipnir—are surely ungainsayable? thus rendering their joint act doubly transgressive.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My morning coffee ritual is basically a sumbel, since I make toasts. But after each toast, I listen to see if the gods have any messages for me.I toast Odin, Honir, Lodhur Who Is Loki, and Thor. In the afternoon, I toast the goddesses with tea. I might make a toast with a more traditional beverage from time to time as well. At any time, whether I'm specially listening or not, I might receive a message from my gods. This has been happening since I wrote the unpublishable novel Some Say Fire, and in the process of writing learned to hear the gods, as I detailed in some previous posts. Here on Gnosis Diary, I talk about my gnosis a lot, unsurprisingly. Here are some of my recent gnosis experiences.

My gods very rarely tell me not to do something. As I mentioned years ago, when I was writing the post that eventually became Good Knowledge, Bad Teacher, my computer repeatedly glitched until I took it for a sign and changed my focus. After that I asked the gods to please just tell me when they want me to do or not do something. A few years ago I blogged about when Loki told me not to go spread anarchy in the desert, and I found out later that night someone had stolen the idol of Sekhmet from her temple and the angry goddess was walking the desert right then. (Eventually the temple got a new statue. But the temple was never the same after that and there was a schism in the local pagan community that I blogged about in my post Rebuttal of TERF Values.)

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
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. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
On Lodhur and Loki

Lodhur is the original third brother in the trinity Odhinn / Honir / Lodhur. This triple god form appears in the Lore in two major places: when the brothers sculpt the world out of the slain giant Ymir, and when the brothers sculpt humans out of driftwood trees. Both of these are major acts of creation described as sculpting life from a dead form. 

When the Lore relates stories about Odin and his brothers going on adventures together, the name of the third brother becomes Loki. It is clear that Lodhur and Loki are the same god. But they are very different aspects of the same god. 

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Random Experiences with Asatru Gods

I have a few more religious experiences to relate and I've collected them here because they are each a bit too short to post by themselves.  I've posted so many experiences here on Gnosis Diary, and I keep thinking I'm done surely, but then I have another one! lol. 

In the summer of 2022 I got to do 2 things I'd been wanting to do for a while: 1. have a "book tour stop" where I speak and promote my book, and I did that at Occulture Faire Las Vegas, and 2. go to a science fiction convention just to enjoy it rather than as a panelist, so I could have the kind of fun I used to have when I was younger and hadn't started having all my time scheduled to speak when I went to an sf con. I mainly wanted to enjoy the costuming and the music and filking (that means an sf themed bardic circle) and I got to do that too. 

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I've only been to one SF convention in my life. It was called Atlantacon and held down at Virginia Beach back in the 80's. I rem

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Recently there was a discussion in the Asatru Facebook Forum that evolved a subthread about Godan, the name of Odin among the Lombards. I received some gnosis, and so, since this blog is Gnosis Diary, I'm going to tell you all about it.

As background to the Godan discussion: The main thread had been affirming the original poster's exploration of Asatru as a possible path, which grew into discussion of Unitarian-Universalist style religion, which eventually branched into the Godan discussion. It was pointed out that the name Godan was the origin of the English name God for the Christian God. This led to a question of whether they were the same god.

At this point Odin spoke in my head. (Which is not unusual for me at all, as you see if you read the past few years' blog posts, and we had just been communicating during my daily morning coffee ritual a few minutes before, so this was not a remarkable occurrence except that he had a message he wanted conveyed.) "I am not the same god."

Since the original post was a new seeker's intro post, when Odin joined the conversation in my head I wanted to be sure to express it in a way that would not be received as argumentative or unwelcoming. I remember very well how people reacted to my first few reports of messages from the gods, like "Don't poison the Earth," which I had to completely recast as "Love nature and care for her" before people found the message acceptable, when I first started receiving this type of gnosis a few years ago when I was opened to the gods by writing fiction. So with that in mind, I crafted my comment.

Additional background: the comment to which I was responding also mentioned the "chosen people" thing, which I why I included a reference to it in my answer. One of the differences between Odin and YHVH is that Odin doesn't have a chosen people. Some of the heathen gods were patrons or ancestors of species tribes or nations in historical times-- the Lore specifically says the Langobards were named by Frigga who favored them in a war, for example-- but they never said other people couldn't worship them. So the comment to which I was responding started off by commenting about the name Godan being borrowed for the name of xian God, and also included a reference to YHVH having a chosen people.

So here is the comment I created to convey my gnosis in a way that other Asatruers would find unobjectionable:

True. So if people want to reclaim the name God / Godan for Odin that's fine. The being most people mean by the name God is someone else entirely, who may or may not be still the same god whose name was taboo; since that god did have a chosen people and most modern day xians are not from that people it begs the question who that guy really is anymore, but that's beyond the scope of a study of heathenry so I have no answers there. One thing I do know, well two things, firstly that all outlooks from atheist to unitarian-universalist to soft polytheist to hard polytheist are part of modern Asatru and are welcome here, and secondly that Odin is not YHVH because he told me so. That's another thing that is welcome here: gnosis. Because the gods are here now.

(comment finished with smiley face emojis.)

So, here is my opinion about what it's like to have gnosis like this: it's easy to communicate with the gods. What's hard is figuring out how to talk about communicating with the gods in a way that other people won't knee-jerk want to argue with. I think there are probably lots of people who have gnosis like this and just don't talk about it because it's so hard to talk about. That's one of the things I want to help with by writing this blog and also by running the forum: to normalize talking about gnosis so it will be easier in the future.

I know I succeeded in crafting my response correctly because my comment led to a nice discussion of the other person's gnosis and opinions. Which led to the related but distinct discussion of how different is Odin from Godan from Wodan, and how different is one person's Odin from another person's Odin. I think Odin, Godan, and Wodan are simultaneously different and the same. And for the second question, I like the metaphor of the godphone, where everyone has a distinct phone number and might get the wrong voicemails if they dial in from someone else's. When I receive gnosis I always know if it's just for me or intended to be conveyed to other people. The very few messages I receive to convey are such a small percentage of the conversations I have in my mind with my gods that they stand out like a red tree among yellow and green trees. Like looking a hillside full of trees in autumn and there is only one maple tree in the whole forest. Usually the only time I can just directly relay a message without trying to craft a way to say it nicely is when I'm giving a rune reading, in which case people already expect and want a message. This is a skill it took me years to learn, and I'm not sure I'd really say I've mastered it yet; if I had, perhaps it would be easy. lol.

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