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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Erin Lale

Erin Lale

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.

1st anniversary of book launch!

Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path was published on August 1st, 2020. I put off doing a book tour hoping I'd be able to go on a post-pandemic belated book tour in 2021 but it's not yet time for a lot of in person events this year either. Hopefully next year! So, instead of a book tour:

Review party week!

Post a new review of my book on Amazon, Storytel, etc. (wherever you bought it) or your blog, post the link as a comment here, and win a surprise prize! (You'll get a choice of 3 different surprise prizes. Must message me on social media or email me in order to choose and claim your prize.) Or if you've previously posted a review on Amazon, your blog, etc., post a link to that review and you still win a prize! Because what is time? (Oh but that's another story lol.) I'll share your review link across my social media platforms (that includes a link to your blog, magazine, podcast, etc. if that's where your review is.)

Review party week goes from today (Saturday July 31, 2021) to next Saturday  (August 7, 2021.) Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path is the new, longer, updated version of my out of print book Asatru For Beginners.

Find all the links to buy the ebook, paper, or audiobook on the following link, or ask for my book at your local bookstore or library.

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Humor, Rain, and Lokigator

A quote from Dane Willerslev on humor in Yukaghir hunting rituals has been circulating on the net. It got me thinking about how our Asatru gods might view silly human fan activity related to the Marvel versions of themselves as similar humor.

When the first few Marvel movies featuring Thor, Loki, etc. came out there was a big debate about them within Asatru communities. One of the subjects of that debate was whether the Marvel versions were full fledged new versions of the gods, created by and for our modern culture, in the same way that Odhinn differs from Woden while still being essentially the same god. People were examining the depiction of the gods in the movies but largely ignoring the massive presence and activity of the fans, which I thought was a mistake. It's the humans watching that make a play either a form of sacred theater or just a play, even if it's the same play.

The essential action related to the first Thor movie was not the movie itself, it was millions of children raising toy Thor's hammers and yelling "Hail Thor!" When that first movie came out in theaters, Thor blessed my local area with a lot of rain. There was similarly an unusually large amount of rain every time a new movie with Thor in it came out. Clearly he approves of more people hailing him, even if they don't really know much about the real him.

So, when a new Marvel show was about to come out, although not in theaters and not with Thor in it, I wondered what would happen. Would there be more rain?

Rain is precious where I live, in the Mojave Desert south of Las Vegas, Nevada. 2020 was an exceptionally dry year even for the Vegas valley. For the past several years I've been growing wheat which I turn into Northern Lights Goddesses Brew. I plant in December and harvest in June, usually. It's usually a really reliable crop, easy to grow, but this year I had a total crop failure. It was just too dry. I was hoping for a good wet monsoon season this summer, and not just for my garden. The water that comes out of the tap in my house comes from Lake Mead, which depends on the Colorado River, but city storm runoff refills it too. Lake Mead was way down. Lake Mead also provides a lot of the power in this area, via hydroelectric generation from Hoover Dam. Water in the lake literally keeps the lights on in Las Vegas.

So, there has been a lot of precious rain every time America honored Thor with a movie. How would he respond this time? Fan activity online has strongly associated Lokigator with Throg, the frog version of Thor. Frogs are associated with water and rain. At this point the main character of the Loki series is very connected to the Thor character in the minds of fans, as anyone watching online fan activity could tell. (Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD.) When the episode featuring many variants of Loki from different timelines appeared, fans responded with art and stories depicting the childhood and early history of each of the variants, mostly featuring Thor, although some featured Odin and Frigga.

A big fan favorite with the art and stories and jokes was Lokigator. I too found Lokigator delightful. I like Lokigator because he is just so random. Loki meets all the Lokis, some are younger, some older, one is a woman, one is an alligator. It's like a little piece of actual chaos. Very Loki.

I participated in the Lokigator fan activity by inventing a dance motion I call the Lokigator Chomp. I posted a short video of it on my social media (Facebook, Twitter, and MeWe.) Immediately after I recorded the video, within seconds of turning off the camera, it started to rain.

So of course I raised a toast. "Hail Thor! Thank you for the beautiful rain."

Image: Lokigator fan art I made to illustrate this blog post

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I'm always alert to names that look or sound like my name. I have an unusual name that many people find hard to spell, pronounce, or guess the gender. If I didn't answer to Eric Lao, Erica Lane, or Erwin Laley I'd miss my turn at the dr.'s office sometimes. So my immediate reaction on seeing the name Erinle scroll through my Twitter feed was, "Me?"

Not me, of course. But perhaps someone some of my ancestors may have known. It's been almost a year since I took a DNA test and discovered my African ancestors. I don't plan to actually follow any African religion, since I have plenty with my own religion, but I do want to learn about my ancestors' ways. I can only guess which traditions my ancestors may have followed, but I can take a more specific guess than I could have before the days when a DNA test can tell me the names of the countries my ancestors came from. One of those countries is Nigeria.

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Advice for crafting wishes: When you wish for a suitcase full of money, you must specify that you don't mean a gentlemen's toiletry case that your then-teenage older brother put pretty looking pocket change into in 1978.

Here follows some further advice on how to make a wish, which I have learned the same way I learned the above: by experience. This is general wish advice, so it doesn't matter whether you are making your wishes via folk magic, such as birthday candles or a wishing well or a dandelion or a star, or a formal spell of some kind, or by appealing to a wish granting entity.

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Lindenfest is a festival in Geisenheim, Germany centered on a large, old linden tree. They decorate the tree with lights, do folk dances around it, and celebrate for 3 days. It's also a holiday my kindred will be celebrating this year.

In ancient heathen times, trees of particular note were often associated with gods and were part of their worship, for example: Thor's Oak. Linden trees are associated with the goddess Frigga, and in particular with her handmaiden Lofn, also known as Minne. My kindred is celebrating Lindenfest as a holiday for Frigga and Lofn / Minne. We will be drinking linden tea. As Geisenheim is in the Rhineland, noted for its wine, and a holiday in summer has the character of a harvest festival, many of the festival-goers in Germany drink wine. We might drink some wine too, but tea first.

We're not trying to replicate what they actually do in Germany, since we can't dance around the actual linden tree there. We can bring the spirit of linden to our celebration with linden tea, though. Perhaps we will even manage to do a folk dance, although there is very little overlap between my kindred and the old dance group that was destroyed by the lockdowns, just me and one other person. We don't have a linden tree to dance around, but maybe we could dance around the teapot while the tea is brewing? As the Minne aspect of Lofn is also associated with mermaids, after our tea party we'll also be going for a swim, continuing the mermaid theme for the summer.

We're starting with the idea of Lindenfest and making our own celebration out of it. It's going to end up being quite different from the original version, and that's OK. Most of the holidays we celebrate in the USA are very different from their original versions, and most modern pagan and heathen holidays are celebrated differently from the originals, even the ones for which a lot of careful reconstruction was done. Change is OK. That's how culture operates. Lindenfest in Germany is 3 days, the second weekend in July, but ours will only be 1 day, on July 11th 2021. 

Info on Lindenfest as it is currently celebrated in Germany:

Info on Lindenfest as a pagan holiday:

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    The associations are from another website and are being currently practiced. I am describing modern practices. I made it clear in
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    There is zero evidence that Linden trees were associated with Frigga or with Lofn, there is nothing in the Norse or Germanic lore

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Oops I Accidentally Led a Bardic Circle

I attended virtual Trothmoot even though I'm not a Troth member for two reasons. Firstly because they not only got rid of their Loki ban but were having an official Loki blot (ritual), and secondly because they were making their festival / convention available online. Both of those are things I want to encourage.

Trothmoot was 3 days of rituals, workshops, and virtual fire circle chatting. I had technical difficulties several times, and was pretty overwhelmed by the end, but overall it was a very positive experience.

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No, Disney Isn't Trying to Own the Norse God Loki

verybody calm down about the Redbubble incident. This is all over the net at the speed of clickbait but it is a false alarm. An artist on Redbubble made a comics based cosplay item, tagged it with the name Loki, and Redbubble removed it. Disney did not do or say anything, and as of this writing, has not made any official statements about this incident. The artist YourBoswell took to social media telling people that because the issue was the name Loki that Disney could have gotten heathen sacred art removed, but that is not what happened. The art was based on Marvel comics and it was not even Disney that took it down.

Disney has never gone after other entertainment providers with different versions of Loki such as Neil Gaiman, and if they did they would lose, since Loki and the other beings in heathen mythology are in the public domain. They certainly are not going to go after the state religion of Iceland for having the name Loki on their website, because they know if they did they would lose. They would lose just as hard if they went after an individual Asatruar or other Heathen in the USA for making devotional art or books about the god Loki, and they surely know that. Somewhere out there, I'm sure there is a lawyer salivating at the idea of arguing a 1st Amendment freedom of religion case before the Supreme Court against Disney, but this is not that case.

I know the whole "Disney steals the god Loki" story sounds plausible, because Disney did actually try to claim the phrase Dia de los Muertos before public outcry shut them down, so they have shown they are ready to be cultural appropriators if they think there is profit in it. And if they ever do try to claim ownership of medieval books and their contents and the names of the gods within them, or any other thing that properly belongs to the entire world and should always be freely available to everyone, then we should indeed fight them on that. But that's not what is happening right now.

Image: Idunna giving Loki an apple, public domain art

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome! Redbubble has apparently gone after more than one artist that Disney has no problem with themselves, according to
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the update. Disney doing something stupid is something people have grown to expect. It's nice to know that trying

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