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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Odin the Artist and the Purpose of Life

Many people spend their lives looking for purpose. Sometimes what they really want is meaning, which is slightly different. Sometimes their inner yearning for purpose is really a calling, which is very different. But purpose? I wanted purpose, when I was younger. I didn't know that I was already fulfilling my purpose. If I went back in time and told my younger self, "You are art"-- she wouldn't understand what I meant. But perhaps I can explain it here.

What do I mean by art?

Art and craft are similar. If one is looking at a stitched geometric design-- that is, a quilt-- one needs to know whether it is hanging in a gallery or covering someone's bed to know whether to call it art or craft. The essential difference between them is not how they are made, or what they are made of, or even who makes them, but whether the object (or performance) has a use or not. Anything with a practical use is craft. Art exists for its own sake alone.

Odin is an artist. Odin as trinity with his brothers sculpted the world and humanity. It is the nature of Odin to create art. Humans are always looking for their divine purpose and the meaning of life, but everyone is already fulfilling their purpose every moment. Art does not have to do anything but be art.

Image: Odin and his brothers create the world, by Lorenz Frohlich, public domain via Wikimedia Commons

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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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