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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Taking Over an Asatru Internet Forum part 2

When I first became a forum admin on the American Asatru group several years ago, I was invited to do so because the group creator liked my book Asatru For Beginners.  I said yes because I had just had a bad online experience in a different group and wanted to help create a space that would be better. I wanted to create a troll free space where heathens could talk about their heathen religious stuff free of mockery by trolls and safe from online harassment and stalking and other internet ills. I wanted to create a group which would be a supportive religious community where people could find friendship and advice about life in addition to religion. I envisioned a space where there would be fun things to do, and which would be especially supportive toward creators such as authors, artists, and musicians. The group became that.

Before I joined the management team, the American Asatru Association group was already a space that screened membership applications to keep out neonazis and white power gang members and other such undesirables, in addition to keeping out trolls. It was also already a group that welcomed heathens of any sect, not just Asatru, and from anywhere in the world, not just the Americas. It welcomed universalist, tribalist, and folkish Asatruars, and was a Loki-friendly group. Those policies stayed the same while I was adminning under the original group owner, and I plan to keep them in place. 

Last year I took some time off from group management to deal with family responsibilities, but just before leaving for Southwest Frith Moot last month I became the lead admin and group owner of American Asatru.  After I returned from the Moot, I trained the new Trollslayers in how to screen membership applications. I started some threads for creators to post their books, blogs, art, and music and links.

I wanted to start up some fun, too. We used to play Hangman on the old MSN Asatru Group, and I had hosted a few games on the American Asatru (Association, back then) group on Facebook, and I wanted to bring that back. I recruited a host for a game of Hangman in honor of Odin, which she hosted on Wednesday, and which she will host again another time. 

I plan to encourage more participation by the members in discussions, more sharing of news, and so forth. As I have been doing for the past few years, I plan to share links to heathen related academic papers I find interesting, and answer questions about Asatru from group members. The group isn't only for discussion and education, though. We're building a community together. 

Image: Valknut by By Nyo and Liftarn 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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 16 July 2017

    Congratulations on your new position, I hope you have fun with it. One of the books I have on my computer desk is "Norse Magic" by D.J. Conway. I am wondering if any of the heathens over at American Asatru began with this book, and if so how has their practice changed over time? Also; if they remember, what prompted the change: dreams, something they read, a really cool idea that popped into their heads while walking around the neighborhood?

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Monday, 17 July 2017

    Hi Anthony, there might well be some members who started with that book. The recently completed Heathen Demographic Survey, available on the link below, included the question "path to heathenry?" According to the pie chart, Heathen books (which would include my book Asatru For Beginners) scored 7%, pagan books (which would include all of Conway's books) scored 6%, fiction scored 2%, and the internet (which could include this blog as well as the American Asatru group) scored 19%. The Survey also included the question, "Main influences, authors, and thinkers?" and the results were reported in the form of a word cloud. If you look at the word cloud, you can clearly see my name on the far right.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Monday, 17 July 2017

    Also Anthony, if you're interested in posing a discussion topic to the group, you're welcome to join and ask the members. How one's practice changed over time would be a great topic.

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 17 July 2017

    Thank you for the link. I think I became fascinated with Norse Myths from reading D'Aulairs' Book of Norse myths as a child and things just kind of grew from there. Seeing Diana L. Paxson's name in the word cloud reminds me that I should reread her Westros stories.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Monday, 17 July 2017

    You're welcome!

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