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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News and Death Rites

Recently a kindred member went to Odin. Jan was exceptionally young to die. It was not his legal last name, but among us he went by Odinsson. I asked Odin if he is with him and he is.

In late March, I went to his wake at his favorite pub. There were several prominent local pagans there. There were also many members of his family and community other than just the pagans and heathens. I made several social media posts over the course of the event, starting with the Irish coffee. I remembered when Jan brought his huge fryer to my house for a post ritual feast and made lumpia from his family recipe. I remembered him standing in my kitchen working at the counter and looking up in wonder and delight when I and the folk dance group went by in the hearth room doing a dance where we clapped and turned in unison, and his wife Stephanie joined us and learned some dances. I mentioned some other good times we’d had, and listened to the others tell about their good times. Near the end of the evening, some local pagans and I attempted a rendition of Finnegan’s Wake with some of the words changed, changing it to Odinsson’s Wake.

Jan was the man in this photo that illustrated my blog post about my kindred’s adaptation of the toasting ritual for pandemic times:


I made another appearance on The Bard’s Archive. I’ll post a link here on my blog and on my social media when the episode is live.


At Happy’s stone laying, Margaret took photos, which I later posted. A friend who was present with his service dog had stayed in the back yard to let the dog romp while the others went inside. He told me he thought the dog was playing with Happy’s spirit. At the time I didn’t think Happy could be there because Happy had already gone to Freya, but a day later something else happened which made me think maybe Happy had the ability to come and go like the gods did and like Tom did, and he had come for the stone laying.

On this day, I was playing with Sweetheart kitty with a green ball I had originally made for Happy. Sweetheart chased the ball up the hallway and then it disappeared. I looked for it and couldn’t find it. I talked with my housemate about it and we both thought maybe Happy took it. I said if he wants the ball he can have it. I was thinking maybe he was around, although I had thought for sure once he reached Freya’s domain he would stay there because it’s a cat paradise.

Was it the next day? Or right after that? I waited too long to write this down and now it’s gone fuzzy, and I can’t remember if it was the same day or the next day. I felt Happy rub against my leg. I spoke directly to him and told him I love him. Later I curled up in my bed and I could sense Happy’s presence, although whatever sense I was using to sense him, it was not any of the ones human beings have names for. We curled up together for a while just like we had the night he died. After a while, I sensed him dissolve, going back to Freya’s realm.


As a result of a conversation with Candace Kant at the AAR conference, who was of course the first person invited, in June I'm planning a Swords and Swimming ritual. We'll use our swords to draw up ancestor blessings and bestow them on ourselves, or on other members of one's family. Then we'll do our beginning of summer mermaid blessing in the pool. Of course I will blog about it here so you can enjoy it along with us!

Image: A photo of Jan Odinsson on the main house altar along with a statue of Odin, a candle, and a bouquet of garden flowers. The photo is a souvenir from his wake and in it he is showing his traditional Phillippino tattoos.

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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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