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 other books. She was sworn to Freya as Priestess in 1989, given to Sigyn, and is a Bride of Odin and his brothers (Honir, Lodhur, Loki.). She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, is gythia of American Celebration Kindred, and admin/ owner of the Asatru Facebook Forum. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is a dyer and fiber artist, was acquisitions editor at a small press for 5 years, and is the author of the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018.

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Asatru FAQ: Patron Gods

Frequently Asked Question: Am I supposed to have a patron god?

My answer:  Some people have relationships with gods, and some don't. Some of those relationships are like a patron, like a father, like a co-worker, like a friend to relax and have a beer with, like all kinds of different sorts of relationships. Person A can have relationship type 1 with x god and type 4 with z god, while Person B can have relationship type 12 with gods a, b, and c, and think x god is too scary to work with and decline to have a relationship with them, and that's all OK. 

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Slavic Pagan Holidays 2018 part 4: Fall

These holiday dates are drawn from various Slavic traditions. Some are reconstructed holidays from reconstructionist pagan traditions. Some are continuously celebrated in their countries of origin. Many of the holidays that have been continuously celebrated down to the modern day are also celebrated by Christians. 

 October

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Eye in the Sky

Zipping down the highway on the way to a heathen friend's empty house, the clouds ahead formed a giant eye that stretched over the entire western sky. The two pointy ends of the eye reached the south and the north, and the eyeball in the center watched over me, the protective eye of Odin who looks after travelers.

My trip on the highway was just across town, so this was not the kind of journey one might associate with Odin the Wanderer, but he was there with me nonetheless. The purpose of my trip was also not what one would typically associate with the goddess Sigyn, but I've come to realize that looking after someone's house while they can't is also a type of caregiving. This was the second time I was called upon to suddenly take over the management of someone's life and property for which I was unprepared, the first time being when I did so for my mom several years ago. This time I had experience and knew more what I was doing, but I had even less authority to work with, and the property was in worse shape, so it had some unique challenges. 

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Asatru FAQ: Who is the Havamal For?

The Havamal or "Sayings of the High One" is a poem within the Poetic Edda. The High One is Odin, and the Sayings of the High One are said to be the words of Odin. A question that came up on the Asatru Facebook Forum I admin is, Who is the Havamal for? My answer:

The Havamal in general is for whoever wants it, but specific passages are specific advice for specific purposes. General advice: don't get too drunk at the assembly. Specific advice: IF you want to take something from an opponent THEN get out of bed and get it done. Some passages in the Havamal are literal if/ then statements, like BASIC computer code. They flow as binary logic: off, on, off. IF you want x, THEN do y. IF the "if" doesn't apply to you THEN you skip it.

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Why I No Longer Celebrate Freyfaxi

Freyfaxi is an American Asatru holiday based on the American Wiccan holiday Lammas. Lammas means loaf mass, that is, a holiday celebrating harvest and the baking of loaves of bread. It is generally celebrated on August 1st.  In the early days of American Asatru, Asatruars borrowed Lammas from Wicca and then tried to find an appropriate heathen name for it. They knew that in ancient times, heathens regarded the horse an an appropriate animal for sacrifice. They found the name of a horse in the lore and named the holiday after the horse. 

I have been reading The Sagas of the Icelanders and just read the one about the horse. The name of that story is the Saga of Hrafnkel Freysgodhi. The story is a tragedy, in that Hrafnkel brought about his own downfall through his tragic flaw of rashness. Hrafnkel swore a rash oath to kill any man who rode his stallion Freyfaxi, whom he had dedicated to Freyr. Someone rode the horse, and Hrafnkel killed the man. Hrafnkel was outlawed for it. He lost his chieftanship / priesthood, his land, and the horse, too. 

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The Quartz Metaphor

Too often, heathens who try to discuss their gnosis on heathen forums are met with derision. I created the Quartz Metaphor of Gnosis to show why I think we should be able to discuss religious experiences in a religious forum. This metaphor shows how personal gnosis becomes group gnosis. It can’t happen if no one compares notes.

Imagine three people are in a forum talking about quartz.

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Asatru FAQ: Which Gods Are the Actual Gods?

A question asked in my group, the Asatru Facebook Forum: Which gods are the actual gods and which ones were just made up over the years?

My answer:

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