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.
August and September 2019 Heathen Pagan and Asatru Holidays

Moveable feasts during August and September include Oktoberfest, a two-week celebration beginning in late September and ending on the first Sunday in October (Munich, Germany,) and Schafer Sonntag, the 2nd sun in September (Switzerland.)

In Northern Tradition Pagan and some Lokean sects, Loki’s Day is on the heliacal rising of Sirius. It precesses 1 day every 4 years. It moves from August 8th to August 9th in 2019. The Lokean sects that dedicate July for Loki began doing so when the heliacal rising of Sirius took place in July.

August

1
Freyfaxi (American Asatru),
Haustblot (American Asatru),
Loaf-Fest (American Asatru),
Liðasblót (American Asatru),
Elben Segen (German Reconstructionist)

9
Day of Radbod King of the Frisians (American Asatru, American Odinist),
Loki Day (Northern Tradition, Lokean)

15
Month of possible date of Hoietfescht ends (Urglaawe)

21
Hlafmaest (Theod)

23
Schaferlauf begins (Swabian Germany) 

25
Schaferlauf ends (Swabian Germany)

28
Freyfaxi (American Odinist)

September

1
season of possible date of Almabtrieb begins (Germany)

9
Day of Herman the Cheruscan (American Asatru, American Odinist),
Day of Queen Sigrid of Sweden (American Asatru)

22
Winter Finding (American Asatru),
Vetrablot (American Asatru),
Harvest Home (Urglaawe),
Erntfescht (Urglaawe),
Erntedankfest (Germany)

Oktoberfest begins (Munich, Germany) 

28
Zisasege (Urglaawe)

30
season of possible date of Almabtrieb ends (Germany)

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Asatru FAQ: Was Odin Human?

The Asatru FAQ series is my answers to questions asked on my forum, the Asatru Facebook Forum. Frequently Asked Question: Was Odin human?

My answer:

That's a fairly common interpretation, but I personally don't think he was.

The logic of the interpretation of Odin as human who ascended to godhood goes like this: Tyr was the original Sky God and King. Odin appeared in the culture suddenly. Odin's myth includes a shamanic initiation, or possibly two-- the Tree and the Well. He was therefore a great mystic to ascended to godhood.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Indeed, but he didn't have access to the full range of heathen mythology that we have today, and didn't know the story of Odin-and
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Wasn't it that historian Saxo Germanicus who first identified Odin as some ancient king?

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Asatru FAQ: Hospitality

A question that comes up periodically in the heathen community is how to apply the virtue of hospitality in the modern world. Many heathens try too hard to make the square peg of ancient stories about kings fit into the round hole of an average modern city dweller's life.

The modern list of religious virtues called the Nine Noble Virtues that some heathen groups preach dates to the 1970s, but was based on historical literature. This literature was largely stories of interest to the patrons of poets, and those patrons were kings. In attempting to live how these stories say is an honorable way to live, many heathens are unintentionally trying to replicate a lifestyle that only applied to those at the very top of the social hierarchy in historical heathen times.

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Asatru FAQ: Bad Ancestors

FAQ: I want to be a good heathen and honor ancestors but my ancestors were bad people. Who can I honor?

Related FAQ: I'm going to be attending a sumbel in which there will be a round toasted to the ancestors, but I was adopted and don't know my ancestors' names. Who can I honor?

My answer: One can honor Askr and Embla, the first man and woman according to heathen mythology (made by Odin and his brothers.) One could also honor any gods that appear in one's family tree. According to heathen mythology, everyone is descended from Rig, whom most Asatruars consider to be an aspect of Heimdall, thus, anyone could honor Heimdall. There might also be other gods one could include among ancestors, depending on one's family line. I have honored Lollus as an ancestor.

You don't have to honor your literal biological ancestors to be a good heathen. When the sumbel horn is passed in the ancestor round, you can honor the mighty dead whom you admire whether you are lineally related to them or not. You can honor your personal heroes, the elders of your path, a writer who influenced you-- that's my personal hope of ever being remembered, since I have no children. You can honor the founders of your nation, city, profession, or art. Honor your spouse's ancestors. Toast your favorite childhood teacher, the composer of your favorite song, or anyone with whom you have an emotional connection.

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A Present from Hel

I was in my garden digging planting holes. This had been the asparagus bed for years, but it hadn’t produced any spears this spring and my mom wanted to put petunias there. I turned over several asparagus crowns, flat with thick roots. I wanted to replant them, give them a chance to see if they would grow again. I wasn’t thinking about last week’s ritual.

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June and July 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Maienzug (Aarau, Switzerland) takes place every year on the first Friday in July. It's an example of a moveable feast, that is, a holiday that is not on the same date every year. The following is a list of holidays with fixed dates which are celebrated by heathens or heathen-derived cultures.

June
8
Lindisfarne Day (American Asatru, American Odinist)

9
Day of Sigurd (American Asatru, American Odinist)

21
Midsummer (Urglaawe, England),
Hleifblot (American Asatru),
Líða (Theod),
Mittesommer (Germany),
Sommersonnewende (Germany),
Hochsommer Fest (Switzerland),
Midsommar (Norway),
Midsommardagen (Sweden)   

July
7
Lindenfest begins (Geisenheim, Germany)

9
Day of Unn the Deep-Minded (American Asatru), Lindenfest ends (Geisenheim, Germany)

15 Month of possible date of Hoietfescht begins (Urglaawe)

29 Stikkelstad Day (American Asatru)

31 Month of possible date of Honoring of the Weisskeppichi Fraa ends (Urglaawe)

Some moveable feasts require knowing the date of other feasts to derive their dates. Pinkster is on the fiftieth day after Easter, aka Whitsunday (in Deventer, province of Overijssel, Netherlands)
Pinkster Bruid or Pinksterbloem on Whit Tuesday (in Volte, Ootmarsum, Markelo, Rijssen, Hellendoorn, Hengelo, and other communities, province of Overijssel, Netherlands.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome, and thanks! Have a great day!
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Right ... thanks for the explanation. Have a beautiful weekend!
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    It's on the official calendar of some groups. I'd guess it was probably intended as "fight the Christian oppressor." That was a po
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Hmmm ... Is "Lindisfarne Day" an actual thing? Seems a bit of an odd and disturbing event to celebrate ... I wonder what others i

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Heathen Symbol or Hate Symbol?

Resources for the disambiguation of Heathen symbols vs. hate symbols. TW: discussion of racism

This is a resources and links page for how to tell the difference between a religious symbol being used by heathens and a hate symbol being used by neonazis or white supremacists. There are several different symbol guides linked from this page. Using the various symbol guides requires more than looking up a suspect symbol; it also requires taking context into account. For example, once while screening applications I ran across the version of Othala with wolves attached to the lower legs of the symbol. The first time I saw this symbol, I wondered: is it the footed Othala used by Nazis or is it just the regular Othala but with wolves? I used a reverse image search (the Chrome extension) to find the origin of the symbol, and found the page of the artist who designed it. The page had many pagan and heathen artworks, none of which looked like neonazi or white supremacist symbols. The artist's statement on his website was an unobjectionable, pretty standard pagan statement. I concluded the Othala-with-wolves symbol's resemblance to the footed Othala was just a coincidence. The context provided by the artist's other artworks and artist statement helped me interpret that image.

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