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 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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Swords and Swimming

This post covers 3 topics:

1. the Swords and Swimming ritual, my kindred's summer ritual this year;

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This post recaps the news coverage about the Troth's explusion of Diana Paxson. Then this includes useful links for surivors at the bottom of the post.

TW: CSA

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It's time to revisit the topic of Asatru kindreds in my local area because the last time I posted about it was before the pandemic. I often get emails from people looking for a kindred to join in my local area, the Las Vegas valley. I received another such email recently and here is my reply:

"My kindred, American Celebration Kindred, is almost ready to accept new members but not quite. Our main ritual house had a pest control problem this winter and we're waiting until it's bug free to resume holding rituals and get-togethers. We've been closed to new members since the first Covid lockdowns started but are hoping to resume accepting new members soon. American Celebration Kindred does both Asatru and American holidays. If you're interested, I'll let you know when we're ready to meet new members.

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Time for some personal gnosis here on Gnosis Diary. And also some opinion. And news. 

First up, a gnosis experience I had with an ancestor. After that, I reflect on the marketing of AI/ML chat programs as chats with your beloved dead.

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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.

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Happy the Cat Left the Earth

Happy got to experience rain, sunshine, and moonlight on the weekend he died. I spent all day Sunday with him, carrying him around and petting his beautiful black fur with its thick, light gray undercoat, and white spots on the neck and belly. Coincidentally it was the day Catholics dedicate to their cat saint, so when I lay in bed petting my napping kitty and checked social media there were an unusually large number of cat related posts. I spent a lot of my time speaking softly to Happy. I also internally spoke with Freya. She told me I couldn’t save him, and that she would welcome him to her field and her home.

That evening, he was in my bed and meowed for me to do something. I was not sure what. I carried him to his water; he didn’t want water. I carried him to his food; he didn’t want food. I carried him onto the back porch. He rolled onto his back and gazed up at the moon. The white spot on his belly nearly glowed in the moonlight. I let him sit in the moonlight and checked back on him later, and discovered he had made it back inside the cat door by himself, and camped just inside the flap. When I picked him up I noticed the tip of his tail was wet. He got to trail his tail in the pool one last time, which he loved to do. He had made it all the way out to the pool deck and back, but now he was ready to be carried again. I put him back in my bed and curled up around him. I petted him and we fell asleep. He died in the morning before I woke up.

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Panel on Paganism at American Academy of Religion

This weekend I was a panelist at the American Academy of Religion conference at UNLV on “History of Mystery: Pagans in Las Vegas,” organized by Prof. Candace Kant. The panel included representatives from various pagan traditions. I represented Asatru.

My fellow panelists included BJ Rogers of the ADF (Druid) Larrea Tridentata Grove, Edmond Costello of Sanctuary of Solace (an all-inclusive Goddess community,) Abbi McBride of Vegas Vortex, and Rev. Areeya Marie Sharpe of Desert Moon Circle and Temple of Goddess Spirituality (Sekhmet Temple.) Marissa d’Aradia of Sin City Witches was slated to be on the panel but couldn’t make it. I had met most of the other panelists before, either at Pagan Pride Day events or at Sin City Witches events.

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