Gnosis Diary: Life as a Heathen

My personal experiences, including religious and spiritual experiences, modern life on a heathen path, community interaction, and general heathenry.

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Erin Lale

Erin Lale

Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners, American Celebration, and other books. She has been a sworn Priestess of Freya since 1989, is a Bride of the Ninefold Odin (Odin, Honir, Lodhur, Loki) and given to Sigyn. She also works with other gods of the Asatru pantheon. She has been a freelance writer for about 30 years, was the editor and publisher of Berserkrgangr Magazine, and is the Acquisitions Editor at Caliburn Press. In 2010 and 2013, she ran for public office. She is currently a forum admin at the American Asatru Association, and was Board Secretary during the formation of its corporation, and is gythia of American Celebration Kindred.
Why Charming of the Plough is Celebrated On More Than One Date

If you actually have a farm and use a real plough, it's traditional to bless the plough right before using it. The date that one would begin using one's plough would be different in different locations. 

Most pagan and heathen groups that celebrate Charming of the Plough on a specific date don't actually use a real plough for anything. Some American Asatru groups celebrate Charming of the Plough on the second day after Twelfth Night, which is January 3rd. Some celebrate it on February 2nd, which is otherwise called Candlemas / Groundhog Day / Imbolc / Imbolg / Brigid's Day. 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, I love the Old Farmers' Almanac. I live in the Mojave Desert bioregion just south of Las Vegas, Nevada. We have different
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Back when I was still gardening I would use the "Old Farmer's Almanac" to determine planting times for vegetables. I think the ear

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Embla

My practice of honoring the First Woman started with a weed. A weed is a plant growing where one doesn't want it. 

In June of 2016, I found a four foot tall plant in my tomato bed. Online friends on the Plant Identification group helped me positively identify it as a Siberian Elm, which is not the same species as the American Elm. Siberian Elm is an invasive non-native species, so it had to go. But, it was an elm. Elm is the tree the threefold Odin made the first woman from. Embla was her name, and was also the word for elm. I was unlikely to have an elm sapling again, so I had to make good use of it. I pulled it up roots and all and whittled it into an Embla doll with my pocket knife.

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Goddesses Brew

My Northern Lights Goddesses Brew debuted at Yule 2016, but it can be used for any occasion when one wishes to honor the heathen goddesses. It's an extract of herbs in grain alcohol. Because it uses fresh lavender, I can only make it when lavender is blooming in my garden. The grain in the grain alcohol honors Sif, goddess of wheat and corn. The herbs honor other goddesses, as listed below. I first extract and then strain the fresh lavender, which takes between one to three weeks, and then extract the other herbs from commercial tea, which takes about a week. 

Grain for Sif 

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Planet of the Magi is published

My space fantasy novel Planet of the Magi is published. It features a female protagonist who uses magic and is influenced in her moral choices by her planet's pacifist pagan minority.

The book includes people who follow two different kinds of pagan religion grown from the same root, one that remained on a planet that one that is practiced on a space ship. I proposed that the culture that remained on a planet is polytheistic, and tied their religion to seasons and agriculture and the gods that govern those things, but the ones who live in space developed into a henotheistic religion that honors a single creator goddess. There are also three different magical systems, one practiced by the ship group, one by the majority culture on the protagonist's planet, and one practiced by an order of warrior monks founded by aliens but now including humans. 

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Lavender Wine for Sigyn

My first batch of lavender wine made my lips go numb after a single sip. I shared it with other heathens and they found it quite strong also. So of course the next time I had a crop of lavender from my garden, I made lavender vodka.  

In the summer and fall of 2016, I drew on Sigyn’s patience almost every day to get me through a particularly difficult time in caring for my mom. Often, when I went outside for some reason, even just to take out the garbage, I would see one of Sigyn’s butterflies, and I would relax. In the evening, in gratitude to her, I raised a toast with tonic water flavored with my lavender vodka.

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Steel for Steel

There is a local Asatru kindred in my area which has a custom about steel weapons that has a parallel among the Theodish. Theodish magical theory holds that it is bad luck to give a gift of living steel. Living steel is a steel weapon that has energy and perhaps personality. Among the Theodish, living steel can only be bought, even if it's bought for a token amount. 

On Yule 2014, Tom and I attended sumbel with a local heathen kindred that is associated with a Renaissance Faire guild. Its leader has made some historical re-enactment weapons intended for combat sports. 

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Given to Sigyn

Given to Sigyn

This is how I was given to Sigyn earlier this year. It was my first time using my lavender extract that I made from the lavender I grew in my garden. At the time, I didn't know that I was about to need my connection to Sigyn to be very strong, because I was about to take on increased responsibilities as a family caregiver. 

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