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: Religion or Folkway?

Frequently Asked Question: Why do some people say Asatru is a religion and some say it's a folkway? What's the difference and who is right?

My answer: There are heathens who practice only the religion, heathens who practice only the folkway, and heathens who practice both. There are also xians and secular communities who practice various of the folkways we heathens claim as heathen, and some pagans who practice them too, for example maypole customs. Whichever way you want to do your heathenry is fine.

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Heathen Visibility Project Does Halloween

I was invited to do a community booth for the Halloween Spooktacular sponsored by Haven Craft, an interfaith nonprofit organization in Las Vegas. It was on short notice, so I had to try to pull it off with just what I already had, and I decided on a Take a Photo with a Viking booth for the Heathen Visibility Project. I already had Viking garb.

I also already had a battle axe, which was not sharp. I asked the event organizer Melissa if heathens attending as Viking garb performers could have traditional weapons, and got the go-ahead on that before loading it into my truck. This axe was traded to me by its maker, Tony Mortimer-Kalama, under the Steel for Steel local custom. I posed for lots of photos holding my axe, but this is the only one taken with my own camera. Most of the other photos in which I'm posing with the axe are pictures in which children in Halloween costumes are getting their pictures taken with a Viking by their parents. Lots of kids wanted a picture, and I am wearing heathen symbols on my garb, so the booth was successful in furthering heathen visibility.

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Asatruars Embrace Wolfenoot

Some Asatruars have embraced the new pop culture holiday Wolfenoot, invented by a child as a holiday to honor canines, including dogs and wolves, and the people who love them. Some Asatruars have also started their own animal related holidays in reaction to Wolfenoot, including Kitten Nacht and Bearenfornia.

The 7 year old boy who invented Wolfenoot wanted a holiday in which the wolf spirit brings gifts to people who have been kind to dogs. It is celebrated by eating roast meats and a cake decorated to look like the full moon. It is celebrated on Nov. 23rd; the child stated that was the date when the Great Wolf died, according to the original post by the boy's mother, Jax Goss.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, certainly someone should tell them what it's all about!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Here in Virginia they make a big to-do about the first thanksgiving being held at Berkley Plantation two years before the pilgrims

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Sumbel at Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day 2018

Last Saturday, Prudence Priest and I conducted an Asatru sumbel ritual at Las Vegas Pagan Pride Day 2018, at the Unitarian Universalist Church. I acted as gythia (priestess, aka gydhja) and Prudence acted as valkyrie (mead woman.) We were in the workshop space, rather than the speaker space, because sumbel is an audience participation ritual where everyone makes a toast. Our ritual was packed, and went very well.

Before beginning the ritual, while waiting for all participants to assemble, I explained the Heathen Visibility Project (see my post with that title) and let participants know where to sit or stand if they wished to be in the photos or to not be in the photos. More photos of this event are available on my Facebook, Twitter, and DeviantArt pages.

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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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