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 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 gythia of American Celebration Kindred.
Comparison of Heathen and Romani Spiritual Words Part 2: Chaos and Cosmos

Comparison of Heathen and Romani Spiritual Words and Concepts

Part 2: Chaos, Cosmos, and the Nature of Time

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    A decade or so ago I go a video game called Xenosaga. One of the characters was a tall android woman named Kosmos. Another chara
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Hi Anthony, that's cool. I like the "dance partners" image. Cosmos and Chaos are of course words derived from ancient Greek, so t
Comparison of Heathen and Romani Spiritual Words Part 1: the Soul

Comparison of Heathen and Romani Spiritual Words and Concepts

Part 1: the Soul

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Notes in response to criticism I have received off of this blog: 2. It should be obvious that if one is reading a blog subtitled
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Notes in response to criticism I have received off of this blog: 1. Despite stating in both parts of this report about the class

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The Heathen Worldview

What is "the heathen worldview?" That's a topic that comes up on heathen forums regularly. This is my attempt to answer it. 

With so many cultures and time periods to choose from on which to base heathen practice, there are bound to be many differences between various heathen paths. On the old Asatru MSN Group, which I used to manage, I put a welcome message on the landing page that advised newcomers that "there is no Asa-Pope." Today, Asatruars are still quoting it, so it must have resonated with the Asatru community. In other heathen traditions, though, there are central authorities. For example, the various forms of Theod each have a king. Both Asatru and Theod based their leadership structures on historical examples, but from different countries.

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Gods Who Mask As Other Gods

Loki borrows Freya's falcon cloak in the story of the Theft of Idunna's Apples. Loki is a shape shifter. In the Eddaic stories, he appears in various forms, including a fly, a seal, etc. In Continental European folklore, he appears as a red fox. It's very likely that he could have turned into a bird without Freya's divine object. For what purpose did he borrow it? It would make sense in the story to borrow it to have a greater flight time, but that would only be the answer if his shape shifting power was limited, and there does not appear to be any evidence for that. So, I think the answer is that he borrowed it to mask as Freya. So that when he flew over Jotunheim, the giants below would not know it was him. 

Freya must have known that Loki intended to mask as her when she lent him the cloak. Freya also once helped Thor mask as her, in the story in which Thor puts on a wedding gown to retrieve his hammer. 

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Call for Art for 2018 Calendars

The 2018 Heathen Calendar and 2018 Slavic Calendar need 12 artworks each. Caliburn Press is offering royalties.

The 2017 calendars were our first calendars, and we chose to use public domain art for our first year. This time we want to use art by living artists. We would like for the art to be suitable for use as devotional art after it is used for the calendar year. That is, we intend that these calendars not be disposable objects, but rather that the art will be removed and framed or used on altars. That's why we print them on heavy paper stock.

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On Loki and Teacups

Long-time readers of this blog have watched me go through a strange journey. After 25 years as Priestess of Freya, comfortable with my spiritual routines, it was weird to suddenly have Loki crack open my head and funnel all the other gods in, all because I walked out of a movie saying, "I bet I could write something more authentic than that."

It's had it's up and downs, but my life is so much better now. Some of the changes have been big, some small. Sometimes it's the small things that impact everyday life. Once, one of my friends on social media asked rhetorically "Who needs more chaos in their life?"

Well, I did. Or at least, I needed less order. I needed to be less rigid in my personal rules for myself. I had thought there was something wrong with drinking tea from a coffee cup. My mom, with whom I share a house, thought there was something wrong with making a kettle of tea and using a real teacup for a single cup when I could just microwave a coffee mug. Rather than either argue with her or use the "wrong" cup for my tea, sometimes I wanted a cup of tea and didn't make one.  Loki reduced my excessive rule-following. He showed me it was OK to have tea in a coffee cup.

One of the processes Loki led me through was to break each of my unthinking routines, one by one. Each one had to be examined to see if it was really useful or if it was unnecessary. The useful habits were kept, and the unnecessary ones jettisoned, just like going through an old closet and trying on the clothes to see which ones to keep.

I got used to being able to drink my tea from a coffee cup and not feel uncomfortable. And then-- presto! About a year later I found a box of gorgeous antique teacups in the garage. My gramma's, I guess. So now I can drink tea from a teacup again-- a better one. And that's Loki all over.

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The Apport by the Roadside

In February 2017, I was walking along a road with my friend and fellow author Jodie Forrest. What happened next, she described as an apport, a word I had to look up. It means an object produced during a spiritualist séance.

It was a sunny winter day in southern California. Ravens danced above an open field. There were always ravens around wherever Jodie was.

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