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.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I'm always alert to names that look or sound like my name. I have an unusual name that many people find hard to spell, pronounce, or guess the gender. If I didn't answer to Eric Lao, Erica Lane, or Erwin Laley I'd miss my turn at the dr.'s office sometimes. So my immediate reaction on seeing the name Erinle scroll through my Twitter feed was, "Me?"

Not me, of course. But perhaps someone some of my ancestors may have known. It's been almost a year since I took a DNA test and discovered my African ancestors. I don't plan to actually follow any African religion, since I have plenty with my own religion, but I do want to learn about my ancestors' ways. I can only guess which traditions my ancestors may have followed, but I can take a more specific guess than I could have before the days when a DNA test can tell me the names of the countries my ancestors came from. One of those countries is Nigeria.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Advice for crafting wishes: When you wish for a suitcase full of money, you must specify that you don't mean a gentlemen's toiletry case that your then-teenage older brother put pretty looking pocket change into in 1978.

Here follows some further advice on how to make a wish, which I have learned the same way I learned the above: by experience. This is general wish advice, so it doesn't matter whether you are making your wishes via folk magic, such as birthday candles or a wishing well or a dandelion or a star, or a formal spell of some kind, or by appealing to a wish granting entity.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Lindenfest is a festival in Geisenheim, Germany centered on a large, old linden tree. They decorate the tree with lights, do folk dances around it, and celebrate for 3 days. It's also a holiday my kindred will be celebrating this year.

In ancient heathen times, trees of particular note were often associated with gods and were part of their worship, for example: Thor's Oak. Linden trees are associated with the goddess Frigga, and in particular with her handmaiden Lofn, also known as Minne. My kindred is celebrating Lindenfest as a holiday for Frigga and Lofn / Minne. We will be drinking linden tea. As Geisenheim is in the Rhineland, noted for its wine, and a holiday in summer has the character of a harvest festival, many of the festival-goers in Germany drink wine. We might drink some wine too, but tea first.

We're not trying to replicate what they actually do in Germany, since we can't dance around the actual linden tree there. We can bring the spirit of linden to our celebration with linden tea, though. Perhaps we will even manage to do a folk dance, although there is very little overlap between my kindred and the old dance group that was destroyed by the lockdowns, just me and one other person. We don't have a linden tree to dance around, but maybe we could dance around the teapot while the tea is brewing? As the Minne aspect of Lofn is also associated with mermaids, after our tea party we'll also be going for a swim, continuing the mermaid theme for the summer.

We're starting with the idea of Lindenfest and making our own celebration out of it. It's going to end up being quite different from the original version, and that's OK. Most of the holidays we celebrate in the USA are very different from their original versions, and most modern pagan and heathen holidays are celebrated differently from the originals, even the ones for which a lot of careful reconstruction was done. Change is OK. That's how culture operates. Lindenfest in Germany is 3 days, the second weekend in July, but ours will only be 1 day, on July 11th 2021. 

Info on Lindenfest as it is currently celebrated in Germany:
https://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Lindenfest

Info on Lindenfest as a pagan holiday:
https://journeyingtothegoddess.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/goddess-minne/

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    The associations are from another website and are being currently practiced. I am describing modern practices. I made it clear in
  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    There is zero evidence that Linden trees were associated with Frigga or with Lofn, there is nothing in the Norse or Germanic lore

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Oops I Accidentally Led a Bardic Circle

I attended virtual Trothmoot even though I'm not a Troth member for two reasons. Firstly because they not only got rid of their Loki ban but were having an official Loki blot (ritual), and secondly because they were making their festival / convention available online. Both of those are things I want to encourage.

Trothmoot was 3 days of rituals, workshops, and virtual fire circle chatting. I had technical difficulties several times, and was pretty overwhelmed by the end, but overall it was a very positive experience.

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No, Disney Isn't Trying to Own the Norse God Loki

verybody calm down about the Redbubble incident. This is all over the net at the speed of clickbait but it is a false alarm. An artist on Redbubble made a comics based cosplay item, tagged it with the name Loki, and Redbubble removed it. Disney did not do or say anything, and as of this writing, has not made any official statements about this incident. The artist YourBoswell took to social media telling people that because the issue was the name Loki that Disney could have gotten heathen sacred art removed, but that is not what happened. The art was based on Marvel comics and it was not even Disney that took it down.

Disney has never gone after other entertainment providers with different versions of Loki such as Neil Gaiman, and if they did they would lose, since Loki and the other beings in heathen mythology are in the public domain. They certainly are not going to go after the state religion of Iceland for having the name Loki on their website, because they know if they did they would lose. They would lose just as hard if they went after an individual Asatruar or other Heathen in the USA for making devotional art or books about the god Loki, and they surely know that. Somewhere out there, I'm sure there is a lawyer salivating at the idea of arguing a 1st Amendment freedom of religion case before the Supreme Court against Disney, but this is not that case.

I know the whole "Disney steals the god Loki" story sounds plausible, because Disney did actually try to claim the phrase Dia de los Muertos before public outcry shut them down, so they have shown they are ready to be cultural appropriators if they think there is profit in it. And if they ever do try to claim ownership of medieval books and their contents and the names of the gods within them, or any other thing that properly belongs to the entire world and should always be freely available to everyone, then we should indeed fight them on that. But that's not what is happening right now.

Image: Idunna giving Loki an apple, public domain art

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome! Redbubble has apparently gone after more than one artist that Disney has no problem with themselves, according to
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Thank you for the update. Disney doing something stupid is something people have grown to expect. It's nice to know that trying

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Midsummer Mermaid

For our Midsummer ritual, gythia Amanda, first of my lineage, surprised me by planning her first blot and bringing her mermaid tail, and so we did mermaid blessings in my swimming pool in the name of the Nine Mothers. We had been talking about doing a mermaid ritual for a couple of years but hadn't made specific plans to do one for Midsummer, so it was a delightful surprise for me. She and her husband also brought a Swedish Midsummer Cake and it was delicious.

The Nine Mothers of Heimdall are the waves of the sea, the daughters of Aegir. In my kindred we honor them as mermaids. My late companion Tom was a devotee of Heimdall. Amanda was already performing as a mermaid at Renfaire and Pirate Fest and so on before she joined our little kindred. So a mermaid blessing ritual was right in line with the powers our kindred honors.

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I'm a virtual panelist on the Polytheist Authors panel talking about representation of pagan and heathen gods and cultures in science fiction at the convention Imaginarium 2021 in July. It's a hybrid con with both virtual and physical attendance.
 
I was invited to be a panelist by a publisher who knows me for my book reviews in addition to my fiction and poetry. I'll be talking about science fiction novels, movies, and short stories by other authors, and hopefully I'll also talk about my sf universe, Time Yarns, a bit too.
 
Due to the debut of the new Loki series, social media is full of talk about the Marvel versions of Loki and other heathen gods. We'll undoubtedly talk about that on the panel, too, although I haven't seen the new series yet, since it's on a subscription channel. One new tech expense at a time! I will be debuting my new ability to make video calls at this virtual panel.
 
Here's the link to the convention: https://www.entertheimaginarium.com/
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