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.

This is a question posed to me on Facebook. Here's my answer: Excellent question (puts on professor glasses. stretches fingers.) So.

In the Stone Age there were these people called the Battle Axe People. They had double headed axes. Knapped from stone. Tools, not massive weapons, and so not really that big. OK so picture those. Now fast forward to the Viking Age.

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  • Victoria
    Victoria says #
    Also likely a personified thunder god or connection between thunder and the hammer/axe existed during the Battle Axe culture/Boat

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Wishbone folk magic conjures up memories of holiday turkeys. Chickens have wishbones too, though, and the other day I found one. Traditionally, two people break a wishbone together. Each person grabs one of the sides, they make their wishes, and on a signal, they pull at the same time. Whoever ends up with the connector piece gets their wish. So what happens when I'm alone in the house when I find a wishbone?

I thought about drying it for later use. I was not sure if that would work, though, since finding the wishbone while eating was part of the magic. Just like finding a bay leaf in the stew or finding a prize in a king cake, finding is part of what makes it folk magic and not just regular magic.

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  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    This reminded me of a wishbone spell I read in "Hex and Spellwork" by Karl Herr on page 109, but for that you need some red yarn,

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

As I rejoin humanity after a little over a year going slowly feral in my home and generally only speaking to gods and my cat, I find I've developed a habit that I need to break. OK I exaggerated about the aloneness a bit, I did briefly a housemate a couple of times, but still. And I also spoke to the dead a lot. Anyway. The habit is: making grand hand gestures. And I don't mean pouring Grand Marnier.

I only realized how exaggerated my gestures in response to my silent thoughts have become when I accidentally waved my hands around like some kind of Jedi in front of another human, lol. OK not so lol and writing lol is also a bad habit, brought on by excessive social media usage. Now that I can socialize in person again I need to try to get away from that too.

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Is the new Sith symbol supposed to look like the Nazi version of Othala with the feet? Because a fellow geek who isn't even a heathen saw it and alerted me to it, so it's not like I'm just seeing Nazis behind every tree. Even a non-specialist noticed it.

If it is a conscious Nazi reference, why the Sith? I mean obviously the Empire is Nazis, that's why their shock troops are called Stormtroopers. But the Sith had a long history before the Empire existed.

When I say the footed Othala is a Nazi symbol, I mean it was used by the German government during World War II. It's also used today by those who admire the Nazis.

Despite the Sith being villains in the Star Wars universe, many fans identify with the Sith, wear their costumes, use their symbols, etc. The Sith are cool. Some fans even see them as the real heroes, since their nemesis the Jedi were revealed in the prequels as a child-stealing cult that props up a massively corrupt government / corporate alliance in the late Republic, which was verging on fascism and setting the stage for the rise of the Empire. Even the fans who recognize the Sith are supposed to be the bad guys still like them and costume as them. Fans are going to wear this symbol. So what does it do, magically?

It's basically the footed Othala, or what heathens call "the wrong Othala," with a circle around it. A circle around a rune doesn't really change the symbol, as the long history of the Peace Sign shows. The Peace Sign is Elhaz-reversed, or an upside-down war rune, with a circle around it.

The regular Othala rune without the feet is a historical letter O in the related alphabets known as futharks. Its magical and religious symbolism is all about the enclosure, the innangarth or "inner yard," meaning one's home or one's village or city. The symbol resembles the wall around a walled city. People are on the inside and wolves are on the outside. Magically, it represents inheritance, either literally, in the form of real estate, the actual physical house, or metaphorically, in the form of talents with which one is born.

The Nazi version of Othala with the feet is a perversion of the Othala symbol, turning the concept of inheritance into a racial symbol of white Aryan heritage. It's disgusting. It's magically and spiritually unclean. Just thinking about it makes me want to flick negative energy away from me. Which I just did, while writing this. That's without even looking at it.

I suggest those who find themselves around this symbol, say at a convention, reinforce their personal psychic shields. They can also cleanse and do whatever they usually do to get rid of bad energy at the end of the day.

You can view the new Sith symbol and learn more on this link:
https://comicbook.com/starwars/news/star-wars-new-sith-symbol-insignia-rise-skywalker/

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  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    Anthony, in many fandoms, a lot of fans don't like change, and Star Wars is no exception. So, maybe I'll be seeing this symbol on
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Aren't there reactionary elements among the fandom that cling to the old Sith symbol and reject the new one as not being authentic

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Science Fiction and Spiritual Insight

One of the main draws of science fiction is that it can examine ideas outside of their normal cultural context. Hard sf always starts with a "what if" based on science or engineering, which goes something like "What if we had x technology, and how would that change society?" Softer versions of science fiction are basically just set in the future, though.

When we think of spirituality in sf, we usually think of various types of meditation, such as the Litany Against Fear in Dune or the Vulcan mantra against pain in the original Star Trek, or depictions of religious ritual, such as the rituals and customs of different Newcomer religious sects in Alien Nation, the religions of various aliens in Babylon 5, etc. There are religious elements in sf that are obviously drawn from real world religions, such as the obvious Eastern influences on The Force in Star Wars and the depiction of the world as illusion in The Matrix. 

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Asatru FAQ: Organic and Non-GMO Food

There is no religious requirement to eat certain foods in Asatru. However, some Asatruars observe personal taboos. These personal taboos are based on personal gnosis or group gnosis, which are just as valid for determining an individual person's religious path as the teachings of the wider tradition of which they are a part. There are also traditional foods and beverages associated with holidays and sacrifices to specific gods in Asatru and other heathen sects, both in the Lore and in modern practice based on personal and group gnosis.

Some modern devotees of the goddess Sif avoid buying GMO wheat or GMO corn. This is a personal or group taboo observed as an act of devotion to the grain goddess. This practice is not about what the person eats, but about what the person supports with their purchasing power. Those who follow Sif can eat whatever random grain they are given or provided. When they have the opportunity to buy wheat products or corn products with their own money and make their own purchasing decisions, they will buy non-GMO wheat and corn if it is available. If certified non-GMO wheat and corn products are not available, it is also acceptable to purchase the waste products of a bakery, factory, or store, usually termed day-olds, markdowns, bakery leftovers, outlet goods, damaged, expiring, etc. The point is not about healthy eating, it is about refusing to support the damaging agricultural practices of GMO factory farming with one's money. Monsanto may be gone as a separate company, but everything it was still exists within the agricultural economic sector.

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A few days after our Ostara ritual, I finally looked for my stevia-sweetened apple cake to have for breakfast. It was nowhere to be found. I looked in the fridge, multiple times. In the freezer. In the pantry. More puzzling, the pan it was baked it was also missing. Had I eaten it and didn't remember? I looked to see if the pan was put away where my glass pans go. And where they don't go.

I posted about it, messaged people. Looked again. No square glass pan full of my first try at a sugarless version of mom's apple cake, which had turned out quite well. I pouted, and looked again. Checked my messages. My brother suggested making a sacrifice to the faeries.

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