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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A Conversation with my Late Companion

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

It's been almost a year since my companion Tom died. I know he's around a lot, protecting me, but I hardly ever hear him speak to me through my godphone anymore. At first we communicated a lot, right after he died. Recently instead of actual conversations our communication has been limited to my setting out flowers and drinks for him on the main house shrine which has a permanent area dedicated to Tom. That counts as a form of communication for a noncorporeal being, including both gods and the dead.

The other day I saw some silly pun online and thought of Tom because he loved puns when he was alive. My thoughts connected with him and I found myself in a mental conversation with him. While he was alive, I could always tell when he was feeling good because he was a pun-o-matic throwing puns as fast as I could catch them. This time, he tried to make a pun and it came out a complete hash that did not even register as words to me.

When I communicate via my godphone, which is what I call my internal channel through which I "hear" messages, which is a repurposed channel originally dedicated to "hearing" poetry and character dialogue when I write poetry and fiction, it does not sound like there is actual sound coming from anywhere, it is more like what it sounds like when I remember someone saying something. So I'm aware that this form of communication is not actually sound anyway, but this time it did not remotely register as sound-like. Instead it gave me a visual impression. It looked like a square patch of lines, the lines going both horizontal and vertical, kind of like the warp and weft of woven fabric except all the lines were jiggling and squirming a little. The closest thing I've ever seen in real life is a photo of an interference pattern of square waves in the ocean.

My conclusion is that Tom was not actually speaking English at all when he tried to make a pun. His communication to me, and the gods' communication to me, sounds like my native language because it's in my mind, but they are not actually speaking English. Tom's native language was also English, but I think he has been adapting to speak whatever language they speak in Asgard, call it Asgardian for lack of a better term. It's not a human language at all. It's older than humankind.

Whatever he said was literally untranslatable. It was not even actual words, and even Tom didn't realize it would not come across to me until he tried to tell it to me. I think the language of Asgard must involve some type of waves but they maybe they aren't sound waves.

So there is my story of how an attempted pun led to deep reflections on the nature of the language of the gods. The main purpose of this blog, the reason I was invited to write an official blog for the magazine's website, is to describe what it feels like to do heathenry. I think this captures one aspect of my daily life as a heathen.

Image: Photo of main house altar with root beer set out for Tom


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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.


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