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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Composing a Song for Magic

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

A song or poetry for a spell doesn't have to be great poetry or a great tune. The photo here is of a little song spell I made up one day. It goes "Wind, wind, wind, blow away my troubles. Make life smooth, without any nubbles." It's not objectively a great poem, and probably only fiber artists like me even have a sensory reference for what a nubble is. (It's the individual thing that, in a group, makes a fabric nubbly.) I wouldn't send it to a poetry anthology for publication, because it's just not very good as art. But it's as functional as any of the good poems I've written. I wrote it down mainly because I enjoy writing in my personal calligraphy font and at the time I had an art project to fill a blank book with such writing.

The song was something I created improvisationally. The strong desert wind suggested the idea, since it does tend to actually blow things away, including things it previously blew in, such as clouds and leaves. If I was composing poetry for people to read as art, I would have taken the time to find a better rhyme, and make it longer. If I was composing for ritual, I might keep it short if I was going to teach it to other people as a chant, but I'd certainly find a better rhyme if I could. If I couldn't find a better rhyme for troubles I'd change troubles for some other word. Not because that would make better magic but because it would make a nicer experience for the participants and observers. But as a song for magic, just for my personal use, it's fine the way it is.

If I was trying to make a poem in the heathen style, I wouldn't use rhyme at all. I'll write about heathen style poetics in an upcoming post.

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners. An updated, longer version of her book, Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path, is coming in 2020 from Red Wheel / Weiser. Erin 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, created the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018, and founded the Heathen Visibility Project.

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