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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Hail Hel

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Hail Hel, goddess of the dead.

On Feb. 4th, 2020, in the words of my brother, "My mother won her last struggle to free herself from the limits of her form, emerging from an outworn body as a transcendent and radiant being into the limitless possibilities of the Infinite and the unknown."

Mom was 82. I cared for her at home, and my brother had flown down to help out so he was here when she passed. It was just the two of us in the house when I did this ritual to Hel.

A few days later, I held a wake at the house, which was well attended and suitably noisy. Mom didn't want a formal funeral so she had nothing arranged in advance but the cremation service, which left me to organize the wake and lead the toast. I had lots of practice hosting events and conducting rituals, so I was not breaking new trail to pull this off. There was such an outpouring of love and support from all the attendees at the wake, including family, friends, neighbors, the folk dancers, mom's bridge club, and the local heathen and pagan community. I'm grateful for that, and for all the help I've received, and the cards, and the online condolences from my online friends and her former students.

I'll be posting more about my spiritual experiences and activities related to my mother's death over the next few posts. I'm also planning to tell some stories about her, and some of her stories which I remember her telling, on my youtube channel-- the Heathen Visibility channel, because I can't use the original one anymore and because honoring ancestors is a very heathen thing to do-- mostly because my brother wanted her stories but I can't really write them, they have to be told out loud. Anyway I'm planning to do some videos sometime, but probably not yet. I don't know if any of those stories would be of any interest to anyone besides my family, except maybe the one about the defection of the Hungarian national fencing team in 1956. There's going to be an online memorial page for her as well.

Image: This is a photo I took of my working altar containing a representation of the goddess Hel, which I embroidered, a bottle of Patron tequila, chosen specifically for Hel because of gnosis I've previously mentioned on this blog, a candle in a candle holder, a drinking horn for making toasts, and the seal breaker knife Lalaknifr which I use to break the seals on bottles.

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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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