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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Heathen Visibility Project Getting Results

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The Project has enough images now so that when a journalist asked what images were available I was able to direct them to the #heathenvisibility hashtag and to Project galleries on Deviantart and Shutterstock. We always need more images, though, especially images that illustrate specific ideas.

The Project works through search engines, keywords, and hashtags, so tracking our success in getting Project images into search engine returns is an important part of the Project, so we can see what to try next. A standard Google search for the hashtag yielded some great results, for example, these links:

There are also some results that were "close but no cigar" such as this link to a restaurant in Iceland:

One cool result was that it found the reference to the hashtag inside my book! see it on this link:

A standard search for the hashtag on DuckDuckGo yielded nothing that was actually hashtagged heathenvisibility. The tags it found were women named heather and even some tags that included the word feather. This is alarming! People use duckduckgo because it doesn't track their search history, so a lot of writers like to use it to keep from being spammed with ads for whatever they were writing about.

Because there was such a difference between the two search engines, I tried to experiment again using the words "heathen visibility" without the hashtag. Again, Google found some great links, including these:

It also found numerous instances of my blog posts here on Gnosis Diary about the Project. Then I tried it on DuckDuckGo. Wow. Huge difference! This time DuckDuckGo found a lot of appropriate links, including both my Deviantart gallery and a number of posts here on my blog about the Project, and even my author website, plus this great link:

One thing that stands out in these searches is that neither engine found a lot of new photos, especially by new creators. In previous years before the pandemic, there used to be new images and new creators every time I searched. It's been a difficult couple of years for photographing religion content because so much of life went virtual. I'm planning to make more images in the coming year, and I hope many more creators will do the same.

A search of the hashtag on Twitter yielded a lot more results from a wide variety of participants, for example:

And of course it found some of my tweets too, for example:

 The Project is gaining momentum but it still needs more images and to have the images be easily available when journalists are searching for images. For example, recently an online news site published a great article on godspousery. It was obvious the photo accompanying the story is a generic stock photo illustrating the idea 'love'. It's an unidentified model making the heart shape with their hands. The Project needs photos that would have made a good illo for this article, illustrating godspouses and devotion to gods. I imagine photos of people interacting with altars, idols, symbols, artworks, and other representations of gods, or people performing ritual actions such as drinking from a horn, dancing, wearing ritual clothes such as Krampus Parade costumes etc., or preparing for rituals such as cooking special foods, decorating with holiday decor, and so on. Or whatever other things participants think of. The images Project participants have created so far are great but we need some that specifically illustrate devotion to gods, in addition to other specific images.

Image: Amanda displays her Valknut tattoo. The Valknut is a religious symbol in Asatru and other Heathen religions. Erin Lale and Amanda Tuttobene attended the Halloween Soiree at Artisan Hotel, Las Vegas, organized by Sin City Witches. Photo by Michael Tuttobene. (This image is part of the Heathen Visibility Project and is free to use for editorial purposes.)

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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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