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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Message in a Film Roll

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

When I finally cleaned out my mom's desk I found a roll of film. I expected that there might be pictures of her on it and I was thinking of it as a sort of message from the dead before I saw the pictures, and I was right-- but also wrong. There were pictures of my gramma on it. Mom's mom.

I saw the images as digital files dropboxed to me from the film developer on the 9th, which was the 9th anniversary of gramma's death. If that weren't enough, earlier that day I'd also gotten an automated reminder message in my email from a memorial website about gramma. It took me longer than it should have to figure out what she was trying to tell me. It was simple: she wanted to be remembered.

I had a long day that day but when I finally got home I lit a candle for her. I set out a pomegranate cracker in front of it, and refreshed the offering in front of the Embla and Female Ancestors idol as well.

The roll of film appeared to have been taken on a folk dance cruise that mom and gramma went on together. There were lots of pics of folk dancing, but it was professional dance companies with matching costumes, not people I know from the local dance group. There were some pics of mom but they were horrible, badly out of focus, unsmiling, posed like mug shots-- was she trying to make do it yourself passport photos? I felt like there was a metaphor there, like yes this is a message from the dead but it's definitely from gramma who has 2 pics that are both nice and in focus and not from mom whose pictures are all out of focus. There were also some pics of me on the end, carving a pumpkin like Vader in my old apartment, and hiking in the red rock country near Vegas. Based on the fact that I could see my old apartment in some of the pics I conclude that the roll of film was from the 20th century, since I moved into this house around the turn of the millenium.

My grandmother was a Christian. How is she around as a member of the dead, as a member of the group of ancestors who can send messages? Isn't she supposed to be in an afterlife specific to her religion?

Gramma and I were not close when I was a child. That came much later, after she lost her health and moved to Nevada to be in an assisted living place near me and mom. Mom had always told me that she and her moved were not really close when she was a child either, but they were close enough for mom to give me the middle name Pauline, her mom's first name. Gramma always liked that I was named after her and talked about it a lot.

Image: Pauline Hendrickson with white hair napping in front of a window.


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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Sunday, 13 September 2020

    I read in one of the Seth books by Jane Roberts that we lay out our journey through the afterlife in the dreams we have while alive. I read the same thing in "Creative Dreaming" by Patricia Garfield. This is not what I was taught in Sunday school as a child. It could be that your Grandmother is looking for guidance or perhaps like in that movie Coco she just wants someone to remember her.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Saturday, 19 September 2020

    Thanks Anthony, I got the impression she just wants to be remembered. She died 9 years ago so I don't think she's still on her journey unless she wants to be. It's my mom that died this year, that's why this was such a surprise.

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