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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Reflecting on Saving the Earth

We've come a long way. There's more to do, but let's take a moment and look back at how well we've already done. We should be encouraged, because things we thought would be hard or impossible turned out to be doable and we did them. That means we can do other things. I'm not even talking about magic but of course if you want to do magic to save the Earth, of course do that too! It's almost like we're all superheroes, yes? Saving the world and all. Here's how I started thinking about this recently. 

Recently there has been quite a bit of rain at my house. We had an unusually wet winter and spring this year and it looks like we might have a wet summer too, which is very welcome here in the desert. Several different times in the same week, rain fell from what looked like a sunny sky, or from a cloud that looked wispy and not like a raincloud. I photographed the rain edge phenomenon and posted it on my social media. As usual, every time it rained, I lifted a toast to Thor, mostly with coffee. One time when it was raining, after I made my toast, I asked Thor if there was anything I should be doing. He said he wanted me to convey his message to humanity again, and I said I would relay his message again, and so, here it is once more: save the Earth, his mother, and especially avoid the GMO wheat and corn, for the sake of his wife Sif. 

When I was first given this message, while I was writing Some Say Fire, I did not know that in just a few years it would be relatively easy to find non-GMO products labeled with one of a few different seals. A whole lot of other people worked for the same goal, with the March Against Monsanto and in other ways. We won, sort of; the world still has those horrible GMO products that promote poisonous pesticide use, but we have labels for GMO and non-GMO foods, and the company Monsanto itself was purchased by another company. I have not heard of the most egregious of its corporate policies being continued under the new owner, and no news is good news they say so hopefully they aren't doing the worst things anymore. Of course that doesn't mean everything is fine. But we have done so much.

When Thor and Sif first asked me to find an alternative to GMO grains, I told them it would take a revolution to get that for them. I thought it would be impossible to accomplish within the structure of modern society. I was wrong. I did my part, but a lot of other people also did their part, and together we accomplished it. It didn't take a revolution at all. What looked like an unassailable fortress fell over when we pushed it a little. 

A few years ago, a lot of members of pagan, heathen, witch, and polytheist groups came together to write the Pagan Community Statement on the Environment. The experience of representing Asatru and Heathenry on one of the working committees was sometimes frustrating. For example, when I would bring up something really specific like river and aquifer water allocations and rights in the American West and then when it came out the other side of the process it would say climate change. Specific types of pollution became climate change, patterns of resource use between different places became climate change, everything specific that an individual could take action on ended up being referenced as climate change, a thing too big for any one person to do anything about and which lent itself to solutions that gave power to corporations and governments rather than people. Nonetheless working on the Statement was worth doing, and the finished document was worth signing. There was press coverage of it when it was new, and a lot of references to it the first year. That helped get the word out. Now it's part of the history of modern paganism. 

We've done a lot, together, and individually. Some things we thought we were working on individually, we turned out to be working on in concert with many others. The campaign Thor and Sif directed me to do, that I thought at first I was working on by myself, I turned out to be working in concert with many others, and together we achieved a major goal. It's pretty amazing how much we've accomplished, since it all looked like such a collection of insurmountable structural problems in society. We've shown ourselves we can do things. We have done things, therefore we can do more things. 

Go forth and save the Earth. 

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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, 02 July 2023

    Over on Reddit I read a post by a young man who's family was going to bring in a priest and cleanse his alter to Thor. He was not happy about it. I pointed out that Shango cosplays as Saint Barbara and Perun cosplays as Saint Elijah, but that I didn't know who Thor might be cosplaying as.

    Then on impulse I googled patron saint of goats because of Thor's goats Tooth Grinder and Tooth Nasher. I got Saint Drogo of Sebourg patron saint of shepherds and coffee. Your mention that you often toast Thor with a cup of coffee reminded me of that.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Sunday, 02 July 2023

    oh goats and coffee! awesome! that does sound like him!
    "cleanse" can mean a few different things. depending on what is actually done, it might not do any harm. Still, I hope the young man can put his foot down about having his stuff respected if not his religion, or failing that, is able to speak with the priest, find out what he intends to do, and let him know that getting rid of bad energy and blessing could be welcome but bricking his devices is not.

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