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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Return to Witches' Tower

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I became convinced that Hotel Circle in San Diego was cursed because every time T. N. and I went to visit his old city, some weird glitch happened with each hotel. One had a light that flickered out when the shower was in use, one had a keycard door that wouldn't co-operate and an a/c that wouldn't turn off, one had a plumbing issue that had the hoteliers tearing the wall apart as we quickly changed rooms, one hotel only booked us for one night, locked us out as we came back from the beach (wet and sandy, and cold, because it was winter and raining-- as I told the weather reporter who had to interview some fool tourist out on the beach in the rain, "the ocean is big and wet and salty whether it's rainy or sunny,") and then tried to move us into an incompletely renovated room missing such amenities as towel racks and a bed.

So, I decided that the next time we stayed in Hotel Circle, which is within the view from Witches' Tower, I would go up the Tower and perform an exorcism upon Hotel Circle. I first exorcised a place back in college, which I wrote about in my previous post The Day I Cast Out Satan. The first time I did such a ritual, I did not know any other heathens, all the people I knew in person that I could get magical advice from were Wiccan, and the only book I had about heathen magic was Futhark: Handbook of Rune Magic, so the ritual style was more Wiccan than heathen. In planning to perform such a ritual again, 30 years later, I had to decide if I was going to change anything about the ritual because I know so much more now than I did then. Ultimately I decided to change very little, because the first ritual worked, and that's the test of a magical ritual.

I decided to dispense with casting a circle, for two reasons: 1., I usually don't cast a circle as part of any heathen ritual, and 2. Witches' Tower is already a permanent circle.

When we went up the Tower, I brought the small exorcism kit I had brought with me, which included a mini cauldron, a small tray, a small bottle of methyl alcohol, a small bottle of powdered boric acid, a small bottle of epsom salts, and a book of matches. I also had a water bottle along. When I went to the center of the pentacle and set out my ritual supplies, the land and its wildlife recognized that I was doing something similar to what many other humans had done there before. Although I had not intended to cast a circle, one was cast for me. A wild raven flew out of the trees and circled, once, above the Tower.

Aside from the raven's participation, the one part of this ritual that was different from other exorcisms of places and curse removals I've performed was that I began by paying respects the man in whose honor Witches' Tower was built, Sylvester Pattie, who died there and who is the first American buried in California. If one is going to use someone's memorial for a ritual, it's only fitting to take a moment to thank him. If the Hotel Circle curse involved the dead, I don't think it was Pattie. He seemed pretty quiet.

I have not been back to Hotel Circle since then, so I have no results to report. This story isn't about results, anyway. It's about awesome unusual wildlife behavior. It was really cool to have a wild raven participate in my ritual. Ravens are Odin's birds, and I have a special relationship with Odin, so I was thrilled to have that tangible sign of connection with both Odin and with the local land there.

I titled this post Return to Witches' Tower because I already posted about my first visit to Witches Tower on a previous blog post. I knew that many people have done rituals on the Tower, so it was great to be able to do a ritual at a local power spot while visiting the city.

Image: me standing in the middle of the pentacle on top of Witches' Tower, with my exorcism kit sitting in front of me.


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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.


  • Jodie Forrest
    Jodie Forrest Saturday, 04 March 2017

    Erin, I think Hotel Circle is horrible; I've always had trouble getting on and off it and avoid it whenever possible. Mark will affirm I call it Haunted Hotel Circle or Evil Hotel Circle. Thank you for your ritual! Haven't been there since before your ritual, but I'll check out the vibe next time we're there. J.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Saturday, 04 March 2017

    Thanks and you're welcome! On the trip last month just before we visited you we stayed on Hotel Circle and had a few minor glitches but I don't think it was as bad as any of the other times.

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