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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Welcoming a Spiritual Object

There are 3 basic ways to welcome a new spiritual object into your life.

1. Make the object

When you make your ritual tools, objects dedicated to various gods, etc., you are giving your new object life. When I was a new young heathen, I learned to give a new thing I'd made its purpose by saying it out loud, which is a practice I still adhere to. I also learned to use a ritual out of one of Thorsson's rune magic books in which the magician puts the object inside a dark container and then brings it forth into light and life, as if giving birth to it. In some sense, a maker of magical things is the "mother" of craft-babies, so that makes some sense. Over the years, when I made something, I would wrap it in black cloth, put a cord around it nine time, speak its purpose, its name, my intentions, etc., and then bring it out to its new life. Recently I rethought this practice. That ritual worked fine when I used it, but now I think making something is more akin to what the Odin-Honir-Lodhur trinity did when they made humanity, than it is to biologically growing a new human inside the womb and giving birth to it. So I no longer use the birth analogy ritual.

When Odin and his brothers sculpted the first human beings from driftwood, they first did the physical scultping, and then gave their new creations gifts. They used their magic, their breath, and their words, to give properties and life to their creations. So now when I make a new thing, when I'm finished I state my intention, its name if it has one, its purpose, and so forth. If I have not put words or a name on it when making it, and it is the sort of thing that I might put a label on such as a bottle of brew, I will put a label on it that contains words and sometimes pictures that reference its purpose. If the object is to be dedicated to a god or other being, I might do a dedication ritual as part of making it, or do a separate dedication ritual later.

2. Receive the object

What I mean by receiving an object is buying an object or getting an object as a gift, whether the object is brand new or has been in existence for some time. Recently I welcomed a new object named Lalaknifr, meaning Lale's Knife. It was made by Mountain Dwarf Forge, and its name was inscribed onto it by the smith. In heathenry, when a human child is named, that is when the child receives a soul. The child metaphor might not always work for all types of objects, but in this case, it seems to apply. Lalaknifr came awake and alive when its name was put on.

When I welcomed my new ritual knife, I welcomed it the day it arrived by telling Lalaknifr that it was home with the Lales now. Then I performed a more elaborate ritual the next day to dedicate it to the Lale family line back to the beginning, including the god Lollus, and to use it to connect with Lollus and with my ancestors. If I had not been dedicating it, I would not have done the second ritual. I did not need to ritually name Lalaknifr because it was already named, and I felt it was already alive. If I received a new object that was not already named and did not already feel alive, I would hold a ritual and speak its purpose aloud, and its name if I was naming it, like I would do for an object I made.

3. Repurpose an object you already have

Many of my ritual tools are things I found around my house. For example, my blotbolli is a wooden bowl that belonged to a relative. I'm not sure of its history, who it belonged to, or when I got it. It was just always there. When I needed a nice bowl for doing blessing rituals, I chose that one because it is wood and has folk art designs on it and I think it is a family heirloom of some kind. I have not given it a name, because it is old and I liked the energy it already had, and I didn't want to erase or alter its history or energies.

Image: Lalaknifr, made by Mountain Dwarf Forge, on silk hand dyed by Erin Lale, photo by Erin Lale

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Erin Lale is the author of Asatru For Beginners and other books. She 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, and is the author of the Heathen Calendar 2017 and 2018.

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