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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Where War Dogs Go

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

This morning my heart was breaking for the working dogs left behind at the airport in Kabul. The news about them is confusing because updates from different times all jumble together on social media. Speculation, memes, and even fan fiction crosses my social feed as often as actual news. The fan fiction is about what happens to the dogs after they die. People are imagining it because they don't know for sure and writing gives them comfort. Since I now possess a godphone, after my experience with writing the Fireverse opened me to the gods, I can simply ask the gods. What is my godphone for, if not to ask such questions and get answers?

I asked Odin, "Are there new war dogs in Valhalla?"

Odin told me the dogs are alive. It is premature to picture them crossing the Rainbow Bridge to Asgard because they are not dead. Most dogs do not cross the Rainbow Bridge because most of them go to be reunited with their owners in whatever afterlife their owners are destined for, but dogs that are abandoned, feral, or otherwise have no owners always have a place with Zisa, also called Nehallenia. Odin told me Valhalla is for those who choose to be warriors and want to keep fighting forever, and the dogs do not choose that life. Military working dogs are purchased into war, and death releases them from all bonds, just as it does with human beings (in the days when human societies had legal slavery, humans who were owned in life were free in death.) After death, war dogs are free and can go rest forever.

About my godphone: Here on Gnosis Diary one should expect to read about personal gnosis. When I talk about my godphone I mean the channel within me that is tuned to receive messages from the specific gods with which I have a relationship, which is a subset of the gods of Asatru. I "hear" via my godphone in precisely the same way I "hear" character dialogue from fictional characters when I am writing, because my godphone developed out of writing a novel in which the gods were characters. I've written about that process many times here on this blog and also have a Novel Gnosis book coming out soon, in which I and other writers talk about receiving inspiration while writing fiction. When I "hear" it, it does not actually sound like sound, "hearing" is just the closest word to describe it. Also, the gods are slightly different for everyone, so messages to me might be different than messages to other people.

About the Rainbow Bridge: the Rainbow Bridge has nothing to do with animals. It's the path from Asgard, the world of the gods, to wherever the gods want to go, including Midgard, that is, Earth. Dead people and animals who are going to Asgard after they die can cross to Asgard via the Bridge, if they aren't going another way. These days many people are confused about the Rainbow Bridge because of a poem found on corporate greeting cards that is widely used by veterinary offices, and the imagery has been adopted into popular internet culture. I hate seeing part of our religion co-opted to serve the interests of for-profit business like that, and have ever since I first received the gnosis from Heimdall, Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, that he wants people who are not planning to go to Asgard to stop sending their pets there. Pets of Christians should go to the Christian afterlife to be with their owners. Please remember the Rainbow Bridge is part of the religious beliefs and funeral rites for humans of Asatru and other Heathen religions. "Open the Bridge" was how I announced my companion Tom's death a year ago. He was a Heimdall's man in life so he went to Asgard to be with Heimdall. Zisa is also in Asgard so dogs going to Zisa also go up the Bridge. Cats go up the Bridge to Freya. Horses and pigs go the Freyr. Animals with wings use their wings to fly where they want to go. These are religious beliefs in the Heathen religions, that is, the religions based on the mythology and cultures of the peoples north of the ancient boundary of the Roman Empire. Our afterlife is not the only one, and the afterlives of other religions are different than ours. Most animals who have relationships with humans are reunited with their humans after they die, and sending them on a side trip to Asgard first just confuses everyone and requires sorting.

However, the specific dogs left at the Kabul airport have no owners now, since they were abandoned. They are still alive and are not going to the afterlife yet. When they die these specific dogs will cross the Bridge to Asgard and will be welcomed to their long rest by Zisa.



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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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