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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Ordinary Life of the Heathen

My daily life as a gythia includes both surprise duties and surprise rewards, as well as the more usual planned variety of each. Within the past few weeks I've found myself staying up late to help someone get rid of or get closer to entities she brought with her. I've helped a lost spirit that had attached himself to a living person to finally cross, for which he was thankful. I've sent a being that didn't belong in this world where he belonged. I've confirmed that a god was with someone, via my own connection with Odin and Loki, although they would say no more about it, firstly because if they interfered then the person would not have a chance to form the kind of connection the other god desired, and secondly because my gods did not want to encourage me to form any accidental connections with a pantheon outside the Asatru one. I'm glad to help, and helping people like this is one of the reasons I have these abilities. But sometimes the surprise is a present just for me.

The local landwight has been eating well this month, as my household generated an unusual amount of vegetable matter to compost. And there has been a lot of rain, a blessing from Thor. One day I was looking at my lovely mimosa tree and I remembered that out of the two decades I've lived here, the tree dropped live seeds that sprouted only once. They had been growing in inappropriate places-- the lawn, namely, and I had tried to transplant them, but they didn't survive. I suppose I made a silent wish in that moment-- I wished to grow a seedling of my mimosa tree. A few days later, when I went out to check on the area near the garden gnome statue, which is my icon of the landwight, I saw it: a tiny, tiny seedling, with tiny little mimosa leaves. Right behind the statue.

I was delighted! But the seedling was growing only an inch or so from the cement block wall that separates my land from my neighbor's land. If it grew into a full size tree in that location it would break the wall. And also the statue was not inside a planting bed, it was in the lawn backed up to the wall, and the lawn mower would probably cut the seedling if I left it there. I had to transplant it.

Most of the planting beds were full. The tree couldn't be planted in the withering sun and wind of the front area, not in the middle of summer. There was only one good place to put it, and it was in the planting bed that was formerly dedicated to Sif as a wheat bed. I had been told it was no longer for her, and in my last planting season, the December 2020 season that would have culminating in a June 2021 harvest for the 2021 batch of Goddesses Brew, there was been a total crop failure. 2020 had been too dry, no wheat had sprouted, and monsoon came in summer, so it was too late for it then. Now I understand why. I needed a place for my new tree. I planted it there.

On the days when it didn't rain, I carefully watered it every day with collected rain water and the drip from the AC's condenser-- a source of water most people ignore, I suppose, but which I always collect in a bucket placed under the outside spout where it empties onto the pool deck. That's distilled water and is pure and neutral, unlike the highly alkaline water from the city water system.

One day I came out to water the seedling and-- there were two little tiny trees with little tiny mimosa leaves. No, three. Another was unfolding from the ground. They were growing really close to each other. If they all survived they'd grow into each other. But maybe that was OK. I had already transplanted the biggest seedling once and didn't want to disturb it again by messing about near its roots. Too close to the block wall, or to the house, or in the lawn, or outside the protection of the back garden walls, or too close to the pool, would all have been bad places for a tree. Too close to another tree of its own kind? Maybe that was OK. Maybe someday they'll grow into an interesting triple tree with a twisting triple trunk. That would be really cool.

Thank you, Gnome.

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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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