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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Erin Lale

Erin Lale

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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Novel Gnosis part 9: Freya

In the Fireverse, Freya’s big house Sessrumnir has the same characteristic as Frigga’s house in that both of the houses can generate whatever sort of room is needed at the moment, with whatever sort of décor and furnishings, while still having some permanent areas. Most of the cats live in the field with the warriors, but some of them live in the house.

Even though the name of Freya’s house means “many rooms” and traditionally all the dead that go to a particular god go inside the god’s house or the building set aside for them (such as Valhalla), in the Fireverse, Freya’s legion of warriors camp in the field of Folkvangr, between Freya’s house and the main road of Asgard. Freya’s army is not meant to be used at Ragnarok, but to survive Ragnarok and help build the new world. She doesn’t have her entire army train every day the way Odin’s warriors do, but some of her warriors do choose to battle each other as training. There are also combat sports contests such as jousting tournaments, occasionally. Freya’s warriors can choose to participate in such contests or not. As a nation-building army, not all the members of her army are combat oriented, even though they all died in battle just like Odin’s warriors.

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Novel Gnosis part 8: Fenris

Fenris the wolf is the son of Loki and Angrboda. In the Lore he is prophesied to help destroy the world at Ragnarok, so the gods bind him.

Fireverse Fenris and Jormungandr have beast shapes because Loki is a shape shifter. In the Fireverse, Odin is aware of the prophecy about Fenris, and that is the main reason he gives Fenris to Tyr and Zisa to raise, to try to keep Fenris under control. Zisa already has an affinity for dogs because Fireverse Zisa is the same goddess as Nehallenia. Tyr and Zisa raise Fenris in their home as their foster son. It is a great tragedy when the gods decide Fenris has gotten too big—in the way that Ymir got too big, so that allowing him to keep growing would mean he would eventually eat the whole universe—and they decided to bind Fenris. The main person behind the decision to act when they did was Odin. Fenris regards his binding as a betrayal by his father figure Tyr. Fenris still loves Zisa but he is permanently mad at Tyr. Zisa still feeds Fenris; she catches fish in her nets in her fishing boat (she no longer sails her war boat) and brings them to his island where he is bound and she dumps her nets out on the beach, where he can just reach them.

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Novel Gnosis part 7: Eir

Fireverse Eir is pretty much as described in lore: lives on a mountain, teaches healing to women, and her colors are green and copper.  In my story, no one can overrule Eir when she’s giving doctor’s orders, not even the king. I’m not sure if that’s gnosis or a result of my unconscious cultural expectations about the authority of doctors.

Outside the Fireverse, I get the impression that Eir doesn't want offerings just because. I'm not that close to her, but I got close enough at one point for her to tell me if I kept offering her things when I didn't have an immediate medical need right then that I was going to have to enter her service and become a doctor. I was already a godspouse at that time so I asked outright if that meant I would have to leave my godspouse relationship and she said yes, so I declined her generous offer as politely as I could. From then on, I only offer her things when I need something right at that moment, and I usually toast her with ginger ale. She had indicated to me that the reason she doesn’t want to be invited a lot of times without an immediate need is simply because she is very busy.

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Novel Gnosis part 6: Cosmology

The worlds are many things. They are times, places, states of mind, they are what is beyond the doors into otherworlds from Midgard, they are metaphors, and in the Fireverse they are also other dimensions. Jotunheim is 2D space. The story in which Freya rides Ottar to Jotunheim disguised as her battle pig is rendered in the Fireverse as “She rode him so flat they ended up in Jotunheim.”

Asgard is nine-space. When Loki is telling his versions of heathen mythology to the human character P, he tells the stories as if they happened in a three dimensional place so that the human can understand them, but he also tells her that they aren’t really like that. When Loki and P are sailing the ship through space, P is aware that it is not really a Viking longship despite its appearance, but when she asks Loki about it, he tells her to accept the metaphor as it is given to her.

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Novel Gnosis part 5: Bragi

Bragi is the god of music. He is married to Idunna, whose apples keep the gods from aging.

Fireverse-Bragi is probably pretty different than the Bragi of this universe, because the Fireverse needed a character within Asgard society that would actively oppose the teller of the story, who was Loki, and the opposition character became Bragi. Loki is usually cast as the opposition character in most traditional tellings of the mythology, but of course he would not cast himself in that role.

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Novel Gnosis part 4: Bestla

Odin’s mother Bestla was Jotun, but she and her husband, the Asa god Bor, made their home in Asgard when all the worlds were new.

In my novel gnosis, Bestla died in the First War. Odin’s grief was so great that he decided to make war itself a sacred thing in her honor. He had been building a hall for himself near his parents’ hill dwelling, but after their deaths he moved into the hill and finished his hall as Valhalla, a place for his chosen warriors.

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Novel Gnosis part 3: Asgard

Asgard is not really a three dimensional physical space, but in the Fireverse it has a geography suitable for the human to whom the story is told to understand. The World Tree can be reached from the top of a hill. It’s not growing out of the hill but is next to it and Odin is able to grasp one of the branches in order to hang from the tree. From that hill, one can look sheer down into forever. On one side of that hill there is a cliff with a stone seat carved into the hillside. There is a little foot path to the seat. This is Odin’s seat of seeing. From there, he can look into Jotunheim, or Midgard, or wherever. Just in front of this throne, the path broadens a bit and there is a short wall at the cliff edge, just right for Odin’s ravens to perch on.

On the other side of the hill stands Valhalla. It is just as described in lore, made out of spears and shields and having many doors and the Einherjar within, and a pig of unlimited bacon, and a goat whose milk is mead, and the triple throne where High, Just As High, and Third sit and rule. These are Odin, Honir, and Loki. Honir does not have a physical form unless he is manifesting between Odin and Loki. He sometimes manifests in the middle throne while Odin and Loki are both in their thrones. Odin sits in the sky throne, that is, the throne of air. Loki’s throne is fire and water. Honir’s throne is earth and ice. Just as it says in lore, the Einherjar go out and fight all day and then are resurrected and party all night in Valhalla. So, the Einherjar are not there during the day. In the Fireverse, Odin holds court in Valhalla in the day, with a lunch for any gods who want to drop in; when he’s not there all these processes continue to happen.

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