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 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.

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Asatru FAQ: Bad Ancestors

FAQ: I want to be a good heathen and honor ancestors but my ancestors were bad people. Who can I honor?

Related FAQ: I'm going to be attending a sumbel in which there will be a round toasted to the ancestors, but I was adopted and don't know my ancestors' names. Who can I honor?

My answer: One can honor Askr and Embla, the first man and woman according to heathen mythology (made by Odin and his brothers.) One could also honor any gods that appear in one's family tree. According to heathen mythology, everyone is descended from Rig, whom most Asatruars consider to be an aspect of Heimdall, thus, anyone could honor Heimdall. There might also be other gods one could include among ancestors, depending on one's family line. I have honored Lollus as an ancestor.

You don't have to honor your literal biological ancestors to be a good heathen. When the sumbel horn is passed in the ancestor round, you can honor the mighty dead whom you admire whether you are lineally related to them or not. You can honor your personal heroes, the elders of your path, a writer who influenced you-- that's my personal hope of ever being remembered, since I have no children. You can honor the founders of your nation, city, profession, or art. Honor your spouse's ancestors. Toast your favorite childhood teacher, the composer of your favorite song, or anyone with whom you have an emotional connection.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Present from Hel

I was in my garden digging planting holes. This had been the asparagus bed for years, but it hadn’t produced any spears this spring and my mom wanted to put petunias there. I turned over several asparagus crowns, flat with thick roots. I wanted to replant them, give them a chance to see if they would grow again. I wasn’t thinking about last week’s ritual.

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June and July 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

Maienzug (Aarau, Switzerland) takes place every year on the first Friday in July. It's an example of a moveable feast, that is, a holiday that is not on the same date every year. The following is a list of holidays with fixed dates which are celebrated by heathens or heathen-derived cultures.

June
8
Lindisfarne Day (American Asatru, American Odinist)

9
Day of Sigurd (American Asatru, American Odinist)

21
Midsummer (Urglaawe, England),
Hleifblot (American Asatru),
Líða (Theod),
Mittesommer (Germany),
Sommersonnewende (Germany),
Hochsommer Fest (Switzerland),
Midsommar (Norway),
Midsommardagen (Sweden)   

July
7
Lindenfest begins (Geisenheim, Germany)

9
Day of Unn the Deep-Minded (American Asatru), Lindenfest ends (Geisenheim, Germany)

15 Month of possible date of Hoietfescht begins (Urglaawe)

29 Stikkelstad Day (American Asatru)

31 Month of possible date of Honoring of the Weisskeppichi Fraa ends (Urglaawe)

Some moveable feasts require knowing the date of other feasts to derive their dates. Pinkster is on the fiftieth day after Easter, aka Whitsunday (in Deventer, province of Overijssel, Netherlands)
Pinkster Bruid or Pinksterbloem on Whit Tuesday (in Volte, Ootmarsum, Markelo, Rijssen, Hellendoorn, Hengelo, and other communities, province of Overijssel, Netherlands.)

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    You're welcome, and thanks! Have a great day!
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Right ... thanks for the explanation. Have a beautiful weekend!
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    It's on the official calendar of some groups. I'd guess it was probably intended as "fight the Christian oppressor." That was a po
  • Shawn Sanford Beck
    Shawn Sanford Beck says #
    Hmmm ... Is "Lindisfarne Day" an actual thing? Seems a bit of an odd and disturbing event to celebrate ... I wonder what others i

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Heathen Symbol or Hate Symbol?

Resources for the disambiguation of Heathen symbols vs. hate symbols. TW: discussion of racism

This is a resources and links page for how to tell the difference between a religious symbol being used by heathens and a hate symbol being used by neonazis or white supremacists. There are several different symbol guides linked from this page. Using the various symbol guides requires more than looking up a suspect symbol; it also requires taking context into account. For example, once while screening applications I ran across the version of Othala with wolves attached to the lower legs of the symbol. The first time I saw this symbol, I wondered: is it the footed Othala used by Nazis or is it just the regular Othala but with wolves? I used a reverse image search (the Chrome extension) to find the origin of the symbol, and found the page of the artist who designed it. The page had many pagan and heathen artworks, none of which looked like neonazi or white supremacist symbols. The artist's statement on his website was an unobjectionable, pretty standard pagan statement. I concluded the Othala-with-wolves symbol's resemblance to the footed Othala was just a coincidence. The context provided by the artist's other artworks and artist statement helped me interpret that image.

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Posted by on in Paths Blogs
A Gift from Freya

Pictured here is the most recent addition to my spiritual souvenirs shrine. This is the story of how it appeared in my life and what it means to me.

Cats. To understand this story, one must know that among other things, Freya is a goddess of cats. Also, love and sex, and that is why the heart symbol is one of her symbols. She is also a goddess of war, but that's not relevant to this tale.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale says #
    That's a nice saying, I like it.
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    In "The Three 'Only' Things" Robert Moss says that: "a coincidence is a meaningful convergence of inner and outer experience." Th
April and May 2019 Heathen and Asatru Holidays

April 1: Loki Day. Loki's Day is celebrated on April 1st by American Asatru groups and individuals influenced by the old Ostara festival held by the old Ring of Troth, which was a multi day campout that included April 1st when that date fell on a weekend. Loki Day was a day for pranks and jokes in honor of Loki, and toward the end of the RoT women who were awake in the early morning threw their hair-combings into the fire for Loki. When the Ring of Troth broke into two groups, the American Vinland Association kept the Loki celebrations intact, while over the years the Ring of Troth abandoned them due to the influence of new members who were Nokeans (see my post on Nokeans for a definition and discussion.) The Troth recently re-embraced Loki, so the old custom may or may not come back. Also on April 1st: Narrentag (Germany, Austria, Switzerland) and the season of the possible date of Alp Aufzug begins (Switzerland.)

9 Day of Haakon Sigurdson (American Asatru, American Odinist)

14 Flyttedag, Faredag (Norway)

15 Sechseläuten (Zurich, Switzerland)

21 Sigrblot (Asatru)

22 Yggdrasil Day (American Asatru)

30

Valpurgisnacht (American Asatru),
May Eve (American Asatru, England),
Walpurgisnacht / Wonnenacht (Urglaawe), Wonnezeit begins (Urglaawe),
Walpurgisnacht (Germany, Austria, Switzerland),
Valborgsmässoafton (Sweden)
Valborgsnatten (Norway),
Maitag Vorabend (Switzerland),
Valborgsaften (Jutland, Denmark) 

May

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Asatru FAQ: How Do I Know If a God Spoke to Me or Not?

Frequently Asked Question: Was x a real sign/ was x just a dream or a real communication from a god / was x a fiction story idea or a message from a god?

My answer: What you want to do is to confirm (or not) whether you have received a message. That's a yes or no question, which is the simplest type of question to divine for. If you use runes, decide in advance which ones count as yes or no and pull a rune. Or, you can use bird omens.

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