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.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

An Inspiration on the Way to a Funeral

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Several people important to heathens and pagans have died recently. Singer Andrea Meyer of Hagalaz Runedance was shot with a bow and arrow in Norway. I did not know her personally, so I don't know if she is now in the arms of Hel, or has been taken into Valhalla or Folkvang due to dying by weapon, but I think perhaps she went where poets go, which is wherever they want.

I placed a copy of a Hagalaz Runedance album on my main house altar yesterday, along with other mementos of the recent dead. It joined a fabric memento I had just placed there, which participants in the memorial for Phyllis Stewart of Ravenhold wore at her memorial service, which you can see in the photo that illustrates this post. I was on my way to that funeral when I had an inspiration experience.

The funeral was being held at my local Renfaire, after hours, at the camp of Phyllis's guild. I was on my way to the funeral so I was in my full gythia robes. The Eye of Odin ring was on my hand. Someone from the camp past which I was walking called out to me that I looked tired, and invited me to sit down with them. They gave me a seat by the fire. Check. They asked if I wanted water. Check. She asked if I had a tankard to put it in, but what I had was my horn. My ritual horn. My new friend poured, I made a small toast, we chatted, she played the drum, I sang in Russian and told some stories and jokes. As I tell stories I've practiced before, the odd pauses and hesitations I've been experiencing when I speak this summer (since the maybe-stroke when I was sick post-vax, long story) vanish.

They stay gone even when I tell a spontaneous joke. (We had been talking about what to feed the ducks at the park, which I knew about because my young friend D.P. had pet ducks and talked about it a lot. I mentioned he had had a duck named Mr. Quackems. She said if she had a pet duck she might name him something random and normal like Steve. I said if she named him Bill he could be called Duck Bill.)

This whole time the energy and presence is building, building, building. Big Odin energy. His presence engulfs my whole body. I start talking about heathen lore and magic. And dragons, since this is the camp of Laughing Dragon Companya. I never got my new friend's name, only the name of her camp.

My new friend asks if I want some more water, I accept gratefully, I go to make another small "thanks, cheers" type toast and whooosh I am literally seized with inspiration. My strained cracked voice rings out loudly and Odin's voice rolls out of my mouth. "Hail to you and to your camp, and thanks for your hospitality to a weary traveler." This is a full on Odin experience. I have become Odin. I embodied and channeled him and was left with mental after images of the gray bearded cloaked wanderer. The term for this in the Bersarkr tradition is skinriding. The god was skinriding in a human vessel.

My new friend blinks in startlement. She knows something has happened. But after that we just go back to our conversation. Soon after that it was time for me to walk on.

I went on to Ravenhold to the memorial service, which was lovely. Many people I knew were there (and even a dog I knew.) At the point during the service when a horn of strawberry mead was being passed around I poured from it into my own horn and drank from my own horn, instead of drinking directly from the same horn as everyone else, hoping that might help with not spreading germs. The mead was delicious. We wrote messages on sky lanterns that would be lit later at a less combustible place for safety's sake. (The faire had lots of trees and grass around, in addition to tents and such.) We wore mementos on fabric pinned to our clothes. 

When I got home from faire I put the memento on the main house altar. In the photo that illustrates this post, you can also see a flight feather from Mr. Quackems. Something had gotten him, and when D.P. visited recently he brought me the feather, which I put on the main house altar. I had originally started what is now the main house altar as a Tom shrine but it also had Heimdall things because that was Tom's patron, and then it accumulated other things over the course of the year, and soon my friends knew I had many mementos of the dead there and started bringing me things to put on it. So Phyllis's memento went on the altar and then a Hagalaz Runedance album went on it. I can only hope that I won't need to add any more mementos mori too soon.



Last modified on
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.


Additional information