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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Posted by on in Paths Blogs

My practice of honoring the First Woman started with a weed. A weed is a plant growing where one doesn't want it. 

In June of 2016, I found a four foot tall plant in my tomato bed. Online friends on the Plant Identification group helped me positively identify it as a Siberian Elm, which is not the same species as the American Elm. Siberian Elm is an invasive non-native species, so it had to go. But, it was an elm. Elm is the tree the threefold Odin made the first woman from. Embla was her name, and was also the word for elm. I was unlikely to have an elm sapling again, so I had to make good use of it. I pulled it up roots and all and whittled it into an Embla doll with my pocket knife.

I dressed her as a heathen woman with big brooches. For the brooches, I used pins my late father had made from stones he cut and polished. Her dress is silk that I dyed. 

The finished doll was too big to put in my wall shrine, so I put her on top of my writing desk. I put small offerings in front of her. Often these offerings are things from the rituals practiced in my family that are not necessarily heathen, but mostly American Celebration holidays, such as Halloween candy and Santa shaped candy. 

If I ever find an ash tree in my garden, I'll have to make an Askr doll, too. Askr was the First Man, according to heathen mythology. The word and name Askr mean ash tree. 


 Image: a photo I took of the Embla doll I made

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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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