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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Haustblot and Other Holidays

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In September 2022, Amanda planned and led Haustblot for our kindred. Amanda is the first gythia I trained. Haustblot is an autumn seasonal and harvest ritual. When my kindred was creating our ritual calendar for 2022, I asked the kindred members if we wanted to do Rainbow Season for fall again this year, and Amanda volunteered to do Haustblot instead. Just before the ritual started, Amanda, I, and some of the ritual participants posed for a Heathen Visibility Project photo.

I'm so proud of Amanda. I'm delighted she worked a pomegranate into the ritual since it came from my tree. I still got in a Rainbow Season toast to Heimdall on behalf of Tom, and also a toast to Tom, during the sumbel portion of the ritual.

American Celebration Kindred has decided to celebrate Disablot and Alfablot this year, the two ancestor holidays, as a combined holiday we're calling Ancestor Day. Disablot is traditionally for the female ancestors and Alfablot is traditionally for the male ancestors. In Asatru and some other heathen traditions, some female ancestors can become guardian and guiding spirits for their descendants, and are called Disir (plural) or a Dis (singular.) Some male ancestors can become Alfar (plural) or Alf (singular) which means elf. The grave mound and the elf mound were not as separate for our heathen ancestors as they have become in our modern culture. There is still a saying that someone who has died has "gone to stay with the elves." These are the traditions, but I felt I didn't want to separate the ancestors by gender when we honor them. I asked my kindred members if they would like to combine the holidays into one Ancestor Day and no one objected so we are doing it that way. Our Ancestor Day is going to be a sumbel, blot, and feast. We are each bringing food that represents our ancestors. We are still planning this but it will be some time in October or November this year.

My housemate and I plan to attend the Samhain Soiree sponsored by Sin City Witches. We will participate in my street's American Halloween as usual. We've already decorated the front yard and I've started laying in my supply of candy to give away.

My kindred usually does a Yule party with gifts and most of us also do other Yule or other winter holidays with other groups in December. We'll be planning our 2023 ritual calendar soon. 

I now have 2 current gythia apprentices, Margaret and Kat. At this year's renfaire I had hoped to introduce Margaret to some other local heathens but we didn't manage to meet up with them. I'll be looking for another opportunity to do that. Our local heathen pubmoots never resumed after the pandemic lockdowns, so now renfaire groups are the only public gatherings where one might find heathens in my local area. My kindred is modern and we don't mix our heathenry with renfaire but that's still where to find other groups of all kinds. It's generally where I find other groups for dance, music, fiber art, etc. as well. This year at renfaire Margaret and I were with The Woolery, a fiber arts demonstration guild, which is not heathen or pagan affiliated. I was invited to perform a witch dance at faire but I knew that would be too much for me physically so I declined, although I would still like to learn the dance.

American Celebration Kindred has not yet resumed accepting new members after closing that off due to the pandemic. We may discuss reopening next year if the pandemic calms down, which so far it seems that it is not doing even though official programs for it have mostly ended already. When we are open to new members again we'll make an announcement.

Image: Haustblot 2022 with American Celebration Kindred, a Heathen Visibility Project image. The Heathen Visibility Project exists to create images to represent Asatru and heathenry and to provide them free for editorial use. This image can be used free for editorial use by journalists writing about Asatru and heathenry.


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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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