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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Heimdall's Guardians

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I had a conversation via the godphone in my head with my companion Tom the day after his military funeral. In life, he followed Heimdall, and in death he joined Heimdall's company. Heimdall is the Guardian of the Rainbow Bridge, and those who join him in the afterlife are likewise Guardians, but they guard living people here on the earthly plane of existence. Just to be clear, this blog is Gnosis Diary and you are reading gnosis right now, though bits of lore might also appear in this story.

I've had multiple conversations with Tom since his death and I already knew he had become my spiritual protector in his afterlife. I have made a habit of starting my day by sitting next to his shrine, lighting a candle, sharing a beverage with him and spending some quiet moments together, whether we speak or not. Often the cat joins us. Our little family of three, all together.

His military funeral was a simple urn placement outdoors. I had chosen not to have an indoor chaplain service in the chapel, for two reasons: one, for safety's sake, especially since some people were driving in from out of state, and because Tom died of Covid I wanted to take the pandemic seriously; and two, because we had already held a religious service for Tom and I did not really want a generic non-denominational (read basically Christian) chaplain service from a random military chaplain who may never have heard of Asatru. The military funeral just had military ceremonies, a flag ceremony and a bagpiper. There was no religious aspect to this funeral, as our kindred had already done our sumbel for him (see prior post Zoom Funerals Not Recommended.) It was a fine day for an outdoor service, and it went well once we were all assembled, although since I was stage-managing the whole affair-- nodding to the piper to begin, calling for the flag ceremony to start, asking others if they wanted to say a few words, and so forth, in addition to carrying and placing the urn myself-- I was mentally functioning at full capacity just getting that done and didn't have anything left for making a speech, so I didn't end up saying much.

The next morning I sat down by his shrine with my morning coffee, having already done my usual morning coffee toast to Odin and his brothers and to Thor. This time of course his urn was not there, but everything else was there: the large portrait that had been part of the package from the mortuary company, various small photos of him and of us, the candle, sympathy cards, his badge and military nameplate and his beret-- black, not green, and I don't know what it means that he had a black beret with a Ranger patch, well worn, which I found among his things in a box after he died-- an embroidered coaster on which to put drinks, the Heimdall themed ward seal I had made for him, and of course one new thing, the folded flag. As I had hoped, I found that the morning after the military funeral I had achieved some measure of peace, and was not anxious to talk with him about our past, my present, or the future we didn't have, but instead I asked him if there was anything about Heimdall's Guardians that the world should know.

Here was what I knew already. They have various duties, but guarding and protecting people seems to be their main thing. They receive assignments, but they can also choose their own assignment. Tom chose to become my protector. There seem to be few of them, a small elite force rather than the vast army Odin keeps in Valhalla. I have a vague glimpse of them in my mind, and I only see men, unlike Odin's army in Valhalla or Freya's army in Folkvangr. 

I didn't ask what sorts of assignments the Guardians had besides the assignment Tom had chosen; it didn't feel general enough to ask, I mean, knowing that might have intruded on things the world didn't need to know. My questions were pretty superficial, but since I was asking for knowledge appropriate to share with the whole world rather than adept-only secrets, I figured that superficial was the place to start. So, these were my three main questions. Due to the depiction of Heimdall in the Marvel movies, I just had to ask Tom is any of his fellow Guardians were black, and he said yes. I also asked if there were a lot of animals around, since one of my Fireverse visions had been that the Rainbow Bridge was full of animals mistakenly sent there by people guided to do so by corporate greeting cards. He said they did occasionally pick up animals that had stopped on the Bridge and take them where they were supposed to go, when there wasn't anything more pressing to accomplish, but that should be the task of some specialized person or being who did not yet exist or had not yet chosen to perform it.

Since I'd heard the name in my mind both as Heimdall's Guardians and as the Heimdall's company / the company of Heimdall, I asked Tom which was their proper name. He told me their proper name is a word in a language never spoke on Earth by human beings. The language of Asgard is not Old Norse, it's not a human language at all, although all the gods understand what people say to them in whatever language the humans are speaking. The language of Asgard is the language of multidimensional beings with a completely different relationship to time than humans have, and is completely alien to us. So either of the names I heard are fine.

Later, I realized that meant that no name I know is the true name of anyone or anything in Asgard. The names by which we call the gods are names we gave them long ago, and the gods love and answer to those names because they love us, the way my grandfather used to answer to Twinkienose because he loved me.


Image: two helmets, creative commons by Arthur Ascii via Pixabay

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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.


  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Saturday, 05 December 2020

    I'm not familiar with the corporate greeting cards you mentioned. Are there actually greeting cards for people who's pets have died?

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Monday, 07 December 2020

    Anthony, there are. We got one in the mail from our vet's office after our kitty Beni-Wan Cat-Obi died. It was clearly meant to be a blandly non-offensive comforting message but my mom was really angry because she was an atheist and was offended the veterinarian was promoting the idea of an afterlife which she thought was evangelizing religion. And I also thought it was a horrible idea, but because I do believe in an afterlife and the Rainbow Bridge is the road to Asgard and most Americans don't plan to go there so if they send their pets to wait for them there they'll be waiting forever while their humans actually went where Christians go. Poor little animals.

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