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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Old Books Part 2: Yggdrasil Magazine

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Yggdrasil was a small format heathen newsletter which was, for a while, my primary contact with the heathen community. Recently I re-read a few old issues from the 90s. I was struck by the mix of academic explorations of lore with fun and games like the rune puzzles, and announcements about future events. Obviously I remember that-- I even wrote some of those rune puzzles-- but from my perspective here 30 years later and deeply enmeshed in the internet it seems strange to think about the days when I would yearn for communication with other heathens and it came in the form of the letters section in the larger magazines, which each came once a quarter. I would yearn for more knowledge and it came in the mail, on random topics chosen by the magazine editors. Looking at the contents of a few copies of Yggdrasil now, it reminds me strongly of the contents of the forum I manage, the Asatru Facebook Forum, except that people in forums can just post things and don't have to go through an editor's selection process, and everything is nearly instantaneous. Someone can post a question on a topic and a dozen people will answer in the space of a few days. Thinking back to how it was before the net, it seems almost miraculous.

The net has replaced a lot of what I used to seek at heathen festivals back in the day, too. It's replaced the seminars and panels and specialty rituals with similar things held online, especially last year as people deliberately tried to hold actual gatherings over the net due to the pandemic. Blogs like this one have replaced some of the in-person classes we used to have at festivals or in bookstores. Forums meet part of the need for social interaction with other heathens that we used to get hanging out by the campfire at festivals. And of course, the festival's dealer's tables have moved to the net too. Yet, we still have festivals-- or at least we did before Covid-- and obviously, we still have magazines. So, the net must not be meeting all of everyone's needs.

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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, 20 February 2021

    Both AdGuard Adblocker and Malwarebytes have warned me against accessing as a dangerous site. I don't know if someone is piggybacking viruses onto the site or if it's just being trolled by someone. I suspect the later.

    Magazines come out less often than they used too but they last. Websites are vulnerable and can be taken down so I try to print out articles that I like. Just in case the site goes down and I loose the chance to ever read the article again.

  • Kayly
    Kayly Saturday, 27 February 2021

    Sometimes this site flat out doesn't function for me, and it gets frustrating to try and come on.

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Monday, 22 February 2021

    Hi Anthony, I'm not involved in running the back end processes on this site, you'd have to ask the site admin about the blocker issue.

    Magazines can last a super long time! I'm enjoying going back through a lot of Tom's magazines. There's a magazine historian assembling a collection of pagan and heathen magazines from back in the day, and when I'm done reading these I'm planning to contact him again.

  • Kayly
    Kayly Saturday, 27 February 2021

    Magazines can be read in peace, and the knowledge can be shared without anything going wrong, like loss of electricity or broken phone/tablet/iPad/laptop/etc.
    And even though I use my computer more and more, I find myself doing less with the internet than I used to. Over the last 10 or so years, the internet communities have been growing more and more toxic. Between trolls, hackers, and toxicity, it's less stressful to read a magazine in peace.
    On top of that, there's the feel of paper in your hand that a screen just can't compete with.

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