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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Oops I Accidentally Led a Bardic Circle

I attended virtual Trothmoot even though I'm not a Troth member for two reasons. Firstly because they not only got rid of their Loki ban but were having an official Loki blot (ritual), and secondly because they were making their festival / convention available online. Both of those are things I want to encourage.

Trothmoot was 3 days of rituals, workshops, and virtual fire circle chatting. I had technical difficulties several times, and was pretty overwhelmed by the end, but overall it was a very positive experience.

When I signed into the zoom to attend the Bardic Circle on Friday it didn't start and didn't start and finally I got into the chat and asked who was leading it. The answer was no one. Of course I was immediately asked if I wanted to lead it. At the time I was signed in with no video which was not ideal if I wanted to try to be a presenter so I said I would do it if no one else would. I waited a few more minutes. No one else volunteered. By this time it was 40 minutes past when the Bardic was supposed to start and I didn't want to spend 15 more minutes trying to get my video working, which was how long it had taken that morning when I tried to sign into the Fire Circle to socialize, so I just went with what I already had running. This was not the first time I've taken over a Bardic Circle or a Poetry Reading when the ostensible leader didn't show; I've even done it at WorldCon, the world science fiction convention. But this was the first time I had done it on a zoom call. I couldn't tell who was supposed to go next. The way one usually does that is to just go around the circle, in person. So I just asked who wanted to go next and lined up a few at a time as I went along. I think everyone had a good time. The poems and songs I read and sang were pretty well received too. (The next day, I saw that official presenters at rituals were having people use the Raise Hand feature, which seemed to be easier than just asking people to say out loud or in chat if they wanted to go. I didn't know about that feature at the time, though. Most of the zooms I've done during the pandemic have been dance workshops where I just follow the teacher on the screen.)

So that's my big contribution to Trothmoot. The rest of the time I was just a normal participant. I didn't attend every single ritual because it was just too much to pack into a day, and I literally can't stay awake all day (I'm still recovering from the jab, yes it's been about 2 months, I have medical issues.)

Grand Sumbel was structured in 3 rounds, the first for the gods, the second open but including boasting but no oaths, and the 3rd for the ancestors. On the boasting round of course I boasted that last year a new version of my book was published, and the new title is Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path.

On the ancestors round I raised a toast to my life companion Tom Newman, who died of Covid. We originally met at a "Ring Of" Troth gathering. He was a Heimdall's man and I know he's with Heimdall now.

The Loki blot was amazing. Almost everyone who spoke or wrote in the chat told really moving stories about how Loki had helped them personally. It seemed that the crowd at the Loki blot was majority LGBTQ+ and there were a lot of people using non-binary pronouns, including the ritual leaders. It was really wonderful to see such a welcoming space for LGBTQ+ people that put them front and center.

Image: selfie with headset


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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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