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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The Rainbow on the Book and other stories

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

What a magical thing a book is. Someone spends years slowly composing their thoughts, writing and rewriting every word over and over until it's their best work. Someone else polishes it, and someone else makes art to sandwich all the words together, and finally you open it and behold! There are markings, and they speak into your mind, and the words flow to you and you hear the thoughts of the author. Over time, over space, sometimes translated into new languages, or even beyond death, you hear another's thoughts and words.

To write, to read, to even just pick up a book and look at it is to honor the god of writing, Odin. Odin, who won the Runes on the Tree, in his act of shamanic self-sacrifice. Odin, who spoke his own words to human writers and poets to be written in the Havamal, the Sayings of the High One: "I know that I hung on the windy tree, nine long nights, without food or drink, I looked down, I took up the runes, screaming I took them, I fell back from there."

On this day there was even more magic. Even more blessing. An entirely different and new blessing manifested on one of my books.

This was the Third Annual Tom Newman Memorial, held on my late companion's birthday. I had originally planned a large event in the deep desert, like the first two. But an injury sidelined me. So instead, a few people came to my home on different days to help me out and we held a small memorial toast with root beer floats. Tom loved root beer floats. 

On this day we had already made our toasts to Tom and to his patron Heimdall. I had just given Cat a copy of my book Asatru: A Beginner's Guide to the Heathen Path. She opened the book and started reading, and suddenly a rainbow fell on the middle of the unique symbol on the cover.

The rainbow is one of Heimdall's symbols. This was a blessing from Heimdall to the participants in the toasting, and on Cat in particular.

Cat is one of my apprentices, meaning she is learning to be a gythia (priestess.) Most of the members of my kindred are not learning to be priests so they are simply kindred members, not apprentices. Heimdall is not Cat's patron but he has given her this blessing. I confirmed that after the event was over. Seeing the rainbow appear was startlingly wonderful, and confirming that it was indeed a blessing was awesome. 


Kitty cats update: the Wish Cat from the previous post is now named Sweetheart and belongs to my housemate. He wants to go out when Happy goes out and eat when Happy eats and has learned to say Me-Out to have a door opened just like Happy. He even tried playing with a ribbon because Happy was playing with a ribbon. He is learning from Happy and maybe Happy being so much bigger has encouraged him to treat him like he's Cat-Dad. He even learned to use the cat door without a human showing him. As for Happy he has warmed up to little Sweetheart and they like to be near each other. It's truly magical and a gift from Freya. 


On book reviewing:

I don't review every single book I am sent. Some of them turn out to be not heathen books despite looking like they might be heathen related. For example, a book on runes could be heathen, but recently a rune magic book I started reading to review turned out to be from an incompatible mindset. The Black Sun is not a mystery that an Asatruer / Heathen would want to engage with; the only reason to learn about it at all is to be able to notice and identify groups and individuals to avoid. 

Sometimes I'm sent a book to review that was meant for other reviewers at one of the magazines for which I review, when a publisher makes a mistake with their review list. In that case, I try to find someone local to whom I can pass the book along, who might want to try reviewing it. I currenlty have an Egyptian magic and general modern magic related book to pass along to someone local. I'm thinking about passing it along to a member of my kindred who wants to be a writer, but not until I see another book review first (of my book, but only because she hasn't finished reading it yet) so I know if she can write a review well. 

I'm excited to be reading to review Valkyries' Loom, an academic work on fiber crafts in historical times in heathen lands and how they relate to women's power. After I finish reviewing it and send in my review for publication, I'll be working on an essay about how the topic related to my personal practice, which I hope to place in an upcoming anthology to which I've been asked to contribute. 


Image: A woman named Cat reading my Asatru book, with a bright rainbow glowing in the symbol on the cover. Photo by Erin Lale.


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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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