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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Thoughts About My Health

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

I had a conversation in my head with Odin today. That's not unusual for me since I opened my mind while writing Some Say Fire, but this conversation illustrates an important point in heathenry and this blog is all about what it feels like to do heathenry, so here goes.

First, a little background. I don't usually talk about my health problems on my blog because they are usually not relevant to my religious experiences and activities, but this time they are. I have had various health problems generally classified as autoimmune disorders throughout my life. Last year I had the best allergy year of my life because of wearing a mask everywhere, and after talking it over with my allergy doctor, who is an immunologist and an expert on vaccines, this spring we decided I had managed to fight my immune system down far enough so it might be safe for me to get a vaccine this year. We developed a plan for me in which as soon as I was eligible for the covid vaccine in early summer, I first had an antibody test to see if I already had antibodies to covid, and since I did not I got one jab. I became very sick. My tests indicated I had gotten a laundry list of problems, including another infectious disease, worsening of my existing problems, a neuro issue, and a brand new additional autoimmune disorder. For these reasons I am unable to have a second jab. I might never be allowed to travel, it may never be safe for me to work except from home, and I am aware every time I go somewhere where there are other human beings that I am taking more of a risk than most other people do.

I still go places, but I'm cautious. I wear my mask whenever I'm in public indoors. I don't go to restaurants where people have to take their masks off inside to eat. But I still get out sometimes.

The high point of my week was being interviewed for Ed "The Pagan" Hubbard's podcast. I'll post a link when I have one to share. That took place at an event at a local witch shop, Realms Within. My housemate and I went together and we had a great time. I met a new friend who introduced herself as being in the photo with my late fiancee Tom that Selena Fox had shared about her previous Veterans' Day activities. It was a great evening.

At the end of the week my housemate had cold symptoms. In any other decade, we would both have just brushed it off and gone about life as usual, but now my first reaction when she told me was, "Oh no! I hope it's not covid!" There were some practicalities I had to think of before I had time to just deal with my emotions. It was way harder and took way longer than it should to schedule her for a covid test. Most test sites require a car, which means I will have to drive her (there are some sites she could reach with Paratransit but she chose not to use the bus), and signing up was so hard I ended up having to do it for her on the net. With those tasks out of the way, my mind quieted enough to just think my own thoughts and hear my own inner voice.

And what my inner voice had to say was "Oh no! We're going to die!"

That was when Odin spoke. "You are not going to die this year."

Well it's the middle of November so that was not quite as reassuring as he meant it to be. He heard that too.

"Whenever you need breath, I am here."

And I found myself so reassured my fears melted away. Because I have experienced precisely that, due to asthma and allergies, especially if exposed to smoke or other bad things. I've experienced Odin or one of his brothers coming to me with breath to fill my lungs. I know I can rely on them to be there when I need them.

That's the important point about heathenry that I wanted to tell everyone about. Well, two points, actually. Firstly, that my faith in my god-husbands comes from personal experience. Secondly, that even though Asatru actually has a healer deity, Eir, it's the gods I'm personally closest to who come to me to help me with both my chronic health issues and my nervousness about further health problems. Odin, Honir, Lodhur who is Loki, all have come to me with breath at some point. If I had a serious health emergency I would not hesitate to contact Eir about it, but it's the gods who are close at hand all the time who come to me without being called.

Thus reassured, and not too spun up in myself to think of the community, my next thoughts were that I should stay home from the memorial service I had planned to attend this weekend. I'm disappointed about that, but they say that someone exposed to covid can spread it even if they have no symptoms, so the most responsible thing to do is to not go. I also delayed the stitch-n-bitch party I had planned to hold that was for the purpose of seeing some friends I often only see at the renfaire that I missed seeing this year because I had not been physically able to make it through the whole weekend of faire. I'm disappointed about that too but I will see them another day. I have no fears now, just rational choices, because of my relationship with my gods.

I've spent a lot of effort in my life learning to be calm. To be logical. To think first, act second, and feel third. Now, it's so much easier, because my gods are with me.

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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.

Comments

  • Erin Lale
    Erin Lale Monday, 15 November 2021

    Great news! The test was negative. All fine here.

  • Jamie
    Jamie Monday, 15 November 2021

    Ms. Lale,

    I'm glad the test was negative. May the Goddesses and Gods be with you whilst you deal with your health challenges.

    Plus, the phrase "Stitch-n-bitch", is solid gold.

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