Formerly Celestial Earth Sanctuary in Auburn, Alabama, Nine Worlds is an open American heathen kindred organized by har-gyðia, Ehsha Apple. We are an incipient grove of The Church of the Spiral Tree. Nine Worlds is affiliated with Open Path Sanctuary and its ministries such as Open Path Training (our initiatory training program) and Open Path Pagan Seminary. As an American kindred, we welcome members of all ethnic backgrounds; we have a zero tolerance for non-tolerance policy and are LGBTIQ safe. The purpose of this kindred/grove is not to exclude others based on their tradition, heritage, orientation, or any way of being. Rather, we strive to provide a culture for those who want to be involved in Pagan spirituality on a more organized level.
Our practice is based in heathen ethics and aesthetics but our membership is eclectic: members from all paths are always welcome. While we welcome kin from every path, Nine Worlds Kindred honors the folkways of blòt and sumbl, held according the American Heathen Wheel of the Year. We place a high value on folk-building and outreach to the community. Heathen (Hæðen in Old English) literally meaning “people of the heath,” once referred to rustic people who do not recognize Judaism, Christianity or Islam. “Hof” translates as “rustic temple” and the “Harrow” is the Heathen altar.
We consider ourselves fully American, not Norse. We are neither Ásatrúar nor Vanatruar and, while we look to our German and Celtic ancestors for inspiration, we are not an ethnic-based tradition. Our worldview is derived from the Anglo-Saxon ethics and the Germanic and Celtic traditions our ancestors brought with them to the New World where European, African, and North American native traditions commingled and syncretized. Therefore we include American traditions like Powwow (in Deitsch: Braucherei) of our Pennsylvania-German ancestors, Hoodoo (in Gaelic: Uath Dubh) of our Appalachian ancestors, and various folkways from generations of European integration with indigenous and diasporic peoples. For this reason among others, we do not consider ourselves Neopagan Reconstructionists. We read the Eddas and the Sagas only as metaphor and analogy and we give credence to soundly interrogated moments of unsubstantiated personal gnosis.
We employ an Anglo-Saxon ethic in which kinship through both frith (good relations among tribal members) and grith (good relations with other tribes and groups) are primary. We have a concept of “weregild” (human-worth) and “evenhead” (equality) among the standard virtues of many heathen traditions: Courage, Truth, Honor, Loyalty, Discipline, Hospitality, Industriousness, Self-reliance, and Steadfastness.
In our rituals, we venerate land spirits (Ælf), hearth gods (cofgodas), ancestral spirits (Æsir, Vanir, Disr), as well as personal divine connections. We also find a place for the darker energies of the cosmos (Jötunn and Rökkur); though we do not read these energies through the binary lens of Christianity where “darkness” equates to evil. (Most often, we recognize our shadow-energies and make appeasements to them.) In our worldview, there must be shadow if ever there is light.
While we venerate these energies, our Emphasis is on the Dísir, the female tribal ancestors, rather than the Æsir or Vanir. Like other American Heathen sects, Dísrtroth (meaning “loyalty to the ancestral female”) imagines Heathenry as a set of tribal religions of the peoples of Northern Europe which reaches back into the paleolithic. However, in reclaiming the Divine Feminine from the clutches of Enlightenment thought and Abrahamic practices which have subverted The Sacred Feminine with a patriarchal paradigm, we reclaim the original matristic structure of our faith. This means that, unlike many neo-heathenries, we do not focus on the masculine and the warlike. While we honor male traits found in the images of warriors, soldiers, fathers, husbands, helpmates, and breadwinners, we do not discount the importance of female traits found in the images of nurturer, shieldmaiden, mother, wife, frith-keeper, and meadbearer.
What’s more, because our ancestral mothers commingled in Frith with other uniquely American traditions like the Celtic Hoodoo and the Germanic Powwow of our New World neighbors, we embrace the synchronism of our folk ways rather than trying to artificially siphon them out.
Above all, we honor the land and its spirits, our kindred community, and our ancestors. We provide various social events, learning opportunities, and a full ritual schedule. We offer marriage ceremonies and handfasting as well. If you live in the Auburn area, please contact us via the email function on the Home page.
Membership information is available by emailing OPStemplumgnostica@yahoo.com or by returning the forms in our Document Center. The privacy of our members is very important to us; a full list of ministerial boards and leadership contacts are available on request.
Current Board of Directors (2013):
Har-gyðia and Steward: Angela Farmer/Ehsha Apple
Treasurer: Tim Alroth
Secretary: Anita Oriol
All of our events include a ritual and a potluck feast. While everyone is welcome, we require that new attendees first be vouchsafed (referred by a known person).
If you are interested in any of our programs, ministries, or events, contact OPSTemplumGnostica@yahoo.com for a full schedule or for more information.