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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Meditations on Hávamál, 44-47
A few more verses in my ongoing translation of the Viking poem of gnomic wisdom --

 

44.
Veiztu, ef þú vin átt,
þann er þú vel trúir,
ok vill þú af hánum gótt geta,
geði skaltu við þann blanda
ok gjöfum skipta,
fara at finna oft.
You must know, if you would wish to have a friend
Who would be true to you
And from whom you would have good in exchange,
Share your thoughts with him,
And exchange gifts,
Fare often to find him.
 

The verses recognise the exchange that is necessary to feeding a good friendship. While the focus on gifts may seem a bit mercenary to modern readers, we have to take into consideration just how much gift giving has changed: we take it lightly because it is very easy to pick up something from a shop. In the Middle Ages, where survival was much more precarious, any surplus was precious. Giving it away showed great favour. Of course we understand the need to find a like mind with whom we can share our truths, hopes and fears. By such means do we knit relationships that last.
 
45.
Ef þú átt annan,
þanns þú illa trúir,
vildu af hánum þó gótt geta,
fagrt skaltu við þann mæla
en flátt hyggja
ok gjalda lausung við lygi.
If you have such another one --
He you trust little --
Yet you wish to get goodwill from him, too,
Fair shall you be in speech with him
But cunning in thought
And repay his deceit with lies.
 

As the great military strategist Sun Tzu observed, it's best to keep friends close -- and enemies closer. The High One agrees that it's best not to tip your hand to those who wish you ill, but continue to speak pleasantly to them as long as possible in the hopes that you might glean something useful from their conversation or thoughts. Though they may also conceal their intentions, often enmity betrays itself in non-verbal ways, too.
 
 
46.
Það er enn of þann
er þú illa trúir
ok þér er grunr at hans geði,
hlæja skaltu við þeim
ok um hug mæla;
glík skulu gjöld gjöfum.
Thus ever further with the one of whom
He whom you trust ill
And about whom you have suspicious mind,
You should laugh with him
And speak around your thoughts;
For with like coin should you repay a gift.
 

More on dealing with those you do not trust. Working environments may offer the best modern analogue to the situation. We all have co-workers with whom we don't trust -- and who may return the favour. The verses suggest that is the wisest course -- repaying false coin with false coin -- but it rubs against our modern notions of directness and honesty. For most of us, that honesty has only social costs. Yet how many people find it easier to be polite to someone they dislike intensely than to plainly state their antipathy? We're not always as honest as we like to think we are.
 
47.
Ungr var ek forðum,
fór ek einn saman,
þá varð ek villr vega;
auðigr þóttumk,
er ek annan fann,
maðr er manns gaman.
Young was I once,
I traveled on my own,
When I found myself astray;
Rich I thought myself
When I found another soul --
A human is human pleasure.
 

While the poet uses the word 'maðr' it's clearly used in the general sense of a person, not gendered specifically. While many of us choose to cherish solitude, imagine a world like the vikings where being alone put your survival at risk. There is not simply the joy of companionship here, but the recognition of the interdependence of community. Consider too the uncertainty of travel without modern maps -- let alone the specifics of satellite navigation. To run across another human when you have traveled on your own for a considerable space of time -- even if you're young and hearty -- must surely be a welcome sight.

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  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    More, more, more! And now I want you to record them all.
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    Oh, now there's an idea. With kantele music... Hmmmm....

Sigyn: Loki's wife by Shirl Sazynski
This essay first appeared at Eternal Haunted Summer last year and is part of an illustrated book on Norse Goddesses I am creating from my journeys as a spaekona (Norse seer).


Butterflies: A Meditation on Sigyn

Motion and color. Orange-flecked wings— flickering, flowing, flying, flexing. So many of them that you cannot see what they rest upon, simply that there is life, a whirr of scaled wings.

...
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  • Cara Freyasdaughter
    Cara Freyasdaughter says #
    Hi Shirl! This is a lovely picture of Sigyn. It's so nice to see her get some attention. This is a great teaser; I'm really lookin
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    And if more of us talked about these sorts of experiences, the process would be easier on everyone. While all of these encounters
  • Shirl Sazynski
    Shirl Sazynski says #
    Hi Kara! Thanks for your response and the compliments. It's why I'm writing things like this; I want to bring humans and the Gods

Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

This Samhain season, I've been reflecting back to this past Candlemas and to the changes that season brought me. For sometime immediately around Imbolc is when I was first contacted by Freyja.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Freyja.jpg

Image of original watercolor painting by Laura Daligan. Check out her Etsy store here! Thanks for the permission to post it. :-)

...
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  • Lana
    Lana says #
    What a beautiful, sacred encounter! Thank you for sharing your story. Kalyca.
  • Frank Barcenas
    Frank Barcenas says #
    I was born with a sixth sense and it wasn't until I was around 24-25 that I learned there was a Divine/Unconditional Love/ Source
  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills says #
    Oh, I do have these two entries from my blog from 2012 though, if you are interested. http://wyrdanglosaxonpriestess.wordpress.co

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

Freyr icon by Shirl Sazynski
 

A Heathen Prayer

The Lord is not my shepherd.
He teaches not submission but resilience.
In the face of the impossible, there are no guarantees. Not even for Him.
But victory was never born without valor. Even love has a sacred price:
nothing worth striving for is easily won.
Trickster, sage, lover, father, brother, husband, nephew, son;
warrior and peace-maker, hunter and grower, slayer and slain:
Wise-one, show me the way
Not to follow but to be inspired
To both grow in worthiness and to recognize the abundant worth in others.
I am not a sheep, nor was I bred for docility:
I am a falcon, a hart, a wolf.

 

Freyr is literally one of the words for 'Lord' in old Norse. In other words, it's not just a well-known God's name but his title. One of Odin's many heiti (by-names and titles) is Herran-- also another word for 'Lord' with a warrior connotation. While both Gods are associated with kingship in Scandinavia, Freyr is mythically attributed inYnglinga Saga as the ancestor of the royal house of Sweden (much as Egyptian pharoahs claimed descent from or symbolic right to rule as inherited from Osiris-- which also means 'Sire').

...
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  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Cool picture, Shirl. It took me over half a century to realize that the 23rd Psalm only tells half the truth - the Good Shepherd m
  • Cynthia Savage
    Cynthia Savage says #
    Or to be fleeced.....maybe the televangelists have a point!

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