Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth
In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.
You'll Never Outrun Wyrd
In the corpus of Latvian dainas—folksongs—no goddess is mentioned more often than Laima: Fate, Moira, Wyrd. Everyone acknowledges that she's the most powerful of them all. In some dainas she's said to be more powerful even than Dievs (Heaven/God) himself, but in the poems nonetheless she's generally addressed in the most intimate and personal terms: “my Laima,” “my dear Laima,” “dearest Laima,” the folksongs say. Euphemism perhaps, but what is closer than one's own wyrd?
Robert Cochrane once wrote that the true Goddess of Witches is Fate. In the raksti, the traditional symbol-motifs of Latvian folk art, Laima's symbol is the broom. In the end, she sweeps everything before her.
When translating dainas, I always aim for a poem that sounds as if it could have been written originally in English; hence my choice of “Wyrd” over “Laima” or “Fate”: translating one heathenry with another.
Bêgu diena, bêgu nakti,
Laimas likta neizbêgu;
Kâdu mûzu Laima lika,
Tâds bij ma dzîvojot.
Run all day, run all night,
you'll never outrun Wyrd;
whatever Wyrd decrees for you,
that's what your life will be.
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