It's getting close to time for more work on my Ravens of Odin tattoo, so I'm of a mythological mind tonight. I've been re-reading the Havamal, or Words of the High One. It's words of wisdom passed on by Odin himself, supposedly. There's wisdom for travellers and guests, general advice for all, his quest for the Runes, and songs of spells he knows. Though couched in old-school (really old-school) wording, if you update some of the situations, the wisdom still applies. For example:
-Let a man never stir on his road a step
without his weapons of war;
for unsure is the knowing when need shall arise
of a spear on the way without.
In other words, be prepared...of course, if I didn't think I'd get arrested, I'd literally always have my sword or axe with me, but that's just me.
Immortality through great deeds is spoken of, as well:
-Cattle die, and kinsmen die,
Thyself too soon must die,
but one thing never , I ween, will die-
fair fame of one who has earned.
Wisdom in waiting until one has experienced something before passing judgement on it:
-Praise day at even, a wife when dead,
a weapon when tried, a maid when married,
ice when 'tis crossed, and ale when 'tis drunk.
Although, if you don't praise your wife while she's alive, she may make you wish you were dead.
Odin's seeking of the knowledge of the Runes is a gripping part of the Havamal...as I touched on in my earlier post about my tattoo and Norse myth, Odin underwent pain and sacrifice to gain knowledge, to better prepare for Ragnarok, the Norse Armageddon. He impaled himself on the world tree, Yggdrasil, with his spear Gungnir:
-I trow I hung on that windy Tree
nine whole days and nights,
stabbed with a spear, offered to Odin,
myself to mine own self given,
high on that Tree of which none heard
from what roots it rises to Heaven
None refreshed me ever with food or drink,
I peered right down in the deep;
crying aloud I lifted the Runes
then back I fell from thence.
Death and rebirth is a common theme in many religions, but how bad are you that you impale yourself?? Man, that's one tough god.
I've always been interseted in Odin, as he's god of war, poetry, sorcery, and death. He rules over skalds and berserkers alike. He obtained the Mead of Poetry, and could also incite battle rage in individuals and armies by throwing his spear overhead. He studied magic for use in healing, battle, lovemaking, and speaking with the dead. His ravens brought him news from the Nine Worlds, and his wolves Freki and Grere (Ravener and Greed) sat at his side in Asgard. His eight-legged steed, Sleipnir, would carry him across the land, sea, and sky. Unlike most gods who represent one aspect, Odin is multi-faceted...body, spirit, and mind. I suppose this is why I'm so interested in him. I took one of those goofy online quizzes once to see what god you most resemble...I got Odin by 78% (with Tyr following up with a close 70%). And I named my dog after him as well.
I think the Old Norse religion is one of the most interesting ones...we get taught the Greek myths in school, but the fellas from the cold North are given short shrift. If you have an interest in things Norse, check out the Havamal. It's not too long, and it's good reading. Hail to you all!