The HavamalSayings of the High One By Henry Adams Bellows

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THERE existed from very early times a collection of Norse proverbs and wise counsels, which were attributed to Odin (Othin) just as the Biblical proverbs were to Solomon. This collection was known as The High One's Words, and forms the basis of the present poem. Few gnomic collections in the world's literary history present sounder wisdom more tersely expressed than the Havamal. Like the Book of Proverbs it occasionally rises to lofty heights of poetry. If it presents the worldly wisdom of a violent race, it also shows noble ideals of loyalty, truth, and unfaltering courage. Over time other poems were added to the original content dealing with wisdom which seemed, by their nature, to imply that the speaker was Odin. Thus a catalogue of runes, or charms, was tacked on, and also a set of proverbs. Here and there bits of verse crept in; and of course the loose structure of the poem made it easy for any reciter to insert new stanzas almost at will. This curious miscellany is what we now have as the Havamal. Five separate elements are pretty clearly recognizable: (1) the Havamal proper (stanzas 1-80), a collection of proverbs and counsels for the conduct of life; (2) the Loddfafnismol (stanzas 111-138), a collection somewhat similar to the first, but specifically addressed to a certain Loddfafnir; (3) the Ljothatal (stanzas 147-165), a collection of charms; (4) the lovestory of Odin and Billing's daughter (stanzas 96-102); (5) the story of how Odin got the mead of poetry from the maiden Gunnloth (stanzas 103-110). There is also a brief passage (stanzas 139-146) telling how Odin won the runes, this passage being a natural introduction to the Ljothatal, and doubtless brought into the poem for that reason. The HavamalSayings of the High One

Very entertaining. The Havamal gives us some of the old spiritual wisdom of the Norse peoples. It presents a subtle guide for naturalistic philosophy in the form of a wanderer ethic, and simultaneously shows that the Norse did not take themselves overly seriously - several references to mead and ale along the way! There are too many spiritual texts in the world that are SO cold and take themselves incredibly seriously, but this is not one of them. It exposes the vulnerabilities in the human condition, discipline, and un-attachment to material/trivial matters, but also reminds us we can have fun and live a little. This is especially powerful, given its Dark Age context. It is its most serious on matters of trust and the codes/oaths of the warrior. This text humanizes the indigenous Northern European peoples labelled as barbarians by the medieval Church and their ancestors during the Roman Empire alike.

I really enjoy referring to this set of spiritual and practical proverbs. It takes a few reads though, and I will try to refer to these and contemplate further. The HavamalSayings of the High One some sexist or confusing philosophies, but otherwise good philosophies. Worth the read. The HavamalSayings of the High One Overlooking the misogyny in stanzas 81-95, the “Words of the High One” offer relevant wisdom for even today. From the benefits of waking up early, to the way one should interact with friends and foes, this work offers wise counsel and is enjoyable to read The HavamalSayings of the High One