It certainly has been a while since I did a Havamal installment. I'm sorry about that. But I plan to get back to them regularly now - well, there are only going to be one or two installments after this one, but I figure to do them once a week again.
What was I doing while away? Part of it was working on marketing. Which means I'm reading business and marketing lessons into this segment of the Havamal. Of course, I see most of life as being about business and marketing, so that's nothing new.
Let a man with his guests be glad and merry,
Modest a man should be"
But talk well if he intends to be wise
And expects praise from men:
Fimbul fambi is the fool called "
Unable to open his mouth.
Fruitless my errand, had I been silent
When I came to Suttung's courts:
With spirited words I spoke to my profit
In the hall of the aged giant.
Some people say that it's hard to find the sweet spot between being too quiet in a group and babbling too much. If I might be so bold - I'd suggest that it's not that difficult to find. If you read the front page stories in any paper regularly, have a hobby or two, pay bills, buy/cook/eat food, etc, then you have things to talk about that work their way into most conversations at one point or another. And if you listen to what others say, and let them have their say, you easily avoid being obnoxious and monopolizing the conversation. Here Odhinn did talk. He talked with, not to, Gunnlod, won her confidence, and ended up winning the Mead.
The following day the Frost Giants came,
Walked into Har's hall To ask for Har's advice:
Had Bolverk they asked, come back to his friends,
Or had he been slain by Suttung?
Odhinn, they said, swore an oath on his ring:
Who from now on will trust him?
By fraud at the feast he befuddled Suttung
And brought grief to Gunnlod.
Uh - isn't Har another name for Odhinn?
It is time to sing in the seat of the wise,
Of what at Urd's Well I saw in silence,
saw and thought on.
Long I listened to men
Runes heard spoken, (counsels revealed.)
At Har's hall, In Har's hall:
There I heard this.
Yes - listen. Yes - watch. Yes - THINK ON. These things you can do while holding up your end in a conversation. And certainly do the thinking all the time. Remember, the fountain of Urd is in Asgard, Odhinn is silent and thinking even there.
Now, on to advice. "Rede" if you will.... It's mostly about building community, one person at a time. Aligning with the honorable and wise, avoiding the fools, putting distance between you and the evil.
Loddfafnir, listen to my counsel:
You will fare well if you follow it,
It will help you much if you heed it.
Never rise at night unless you need to spy
Or to ease yourself in the outhouse.
I wonder if in the original this is "to watch" - to be on guard.
If you must journey to mountains and firths,
Take food and fodder with you.
Never open your heart to an evil man
When fortune does not favour you:
From an evil man, if you make him your friend,
You will get evil for good.
If others don't trust someone, there is often a reason. If it's because they've been shitty to others, they WILL turn on you when it is to their advantage.
If you know a friend you can fully trust,
Go often to his house
Grass and brambles grow quickly
Upon the untrodden track.
Nurture good relationships. Invest in them. Yes, I AM typing this at a writing date with Suz, why do you ask? Friends that you can trust and, at times, vent to are a need in life. They will help you sort of the gold from the dross, and help you find the right word to use when writing.
With a good man it is good to talk,
Make him your fast friend:
But waste no words on a witless oaf,
Nor sit with a senseless ape.
Gawds, once in high school, ages and ages ago, I was desperately trying to finish writing a paper due later that day. I was in the library in a two-person cubicle with my best friend. She WOULD NOT SHUT UP. I ended up screaming at her, walked out, and finished writing in the loud, active cafeteria - it was easier to do their. The witless will sap your strength and attention.
Cherish those near you, never be
The first to break with a friend:
Care eats him who can no longer
Open his heart to another.
An evil man, if you make him your friend,
Will give you evil for good:
A good man, if you make him your friend"
Will praise you in every place,
Affection is mutual when men can open
All their heart to each other:
He whose words are always fair
Is untrue and not to be trusted.
Bandy no speech with a bad man:
Often the better is beaten
In a word fight by the worse.
THAT advise is SO hard for me to follow! Some of you know me well, and know that I ... uh ... tend to enjoy a verbal joust rather too much. I tend to find douchebaggery entertaining when I turn them into targets.
Be not a cobbler nor a carver of shafts,
Except it be for yourself:
If a shoe fit ill or a shaft be crooked"
The maker gets curses and kicks.
If aware that another is wicked, say so:
Make no truce or treaty with foes.
And THAT is how I justify my targeting/identifing/pointing out douchebags.
Never share in the shamefully gotten,
But allow yourself what is lawful.
Stop the piracy. We're software developers, ffs, bit torrents are killing us.
That's it for now.