Wednesday 21 August 2013

Havamal Snippets 83: There is a best way of doing everything

This is one in a series of very short posts containing snippets from the Havamal text (which can be found in full here -

Why post snippets of an old pagan text here, in a blog that's supposedly about the Androsphere? I’m posting them because they contain helpful everyday advice that is applicable in the modern world e.g. being aware of your surrounding environment, drinking alcohol responsibly, how to score with women. And for many of us, it is part of our heritage that goes back to Proto-Indo-European (PIE) beliefs that stretch back 4000 years or more.

Christianity offers the only dominant philosophical view points in the Androsphere, represented by bloggers like Vox Day and Simon Grey. Christianity, and indeed the other monotheisms from the region draw, from the mythologies of the PIE culture. For instance Noah s flood is a replication of the Epic of Gilgamesh, and the story of the Angels rebelling against God in the bible is just a copy of the Giants rebelling against the Gods, which is present in both the Greek and Norse religious traditions, as Arthur Schopenhauer pointed out in the eighteenth century.

    The downfall of the Titans, whom Zeus hurls into the underworld, seems to be the same story as the downfall of the angels who rebelled against Jehovah.
    The story of Idomeneus, who sacrificed his son ex voto, and that of Jephtha is essentially the same
    Can it be that the root of the Gothic and the Greek language lies in Sanskrit, so there is an older mythology from whith the Greek and Jewish mythologies derive? If you cared to give scope to your imangination you could even adduce that the twofold-long long in which Zeus begot Heracles on Alcmene came about because further east Joshua at Jericho told the sun to stand stil. Zeus and Jehovah were thus assisting one another: for the gods of Heaven are, like those of earth, always secretly in alliance. But how innocent ws the pastime of Father Zeus compared with the bloodthirsty activities of Jehovah and his chosen brigands. {page 220}
Source: Schopenhauer A. (2004), 'Essays and Aphorisms' (Hollingdale translation), London, Penguin.

So, instead of offering you snippets of second-hand wisdom from the Bible, I will offer you snippets of first-hand wisdom from the (probably) older and much more concise Havamal text (roughly 5,000 words compared to the 190,000 words of the New Testament).

My own thoughts are in italics.

The meaning of this stanza is unclear to me.  It consists of a series of three pairs of 'opposites' (like yin and yang, or hot and cold, or male and female), but besides that I don't know what to remark of it.

The only thoughts that spring to mind are:
- Drinking ale and skating on ice both share the context of 'chaotic', because when one gets drunk one is mentally 'all over the place', as is one physically when skating on ice. 
- The lean steed and dirty sword both share the context of 'body fat', because the lean steed is free body fat, whils the sword is covered in it.
- The home fed horse and the 'out of house' fed dog both share the context of 'feeding location', because the horse is fed at home while the dog is fed out of home.

It's also similar to stanza 82, which highlights that 'there is a best way of doing everything'.  Though in this stanza is highlights that 'both sides of coin' (yin and yang, hot and cold etc) can be used in different situations.  Like trying to stop a drunk man from crossing a motorway requires 'force', but trying to stop a sober man from crossing a motorway requires 'reason'.  The former is a physical thing, the latter is a mental thing.  Two opposites.

Við eld skal öl drekka
en á ísi skríða
magran mar kaupa
en mæki saurgan
heima hest feita
en hund á búi

Drink ale by the fire
but skate on the ice,
buy a lean steed
but a dirty sword, *
fatten a horse at home
but farm out a dog.


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