Wednesday 23 October 2013

Havamal Snippets 96: Be attracted to a cunning woman and you may be left dissatisfied

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 Free Northerner and Simon Grey. Christianity, and indeed the other monotheisms from the region draw, from the mythologies of the PIE culture. For instance Noahs 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.

I'm not sure on the meaning of this verse.  It might mean: Though a man may desire a woman, and may wait for her most patiently, it doesn't mean that he is going to get her.  If she is wise/cunning then she may just be playing/using the man for her own betterment rather than for the mans betterment.  This highlights that men should be wary of trying to have relationships with sly/cunning/devious women because they will leave you disappointed.

Þat ek þá reynda
er ek í reyri sat
ok vættak míns munar
hold ok hjarta
var mér in horska mær
þeygi ek hana at heldr hefik      

That I proved
when I sat in the reeds
and waited for my love;
[5] the wise maid to me
[4] was body and soul --
but still I do not have her.



  1. I want to make a light-hearted joke about this, but all my possible jokes would sound self-pitying.

  2. @ vulture,
    Oh go on, I'm sure it's not all that bad.