Wednesday 11 June 2014

Havamal Snippets 145: It is better that it be not invoked than over-sacrificed

If you make demands on anything, be it Gods or people or animals or things, then that thing requires something back in return.  It's one of the traditions of the universe.  If the thing is a a God, then an offering must be given in return.  If a person, then a favour.  If an animal then care and attention.  If an inanimate object then maintenance.  Even something as mundane as a field (where crops are grown and harvested) must have something given back to it (fertiliser), otherwise the relationship will turn sour (i.e. the crops won't grow because the field is depleted of it's nutrients that the crops took from it).  This correlates to the view of the world as a one that requires balance: favours for favours, an eye for an eye, and so on.  It's a dualistic view, and duality runs strong in polytheistic belief systems (cf. Ragnarok, Norse end-times, an event where most of the Gods will have a dualistic opposite whom they will fight to the death.  The fight will result in the death of both entities, e.g. Thor and Jormungandr).  Though it's important to note that Duality is but one view of the universe.

It's something to be aware of in everyday life:  Aware of the demands that you make of things, be they Gods or anything else, and the payments that you must give in return.

Betra er óbeðit
en sé ofblótit
ey sér til gildis gjöf
betra er ósent
en sé ofsóit
svá Þundr um reist
fyr þjóða rök
þar hann upp um reis
er hann aptr of kom           
It is better that it be not invoked
than over-sacrificed,
the gift is always for the repayment,
it is better that it be not sent
than over-immolated.
So Thundr carved
before the history of the peoples,
when he rose up
and when he came back.


1 comment:

  1. This is so very interesting... We have just been speaking of this our custom of gift giving with the Icelandic half of our family... I find it charming this sharing where you've been, bringing souvenirs! Strengthening bonds? -IDK- In any case Sir, I appreciate your thoughts, and research on the matter. Thank you for your post! Regards. -N.Young.