Wednesday 14 May 2014

Havamal Snippets 141: Odin grows in knowing after gaining knowledge of the Runes

This verse continues Odin's journey gaining knowledge (in the form of the runes) after hanging on the World Tree, Yggdrasil.  It explains how Odin's wisdom grows from humble beginnings to something bigger, very much like a tree grows from a simple fractal pattern to form a mighty & impressive looking tree.  Trees are used as analogs for other things in the world, be they phylogenetic tree, technology trees (from computer games), family tree of Gods, or other things that develops and grows over time.  If you bind yourself to one of these trees, as Odin did with the 'World Tree' Yggdrasil, then you will become a part of it, at one with it, and then you will know what it knows.  In the same way that Buddha gained knowledge of the world by meditating under the Boddhi Tree, which is symbolic of the Buddha gaining knowledge of the world, much like Odin (although they took different paths to this knowledge, one torrid and the other peaceful).  This is what it means to gain knowledge, it means to be at one with something.

Þá nam ek frævask
ok fróðr vera
ok vaxa ok vel hafask
orð mér af orði
orðs leitaði
verk mér af verki
verks leitaði         
Then I began [2] to be
[1] fruitful [2] and wise,
to grow and to flourish;
speech fetched my speech for speech,
action fetched my action for action.


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