Wyrd Wednesday: Folking Around

I just spent the better part of an hour writing about white supremacy and neo-Nazis. I then deleted the mess of it. Why? I don’t want to feed the negativity, and that’s the path it was taking.

Heathenry is a beautiful faith. Travel far enough back my ancestral tree, and those forefathers and mothers lived harsh existences in a cruel and dangerous world, and they did so with the stories of Odin, Thor, Freya, Loki, Sif, and others on their lips. In their hearts were these gods and goddesses of fabled Asgard, who were prone to struggle against horrific odds, much like the people who worshiped them.

In the Hávamál, you’ll not find a better collection of gnomic wisdom and philosophy. These words, preserved in the Icelandic Codex Regius, are the foundation of the revival of the Norse faith. They are its cornerstone, not only because of their inspired advice, but because so little survives from of our pre-Christian culture and religion.

A man is happy
if he finds praise and friendship
within himself.
You can never be sure
of where you stand
in someone else’s heart.

I have read many translations over the years, including Thorpe, Bugge, Bray, and Bellows, but the most recent translation by Dr. Jackson Crawford is outstanding. The stanza quoted above is Crawford’s work.

Compare it to Bray’s translation:

Happy is he who wins for himself
fair fame and kindly words;
but uneasy is that which a man doth own
while it lies in another’s breast.

Regardless, the words are sound and meaningful, covering both practical advice for living and philosophical missives that cut the core of our humanity.

And that’s a large part of the appeal of Heathenry. At its heart lie the Folk, even more than the gods themselves. We honor those Holy Powers, to be sure, but it is because they are our ancestors as much as it is that they are beings on high.

And that’s me rambling to get the sour taste out of my mouth.

Hail the Æsir. Hail the Vanir. Hail the Vættir. Hail the Folk!

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