I’ve realized something recently – people don’t know sarcasm when they read it.
A better burden can no man bear
on the way than his mother wit:
and no worse provision can he carry with him
than too deep a draught of ale.
I put the passage into google because I didn’t remember it exactly, and I was confronted with some really surprising quotes from internet “heathens” which took this as a prohibition on drinking.
A prohibition on drinking in Norse society? You have got to be kidding me. There’s a reason why there’s a prohibition in the Koran about taking the thing out of context, and here we see very similar problems. However the Norse, being a spartan society, were reductionists to a fault. How important was drinking in the spartan society of the Norse?
An entire quarter of the verse in the Havamal is dedicated to advice on drinking.
Verse 14 sums it up:
Drunk was I then, I was over drunk
in that crafty Jötun’s court.
But best is an ale feast when man is able
to call back his wits at once.
Blogging with an ale-cup tonight has me thinking about building a few things. For one, a chicken coop.
“But Phergoph, I thought this was an occult blog?” NO I AM CHANGING THE TITLE TO PHERGOPH’S CHICKEN BLOG.
Seriously bear with me. I’m a fan of Lon Milo DuQuette’s presentation of ideas in down-to-earth frameworks and this is no different. My biggest gripe with the Asatru guys is they don’t practice magic. My biggest gripe with the Ceremonial guys is they don’t really seem to be interested in Natural Magic. And it continues – this poor soul reddit is showing off his Ve and he’s been pretty much ignored by the community. Sure some of it is a bit kitsch with the Hot Topic skull and all but otherwise the bones are there for good magical workings. Look at that and think about the space for a bit.
Put the tomb in the north, put the pole in the east, put the landvetter in the south, and put the firepit in the west, and put the norns in the middle. Put the alchemical symbolism and the three seasons on the norns. If you’re thinking that this all looks very Rites of Magick, we’re on the same page. And, because the central place is not the sun in this circle, there’s not seven planets, there are eight. This is looking more and more like a vegvisir – and with that, you’re never lost…
Alright, so how does this relate to chickens? In the mythology, there’s landvettir or this idea of genius loci. In Asia they still have genius loci in the classical sense that most business buildings, etc have what we in the west would call a “prayer room” but it’s a shrine to the spirit of the business or building. Traditionally the land-spirits had male and female, where the males were elves and the females were rocks and trees. Or, maybe since “traditional” Norse mythology is a mess, it would be better to look at it like landvettir were the active spirits of the place and the landdesir were the passive spirits of the place. Either way, places have spirits. In the myths, the elves are usually under-represented, but we know they tend to be playful and child-like for the white elves, with Heimdall being “the whitest god”. I’ve always read this as Heimdall was the God who was most like the Elves, or the ones who came before. I’ll be damned if I can cite specific references at the moment, but I vaguely remember it in Snorri’s Poetic Edda which includes a slightly different Havamal. Anyway, point being, animals live a lot closer to the land than we modern folks do. While I would love to keep a game preserve stocked with deer or something really huge like that, I simply don’t have the space. What I do have is the ability to tend to an ecosystem in my back yard and I think the best way to represent childlike, elf-spirits of the land that I plan on forming a relationship with isn’t to offer up table-fare to whatever skunk happens to wander by the altar in the dead of night but to actually form a relationship with the land and offerings through something which will actually consume those offerings. Of course a gift requires a gift. I won’t mind the eggs and meat.
My chickens will probably become possessed. It’ll make the augury super fun.