Havamal 140…


For myself as a vitki the excerpt from the Havamal starting with stanza 140 is the most important piece of Lore that we have. It tells the story of how Odin got the runes. I’ve read it many times in many translations. Here’s my summary:

Odin is hanging, pierced there by himself (or perhaps just hanging as different translators say, not pierced, but definitely on his own accord), to the World Tree. He looks down, sees the runes, and grabs them. This causes such a jolt of energy and inspiration through him that he is thrown back off the Tree shrieking. Then the knowledge starts growing…word brings word, deed brings deed. I can see Odin doing rune castings for the Aesir and Vanner! And he is given rune charms in this bolt of inspiration he’s experienced (but that’s another post).  He is on the path now.

This excerpt requires much meditative thought from a vitki. So much going on, so many layers. Here are my thoughts regarding this little piece of the Lore.

Odin was hanging on Yggdrasil. We know that Yggdrasil is an important tree in the Norse mind. It is the Tree that connects the nine realms. It is the source of strength and wisdom. So Odin was just hanging out on the Tree of Wisdom. For nine nights he hung there. The sacred number nine. Nobody brought him food or drink. He was alone. Experiencing this ordeal in solitude. Then he looks down and sees the runes. Looks down to Hel, the subconscious, and sees something that he knows he needs. He reaches down and grabs the runes. This act sends a blast of energy through him. So powerful he falls back off the Tree screaming. He gets thrown away by this sudden, hugely important act of wisdom being imparted. It knocks him back it’s so big.

Now that he has had this blaze of inspiration it’s time to act. Word brings word. Chanting the runes in galdr lead him to further understanding of the runes. Deed brings deed. Every action he takes leads him to another action inspired by Runic knowledge. He starts putting this new knowledge to work in every aspect of his life. He is walking a new path filled with what has been revealed to him. He is a practicing vitki.

What does this mean for me as a vitki?  First I had to seek the knowledge — hang from the Tree of Wisdom. It was a solitary endeavor. One I had to explore on my own to reap the full benefits. After a period of exploring — hanging for nine nights — I was given a flash of inspiration. I had that moment when everything runic suddenly started to make sense. Then I started chasing the words — words of the runes and all they entail. Searching opened me up to more searching. I was discovering even more wisdom. That lead me to deeds. Operating in the world and doing stuff infused with the new insights I was receiving. A whole new world had opened up to me. I saw how this path was full of constant discovery. I was a vitki.

I did a rune casting of the question “What does this section of the Lore mean for me as a vitki?”.  The results I got where that stasis and stagnation in the work will lead to sorrow and strife.   Approach the work with creativity and awakening will occur. Wise words for any vitki!

That’s my short take on this important section of the Lore. I meditate on it often and find new meaning. Take some time for yourself to reflect on these words. You won’t be sorry!

Author: vitkimusings

A fifty-something Vitki living in the suburbs of Chicago. Follower of the Nordic Path for the last fifteen years. Student of runes for the last 23 years and seidr for the last seven years. Always learning and growing!

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