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modern \ hávamál

All interested in Vikings and Norse mythology have probably heard of Hávamál ("Words of the High One"), said to contain the Allfather's wisdom. Now, chances are most of you, including me, don't know Icelandic, the language in which Hávamál was originally written. There is, of course, an English (and other) translation available. However, I thought it might be a sound idea to give Hávamál a modern spin. How about distilling the stanzas into single-sentence waypoints (as Odin was keen on wandering)? Over the coming days & weeks, I will share the Modern Hávamál. I sincerely hope you will find this exercise fruitful!



1. Keep a watchful eye: wherever you go, danger lurks. 2. Haste makes waste: even if you are in familiar surroundings. 3. A hungry belly has no ears: a starved body focuses on nothing but food. 4. A warm welcome: good reception facilitates fruitful discourse. 5. Off the beaten track: wit cannot be built without leaving one's comfort zone. 6. Don't be self-righteous: sharpen your mind by developing self-insight. 7. Silence is golden: observe, orient, decide, act - survive. 8. Respect comes from within: external recognition stands on shaky ground. 9. A fool may give a wise man counsel: build your own acumen to sort the wheat from the chaff. 10. Live by wits: an ounce of sense is more valuable than any riches. 11. Alcohol can be a good companion: but the worst enemy. 12. Think before you get drunk as a fiddler: the more you drink, the less control you have. 13. Too much of anything is bad for you: let nothing steal your body & mind. 14. Seek boon companionship: a heart-to-heart talk will get you elated without drunkenness. 15. Be full of the joys of spring: even in your autumn years. 16. Don't show the white feather: meet life squarely as it will always catch up with you. 17. Looks can be deceiving, yet not always: don't end up digging up fool's gold. 18. Chalk it up to experience: the more the storm, the more the strength. 19. Assert oneself: 'no' is a full sentence. 20. Greed knows no bounds: it will eventually eat itself. 21. Get back to nature: for it can teach you good nature. 22. The agnorant: knows nothing, sneers at everything. 23. Sleep like a log: problems won't get fixed by becoming fixated on them. 24. Don't be gullible: malice can hide under the widest of grins. 25. Don't misplace your trust: there are plenty of wolfs clothed as lambs. 26. Don't be full of hot air: keep your head cool and be ready for testing your mettle. 27. Know that you don't know: learn from those that do know. 28. Don't be frightened of your own shadow: establish, maintain, and enjoy relations. 29. Weigh your words: idle talk won't get you far. 30. Hold your temper: many would like to see you turned into a gazingstock. 31. Cherish those with hearts of gold: but don't overstretch their hospitality. 32. Choose your fellowship wisely: spend time with those who bring up the best in you. 33. Get your priorities right: be prepared to abandon the important for the even more important.

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