Out Into The Night
I go out into the night. It's completely still. Totally silent. Through the streetlights, there are the stars. It's cold, and the cold is saying, cut the crap.
I listen to the cold.
I've been inside, commiserating how lonely it can be to be a wizard amongst couch-potatoes and video-game warriors.
The cold says, cut the crap. You gonna waste your time with that? Come out into the night.
So, I'm hearing Odin's voice. Again, I'm not some crackpot who is literally hearing Odin's voice. No, he's there, and my imagination, my odr, is responding. The circuit's working the way it's supposed to work : through the poetic function.
There are things to do with loneliness. There are journeys to be had, wonders to penetrate, stars to look at, walking to be had. Odin thinks with his feet as much as he does his brain.
Lítil eru geð guma, "Small are the wits of man" (Havamal 53). I saw this. We have little thoughts, just like we have little breaths. Odin is the breath of the world, master of the eight winds, and just as our words are little breaths, Odin's thoughts are the storms of the world. I don't mean that literally. But that's the expanse we're talking about.
Sometimes you don't conquer the minds of men who are small. You rise above it. You find more important concerns. You let the petty have their dramas. Aldar róg þat mun æ vera, "There will thus always be strife between men" (Havamal 32). The strategy? Withdrawal : ókynnis þess
vár þik engi maðr at þú gangir snemma at sofa, "no man will refuse to excuse you when you go early to sleep" (Havamal 19). Lie there on your couch and think. Then dream. Staying in the strife does not make it better. Ósviðr maðr vakir um allar nætr ok hyggr at hvívetna; þá er móðr er at morgni kemr, allt er víl sem var, "The unquickened man stays awake all night and thinks about everything ; when the morning comes, all is as miserable as it was before." (Havamal 23). "Nótt skal nema nýræða til; hugsi til myrgins hver sem orkar ráð til leggja rausnar ásum!" (Hrafnagaldur Odins 23). "Night shall learn of new rede ; ponder this on the morn, each who are able to lay out counsel for the magnificence of the Aesir!" In other words, sleep it off! Dreams will bring new insights, and in the morning you will be able to find counsels that will bring glory to the Gods! There is great wisdom in dreaming, far more than staying amongst the strife, which will only bring you down.
Night shall take possession of new rede ; she shall hear it ; Night alone knows the new counsels that will come. These are all acceptable readings of the verse in question. Night rides out and she hears many things, she perceives greatly, and as the night passes, new things dawn upon her. Thus, going out into the Night and looking at the stars, and perceiving what's in the air can be ways to find the new counsels that may be laid up to the glory of the Gods.
Out into the night.
all translations copyright 2009 by Siegfried Goodfellow