Root and Rede
Rede can also mean a design, a plan, management, and even business, because reading things involves discernment of their order. Rede grasps gestalts, living, squirming, pulsating patterns, and therefore involves the ability to perceive and understand order even where it is not apparent. Those capable of deep rede can even grasp the tendencies of those gestalts, and thus gain a kind of foresight well-known amongst the prophets of the North.
When people come together to rede, they come to mutually consult and deliberate upon a riddle or problem in order to reach some resolution, in order to discover the intelligence trapped in the enigma, so that their actions may flow out of that explanation.
It is of considerable importance that the word often translated as "rule" (as in, "Freyr "rules" over the rain and the sunshine") is actually rede, meaning that the Gods, or a good leader, rule(s) through grasping the essence of a situation, and sharing that out to folks. When that grasp is good and thorough, it is to be trusted and therefore tends to be followed. Rede is not just the grasping of the mystery, but the sharing out of its secrets through counsel and advice. Therefore, in the North, it is true to say that leaders, and the Gods behind them, do not so much "rule" as they advise, and the advice so matches what the heart knows of life, and the reality that unfolds around us, that people naturally flock to that source of rede as they would a well of wisdom. Ráðumk þér, Loddfáfnir, en þú ráð nemir, - njóta mundu ef þú nemr, þér munu góð ef þú getr, "I advise thee, Loddfafnir, and take thou the rede : it will prove of benefit if thou takest it, and will be good for thee if thou graspeth it." That is how the wise Gods speak, for rede is allþörf ýta sonum, óþörf jötna sonum. Heill sá, er kvað, heill sá, er kann, njóti sá, er nam, heilir, þeirs hlýddu, "all-needed amongst the sons of men, but useless amongst the sons of jotnar. He who chants it is whole, he who knows it has luck, he who learns it gains benefit, those who listen are blessed."
all translations copyright 2009 by Siegfried Goodfellow