This book is an exploration of the wisdom in the Viking Age poem “Havamal”, specifically as it relates to the average person who isn’t a scholar of Old Norse, or even an enthusiast of Viking culture. This book is for the layman, the average person who simply wants to improve their life using proven advice. The poem “Havamal” is earthy, cynical, stoic, and grim in its depiction of human life. Havamal means “The Words of the High One”. The poem’s speaker is none other than Odin, King of the Gods, who has traveled the many worlds seeking power and suffered greatly in his quest. Through suffering, he has won great wisdom, which he shares with us in this poem. Though the speaker of “Havamal” is a god, it was actually composed by human poets during the Viking and Medieval Ages. Therefore, the text’s advice is not lofty and ethereal, like some other gnomic literature, but very human.
This book will interest people who want to live well in the modern world. The advice given in the poem is specific. For example: Keep your eyes open when you enter a gathering, because there could be enemies inside. But the wisdom behind the words can be extracted out and applied to more general situations, which is what the author has done for each of “Havamal”’s 164 verses. The Layman’s Havamal contains an original rendering of the poem into English and a complete analysis of each verse as it relates to modern life, in a way which is sure to improve your standing in this slippery world.