Today my head has been full of the words from the Havamal and Odin’s quest after the Runes – quietly, behind the scenes the words have been “playing” in my mind; like a song that is stuck in my head (but not at all annoying). All of this repetition has brought a new layer of understanding to the words while simultaneously encouraging me to seek out other interpretations. I’d very much like to share this one:
Something about her manner makes me feel as though she is reminding me of things I once knew and have forgotten rather then teaching me something new.
Also, as the words repeat in my head, they become slightly shifted. Not much, of course, and perhaps being shifted closer to a more “true” translation – I sure the version I have is very accurate, but language has so much nuance and so many emotions that translation can never truly be perfect. I’m always reminded of the very opening of the Aeneid in this regard: Arma virumque cano translates as “I sing of arms (weapons) and a man” but it means so much more – just these three (though technically four) words – and some sense of the meaning is lost; I sing of a war and a hero (and trust me, I could go on). So much can be changed or dropped or lost in translation; which is a shame because words are so important.
Words are something that Raven has come into the life to teach me about. The importance and effect of words – the power that they can hold.
Since I’ve been thinking about movies and Tarot as of late, I thought I’d share a beautiful movie that uses some familiar Tarot archetypes. Unlike the other movies I’ve shared, this isn’t a documentary. You may have heard the name in relation to the death of Heath Ledger, as this was the movie he was filming at the time and is his final role.
As you may have guessed from the trailer, the Devil archetype is a major part of the plot. He spends his time weaving webs of bets and debts around Doctor Parnassus. He knows that the man can’t resist a bet, knows that he can’t say no. He finds a way to make that bet, no matter how dangerous, seem tempting and worthwhile.
The Devil in the Tarot is much the same. The Devil is all about temptation, desire, wanting, longing. The physical things that distract us from our lives is what the Devil offers us; the bad habits and relationships that hold us back. He makes them look so good to us, like they are the only things that we could want. He tempts us and addicts us; makes us think we need what ever it is he’s pushing. Be it power, escape, wealth, or anything else, it distracts us from our true selves and keeps us bound, constrained. The Devil also reminds us that we choose to “give in” to temptation and that we therefore have the power to turn away from temptation. If we have the will, and we make the choice, we can break the chains that bind us.
Perhaps less obvious from the trailer is the role of the Hanged Man (mentioned before here), symbolized by the character Tony. As I’ve mentioned before, the Hanged Man speaks to one’s sacrifice for knowledge and wisdom. I don’t want to spoil the film, but it’s sure to say that “sacrifice” is indeed an important aspect to Tony’s progression through the story.
Even if you’re not a Tarot lover – I highly recommend this stunning movie.
I’ve been thinking about the Tarot as of late, so I thought I’d share some of my feeling about the Hanged Man. I’ve always felt called to Odin, the most common myth associated with the Hanged Man. So, I think now is a good time to focus on this card and what it means to me. The Hanged Man is about decision making – namely the decision to sacrifice yourself for yourself. The Hanged Man sacrifices himself and gains wisdom and insight as his reward. This is why the story of Odin on the World Tree shows this so well.
Here, Odin is drawn as a traveler - a form he often took
138 I know that I hanged on a windy tree
nine long nights
wounded with a spear, dedicated to Odin,
myself to myself,
on that tree of which no man knows
from where its roots run.
139 No bread did they give me nor a drink from a horn
downward I peered;
I took up the runes, screaming I took them,
then I fell back from there.
Havamal from Poetic Edda
translated by Carolyne Larrington
Odin hung upon the World Tree, Yggdrasil, for nine days and nights. He was a sacrifice unto Himself, seeking wisdom and knowledge from Well of Wisdom. From His sacrifice came the Runes – the gifts of magic and writing. He also sacrificed one of His eyes for a drink from Mimir’s well, giving Him great fore-sight.
The Hanged Man teaches us that we have to make sacrifices in order to attain our personal truths and wisdoms. Not physical sacrifices but spiritual and personal sacrifices. Learning takes time, takes energy, takes dedication. There are times when we will have to set the word aside and hang by ourselves in order to understand and find what we seek