Another late night last night but talking with my son was worth it until the conversation turned into Sharknados and zombies. I was like,’ Dude, you’re stalling. Go to bed. Mommy loves you.’ He grinned knowing he was busted and took off to his room. Yesterday according to my Asatru calendar was Feast of Sunna is a national holiday in Sweden. My daughter doesn’t follow the Norse beliefs so she wasn’t going to serve coffee and cake with a crown of candles and I’m ok with that. I think I wouldn’t do it either in fear of wax burning my scalp. Today is Tulya’s E’en opens to the Norse Merry Month. Seven days before Yule, all the trolls are released from the underground. This is also the season when Odin and the wild hunt ride. Householders protect their farms by saining (blessing) them with the sign of the hammer, and fire is carried through all the buildings. I have a hammer hanging in my living room from my woodburning trial and error and even though I’m not going to carry a big ol’ torch through the house I will with a candle.
Here we are, Friday, and Stanza 4.
A drink needeth to full dishes who cometh,
a towel, and the prayer to partake;
good bearing eke, to be well liked
and be bidden to banquet again.
Water to him is needful for
refection comes, a towel and hospitable
invitation, a good reception; if he can get it,
discourse and answer.
Oh boy, this one is a lot to swallow. What helped me understanding this stanza, thanks to Temple of Our Heathen Gods,
Guests do not get an automatic pass (just as hosts do not get an automatic pass). When the guest enters the hall, he is implored in Stanza 1 to look about and make sure no foes are present. In Stanza 2 we see this idea that the guest is placed near the fire and “pressed” or tested. Questions are asked. The guest is measured and his or her worthiness judged. And in Stanza 4, we see that if the guest has earned it…he or she should get fair fame and conversation should be shared with him or her.
Another point that has been mentioned to me in the past, is something very easily missed. The stanza makes it clear that our ancestors valued cleanliness, at a time in history when cleanliness was not at the top of every culture’s list of values.
How about that to every guest be cautious and to every host be just as aware. As a host be hospitable and as a guest be grateful and generous as well.