Silence I ask of the hallowed kindred – of Rig’s children, both high and low born.
Silence I ask, for I shall speak of well before the counted time,
Relating an ancient tale, put forth to promote and further all men.
When Mannheim was young there lived a man whose Wyrd was like no other before him.
Hárr was his name – Hárr the High One, brave warrior, beloved ruler.
Rich was his life – filled with plenty.
At his left hand stood tall and true, a beautiful wise woman,
And at his right hand fought a fierce and noble warband.
Great was the wealth and renown of Hárr!
Rig Hárr was the conqueror of kingdoms, a steadfast vinr – open-handed and wise.
Rig Hárr ruled all he saw, and his sight extended far.
Upon his mighty seat, Hliðsjálf, Hárr looked gladly upon all of Manheim,
So that nothing escaped his keen eye.
Ever vigilant at Hárr’s legs are his trusted wolves,
Geri and Freki – they who run faster than rushing water after a storm.
Thirst and Hunger they are, for Hárr ever thirsts for knowledge,
And hungers for much-knowing.
Ever perched at Hárr’s arms are his loyal ravens,
Hugn and Munin – they who fly swifter than an arrow on wind.
Thought and Memory they are, for Hárr’s mind is quick to remember the cunning ways.
With these great gifts, still he was unsatisfied.
He had accomplished much but sought to experience more.
Ruling his world was not enough; for ever he yearned for wisdom profound –
A greater gain than gold alone.
And so he sought out an old vinr, Mimir – the great and wise rememberer –
A Jötun whose wisdom was as deep as the Well he warded.
Seeking those depths, Hárr pledged his very eye to peer into that much-knowing pool.
Even so, his vision was muddy, his hand was held, and he was unable to see.
So he journeyed far to the harrow of Gullveig-Heið,
Furnishing her with gold rings, so that she might speak the wise-sayings,
Prophesizing from her Staff and Helstead.
Admonished him she did! Called him ‘blind’ she did!
Speaking to him like none other ever had!
Telling him that desire is not enough, not even striving!
For only by seeking the dangerous path does one find Troth.
The Ferocity of Will alone makes one whole!
And so it was that Hárr left behind his tall and true
Beautiful wise woman who was his left hand,
And left behind the fierce and noble warband that was his right hand.
Setting his two brothers upon Hliðsjálf – his mighty seat – Hárr walked Mannheim,
From one pub-stead to another, from one farmstead to the next.
So beloved was he that every stead welcomed him,
Laying out a rich table with the finest of ales,
But Hárr sought the separation that Gullveig-Heið spoke of,
So walked far he did. So far that none knew him, and sometimes he went hungry,
And sometimes he was set upon by thieves, and sometimes he was cold,
For he arrived too late to sit by the fire. Thus began Hárr’s Ordeal.
In the many seasons that passed – that only Mundilfari knows the number of –
First, Hárr learned the ways of men – their worldly insight and advice.
Then he sought the primal source of wisdom, from the Gýgjar,
Ancient Mothers with gifts of greatness.
After – he found a mighty Thule,
And at his knee did Hárr learn forn siðr, the ancient customs.
And it was here that he realized separation and the Need to sacrifice,
Upon the Great Tree, self to Self.
Runes came to him then, the great mysteries,
And he spoke aloud their galdr for all to hear.
And it was through these deeds that he became a Tivar.
No longer was he Hárr, for Hárr still hung upon that windswept Tree – dead.
Who rose from that Ordeal was Wodan – for Wod was upon him.
~Excerpt from Hávamál: The Language of Being
By: Valarie Wright (forthcoming)