Do Heathen’s have a Golden Rule? There appear to be similar expressions of reciprocity throughout all of mankind. In the West, the Christianized interpretation is commonly known as: Do unto others ..
I have long said that the two most profound texts known to Old European Heathenry, are Hávamál and Völuspá. Both contain powerful verses to live by: the first for every man, the second for those born with a fire in their head. As such, it seems fitting to look to Hávamál for a governing maxim. With that in mind, consider how strongly Heathens feel – and rightfully so – about governing themselves. “I Am My Deeds” .. alone, singular .. self-responsible, steadfast and courageous. My honor is found in my own deeds.
When thinking on this, one verse in particular comes to mind:
Friend should man be to friend and repay gift before gift;
laughter before laughter shall freeman take, and lying before lie.
.. this, and also his friend’s friend. But no-friend shall he be to a friend’s foe.
In accord with the lore-based practice of gift-giving, equally with a keen eye on situational awareness (a concept found frequently in Hávamál), perhaps these two verses, 42 and 43, could be a Heathen’s Golden Rule.
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Image: Wotan’s Zauberring Draupnir
Hávamál verse, Wright translation, from the forthcoming book:
Hávamál: The Language of Being