Skáldskapr: She is min dag

Today’s discussion is for the men, and boys, within our group. No offense to the ladies, but this week I’d like to apply some of my ancestral understandings to the situation I hear from time to time when providing counsel to my friends. I apologize for excluding anyone, however, I feel that I need to speak to a certain group with today’s message.

OK men, here we are. Let us fill our horns with mead and lift them high to Ódinn, may he provide us with wisdom and guidance for the message today. Our message is She is my day. What does that mean you may ask? The alternative to another day, is not. Is the decision made by Skald as to your eternal place. So, much like the rising sun on a new day, so too is should be your woman. While we can all sit here around the fire and remanence of the beautiful women we have encountered. The shapes of the bodies, the permissive attitudes, maybe even the desire to have us climb between their thighs, they are not worthy. For, one of the nine Nobel virtues of those Vikings, for fidelity. So, let’s talk about living our lives with honor above all, and the other nine virtues.

As mentioned before, we have listed the nine Nobel virtues that all men of the “Age of Vikings” followed, and honor was above them all. However, scrolling down the list, so too was Fidelity. There are several pieces involved in the overall understanding of Fidelity. However, like the rest of our lives, honor is above all. By reciting the words at the alter, this was your oath. In much the same way that our honor guides the remaining portions of our lives, it too should be here, first and foremost. 

Honor above all was a very powerful agent in the binding of Viking communities. Ultimately the only ticket to Valhalla was to die honorable in battle. Well there are many physical battles in this day and age, but the idea of living honorably should be alive and well. In today’s society it means that we treat our clan as the prized possession they are. We work in concert with our spouse to make an honorable life. That should be our primary mission. What some fail to remember, particularly when during times of stress and struggle, is that the other person may be just as stressed and troubled. Remember, they have just as much vested as we do. We share the whole load of building a life, whether that be chores, working the garden, or earning a living. A team in everything undertaken. When living life honorably, it becomes much easier to remain faithful, as straying breaks ones honor. 

In life, my philosophy is “ære og sandhed frem for alt andet” or “honor and truth above all else”. In this form of thinking, there are several key cornerstones:

  1. My word is my bond. It is very much like making an oath. We know that those who break paths are reserved for the ugly side of Hel to swim in a river of poisonous venom.
  2. Every time I give my word, it becomes the most critical focus I have in my life. I will move mountains to ensure I keep my oath.

When speaking about the honor displayed and embraced by a modern man in today’s time. The oath is the foundation of Norse culture and society, and is an integral aspect of a Norseman’s identity.

Oaths are normally sworn on a ring, traditionally Ullr’s hringr, and involve an exchange of blood. Alternatively, two men can swear an oath by cutting the palm of their hand with a knife in order to draw blood, and by then shaking hands.

There is a wide variety of oaths dependent on each situation.

Hirðmenn would swear oaths of commitment with other Hirðmenn (members of the

Hirð or war band), and oaths of allegiance to hersar, jarlar or konnungr.

Úlfhéðnar units still swear fóstbrœðralag (brotherhood by mutual oath), and other

oaths, following very specific ceremonies and rituals, typically held in secret.

Oaths are unbreakable, and no circumstance whatsoever justifies the breaking of a sworn oath.

Breaking an oath is the worst thing any man could possibly do. Breaking an oath results in níðingr status, and all related consequences of such status, including outlawry, possible enslavement, and even rape (as the man who breaks an oath is no longer a man). Upon death, a níðingr will also be drowning in a river of venom in the Niflhel area of Hel for eternity (at least until Ragnarök).

Any níðingr can physically assault someone who is weaker, or smaller, or physically unequal. There is no honor in that, there is only shame and littleness. It proves nothing to anyone except that you are a coward and weak. In Old Norse they called them Prælar, or workers/slaves. The strongest of real men and warriors know that the Gods of Asguard have placed us here on Midgard to protect those who are physically weaker than us, and that immediately demands that we use our softest fur gloves when handling our women. They are a god-send. In the creation story, Ódinn breathed life into the logs that Vi fashioned into Ask and Embla. They were equal, neither given more life than the other. They were given different attributes in which to support each other, and provide for themselves a life out of the nothingness that was Midgard at the time.

Does she deserve your respect? I say so. They (particularly women of smaller stature) do not deserve to be any less of a human than you are. They are your equal partner in life. Going back to the 900s in Denmark, women enjoyed the same rights and permissions that the men had. In addition, women were quite the warriors as well, attending quite a few raids into England, France, and as far south as the Mediterranean Sea. So, yes they are our equal partner. 

Is your woman a piece of meat? Of course not! She is a critical piece to your survival. I hear it from the friends I communicate with that the male’s think that they are somehow superior to their female counterpart, and I’m here to tell you that if you think that way about your woman, you married, or are with, the wrong woman. She is your equal in every way. However, one thing to be cognizant of, you yourself were no gem when she found you. Especially after a few years of tolerating your ridiculous behavior. In the same way, think about the example we are setting for our young men. Being strong means that you care for someone else. We are never truly strong without the love of something behind us.

Speaking to our ancestral past where our women held down the homestead as we raided the coasts of England and France, particularly during the “Age of the Vikings”. Farming and livestock care in addition to homemaking and child rearing, she actually became a force to be reckoned with. While men ventured out seeking riches, she may also have had to defend the lands from predators and invading forces… Suffice to say, she packed more of a value to the homestead than the men did sometimes, which is why the Viking culture recognized her as an equal to her husband. While your woman may seem smaller, and weaker than you are, that does not diminish her value. While she may seem fragile, she deserves every bit of respect and equality that we, as men, expect. In many cases, women were included among those raiders of foreign coasts and could be every bit as dangerous as any male raiding viking. 

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