Tuesday, August 11, 2020
Witchy Tea Time--the Havamal
"Sorrow eats the heart if you cannot tell someone your whole mind."
First impressions about this quote--I think the singular form is significant (those more familiar with the Havamal are free to correct me!) I don't think such openness of expression is intended or counseled to be for the broader world--that interpretation just wouldn't fit with the overall impression I've gotten of the philosophy behind the text. On those grounds, we can dispense with the idea that this speaks for our modern concept of free-speech, or our even more modern penchant for opening our soul on the internet in hopes of finding support and acceptance from at least a few people.
This strikes me as referring to the need to have one, yes one, person to whom one can truly open up--be that a friend, relative or spouse. To have no one who can hear the whole of what you think and know they share the same bond with you is crushing. Perhaps that is one of the more painful expressions of loneliness--not just being alone in a crowd (which can be awkward enough), but to feel alone around one's supposed nearest and dearest.
The idea of sorrow eating the heart is quite interesting because it speaks to the nature of sorrow--it consumes. This is why it's dangerous to allow sadness and depression to linger over long--such things don't just bring us down, they can make us sick and make us incomplete.
The need for closeness may not be the first thing we associate with the Havamal, or with Norse and Germanic ancient cultures--but perhaps we are too bullied by the images created in popular culture of those peoples, and by extension the gods.
In our own time the lack of closeness between people is marveled at with horrified fascination by some, or with an existentialist sense of inevitability, or by the frustration of those who can clearly diagnose the nature of the problem but lack practical solutions. It's fashionable to blame social media for much of the worlds ills, but social media is a reflection and amplification of who we are and already were. Does it make things worse--I would say almost certainly. Is it the cause? I reject that premise whole-heartedly. Consider the Wiccan phrase, "as within, so without". What we are seeing on social media that which was already in our selves--but preserved, scrutinized in detail and put under a magnifying glass. The view is distorted (which is why there is no sense of proportion on social media, and I doubt there ever will be), but it is based on something real, and is partly why it's so difficult to break the chains and reinvest in relationships with people we can see and hear and touch.
What is the solution? Even with the vanity of my Sun in Leo, I will not pretend to have solved the world's problems on this score. What I will say is that it strikes me as being reasonable, as a first step, to set some boundaries between ourselves and social media. Does it need to be the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing we see at night--or can we keep to a different routine? Is it necessary to be constantly plugged in or can we carve out scheduled times to shut it off and focus on the waking world?
Once we get some time away from it (I had some time away yesterday afternoon, thanks to a thunderstorm that knocked out the power for a few hours), where can we refocus out energies? Is there room to nurture the bonds we already have or even make room for someone else? Will we use this as an opportunity to build a relationship in which we *can* speak our minds fully and open our heart completely?
"Sorrow eats the heart is you cannot tell someone your whole mind."