Havamal 27 – Teachings of the High One

Ósnotr maðr
er með aldir kømr
þat er bazt at hann þegi
engi þat veit
at hann ekki kann
name hann mæli til mart
veita maðr
hinn er vætki veit
þótt hann mæli til mart

The foolish man in company
does best if he stays silent,

no one will know that he knows nothing,
unless he talks too much;

but the man who knows nothing does not know
even if he is talking too much

This is one of the most important stanza’s from the Havamal.

When you are in a situation where you are unsure of what is being discussed – you don’t understand the topic or you know little or next to nothing about it, sit silently and listen.

If you pretend to know something about it, you will be caught out by the others in the discussion.

In Havamal 7, Odin says “Much wisdom can be learned from quiet observation”.  This is a lesson we can take with us into our daily lives.  Learning to listen to what is going on around us is one of the best ways to learn.

(Translation courtesy of “The Poetic Edda” translated by Carolyne Larrington,
Oxford World’s Classics found here)


About Norse Stormr

I am heathen. My soul is ancient. I am a warrior but I do not bear arms. I believe we are here as guardians of Midgard, not as despoilers of Jord. I follow the Old Ways, the gods of the north. I am not part of any organised group or affiliation - I prefer to be alone, just as a wolf is until they find their mate. My beliefs are primal and dark. I am a Healer and Mentor - working with the Universe to live in balance. View all posts by Norse Stormr

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