Yule is almost here. For many, it is a time of holiness, remembrance, future planning, and feasting. Everybody like s to have a good time, but I don't know of any person who wants to be in the company of a drunken fool, a glutton, or a moron. But let's be honest; when enough alcohol is consumed, all of us easily can put ourselves in the fore-mentioned categories And that would be really bad form. The Havamal is an old collection of common sense wisdom that many of the ancient northern European cultures followed and had put to good use. This wisdom is just as valid and useful today. Let's take a look.
When you are invited to a person's home for a Yule celebration (or for that matter, any), you enter that person's home as his guest. And that home is that person's castle, so remember, the host invited you or you would not be there; the invitation evokes a silent trust that puts certain responsibilities into your hands. The host provides special food, drink, other comforts, and possibly entertainment for your pleasure. Therefore, it is incumbent on you to do two things: first, gift the host with something that shows your appreciation for his hospitality. This does not need to be a thing of a costly amount; sometimes the simplest of things will do. The second is to discipline your personal behavior. Concerning these particular behavioral circumstances, we can take a hint or two from the Havamal.*
Verse 7 - A careful guest who comes to sumble (a certain kind of ritual, or for that matter, any kind of invitation) should listen and learn; listen close and look around you, this way you stay safe from harm.*
My take - Here is an opportunity to learn from others by keeping your mouth shut. This way, you cannot harm yourself by showing your ignorance (or stupidity) when talking about something you know little or nothing about.
Verse 33 - A man should eat early before coming to a feast, or else, he comes and stuffs himself as if he were starving, rudely ignoring the folk around him. (Also see verses 20 and 21)*
My take - Nobody likes a glutton; the host does not have and endless supply of food and drink. If you behave in this manner, you deprive others who have not had a taste or two. So, it makes sense to temper your appetite with a small meal before visiting your host. And, know when the hell it's time to go home. Your host invited you for a few hours; tucking your host and his family into bed is just not cool, and rarely does the invitation extend to breakfast.
Verse 12 - Regardless of what you think, too much drinking is bad for you: the more you drink, the dumber you become.*
My take - Alcohol loosens lips that otherwise should remain closed. Nobody likes a drunken moron. If you behave in this manner, you disrespect your host and give him just cause for not being invited back. All that you can hope to gain from drunken moronic behavior is ridicule from your peers and a DUI from your friendly neighborhood police department. And really, who needs that?
* All quotes from.....Havamal - The Words of the High One, by James Hjuka Coulter, @2007 Third Edition. Published by: Irminen - Gesellschaft.
This is still the best rendition of the Havamal that I've ever read. Thank you Hjuka, where ever you are.