Stav Haiku

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Haiku is a form of poetry, originating in Japan, in which the poet expresses the idea in his mind using only 17 syllables, divided into three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables.

I took this idea and converted it to fit Stav philosophy by using 18 syllables and divided them into three lines of 6, 7 and 5 syllables, to fit with the number of Runes per aett (counting Nodd as three).

The idea of Haiku is not to write ‘a sentence’ and chop it into three lines. Rather, each line should be complete in itself, though connected to the others.

Additionally, each line can be associated with the class of its aett, so the first line is Karl, the second Jarl and the third Herse. So, for Karl consider the self and responsibilities relating to the subject; for Jarl consider the wider aspects of the subject and for Herse consider sacrifice and service.

So, on the subject of ‘Stav’:
Karl: Learn to stand by yourself
Jarl: Seek the pathway to Orlog
Herse: Show others the way

Another way of looking at it is to consider the first line as Aesgard, the second as Midgard and the third as Hel. So, for Aesgard consider the higher or spiritual aspects of the subject, for Midgard consider the worldly matters and daily life and for Hel consider impermanence, mystery or rebirth.

Again, on the subject of ‘Stav’:
Aesgard: The right path to Orlog
Midgard: Found within the common-place
Hel: Ever renewing

Or you can reverse them so Hel comes first. The important thing is that you consider each line and what you want to say in it, along with how you want to say it.

Another way that Haiku has value to Stav philosophy is that, because the poems are so brief, they force you to look at exactly what you want to say about the subject. Getting your meaning across in so few syllables makes you look at the reality of the subject and your feelings towards it: in other words, you need to see the Web of the subject.

This will only be the reality of how you perceive it at that time: if you write a Haiku on the same subject a week later, it will be subtly different because you’re focussing on a different aspect of it. Because of this, it’s a useful tool for working with the Runes: when you do a Rune reading, rather than try and ‘interpret’ it, write a Haiku on each Rune and see what aspect/s of the Rune you are focussing on at that moment. This will give you a very personal indication of what the Rune is saying to you right now.

Here are six I wrote on six different Runes at six different times. See if you can tell which Runes they represent and, possibly, what was on my mind at the time of writing. There are no right or wrong answers to this little exercise.

Milk Mother, Mead Woman
The Earth is full of richness
A mother to us

Wealth, possessions through this
Cattle of the fertile Lord
The gift of Faery

Bear-riding arrows fly
Gliding over ice and snow
Death-Tree’s dark shelter

The rot sets in with time
Wild card goading to change
Mischievous cancer

Frozen bridge ‘cross chasm
Forming treacherous passage
Lightly tread its path

Hidden death in darkness
Coffin-lodger putrefies
Allowing new life

If you draw three Runes, you could also try writing one Haiku, with each line a different Rune from the reading: Harsh roadways ridden hard Thorny guard hammers the wall Change is hard to bear Remember, these aren’t intended to be a literal interpretation of the meanings behind the Runes, rather they are what they mean to you right now. This is only a brief introduction to Haiku in general, and Stav Haiku in particular. Since Stav is a living system, it’s open to our own interpretation, and the most important thing is to find our own way of making Stav work for ourselves. Therefore, play with the ideas I’ve presented. Try using the syllables in different orders – such as the Herse, Jarl or Konge sequences. See if you can work the Trell and Konge into your verses. Try writing three Haiku on the same subject, but in different styles. Create a nine-line poem consisting of three Haiku. Develop your own system entirely. The possibilities are endless. ~ by David Stone