X- Gebo- Gift Economy

December 20, 2014 at 12:16 am 1 comment

I’m taking a little creative license here- X is the shape of the rune Gebo, which means gift, and I thought with the upcoming gift-giving season it would be a good one to talk about. In ancient Norse and Irish societies, gifts served a very different and more central role in society’s social and economic structure.

Wealth was not to be hoarded, but excess was given away, both as a show of generosity and as a tribute to loyal followers and supporters. Stinginess was considered one of the worst attributes of a king or lord, and hospitality and generosity were considered the greatest of virtues. If the king behaved well, the Gods would be pleased, and the land and people would prosper, but if the king was cruel and stingy, the people would suffer, the crops would fail, and surely the people, and the Gods would not allow him to rule long!

A similar relationship exists between humanity and the Gods- offerings given to Them are expected to be returned with blessings.

Analysis of Stanza 39 of Havamal (the next 2 stanzas further explain the “gift for a gift” concept)

Birthing Justice- the Link to Humanity- Gift Economics (examples in Mali, a West African country)

The Gift Economy: A Model For Collaborative Community– Tikkun magazine, progressive Jewish magazine

Entry filed under: Celtic/Druid, Heathenry. Tags: , , , , , .

Pagan Blog Project Prompts for Letter Z Umoja- Unity

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Haloveir  |  December 21, 2014 at 4:57 am

    The concept of the land withering as the leaders grow stingy and greedy is apparently true…our own land is proof enough of that.

    Excellent reminder!


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