Both the Need and Human stanzas say that life is guided and determined by the gods, and they both highlight two seemingly contradictory aspects of fate, its changeability and its certainty. Need sends a warning. Listening to omens can bring help when fate turns against us, so you’d better listen up. The Human stanza warns something else: we enjoy life with each other, but only until the gods decide our ultimate fate, the permanence of death, so let’s enjoy each other now while we can.
This is powerful stuff. The gods do not, however, have absolute power. In a world governed by fate (wyrd in Old English), it is not the case that the gods have sole and complete charge over every aspect of our lives. Even with deities such as the omnipresent ones (nosy, deeply involved in human business) belonging to the people of the Rune Poem, people have discernment. People are … More