To my knowledge hamingja in Icelandic means mainly «luck», but in Old Norwegian it meant first and foremost vardøger or fylgja («follower», in the meaning «guardian spirit»). A vardøger is a «double» which precedes a person wherever he goes. This spirit is some times seen by other people well ahead of the actual arrival of the person concerned. The direct translation and the original meaning of hamingja on the other hand is «one who walks in hamr». The hamr is the shape, the form, of the person.
So who is it that walks in shapes and forms? And what shapes and forms are we talking about here? The myths tell us that the gods could put on different shapes and thus change into them; birds, snakes, insects, oxen, wolves and so forth. So they too “walked in shapes”.
First though, who or what walks in shapes? The answer is of course our spirits. You are born into a shape, you live (walk) in this shape and then you die. You are then born again, into a new shape, and you live (walk) again and you die again. And so it continues, possibly for all eternity. So our spirits are immortal entities who just change shapes every now and then; we are the ones who walk in shapes! The gods are us, and we are them, and just like the Greek philosophers generally speaking believed; we can walk in all kinds of shapes. From the lowest of creatures (bugs, worms) to the highest of creatures (gods), and in everything in between too. If it is physical and if it has life it is a vessel of some sort of spirit.
We must continue to ask questions though; what then is a “spirit”? The spirits and deities also were said to take the form of trees and other plants, and as explainedhere all life is caused by light. So it would be correct to call our spirits and deities simply by the name “light”. Or perhaps light elves would be better? White light! So the true you is white light walking in shapes.
However, our most noble and highly intelligent forebears claimed that you could add to this light yourself. You could feed it, nourish it and make it greater! Like you can with a rumour! Like you can with your Honour! On a spiritual plane your Honour will also light up the world for others; inspire them, strengthen them in their resolve, comfort them when they are in trouble and help them find the way through the darkness of our world. We know this is true. We still grow from the light created by our long gone Heroes and Heroines; Marcus Aurelius, Tore Hund, Michael Wittmann, Decebalus, Vercingetorix, Araminius, and so forth. Their light is still here; shining, warming and illuminating. They are still here, with us, in us, feeding us spiritually, giving us metaphysical nourishment.
So the hamingja is not just your luck in life, but it is you and the sum of all your Honourable achievements, and also of all the Honourable achievements of your forebears that you have been spiritually nourished by. You can let it wither and fade, through a modern life of shame, that will bring no light to it and only smite it, or you can do as our forebears did and strive for a life of Honour and Glory! A life of Immortal Fame! Be the spiritual light that will nourish your descendants in the future, or cease to be when you die. HailaR WôðanaR!
Hâvamâl, stanza 76
you die the same way yourself;
but I know one thing
which never dies:
an honourable reputation.”