Written discussion of the Dedicants understanding of each of the following virtues: wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation, and fertility. The Dedicant may also include other virtues, if desired, and compare them to these nine (125 word min. each)
Our Own Druidry: good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.
Noun: the quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; sagacity, discernment, or insight.
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter.”
Wait. There is much to be gained by taking your surroundings in. Watch. See the flowers bloom and the people rush by. Listen. The words spoken to you as a child and echoing in your head even now. Remember. Let your memories wash over you. Weigh. Every action will spark a reaction. Acceptance. Know that which is not your fault and take responsibility for what is. Wisdom. Taking what your know and have learned and applying it so that your every action results in the intended reactions. Knowing the difference between that which you can and cannot change and knowing the difference between what you sparked, and what you had no hand in. Initially innate, you must be patient, attentive, and willing to adapt in order to gain the knowledge of the truly wise, and in order to be truly wise, you must be able to take that knowledge and apply it to your actions.
Our Own Druidry: correct observance of ritual and social traditions; the maintenance of the agreements, both personal and societal, that we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty.
Noun: reverence for god(s) or devout fulfillment of religious obligations
“It is rash to intrude upon the piety of others: both the depth and the grace of it elude the stranger.” ~ George Santayana
Piety is a fire that never hungers and a well that echoes ever deep. It is a relationship built on *ghosti. Sometimes pious acts feel like just going through the motions, and often when the days are darkest, that’s all it is. But it is going through those motions, and experiencing the Gods in every aspect of your life, that will eventually lead to a relationship. Though you may observe every High Day, that is not piety. Neither is only going to your altar when you need something. Keeping the Old Ways everyday and walking the path everyday is piety.
Yes, I must live my life with all the demands of living in this society. I need to have a job, I need to pay my bills, but I also need to live everyday honoring the Gods. If I consider the Gods in my everyday life, then I am living in a way that honors the old ways. To the ancient Greeks, religion was not just something that only happened at festivals, relegated to only certain days and times. It was steeped into everything they did, every moment of every day. It was an inextricable part of their life, and that is how I strive to live mine. When I drive into the sunrise every morning and praise Eos, when it storms and I give thanks to Zeus, when I see Kore in a flower, when I see Artemis in the wild animals… that is everyday piety.
I grew up saying prayers every night before bed and now I have adjusted that idea to fit my concept of piety. I have a litany I repeat every night, as a reminder to myself and to the Gods that this is the path I walk, and while it is the words and actions I save especially for them that are the best offering and the deepest sacrifice, I see them, hear them, and honor them everyday.
Our Own Druidry: The ability to broaden one’s perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present, and future.”
Vision (noun): the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be: prophetic vision
“Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” ~Joel Barker
While Our Own Druidry relates Vision more to knowing your place in the cosmos I see it in a different light: Vision is having a purpose in life. Not just seeing where you stand, but having some idea of where you are going. It is a gift that allows a person to see clearly where they stand in relation to others. It allows them to take their knowledge of what has happened in the past and apply that knowledge to similar situations and circumstances to be able to predict what future outcomes may be. In Neo-Pagan circles, we refer to it as divination, but it doesn’t have to apply that way. After all, in school when we learn history, we’re not just doing it to memorize facts for a test, though it may seem that way. Learning about your past, your country’s past, your religion’s past, humanity’s past and synthesizing it is what allows us, as the current generation, to attempt to learn from and avoid the mistakes that our ancestors made. It helps us to avoid those same traps. So Vision is understanding where you came from sp you can find your place in the cosmos and develop a purpose for your life.
Our Own Druidry: the ability to act appropriately in the face of adversity.
Noun: the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” ~Ambrose Redmoon
While the dictionary defines Courage as having no fear, I believe that Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is when you can laugh away fear in the face of danger. Your knocking knees and shaking hands covered by your display of confidence. The rush of adrenaline as you face head on that which scares you the most. You keep your head in the face of adversity. Like the stallion who charges the mountain lion to protect his mares and foals. Like the mother bird who feigns injury to lure away the predators. Like the African buffalo who charges forth to rescue a captured calf, even though it may mean death. Standing strong is not the only display of strength however. Fear does not overtake you or control your actions. You carry on, pick up the pieces, and try again in spite of the challenges and difficulties. Courage is the rising song in your heart that strengthens your resolve and buoys your confidence driving you and those around you to rally.
Our Own Druidry: Honor; being true to one’s self and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, and self-confidence.
1. adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.
2. the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished
“If we are ever in doubt about what to do, it is a good rule to ask ourselves what we shall wish on the morrow that we had done.” ~John Lubbock
I am only as good as my word, without that, I am nothing. This is something I have tried to hold myself to my whole life, and have also held others to. I’ve been told that I’m naïve and childish in this respect, as though my expecting people to be honest and true to what they say is a bad thing. Integrity is not just being honest with others and keeping your word though. That’s just the external part of it. Integrity is also being true to and honest with yourself. If you go against what is your true self for too long, then you will eventually break and lose yourself to whatever other forces you’re caving into. If you have integrity you will not compromise your beliefs, you will be self-confident in upholding your beliefs, you will be fair and honest to others and expect them act the same way towards you.
Our Own Druidry: Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult.
Perseverance (noun): steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
“The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground.” ~Buddhist proverb
Perseverance is the flame that continues to burn inside you when the storm seems the worst. Sometimes it burns bright and strong with no trouble, though this is often only when the winds are calm, and the Theoi are easily heard on the breeze. When times become difficult, and the rain is pounding down, the flame flickers, just barely keeping alight. The sound of the rumbling thunder seems to drown out the Gods, and the lightning blinds you from seeing them in your life. It is then that the flame needs to be tended most, and cared for. And just as it seems as though it may extinguish itself in the whipping wind you remember: The Gods are always present in your life, and will hold you close and keep you tending that small flickering light. After all, even when the storm seems worst, it is still the mighty Zeus.
Our Own Druidry: Acting as both gracious host and appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honoring of a gift for a gift.
1. the friendly reception and treatment of guests or strangers.
2. the quality or disposition of receiving and treating guests and strangers in a warm, friendly, generous way.
“If it were not for guests all houses would be graves.” ~Kahlil Gibran
Hospitality is an imperative quality to have. The Gods reward those who welcome guests into their home, as shown in the myths of the Greeks. When I was in college, and not yet a member of ADF or Three Cranes Grove, I was taking an ethnography class where our assignment was to learn about a subculture through observations and interviews. Already being a member of the school’s Pagan Student Association I was in contact with two members of 3CG and ADF: MJD and Anna Banana. They graciously allowed me to interview them for my project. I was nervous about having to record the interview, but the thing that struck me the most about both of them was the hospitality, the *ghosti that they both demonstrated. Anna welcomed me into her apartment and gave me a tour and offered me dinner she’d cooked before we even got started. Mike did the same. He drove me to and from campus, gave me a tour of his house and introduced me to his cats. I had brought spaghetti to make for dinner, which we did. After the preliminary welcoming they both spoke freely about their spiritual lives, showed me their altars, and generally made me feel welcome. Of all the information I took away from those interviews, the thing that struck me most deeply was how welcome they made me feel. I was a guest in their homes, and they welcomed me in friendship and freely shared all they could. When MJD and Anna welcomed me into their homes they were gracious hosts. When I thanked them profusely, shared in the making of dinner, and listened attentively to their stories I was an appreciative guest.
Our Own Druidry: Cultivating one’s appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical) through excess or deficiency
Noun: the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance.
“Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.” ~W. Somerset Maugham
Moderation seems great in theory. It makes sense that you should not completely deprive yourself of anything, nor should you overly indulge in anything. But to me this has always seemed to resonate with the concept that everything should be taken in bland amounts. This is where the joking phrase “Everything in moderation, even moderation,” comes in. If you are moderate in absolutely everything you do, then that can begin to deprive you of the exhilartion and wonder of life. So, while I think it is important to be careful that you don’t become addicted to anything, nor irrationally avoid anything, it is just as important to have sometimes splurge or have “cheat” days. If you were moderate all the time, you would not know where your limits were on either end of the spectrum, and you would not appreciate what gifts are given as much.
Our Own Druidry: bounty of mind, body, and spirit involving creativity and industry, and appeciation of the physical and sensual, nurturing these qualities in others.
1. bearing, producing, or capable of producing vegetation, crops, etc., abundantly; prolific: fertile soil.
2. bearing or capable of bearing offspring.
3. abundantly productive: a fertile imagination.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Howard Thurman
The very first impression I get when I hear the word “fertility” is the picture of field full of grain that will lead to a bountiful harvest. The difference between a fertile and fallow field can mean life or death. I think that if we take that metaphor of a field and apply it to ourselves the consequences can be just as dire. An active, or fertile, imagination is one of the main components for innovation and inspiration. Without inspiration we would be desperately trying to connect and praise the Kindred, but would be lacking the words and actions to do so. With fertility we can create greats works of art, we can speak eloquently, and we can encourage those around us to do the same. Fertility is having a great abundance of ideas that we have the ability to make reality in order to enrich our lives, the lives of those around us, and to honor the Kindreds.