nadon (nadon) wrote,

Pagan Virtues Day! Woo!

In honour of Pagan Virtues Blogging day, I'm posting the Nine Virtues bit of my ADF Dedicant Program. Enjoy!

The Nine Virtues of ADF: wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverence, hospitality, moderation and fertility.

To be wise one must have information and experience about an undertaking or decision. It is not enough to have knowledge or an opinion, one must apply consideration before moving forward. A wise person looks at a situation through various lenses and integrates the perspectives to find clarity. Wisdom is the ability to say what needs to be said in a given situation be it a story, a judgement or simply to admit that one has nothing helpful to contribute. Wisdom can come from having years of life experience and seeing the ways in which others deal with their affairs. Wisdom can come from taking advice from others and experiencing the outcome. Wisdom can also come from teaching or leading, because the teacher or leader must first be the pupil and as the wheel turns, little eggs of wisdom begin to hatch like fortune cookies, those old expressions return with a powerful punch as you live them and learn to pass the stories on.

To be pious one must be mindful and respectful of the actions and words one is using; to honour the Gods and Spirits as one encounters a sacred skill or tool or a natural or holy manmade feature. It is to reframe the mundane in a spiritual context whenever possible and to be thankful and impressed by the divine. Piety involves following a number of rules found in mythology history and alluded to by the domains of the gods themselves. Piety is not just remembering to light a candle once a day and recite a piece of poetry. Piety is about yearning, it is about surrendering the love and devotion you have to your pantheon or patron and feeling it come back to you. It is about the experience of communion with something greater that includes you. It is about feeling your spirituality at work, and giving credit to the gods when synchronicity and magic bubble up into your life. It is also about celebrating the awesomeness that the gods represent and embody.

To have vision is to be goal-oriented in the long term and passionate about detail in the present. It is to view the state of things through a lens and to recognise that lens as a tool not an absolute truth. The visionary can shift focus from an atomic perspective through a cosmic perspective and has a fair knowledge of the path that lies ahead. Vision is a quality that makes leaders excellent at bringing people together to share a lens or to appreciate where other individuals come from. It is acknowledging and appreciating the fact that every person has an individual consciousness and that when barriers such as discrimination and anxiety are pulled away, a group can share more deeply in each others lives. Vision can also be a creative outlet when artistic vision is inspired, either through found art objects or the more formal media such as literature, music and painting. Many artists choose mythological themes and deities for their work. These pieces hold viewers in awe and pass a new sense of vision onto them.

Courage is to have enough strength of heart to confront unnecessary adversity. It is to move forward on one's path despite intimidating roadblocks and to clear the way for others. Courage is following through on commitments even when they hold unexpected twists. The courageous person stands up for the truth and a set of beliefs or standards held by the community or the individual. Spiritual courage is about finding your inner truth and accepting challenges to it so that you will always grow strong in spirit, even as things change. It takes courage to research your hearth culture and shift your current faith paradigm and to admit that you were mistaken or uninformed. It takes courage to join a grove of people you don't know and to participate whole-heartedly in the midst of strangers. Even in a time where all is good, courage is being prepared and keeping watch for challenges on the next leg of the spiritual journey.

To have integrity is to behave in a genuine manner. Integrity is an ongoing demonstration that people can count on you. It often means keeping your word and not making promises you won't keep. Integrity involves a display of respect in one's interactions with others; it can involve active listening, keeping matters confidential where appropriate or regularly arriving early to ceremonies and events. Integrity is not a value that one can limit to spiritual matters, it is a constant demonstration of the whole interwoven package of values. A person with integrity is generally confident and well regarded, they set a good example for others without getting an overblown ego. People of integrity are often trusted by the individuals they interact with and their actions are not often questioned. Integrity can mean making occasional personal sacrifices or being nominated for leadership roles for a group or community. In instances of conflict, integrity helps people to react in a cool and clear-headed way so that they can be fair and honest.

Perseverence in a spiritual context begins with the motivation toward the cultivation of a personal spirituality and it has no final objective nor destination. The journey toward spiritual goals of self-knowledge, hearth culture and personal relationships with the gods and spirits is not an easy one for the individual and it seems to become more challenging to integrate the needs and desires of a grove of people. Perseverence is an optimistic struggle through the difficulties that arise. Roadblocks such as finishing that boring book, scheduling ritual, and finding time to meditate at home are unavoidable. To persevere is to be serious about the objective and to work alongside others who are having similar difficulties. Perseverence can be a small, quick, late night hearth ritual at the end of an exhausting day, it can be politely listening to grandma's disapproval of your beliefs, or it can be a month of planning and memorization before an important rite. It is facing spirituality with a proper attitude of accepting and expecting the challenges and belief in the rewards of, for example, a personal spiritual experience or a particularly moving grove ritual. Showing perseverence in all one does is also a demonstration of courage and integrity.

Humans are social creatures and hospitality is essential to getting along well. Hospitality involves recieving guests in a friendly and open way. In the ancient sense, such as in Homer's Odyssey, hospitality sometimes meant offering a stranger a bath, a meal and a rest before asking who they are and where they're coming from and going to. This is also where we get the tradition of a gift for a gift, even if one of the gifts is storytelling. Today, hospitality can mean making a pot of tea for a friend or making space for people to sleep after a late party. In many pagan circles the people travel, hospitality is organizing a ride share or having a meeting space open in advance of the event. Many people have shifted away from phone calls in favor of the Web, yet I think getting to know each other outside of ritual and feast space is important to generate a tightly woven circle. For me, sending out and accepting social calls to and from grove members and being a well-behaved guest is essential. Attending public functions like moots, lectures, workshops, pagan pride days and festivals is also a chance to share humour, benevolence and genuine interpersonal communication.

Being able to enjoy life's pleasures to a healthy, stable degree. To have moderation, one must take action for the pleasure or necessity of the experience, for example drink to drink, not drink to get drunk or remain thirsty and eat to eat rather than eat and be hungry or full. A moderate person would dress, decorate their home, joke around, get exercise and in all things with an Aristotelian golden mean in mind. By that I mean, there is an appropriate level to be reached of anything one does, and when the context shifts, so does the mean. Being humorous and lively at a large family meal is great, unless it is a funeral feast. Moderation is also a form of self-control. If one is gaining or losing weight, moderation can counterbalance that. Moderation applies to both mental and physical health and well-being. It is also about timing. Knowing when to talk and when to listen, when to spend and when to save, when to rush and when to take your time. In the spiritual sense, we need to make time for cultivating ourselves and it is not always easy to get the right amount of meditation and hearth work every day. Living a moderate way in all regards helps with each aspect of the day and one's lifetime.

The ability of something or someone to be creative. Fertility can apply to farms, vegetables and grains. It can mean animal and human reproduction. Fertility for me often means a capacity for producing artwork and tending to houseplants. The more creative power in something, the more fertile it is. Fertility is important to me because I believe in biodiversity and I honour the organisms and ecosystems that surround us and permeate us. Fertility can be about sustainability because the way some crops are grown leaves the ground leeched of nutrients and therefore infertile. Fertility also impacts the way humans interact, the healthier we are the more attractive we are to one another, and this allows us to accomplish more creative activity together, whether it is work, play, art or sexuality and parenting. To be fertile, one must try to reciprocate the gifts we have been given in this life, making transformations with anything or anyone we interact with.
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