Do we show each of these in our life: wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation or fertility? Do we live them in the good times and hardships?
We all know what the virtues are and most of us have gotten far enough along or completed the Dedicant path to know what they mean. But how often do we relook at them and ask, “Are the virtues in practice in my life?” I for one find myself at times having to go back to them and relook at my life.
In today’s hardships, it can be extremely hard to look at each of the virtues and put them into practice. Yet, these times are when we must rely on them most! With the market going further down, storms and nature taking out homes, and people destroying each other; we can rise, we can make a difference! We can set an example of excellence!
Let us look at each virtue and an example of it in action mythology. Through this we can learn what to do or not do to help with the decisions of the future. Through the evaluation of virtues in our own lives, reaching out to each other, and looking to the Kindred to ask for guidance, we can make it through the hardest times!
Wisdom is 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. Wisdom is looking at the whole situation and deciphering what is best and not just what we want to do. Wisdom knows how to look at the here and now while keeping the future in mind. It knows how to plan and not rush into things.
An example of wisdom can be evident in the face of an economical hardship. For instance, it is wise to stay at the secure job instead of going to that commission only job. It is best also to keep that old car that is not causing any problems instead of buying that new one that would put you into dept. In today’s market though, it is wise to buy stock and hold onto it. Right now it is low and when the market goes back up, you can sell and make a profit. But only if you plan on holding on to it for some time and can afford to do so. Do not impulse buy or impulse sale, these would be foolish.
In the Mabigoni, Manawydan shows us wisdom. He does not take Pryderi wishes to take on every battle that comes their way from the jeoulous traders, Manawydan realize it is not a battle worth fighting and moves them to another town. He examines each situation and does not jump in it with out thinking about it and examining the options.
Piety is knowing that no matter what, we must show our respect to our ways. It is still going to that ritual though your house has fallen apart. It is still holding the morning and evening meditations, though there is no altar to worship at. Piety is being able to worship, give reverence, and acknowledging that which we follow. Even if we don’t feel up to it! Some times, that is exactly what is needed to restore faith.
After Ike, it took all I had to walk outside after watching all night the storm ripping apart the neighborhood. I had stayed to take care of my family that would not leave. I could not help though as I saw the clean air, the blue skies, the animals returning, but pay homage and to give thanks. For that night, the nature spirits, ancestors, and Shining ones heard my prayers and protected us from devastation while other areas where whipped off the map. Piety knows to give offering back to the Kindred.
Vision knows that though times are dark, there is a future of brightness ahead. It is planning out what we want in life. It is seeing the good in the bad times. Vision is seeing the house restored after the storm, the market rising, the job getting better. Vision is seeing what we want in life and putting forth the plan to get there.
I use a vision board to help with this. I place on it what I want out of life. I have the nice car, the large house, a child, new clothes, a bank account showing in the black, money to give and save, and the dream job. Now every day, I come in and look at it. I see myself in each of those situations. I see my husband in each of them. I look at my life and see where I need to improve to go forth to it, but I put that energy towards it. I visualize it being in my life, put forth the action to get it, and soon it will come to be.
Courage is standing for what you believe. It is getting up out of bed when your emotions and body says no. Courage is working through the tuff times when running is easier. Courage is also knowing when to ask for help or giving help when no one else will. It is speaking up when all are silent. It is being you and worshiping your way when the majority says it is wrong.
When thinking of courage, I think of the leaders that have made ADF what it is. I think of the authors of the neo-pagan and druid books that can fill a room now. I think of the men and women that have stuck their neck out on the local level to provide a place to worship. And I think of those that took on the not so pleasant rolls when no one else would. These people are show courage because they knew it meant putting up with lots of negativity with just a little positive reinforcement to make things work.
Integrity to stand for what you believe! Integrity is being you and honest with yourself and others. In hard times, it is easy to not believe that what is happening is real. Integrity is accepting it and moving forward. It is keeping your word no matter what. Integrity is holding true to your path.
Today’s times it is easy to let integrity slide out the back door to make ends meet, but reality is that people will remember that. It takes ten good actions to out way one bad action. Integrity can actually work for you if you let it in these times. By being true and honest, you can go far!
Rhiannon shows us integrity beautifully in the first branch of the Mabinogi. She holds true to the truth of the disapearance of her son. She even bears the punishment till he is returned. Rhiannon is a strong woman who stood for her beliefs and truth through every story she is included in. A role model to women today everywhere!
Perseverance is not giving up when things are hard. Perseverance is keeping the ways of the Kindred even when it is easier to just go through the day and not keep any of it. Perseverance is knowing that times will change and we just have to get through these tough times. Perseverance is doing things that you may not want to do just to make ends meet, as long as you stay true to self and path.
This is one of the hardest to be true to in the turmoil of life. When things hit the fan and the world falls apart, some loose that will to keep going on. They change religions, change surroundings, and even who they surround themselves with. Yet if we persevere, we can make it to the other side.
Hospitality is often seen after catastrophes and yet also forgotten soon after. This is a chance to help each other. Whether it be coming together to share a meal or to help clean up an area. This is a chance to work together. Many become very giving right after a disaster, but yet soon forget about it when not right there for them to see.
During Ike, we took in another person to the home with her one year old son. We all made sure that everyone ate and that everyone was comfortable. ADF-Cares stepped up and sent help to those that needed it most. We were a beacon of light in the hard times for people. ADF was known as the group that cared and giving to the community.
In the Mabinogi, Pyredi shows hospitality. He bring Manawydan to his land and gives him Rhiannon. He shares the bounty with him and helps him get on his feet. Pyredi shares with him for years, not just part of the time. He truly shows the meaning of "my home is your home."
Moving onward, we come to moderation. This virtue is shown by not getting the help offered and letting those that really need it get it. Moderation can be seen in the use of food, electricity, gas, and finances in the hard times. Moderation knows that you can not spend $100 on a new outfit, instead spend $10 on a shirt and the rest on food. Moderation is making things work for the best.
Moderation can also mean making sure you have enough nessities in life to make sure you can make it. That the food is there, water to drink, and money to survive. Moderation seems to be the one virtue that we do concentrate on in hard times. It is through this virtue that we make it.
Fertility last but not least among the virtues. It is having the mind set of bounty, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., and an appreciation of the physical, sensual, and nurturing. It is seeing a situation and looking for the ways to get through it. Being creative with time and what you have to work with.
In the hard times, fertility can be seen by what we do. Are we planting seeds to help the future? We must set forth ideas and actions that promote growth. We can also use this virtue to help with finding ways to let out our frustrations and depression through creative projects. Fertility is writing that poem that tells how you feel. It is drawing that picture that lets you express you.
Now that we have looked at each virtue and an example from the Mabigoni that shows this, it is up to you to decide to put it into practice. Virtues are there to help us to become better people and improve our surroundings. Through putting these into practice, we can make it through any thing and make a difference!