Of Wolves and Ravens – Self-Reliance: Leaned Out and Building Strength

Happy Tyr’s Day


The thing about the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) is that the definition of self-reliance is simply ‘the spirit of independence’ and I find the simplicity of that definition to be its greatest strength. The rest of the virtue simply extends that out to the family, tribe and nation but the definition is that self-reliance is ‘the spirit of independence’. Independence is defined as free from outside control, not dependent on another for living and subsistence and thinking and acting for yourself.  To be self-reliant means to embrace the process by which you live in freedom of choice, lifestyle and thought.

There is probably no virtue of the NNV that I resonate with more. Liberty and the freedom that goes with it, is something I hold very dear. I get more angry about people trying to control me, make me dependent on them or trying to tell me what to think and do than anything else. I will not be controlled.

I also get mad when I watch people in my country casually sacrifice their rights and freedoms on the altar of security.  Dependence makes you less secure not more secure. You want security? Embrace the spirit of independence that allows you to secure as much of it as you can for yourself and by yourself. There is really no true security in his world, so live free so that way you at least you will have a wonderful life without fear.

There are two obstacles to self-reliance and both of them are internal.  1) Is to attach to many things to yourself, so that you are so obligated to other things and people who you never really can make a choice about what you want.  2) To not strengthen yourself enough to stand on your own. I say both are internal because to become dependent involves a choice to do so.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

People thrive more in freedom.  They become more of what they are capable of, when they have the liberty and freedom to pursue what makes the happy and fulfilled. Now, I don’t care what circumstances surround you, this need can always be fulfilled.  The government, religion and other factors really cannot bind a truly free person. The Virtue is always livable.  It is something we need.

The problem with this is we need to spend time strengthening ourselves and not weighing ourselves down with obligations that really do not serve us.  We should act on what gives us Joy rather than what others think we should do. It is why I embrace minimalism as a part of my philosophy. It allows me to lean myself out so that I can concentrate more on strengthening the things that give me joy.  I will talk more about the aspects of my minimalism the next cycle, but if there is any key to maintaining an attitude to independence, it starts there.

Wants (Freki):

Yes, I want self-reliance.  The one thing that I have learned is that dependence can lead to disaster.  I was very dependent on others in my last job; and quite frankly it is what bit me in the ass in the end, because those people proved untrustworthy.  I want to be in a place that even if relationships turn out to be false again, it doesn’t throw me off because I am not dependent on them.

Reason (Huginn):

Reason tells me that I must make decisions that regularly reflect on the question of do I need this or do I want this?  To many times we are following the impulses of what we want without thought of how dependent we are becoming on others to get them.  We also don’t think of how that new thing or relationship might make us obligated to the point we lose some of our freedom. I need and want self-reliance and we will not get it by simply following our impulses.  We need instead to be very deliberate about our choices in who we are in relationships with and what things we take on responsibility for.  That requires thought every time.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom tells is that liberty, freedom and self-reliance are precious things that need to be guarded and maintained. They are not easily won and so they should not easily be discarded. This constant vigilance of mind and heart is the price for it, but the benefits are truly better than the alternative.


Self-reliance is something I strive for.  I have to on the one hand not bring anything in my life that drains it and I also have to strengthen myself in ways so I can maintain it. There is a constant battle here but one that is well worth it at the end of the day.

I remain,

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.


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