Happy Tyr’s Day
I started following the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru simply because they were a good list of virtues I wanted in my life. In large part, it was my constant meditation on the Virtue of Fidelity that eventually brought me back to my wife. These nine virtues are now a very essential part of my own spiritual practice using my understanding of what it means to be a pagan. What it means to be an honorable human being for that matter.
What I began to discover is that Asatru is a whole very new and modern form of neo-paganism. It attempts to recapture the pagan root of the Germanic and Scandinavian world before Christianity took over. The video below is a very good overview of what Asatru is as a religion by a man taking a very informative view on it. He recommends a book that is on the way to my house at the time of this writing. I want to learn more out of curiosity sake if nothing else.
My own practice has very little to do with the religious aspects of Asatru. I follow the virtues. I find the stories of Norse Mythology and the various practices of Asatru inspiring and fascinating but ritual and religion are not a central thing to me. My issue is living a good life following after virtue. I must say though if I was ever going to be ‘religious’ again – I would pick this one. More practical than most of them.
I center most of my personal paganism on following a life philosophy that leads to prosperity of life. Whether it is the prosperity is foundational, business or for myself. If there is a god, or gods or whatever, I am fairly sure they expect me to handle my own issues. There is no real wrong or right way to a pagan after all so perhaps my paganism is as much about my philosophy of life as spirituality. This actually fits well with Asatru so there is a lot of common ground between me and those who practice the more religious aspect of Asatru. Both of us find the simplicity and challenge of the Nine Noble Virtues to be central to achieving personal peace and prosperity.
To the Wolves and Ravens:
If you have ever lost your faith in something or left behind an old religion, you will know the need for finding something that grounds you and gives you ethical and moral focus. In my case, I found the Nine Noble Virtues fairly quickly to be a value centering philosophy that didn’t require the religious element. There was a hole in my moral and ethical philosophy, a real need, and the NNV filled it quite nicely.
I wanted something solid and simple as a philosophy to live by. I got sick of the multitude of interpretive points one could give to Christian scripture and you could pretty much make the Bible say whatever you wanted with very few limitations. I also wanted to dump the whole appeal to authority issue and while the NNV are solid virtues, they can not be looked at authority so much as a guide. The only authority I have for my moral philosophy and ethics is myself and so finding something solid to both meditate on and provide a basic framework for that was a big want. The Nine Noble Virtues have performed well in this role.
The Nine Noble Virtues all have the reason element I was looking for. There are very good solid rational reasons to embrace each virtue. They have good results that lead to peace and prosperity. They are rationally practical That said it still takes a lot of thinking to employ them and implement them. They are not easy always in application but they work.
I come back to the wisdom of this quote by Markus Aurelius all the time. Virtue is its own reward in this life to be sure. It creates solid memories for your loved ones and for yourself leads to prosperity and a good life. The afterlife, if there is one, simply becomes a matter of whether there is a good or evil judge on the throne. The good judge should see ones’ virtue and reward it, the evil judge needs human defiance.
Over the next nine weeks, I will be returning to the Nine Noble Virtues one at a time. Every time I do this there is a spiritual awakening of a sort. I may not be a religious follower of Asatru, but I respect the virtues that all of those who follow it try to live up to. It is something I will continue for much of the foreseeable future.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.