Happy Tyr’s Day
“Fidelity is the will to be loyal to one’s Gods and Goddesses, to one’s Folk, to one’s self, and loyalty to one’s friends was as valued as highly as loyalty to one’s family.”
Principle: Be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.
Fidelity or Loyalty, also known is Asatru as Troth, is something in certain areas I have struggled with from time to time. That said, when I was first embracing the Nine Noble Virtues after my recent affair, I didn’t list it as number one or even two as the virtues I needed the most. It actually finished in the middle much to some people’s surprise at the time. I will get to why I assessed Fidelity at that level in a moment. The real issue first is what is fidelity?
This is the only time I found the website Ravenbok a little disappointing because they focused on two issues marriage and loyalty to the gods. In marriage, the point out the obvious in the idea of sexual fidelity and loyalty to one’s vows to one’s spouse. They do that being loyal to the deities of Asatru might be challenging.
My definition of Fidelity goes much further than that, and recent experience has allowed me to visualize and define it much more completely. My definition includes the following loyalties to be aware of: The divine, family, self and friends. One principle comes from the definition that friends are treated like family in the case of loyalty. The other principle is my stated principle which is to be loyal to those who have been loyal to me.
It is this reciprocal understanding of loyalty that is instinctual to me and it is a double-edged sword. First, it is inherent to my being. My personality type (INFJ) is focused on this idea of standing for each other and reciprocal loyalty, to violate this would be a violation fo who I am in a lot of respects. It is not impossible to do, but very difficult. It means that usually, it will be the other person who breaks faith with me before I break faith with them. That I have only broken up with one girl in all my years of dating before I got married, the rest broke up with me. Universally ‘friends’ walk away from me before I have ever walked away from them.
The other edge to the sword is to understand my loyalties are interconnected but loyalty to self is essential to maintain balance. I often maintain loyalties to others at the expense of loyalty to myself and that usually ends in disaster. By making sure it is central and all other loyalties are related to it, I can overcome this, but it takes a lot of thinking to make sure I am being loyal to myself. It is not as instinctual, so I have to work at it.
In the end, it is not if I will be loyal or show fidelity in a relationship, but why that matters and that is why I ask why I am in each relationship constantly now. It all centers on if that relationship also reflects loyalty to self now. If it doesn’t then there is something wrong with it that can lead to problems. To fix it, I need to ask how I can change the relationship so the fidelity in it is reciprocal again. If it can’t be changed, then it is time to acknowledge that it might be that the other person is disloyal and the relationship needs to be abandoned rather than me showing blind loyalty to it. Time to walk away before I get hurt.
It is treating myself like a human being and being loyal to myself is a new learning process when it comes to loyalty. In this case, thinking of loyalty in terms of the wolves and ravens helps a lot and gives me the visualization I need most of the time.
To the Wolves and Ravens:
“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”
I never made any progress in understanding fidelity until I learned that seriously considering what I need and want is important. Learning to feed the wolves is important because if they don’t get fed they go rogue on me. The morph into a monster that. In order for my relationship and the fidelity that is in them to bring virtue and strength, what I need has to be equally considered with the other person. If I don’t consider what I need in that relationship, it will fail in the end because the wolves will become famished and then lash out.
This includes not just need but want. If I find myself giving up my goals and desires more often than the other person this is going to be a problem in the same way as needs can become a problem. I would say learning to feed the wolves is the best way to keep them from going wild, from becoming so hungry the consume me and those I love. This forms the best way for me to understand loyalty to myself. “Feed the wolves”
Yes, reason does say to be considerate of the needs and want of others in relationships and the nature of loyalty. Fidelity, however, is a two-way street and my problem is not showing loyalty but in making sure I receive it in return. That by being loyal I am not losing myself. Fidelity is about being true to all relationships and that includes the one you have with yourself.
Finding the wisest path that offers loyalty to self while maintaining loyalty that is reciprocal is the challenge these days. Learning that loyalty to myself is important is one thing, living it given it is more natural for me to sacrifice than to embrace my needs and wants is not a natural act. It however essential as I have learned from painful experience. The big challenges remain: 1) What do I mean by loyalty to the divine? and 2) What level of loyalty to myself is required that finds balance with loyalty to others? It is these two questions that keep me writing and meditating.
I am still learning, but I can’t deny the value of the view of Troth or Fidelity that the followers of Asatru have. I have been asked by some why I came back to my wife and from her side, it was the end of denying she was part of the problem. From mine, it was meditating on the value of the virtue of loyalty and coming to a painful realization that the problem was not loving my wife enough, but loving myself enough so I could love my wife enough. Only time will tell if I learn this enough and fast enough to make all my relationships stronger.
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.