Happy Tyr’s Day
Having finished a discussion of all the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru (NNV), we flip to Side B for “Of Wolves and Ravens” which is ten other philosophical discussions: The Higher Virtues, Eastern Philosophy, Western Philosophy, Love, Minimalism, Economics, Justice, Political Science, Libertarianism and Wisdom. The fact that I do this rotation at least twice a year is no accident as there are other philosophical guides to my life that form a significant part of my philosophy of life. A philosophical framework, if you will.
This week is supposed to be the Higher Virtues and it still will cover them, but I want to share a discovery I made while reading Essential Asatru by Diana Paxton. I got to the section near the end on Heathen Virtues and was excited because I was interested to see if there was anything new to discover. This, after all, was why I started gravitating toward Asatru in the first place – the NNV. What I read as short but impactful because it introduced the simple truth that there were more than the NNV as virtues of Asatru and that there was something also called the Six Goals of Asatru. In addition to all this, some of the NNV had other names which gave a different spin on their meaning. While there wasn’t a lot of depth in the book, the simple statement of this was enough to get my wheels turning.
Firstly was the additional virtues that Paxton says some heathen groups have: Equality, Friendship, Strength, Generosity, Kinship, and Wisdom. Wisdom is already one of my Higher Virtues. but the other five merit some discussion. The ideas of Friendship and Kinship are not fully explained but as I see those words I know that in large part represented by the Noble Virtue of Fidelity. I treat my friends like family and Kin but the result is the same for all – I am loyal to those who are loyal to me. Equality and Generosity I would say I have as background understandings of Hospitality and the Higher Virtue of Justice.
One meditation that was good was on Strength. I could imagine the NNV forming the three strands of the higher virtues of Love, Justice, and Wisdom. Then Those three strands forming a strong rope – Strength in a multiple-corded rope of virtue. In a sense Strength is one of the major goals of being a person who follows a code like the NNV.
The Six Goals of Asatru I had never heard of before and it tells me that there may be things inside these Asatru Brethren groups that art taught and encouraged that don’t make it outside them very often. Not secret but not as popular with the general public.
The six goals are: Right, Wisdom, Might, Harvest, Frith (Peace) and Love. It should be noted Love and Wisdom are already considered by me as part of my three higher virtues. Right, I have dubbed Justice. Frith is a new one for me but it means Peace both personal and community. I feel this is a worthy goal and one that would be the result of Justice, Love and Wisdom are acting their part. Might and Strength are related. almost the same but the first refers to the strength of the community as a goal and the second personal moral strength, so there is that connection. Harvest is an interesting one that goes very much with the Virtues of Self-Reliance, Industriousness, and Hospitality.
More significant for me is that Paxton gave different names for some of the NNV that offered a different perspective on how to look at that virtue. Courage has the second name of Boldness. Truth and Honor remained the same, but Fidelity was called Troth which is a very unique word to use and thus indicates its value to the community. Discipline is called Self-Rule, so the idea of personal sovereignty is a part of the idea of Discipline. Hospitality was the same but given some of the other virtues above it becomes very much defined more concretely with more facets. Industriousness is the same. Self-Reliance becomes independence which the goal of Self-Reliance but I can see where it is a virtue in and of itself. Perseverance becomes Steadfastness which adds as I have remarked before the virtue of standing in the midst of adversity not just getting up from failure; it shows this virtue is also a means to victory, not just a response to defeat.
There is a lot to think about here but for now, my definitions will remain the same as changing those is a soul searching decision. I may, however, look at my higher virtues and meditate on them and some of these new ones more to establish a clearer picture.
What’s the point? Some might ask, well…
To the Wolves and Ravens:
“Feed the Wolves, but Listen to the Ravens first.”
Men need a code. Women need a code.
I can tell you what, people should be very glad I found the NNV and started to follow it last year. If I had not I would be a monster without a code of conduct – destructive to both others and myself. I had that ‘women suck’ moment right after the Breakup with Miss Salty and I can tell you I came very close to becoming the Wolf in both the spirit of Fenrir and the predator at that moment. Chaotic, evil and full of rage. I can think of nothing scarier than an empath that is malevolent.
The NNV came along and also filled a need for making sense of myself and getting me some sort of focus that I needed. Otherwise, the wolves would be loose right now and men who wronged me would be targets and women in general objects for my use. In a sense, the NNV helped me find my true self and bring the wolves into my service rather than running wild.
A code also allows you to start focussing properly on what you want and how to properly get it. Otherwise, you have no plan and follow it to the end. Focusing on the virtues you think is important begins to retrain your brain to follow after them and how to achieve them. This is something you want, trust me. No greater progress in your life will be achieved until you first find out what you value.
Mostly though, the NNV brought me back to a reasonable meditation on life and principle. It has brought me to Asatru as a form of spirituality, but it is a rational spirituality, not one that is making shit up. It is focused on value, goals and my journey has purpose because of it. I am not wandering lost. I may wander, but I am not lost, I am engaged in the purposeful pursuit of virtue wherever that journey may take me.
I find there is greater wisdom in the wisdom you discover for yourself than in ‘wisdom’ that is dictated to you. No Wisdom is one size fits all, so to speak. The best wisdom is confirmed by virtue and experience combining into something that allows you to live better. Wisdom may indeed be the highest virtue of them all, but it is also the result of living a code of virtues that you value. For me, it started with adopting the NNV into my life.
Essential Asatru has me thinking about virtue a lot since I read that section. I am looking at it once again very holistically. Mostly though I am glad I adopted the NNV and began to conceive them in a way that was helpful to me in a very dark time. It allowed me to see myself as a human being again and more importantly helped me see others as human beings again. I still have serious trust issues with my fellow humans, but it is getting better. A lot of it has simply been about being true to myself in the full truth of following the NNV as best I can.
I leave you with Marcus Aurelius:
The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard, and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.