According to Our Own Druidry, the Nine Virtues that are a wonderful guideline for a Druid’s way of life are: Wisdom, Piety, Vision, Courage, Integrity, Perseverance, Hospitality, Moderation, Fertility. Since virtues tend to be an internal force for ethical behavior, are these nine all-encompassing for me? Do I agree with this? Are these my virtues, or are there others that I need to incorporate?
I think there are others that I tend to use or focus on, but, are the virtues that I’m rolling around in my head just variants of the aforementioned nine?
Well, two of my virtues, I don’t think are encompassed within the laundry list above – Silence and Loyalty. Others, like Prudence and Fortitude, can be seen as Moderation, Wisdom, Courage and Perseverance. Interestingly enough, as I child, the bullies who picked on me came up with a hilarious ‘nickname’ for me they thought was utterly delicious – Prudence. The joke was really on them. They thought it meant ‘prudish’. I’m still laughing about that one. Thanks!
To be Prudent is to show sound judgement in practical things.
To have Fortitude is to demonstrate Courage and Perseverance in the face of uncertainty, fear or pain; moral courage is a tough thing, and it’s also part of my Clan motto, Fortiter.
To Know is a combination of Wisdom and Vision; I see knowledge as definitely being encompassed, augmented and even surpassed in the above Virtues.
To Will – Is Will a virtue? Is it really? – It’s more like a deeper building block of some of the virtues above – without the will to hold to task and see things through – Perseverance – you’d never get anything done. I feel this is also included in the above nine.
I still need to examine these in depth – I haven’t quite wrapped my mind around the whole meaning of virtue thing – for me, it’s something you do, actively. You think about things, and it comes out in your course of conduct. It’s not an abstract thinking exercise with no practical application.
There is another element to some of this that I need to think about, as well. It has to do with right use of these virtues. Will, for instance, is morally neutral – it is in the application that shows whether it is a moral, ethical choice – or not.
This is one of my favorite quotes of all time from a movie, and it’s from Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven”, from the character played by David Thewlis, the Hospitaller (who says lots of wonderful, pithy things throughout the whole movie), to the young knight, Balian:
“I put no stock in religion. By the word ‘religion’ I have seen the lunacy of fanatics of every denomination be called ‘the Will of God’. I have seen too much ‘religion’ in the eyes of too many murderers. Holiness is in right action, and courage on behalf of those who cannot defend themselves, and goodness. What god desires is here [points to head]. And here [points to heart]. And what you decide to do every day, you will be a good man – or not.”
So, I’ve finally defined, for myself, what the Virtues are: one’s moral compass.
It’s very ingrained in me. I have always said, although I can’t quote the source, unfortunately, ‘Never allow others’ behavior to dictate your character. How other people choose to behave is not an excuse to sink to their level.’ The ends do not justify the means. Prudence, indeed.