The Nine Virtues

Written discussion of the Dedicant’s understanding of each of the following nine virtues: wisdom, piety, vision, courage, integrity, perseverance, hospitality, moderation and fertility. The Dedicant may also include other virtues, if desired, and compare them to these nine. (125 words min. each)

Wisdom (wc 212)

According to ADF, wisdom means: “Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response” (Our Own Druidry 82). Merriam-Webster says it means: “the ability to discern inner qualities and relationships (insight); good sense (judgment); generally accepted belief; accumulated philosophical or scientific learning (knowledge); a wise attitude, belief, or course of action; and the teachings of wise men” (“Wisdom”).

Wisdom is frequently considered something some aspire to or the domain of people who have had a lot of experiences or done a lot of personal studying and reflection. To me, wisdom is realizing that there are things you know, things you know you don’t know, and things you don’t know you don’t know. Wisdom is prudence before speaking to make sure what you say is correct and the right thing to say.

It isn’t just book or memory-based knowledge, it’s knowing how to use what you know to obtain the best outcome (or at least a beneficial outcome). It’s knowing when to speak and when to remain silent. It’s knowing how to take what you know and help others as well as yourself. As a druid, wisdom is being able to apply what you’ve learned in your studies to help the world–either as a teacher, a guide, or someone who is determined to make a positive difference.

“Wisdom.” 2017. (15 Oct. 2017).

Piety (wc 239)

According to ADF, piety means: “Correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements (both personal and societal) we humans have with the Gods and Spirits. Keeping the Old Ways, through ceremony and duty” (Our Own Druidry 82). Merriam-Webster defines piety as: “The quality or state of being pious: such as fidelity to natural obligations (as to parents) or dutifulness in religion; an act inspired by piety; or a conventional belief or standard” (“Piety”)

I’ve always heard piety in reference to religious beliefs and practices. To me, it’s being devout in your actions, words, and deeds. If you approach piety as being respectful towards the religious structure and beliefs you find yourself in (druidry in this case), you can also extend it to other druids who follow other patrons and belief structures, and then even extend the respect further out to other religions (or even those who are atheists or agnostics).

Belief structures are powerful things to the follower and, by showing respect and following through with correct (best) practices in interacting with the gods and goddesses, the nature spirits, and the ancestors, you can strengthen and better connect with the beings we work with and show respect towards. Extending the piety outside of our immediate rituals and private altars, it means we show respect and reverence towards nature and the realms of those entities we work with (graveyards, nature, and the practices for our patrons).

“Piety.” 2017. (29 Oct. 2017).

Vision (wc 274)

According to ADF, vision means: “The ability to broaden one’s perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present, and future” (Our Own Druidry 82). Merriam-Webster defines vision as: “The act or power of seeing; something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy (especially a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation; a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination; a manifestation to the senses of something immaterial; the act or power of imagination; mode of seeing or conceiving; unusual discernment or foresight; direct mystical awareness of the supernatural usually visible in visible form; something seen” (“Vision”).

For me, vision is being able to understand and learn from the past (a small part), but being able to take that knowledge and see where things are currently (present), and then see what is possible for the future. It’s being able to see possibilities, but grounded in the knowledge of history and what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Without that knowledge of the past, someone will repeat things and go nowhere. With vision and wisdom, one can see what can be accomplished or use the insight into understanding how things came to be which fits into a reconstructionist policy many pagan groups take.

Vision allows someone to see the start at point A and the end result of point C and be able to logically to the best of their ability figure out what point B and possibly even why the changes/journey happened. Part of vision is creativity and imagination which can strengthen one’s vision and lead to better understandings of things and the world around you.

“Vision.” 2017. (3 Dec. 2017).

Courage (wc 195)

According to ADF, courage means: “The ability to act appropriately in the face of danger” (Our Own Druidry 82). Merriam-Webster defines courage as: “Mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty” (“Courage”).

Courage to me is standing up for what you believe in the face of adversity. Sometimes, courage is believing in yourself and your belief when it seems that others don’t see the world the same way you do. It can be even being brave on a personal level, where you overcome your fears to handle something you have been afraid to handle due to what you think others might think about you. It can be standing up to a friend who might be about to do something bad for themselves and you’d rather do the right thing despite being afraid of the consequences of an angry friend rather than have something bad happen to them.

Courage is sometimes going against the grain to do what’s right when it seems the world stands against you. It takes courage to believe in yourself and sometimes it takes courage to believe in others and that they will do the right thing.

“Courage.” 2018. (7 Jan. 2018).

Integrity (wc 189)

According to the ADF, integrity means: “Honor, being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self-confidence” (Our Own Druidry 82). Merriam-Webster defines integrity as: “Firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values (incorruptibility); an unimpaired condition; and the quality or state of being complete or undivided” (“Integrity”).

Integrity is having a strong moral code towards truth and truly standing for your word. It’s when you say you are going to do something and do. It’s a quality that allows people to depend upon you and know you’ll do what you’ll say to the best of your ability. A great example of a high standard of integrity is Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird.” The entire town respected him and looked up to him because of his integrity and desire to stand for justice.

Having integrity means that people can respect your thoughts and fairness, which means they can turn to you for help or advice and know you will do your best not to steer them wrong. It also means you try to be accountable to your words, deeds, and actions.

“Integrity.” 2018. (21 Jan. 2018).

Perseverance (wc 217)

According to the ADF, perseverance means: “drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult” (Our Own Druidry 82). Merriam-Webster defines perseverance as: “Steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success” (“Perseverance”) which is very similar to how ADF defines it, but with the added definition of “drive.” I’d say that the combination of the two definitions help refine the meaning.

Perseverance as a virtue is a wise choice, especially for someone like me who can get discouraged when the success is delayed. Life can be distracting and there are usually a million and one things that are more interesting than working on a skill or towards a long distance, not easily achievable goal.

Our world tends towards the easily obtained things–quick fixes or small goals that can be achieved with all the distractions we have. Being able to overcome pleasurable things (like video games, movies, spending time with friends, and so on) can be a struggle, but easier to overcome than actual duties (like writing rituals, helping run a grove or a kindred, trying to deal with relationship issues, and so on).

Perseverance is being able set aside things that aren’t truly crucial in order to obtain and strive for a long term goal (like the Dedicant Path work).

“Perseverance.” 2018. (4 Mar. 2018).

Hospitality (wc 307)

According to the ADF, hospitality means: “acting as both a gracious host and an appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honoring of ‘a gift for a gift'” (Our Own Druidry 83). Merriam-Webster defines hospitality as: “hospitable treatment, reception, or disposition; the activity or business of providing services to guests in hotels, restaurants, bars, etc.” (“Hospitality”).

To me, I think many narrow down what hospitality means and where it can be applied rather than approach it as something that can be applied to many aspects of life and social interaction. I approach hospitality as being how you interact with others in all social aspects, including such interactions as on Facebook on someone’s page or towards people on your page, as well as how to be a gracious guest.

I’m starting to read Sacred Gifts, by Rev. Kirk Thomas, and it’s been making me think about the reciprocity of a gift for a gift between the devotee and the god or goddess which is an aspect of hospitality I hadn’t thought of before reading that. I know about the concept of reciprocity but when you are thinking of hospitality as treating your hosts or guests with a thankful and grateful approach it helps.

If I’m running a ritual, hospitality is a big part of making sure the ritual is a success by checking each attendee and being welcoming and a gracious host towards everyone. Treating everyone’s thoughts and concerns as being important relaxes and helps them get the most out of their ritual experience. I’ve also noticed how some people don’t approach a ritual with the attitude of showing respect to the gods or goddesses being invited to the ritual.

I do feel it is a valid ADF virtue, especially because we do focus on a more religious approach than some of the other big druid groups.

“Hospitality.” 2018. (8 Apr. 2018).

Moderation (wc 305)

According to the ADF, moderation means: “cultivating one’s appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health (mental or physical), through excess or deficiency” (Our Own Druidry 83). Merriam-Webster defines moderation as: “avoiding extremes of behavior or expression; observing reasonable limits; calm, temperate” (“Moderation”).

I’d break this definition down to appetites being anything from food, drink, gaming and other forms of entertainment, partying, indulgences in hobbies, or anything much else along those lines. The other half of the DP definition focuses on what keeping everything in balance means, such as not being addicted to them so that your desires for your appetites or interests don’t control you. I’ve heard stories of people who are addicted to certain video games and stayed awake playing them until they’ve died of heart attacks.

On the other extreme, as the definition brings up, is how people can sometimes avoid something to their detriment. Binging video games in an all-nighter, avoidance of things that might bring pleasure, or other such ways of staying away from something that can bring pleasure or value to a person’s life can deprive them of things they might need like social interaction or mental stimuli from forms of entertainment or spending time with people, poor health outcomes from avoiding food via harmful diets, or just keeping balanced.

I do feel that moderation is one of the more misunderstood virtues out there since it’s easy to avoid something or overindulge in something to try to “achieve” some desired outcome which actually doesn’t help you maintain your mental, physical, or emotional/spiritual balance and health because they get lost in the appetite for it to become an addiction or avoid it so much that the sheer lack impacts them and causes parts of them to wither from the lack of the thing.

“Moderation.” 2018. (20 May 2018).

Fertility (wc 253)

According to the ADF, fertility means: “bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an appreciation of the physical, sensual, nurturing” (Our Own Druidry 83). Merriam-Webster defines fertility as: “the quality or state of being fertile” (“Fertility”), while the definition of fertile is listed as “characterized by great resourcefulness of thought or imagination” (“Fertile”).

I’d break the DP definition down as being able to bring forth creations, whether it be life (creating and bearing a child), growing plants, creating art or other forms of work, that are able to bring forth positive effects in people like inspiring them, keeping them mentally, physically, or emotionally healthy, helping them (or yourself) expand your mind and experiences that result in some form of personal growth or sustenance.

I’ve experienced my own fertility when I’ve been in a balanced and healthy mindset the desire to write fiction. I had people who loved it and said it inspired them (it was fanfiction based upon the World of Warcraft setting and characters I had made in it). As far as the act of creation went, being able to tap into the Awen like that does bring forth a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment as well as a sense of peace.

From what I’ve seen of people who are experiencing fertility of some sort do tend to feel like their life is more fulfilling due to their accomplishments while they creating as well as when their creations is appreciated by others.

“Fertility.” 2018. (27 May 2018).
“Fertile.” 2018. (27 May 2018).