Ethics Part One: Virtues and Values

Parts of this I have posted elsewhere, but this is a more unified theory of values and virtues

I will be posting more on this topic in the coming weeks.

Seek the Truth- Courage, Truth, Discernment

Courage-  Courage is not A virtue; it is THE virtue from which all other virtues flow. Courage to face all challenges both internal and external is vital to any kind of meaningful spiritual practice. Courage enables us to look deep into our inner darkness and learn. Courage enables us to be honest with ourselves even when we don’t want to. Courage enables us to call ourselves and others on BS and walk away from it. Courage enables us to be independent when all around us people are clamoring for us to be part of the herd. Courage enables us to manifest joy. Courage also enables us to stand up and model what we believe in.

Truth- The easiest way to avoid telling lies is to never do anything that you aren’t comfortable telling people about. Know thyself. If you don’t know yourself, it’s hard to be honest with yourself about what drives you, what frightens you, what angers you, what you love, what weird prejudicial land mines that live in your mind and heart. It should be an ongoing process, because no one knows everything about themselves always. We are too changeable as human beings. And when you see/know the truth, that doesn’t mean you need to make other people agree with you.  You are only responsible for yourself and the oaths you make.

Discernment- When you are brave, self-knowledgeable and self-honest, then the little BS detector that every thinking adult must have is in place. Use it. It’s like a tuning fork, someone tells you something and you listen for the pitch. Does it resonate with you or fall flat? Be responsible for your own discernment, rather than relying on the thoughts and words of others.

Minimize Harm- Tolerance, Compassion, Joyfulness

Tolerance- Pagans come in all shapes and sizes, genders and preferences. It is not our place to judge others based on those criteria. Nor is it our place, no matter how much we would like to, to change anyone else’s fundamental nature. There are enough beams in your own eye to be taking care of to even notice the motes in the eyes of others.

Compassion- No one comes to this path without pain. It is not our place to disregard or invalidate that pain. Entering the world of the aware, it is important to be mindful of others, help them if you can, refer them to someone else if you can’t. When you first start out, you think you can do anything. You can’t. Some people/situations/relationships are beyond the scope of your ability to help.

Joyfulness- There is so much energy, work and time expended in a spiritual practice. If your spiritual practice doesn’t lift you up, inspire you, fill you with joy and great gladness, STOP DOING IT. Move on, find something else that does. Now, not every spiritual practice is happy-happy-joy-joy all the time. Some life lessons are hard and painful. But it doesn’t have to hurt to be meaningful. And if it hurts more often than it heals, look elsewhere.

Act Independently-Independence, Self Reliance, Perseverance

Independence-Many heathen constructs are community based, putting the welfare of the many over the welfare of the few. And I’m a believer in community. But if you cannot stand on your own and stand up for your own opinions, then you are not living to the fullness of your potential. Independence in thought, word and deed is to be strived for.

Self-Reliance- The practitioner should try to resolve any personal problems themselves first. If through self-reflection and work you cannot solve that problem, take the responsibility to find the appropriate fellow practitioner, mental or physical health practitioner or mundane mediator to help you solve the problem. You are only responsible for yourself and the oaths you make to others.

Perseverance- This isn’t a path that when things get tough you can just give up. As tempting as it is sometimes, and believe me, I’ve been incredibly tempted at times, the gods and goddesses are taskmasters. They expect you to work.

Be accountable- Honor, Loyalty, Community

Honor- Respect yourself and others. Your personal sense of honor is your commitment to live by the standards you believe should earn you respect from others. In other words, walk your talk. If you find through truth that you are not walking your talk, fix it.

Loyalty- Loyalty to a community, thought, idea or worldview is the making that community, thought, idea or worldview as important to you as your own. Be careful about whom you give your loyalty to, be they person, community, wights, ancestors, or gods. Get to know them, warts and all.  Do they reflect the values and virtues you find important? Have they earned your respect? Do they respect you? When you pledge your oath to something or someone, that is a binding contract.

Community- None of us lives in a vacuum. And the hermit ideal is not a Nordic worldview concept; a common punishment was outlawing, or ejection from the community. It balances independence, for a person without connections is truly alone, and your chances of survival are much less. You are, for good or ill, the reflection of the community or communities (most of us belong to more than one) you belong to. This applies to the otherworldly community as well as the worldly community.

This entry was posted in Essays and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *