The Nine Noble Virtues

Those who practice the Germanic/Norse paganism, Northern-Tradition Paganism or whatever spiritual path linked to the Norse gods, seek in all the stories, myths, the gods themselves and their tales, examples in how we should run our lifes in a global view for all who follow this religion, the ethical principles and how they might help us in our daily lifes and how we can solve our problems. There isn’t the existance of religious laws or commandments in this spiritual path, in fact, that doesn’t exist in any other pagan belief, as we are free to shape our lifes and choose our own beliefs, there isn’t the need of any kind of obligation that binds us to that religion like chains and we have the duty to do certain things against our will in order to save our souls. In this religion, we don’t have the need to save our souls, all we need is the free will to live happy and healthy, doing whatever we can to protect others, giving to them our love and sharing wisdom. But there is the need to find balance in that freewill, we may be free but eveything has its boundaries, with our freedom, we can’t forget that it might do harm to someone, we can’t be selfish, we have to learn how to live with each other in harmony. So to set some limits in our behavior and our actions towards others and the world, instead of having sins, there are virtues we must follow. Well, we are all grownups, so we know the difference between right and wrong, what we must do and what we mustn’t, we know the sence of justice, order and honor, so there isn’t that need to have a list of sins, a childish manner which tells us how to behave. Knowing how we have to act, all we need is to become better in our actions. From the old lore, we extracted a set of guidelines, known as the Nine Noble Virtues, which are very useful and there isn’t that feeling that we are bound to them. These Virtues are: Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity or Loyalty, Self-Rule (Discipline), Hospitality, Industriousness, Independence (Self-Reliance) and Steadfastness (Preserverence). These are the nine virtues, but some add to them, Friendship, Strength, Equality, Kinship, Wisdom and Generosity.

Speaking about each virtue, the first five is the kind of work each one does to obain an heroic soul, to grow as a strong individual. First of all we begin with Courage, the kind of thing we are used to hear about in the old lore and every warrior must have it. This is not only the kind of courage to face enemies, armies and dragons and such things, this is also the courage eveyone must have, to face all the problems that life brings us, all the challenges through life, we must face them with bravery, sometimes we find ourselves in a corner, there is no way to run, no way to leave behind all the problems we got ourselves in to, and instead of despair, we have to face them, resolve all thosetroubles, and live life the best we can, knowing that we won over all the challenges we continued to persist. To live this life with bravery, we also need the second virtue which is, Truth. This means, that we must speak the truth, or at other times, the truth of things lead us to take counsel with ourselves till we can speak or till we are certain in what actions we must take. Being honest with people and with ourselves. Courage and Truth are linked, because it takes courage to tell certain truths to people even if we know it might hurt them, but everyone deserves to know the truth, or even telling something about us, a deep truth we may be hiding, and it’s killing us when we close ourselves, trying to hid that truth, afraid of the judgement of others, especially when it’s a family business. We must be honest with our dealings with others, and with that, comes the next Virtue, Honor. To be a honorable person isn’t an easy task, sometimes it means following rules, even if those are inconvenient, to obey someone in a status higher than yourself according to the law, people will trust you, not because you are good in following orders or to obey, but because they know they can count on you. Acting honorably, will show others the way you are, and they might act likewise, in order to gain an healthy and trustworthy connection with you. Acting like this will also help building your reputation, how others see you, a person they can trust, and they will soon turn to you for help, this also means when you are doing you job, if you are the person in command, you don’t have to obey to someone but you have to follow the code of conduct, being honest when people ask for your work, like so, they will contact you again because they trust you and they will tell others, and your reputation will grow in the best possible manner. This brings us to the next virtue, to prove your honor, you will show Fidelity or Loyalty, obviously this isn’t just about being faithful to your loved ones when you take the vows, but also to be faithful to your convictions and beliefs, to who you are, being true to your word, only making promises when you know you can and you will fulfill them, people will believe in you and your word has the power to build bonds between people or to break them. This also means being faithful to your spiritual beliefs, trusting in your gods and their wisdom, and above all else, trusting in you and having some faith towards others. Keeping our word is important to others, when we offer them protection, love, friendship, help and whatever they may need or ask of you. To have all the virtues from before, you will need the next one, Self-rule or Discipline. Well this can have many understandings, avoiding problems,  keeping your temper when provoked, waiting for the right moment to strike, with the right words of your own wisdom, making your own plans and executing them successfully, ration andconserve resources, having the true profile of a leader, and if you can lead, people will respect you, they will come for you when they need help, and you will always be that humble but always alert person, trustworthy, honorable, transmitting security, strength and greatness. Having Discipline, will help us acting courageously and honorably when we have to make the hard choices, even when we are afraid. As i have written in the beginning, we have our own freewill, there isn’t such thing as “it was written” or “the fate is fixed”, because we make our own fate by the choices we take in life, and it is with Discipline that we will make good choices. So as you could see, the first group of virtues focuses on the individual behavior, so the next virtues (four) are more concerned with our relationship with others. This brings us to Hospitality, a virtue which is a very ancient qualitie in many cutures, that can be both an obligation and a privilege. We have to think about those very ancient times, when people had to travel from one place to an other, searching for a better place, there wasn’t such thing as hotels or inns, and speaking of inns, those that existed, were too few and with miles of distance from one to another, so most of the time, the survival of someone or a group of people, depended in the generosity of those who had a safe place to share and sufficient resources to offer. For what good is it, being so wealthy, if with all that wealth you don’t help those in need, the most disadvantaged and the poor? Imagine yourself, traveling for days, a great deal of miles, in harsh weather, your resources are depleting, and you wish there would be an house near by with someone willing to open the door to you, sharing some food and the cosy heat of the fireplace, where you could rest and find peace till you have to do your journey again. Hospitality is also about respecting others, how they are and their beliefs, of courseguests also have to respect and be humble, it is a sharing of good feelings and kind acts, and the person you help today, might save you tomorow. In order to give hospitality, you must have resources to share, an house good enough to shelter someone, for that, you need to work and work hard, like so, this leads us to the next virtue, Industriousness, working hard and well is not only a virtue but also a quality, this reminds me of the counsel Odin gives “Seldom does a lying-down wolf get the lamb, or a sleeping man victory.” Of course, not all work is to earn money, there are many works that the community needs, like the work of a volunteer, you help others, you grow in reputation, wisdom and discipline. Working, having an house, a family, an entire life built, is having another virtue,Independence. Not only in these terms, but also an independent spirit, free from corruption, creasedwith a unique and secure personality. Being independent doesn’t mean we don’t need others, but it certainly means that we are self-reliant, being able to make our own choices and capable of actions of our own, supporting others, helping them and ourselves, not only monetarily, but also in relationships,providing love, care, protection and confidence. When we come to our own conclusions, we are growing and maturing, that is also a form of Independence, thinking for ourselves, also taking our own conclusions when it comes to a religious or spiritual belief, not following what is told to us like sheep.
We come now to the last virtue, Steadfastness, or being able to endure, to persevere, when all hope is gone, and you clearly know that the challenge ahead is so difficult, it seems almost impossible, you stay, you fight it, you are strong enough to face it with all your might. In your daily lifes, all the tasks tou must do, studying, working, taking care of the house, making food, working the fields, all those endless, exhausting, frustrating, desperate tasks you have to perform everyday, that is what will keep your family, community and yourself, healthy, protected, happy, alive, people will recognize your effort and once again you will get honor and glory and all the other virtues will be directly connected with this one.

Once again this shows that this spiritual path works directly with the needs of mortals, the gods are not our masters, they are our teachers, our friends, our allies, and all the choises we make in life, are always important, because those will help us making our own fate, for our own. We learn to have compassion, justice, equality, and we stay strong, trying to become better and wiser.

If you have any other questions for me, or if you want to see my artistic works, check our my Facebook page and make a like if you can, in here: –> http://www.facebook.com/ArithHarger

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