This entry is week thirteen and brings me ever so closer to being caught up on all my notes being turned into blog entries, I really have been quite slack at the blog aspect of this journey, something I hope to improve upon as we travel through to the end of the DP and wherever I go after.
Week thirteen is the first of the Nine Virtues which I often think of as the Nine Noble Virtues due to the books on Asatru I have read often refering to them as being noble. The first virtue we are looking at is not one that appears in the nine of Heathenry, and is Wisdom.
Our Own Druidry sums Wisdom up as ‘good judgement, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate and decide on the correct response.’ The Oxford Online Dictionary defines this noun as ‘The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgement; the quality of being wise’.
Wisdom or being wise, is about utilising one’s experiences and drawing upon the experiences of others from sources such as the written account and historic sources to form an opinion or judgment that is informed. It is an objective thing, considered from multiple angles and taking in opinions other than our own to assess a situation.
The dedicant manual and the Oxford dictionary agree that wisdom is good judgement, I think that the experiences Oxford cites as part of wisdom tie in niecly to the remainder of the dedicant manual description of wisdom. A person’s experiences will give them a unique perspective, however it will also allow them to draw upon these past situations to help see to the heart of a person and/or situation more clearly. It may also provide them with fuel to consider in deliberations when trying to decide the correct response.
Wisdom is something that should grow with age, the more a person has experienced the more resources they have to draw on, to enable them to see to the heart of the matter, or to see the potential pitfalls and problems with an idea or situation. I don’t think it is a skill that is ever perfected, as no one person is perfect and we all bring a unique mix of experiences to our practice, I think we have to acknowledge that we can be wise, but never to wise to learn new things.
Certainly I can see why it should be a pagan virtue, even if it isn’t a heathen one, wisdom is needed certainly by our leadership since they often make decisions on our behalf, but also by us as individuals, so that we can question and grow as a person but also as a grove or orginisation. We need to be able to question if something is right, not just accept it blindly, to learn from our experiences so we can let others benefit from them and to grow healthily on our journey.
Wisdom can occur at any age, as a child I was the youngest sibling, and often had adventures across the country side with my older siblings. I remember we would get in bulls every year to breed with our heifers and cows, the bulls would be very aggressive, because we would always have two, one for the heifers who was smaller and less aggressive and one for the cows who was bigger and stronger and usually a testosterone driven monster.
Some cousins from the city came to stay with us one year and we were playing in the fields when one of the cousins decided we should play by the creek. The quickest route to the creek was through one of the paddocks that had a bull in it, my cousins wanted to go through that paddock but I strived persuade them how bad an idea it would be.
You see I remembered what had happened to a farm hand a few years earlier who strolled into a bulls paddock without any thought for the danger. He had ended up in the emergency room bruised and with three broken ribs. Thankfully it kept them occupied long enough that one of my older siblings arrived who they listened to because they were older and therefore perceived as more knowledgeable in the eyes of children.
We were able to draw upon these experiences and realize that although cutting through the paddock would be the quickest route, it would not be the wisest due to the danger it posed.
I think wisdom is important as being the first of the virtues because it is so interconnected with the others, that it teaches us to look for the pattern, the connection between them all, wisdom tells us why moderation is good, helps us understand vision, tempers our courage, lets us maintain and grow integrity, understand our mistakes while we perservere and I’m sure it ties into hospitality, piety and fertility in ways I haven’t even discovered yet. This realisation of connectedness is important because it teaches us to take a more holistic approach to things, but also that everything is connected, we are connected to our family, our grove, our friends and this planet on so many levels, it is wisdom that helps us navigate all of this with some level of success.