Ignoble Words of Ethical Wisdom
Lying just beneath the surface there is still another basic aspect within the Northern Philosophy of Life that is of equal import as any of the other myriad aspects within our Tradition. It is essentially a list of moral traits that were meant to be a guideline for everyday life, nothing more, which is, aptly enough, entitled "The Rede of Honor."
Yet, also keep in mind that there are indeed other, more readily accepted styles of ethical reasonings such as the Nine Inner Merits of Virtue and also what is known as the Six Fold Goal. There are portions within the Havamal of the Poetic Edda, too, which can quite easily be seen as an interpretive representation of proper Northern hospitality and trú ettiquette, having a few choice words of witful wisdom thrown in.
Although there are indeed some Asatruar who do not readily give the following codified rede of virtues much credit (and even less credit to the author) Ida and I do feel that this particular tenet is indeed a viable necessity for those who are new to the Northern Ways. Those who are just coming in from other, more rigidly stiff Traditions would do well to peruse through the Rede so as to grasp a better understanding of just what is of obvious import, however 'fluffy' they may happen to appear on the general surface.
The Rede of Honour
- In all that you do, consider its benefit or harm upon yourself, your children and your people.
- All that which you do will return to you, sooner or later, for good or for ill. Thus strive always to do good to others, or at least strive always to be just.
- Be honest with yourself, and with others. "This above all; to thine own self be true."
- Humankind, and especially your own family and folk, has the spark of divinity within it. Protect and nurture that spark.
- Give your word sparingly, and adhere to it like iron.
- In the world, your first trust and responsibility should be to your own people. Yet, be kind and proper to others whenever possible.
- What you have, HOLD!
- Pass on to others only those words which you have personally verified.
- Be honest with others, and let them know that you expect honesty in return, always.
- The fury of the moment plays folly with the truth; to keep one's head is a virtue.
- Know which battles should be fought, and which battles should be avoided. Also, know when to break off a conflict. There are times when the minions of chaos are simply too strong or when fate is absolutely unavoidable.
- When you gain power, use it carefully and use it well.
- Courage and honor endure forever. Their echoes remain when the mountains have crumbled to dust.
- Pledge friendship and your services to those who are worthy. Strengthen others of your people and they will strengthen you.
- Love and care for your family always, and have the fierceness of a wolf in their protection.
- Honor yourself, have pride in yourself, do your best and forgive yourself when you must.
- Try always to be above reproach in the eyes of the world.
- Those of our people should always endeavor to settle any differences among themselves quietly and peaceably.
- The laws of the land should be obeyed whenever possible and reason, for in the main they have been chosen with wisdom.
- Have pride in yourself, your family and your folk. They are your promise for the future.
- Do not neglect your mate and children.
- Every one of our people should work according to the best that s/he can do, no matter how small or how great. We are all in this world together, thus we must always help each other along.
- One advances individually and collectively only by living in harmony with the natural order of the world.
- The seeking of wisdom is a high virtue. Love of truth, honor, courage and loyalty are the hallmarks of the noble soul.
- Be prepared for whatever the future brings.
- Life with all its joys, struggles and ambiguities is to be embraced and lived to the fullest!
Extracted from the book entitled
"The Rites of Odin" Copyright © 1990
Ed Fitch, Llewellyn Publications.
Further Ignoble Words...
Myriad Organizations, Kindreds, and even independent solitaries have presented different versions on the list of Nine Noble Virtues which are believed to have been distilled by modern Asatruar from various sources, although mainly from the Hávamál. However, they all tend to hold one thing in common, which is the formulation of honourable traits to live by.
It is quite possible that from this illustrious Nine, the more compact Six Fold Goal was conceived of and quite readily accepted as worthy by the majority of the heathen population. Never the less, these various sets of moral principles are what provide the necessary guidelines that one is able to draw upon during the daily course of everyday life.
Ida and I ourselves tend to consider these six ethical definitions to be more of a compacted listing, an abridgment of The Rede above if you will, and thus feel that serious thought should be spent upon the ensuing by those who are just entered into, as well as those long aquainted in, the Northern Ways.
For at its very core one can discern an attempt at some semblance of balance within the community in which one resides and takes part in. Yet without a balance of ones own self, no outer equality can be obtainable. Understand that the Northern Way is a religious path involved in the here and now, not some distant time after one is dead.
Thus the reasonings behind what some might deem selfish motives. But just think for a moment, how can one love others if they do not love themself? I ask you to take a moment in silence and reflect upon each of the six intentions listed. What do they stir within you? How do you personally define these aspects of the commonwealth? How can you incorporate them into your daily living?
The Six Fold Goal
The judiciary understandings shaped and defined by the Lore which has survived. An equality throughout all of Humankind, no matter the race, colour, sex, religion, lifestyle, etc. It is designed for the here and now, not some distant future, and so is sought through rational, common means. This then produces a desire which is based upon truth to produce truth through the good actions and correct thoughts of ones own self.
It is by living though the application of knowledge whereby one is able to gain an understanding of that which is otherwise hidden. Through the active preservation of these memories, both the sucessful and failures alike, the here-to-fore unknown aspects of growth and adventure can be effectively tapped into. Thus, through a familiarity of the Lore this aspect enables accurate progression.
Seen as the two-fold goal of victory and defense whereby the act of preservation is said to begin. Thus it is that what is assuredly gained is steadfastly held. Yet these balanced actions of upstanding strength and diligent honour are to be governed over by the two previously mentioned aspects of Right and Wisdom, for otherwise the prospective purpose of Harvest and Frith are sure to fall.
Brought about through the obtainment of a oneness with the natural surroundings, this aspect can be visualized as flowing with the seasons, of being prepared and therfore planning ahead for what is known to occur. To plant, nurture, nourish, and watch grow a healthy crop, be it food, ideas, or children, for the survival of the folk through these prevalent economic times.
Signifying more than peace betwixt one another, this aspect is about the promotion of all which we hold dear. It is constantly in motion as moods and attitudes change from moment to moment, topic to topic. Getting along with one another in a strong, boisterous community tends to breed a sense of equality and freedom in all. An agreement to disagree in some instances, thus Frith.
The celebration of life through physical manifestations such as passions, friendships, lusts, well actually through all which life has to offer. Arising from deep within, it can be understood as the recognition of Love as being recognizable Respect through simplistic cosmic conceptions, not as the fancifully romantic word of emotions. For feelings can oft times cause inverse effects, therefore it is beyond emotions where balance is obtained.
Extracted & Paraphrased from the work
"A Book Of Troth" Copyright © 1989
Edred Thorsson, Llewellyn Publications.
copyright © 2000 Reverend Godhi Yens Jensen all rights reserved