This is my first post about each of the Nine Virtues espoused by Ár nDraíocht Féin: A Druid Fellowship (ADF). ADF is a Neopagan Druid organization that allows its members to practice within any Indo-European culture. Indo-European cultures are Celtic, Norse, Greek, Roman, Vedic, Baltic, Slavic, Anglo-Saxon, Welsh, Gaelic, and probably others that I’m not remembering right now. The Nine Virtues of ADF are a set of ethical guidelines that ADF members are encouraged, but not required, to follow, and consist of Wisdom, Vision, Courage, Piety, Fertility, Moderation, Hospitality, Integrity, and Perseverance.
For the Dedicant’s Path, ADF’s basic training, the student is required to write a fairly short essay about each Virtue. What follows is my essay about Courage. Next week, I will go beyond this essay and talk more in-depth about Courage.
The first definition listed for Courage on The Free Dictionary, a website, is “the state or quality of mind that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.” This particular definition is interesting because it focuses on the emotions felt by the individual. In contrast, the Dedicant’s Guide defines Courage as “the ability to act appropriately in the face of adversity” (13), which relates more to society. In my view, “acting appropriately” consists of doing what I think is right that doesn’t interfere with others’ needs or rights (Casares), while “adversity” connotes hardship of any kind, whether social, physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or otherwise. For example, telling my parents about my faith, which I had been hiding, took Courage. I had decided that doing this was the right thing to do because my fiancé and I had decided to contact ADF clergy to officiate our wedding. At the same time, that didn’t interfere with my parents’ rights to practice their own faith or prevent their access to basic needs, such as food and shelter. The “adversity” faced was the pressure to hide my faith from my parents in order to seem “normal,” as well as possible future adversity from disapproval.
Courage is unquestionably a virtue. I think it was chosen by ADF because we (ADF) are contemporary Pagans. By this I mean that Pagans aren’t widely accepted in much of modern society and thus face hardship every day. We must be able to overcome hardship, which requires Courage.
Ar nDraiocht Fein: A Druid Fellowship. Our Own Druidry: An Introduction to Ar nDraiocht Fein and the Druid Path. Tucson, AZ: ADF Publishing, 2009. Print. (known as the Dedicant’s Guide in the essay)
Casares, Craig. Personal correspondence. 21 October 2012.
Farlex, Inc. The Free Dictionary. 2012. Web. 21 October 2012.