Dedicant Path ADF Virtues – Fertility

22 12 2013

ADF defines Fertility as “bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art etc, an appreciation of the physical, sensual, nurturing.”

The dictionary defines it as

1) the quality of being fertile; productiveness.

2) the ability to conceive children or young.

In my view, the ADF definition gets it right. Fertility is not just about having children but also about creativity, productiveness and more. A person is fertile if they are actively creating something, contributing to the world. It means having ideas and working on bringing them to fruition. In my opinion, it also means teaching others. Just as DNA creates and is fertile through replicating itself, teaching others like the great Druids of old did, nurturing qualities within them, replicating our skills in others is a very big way we are creative. Fertility is the virtue that encompasses a wide range of virtues into one – it is about showing initiative, being industrious, working hard and trying to improve the world.

In the ancient world, fertility was very important and people’s lives depended on it. They needed fertile land and lots of children to help run a successful and prosperous farm. A barren mother was thought to be cursed. In the Norse culture, the gods Frey and Njord and the goddesses Freya and Frigg were all deities of fertility, whether of land, sea or home, and as they appear to be some of the most important deities – this suggests fertility held a very high importance to the ancients. Similarly within Celtic cultures major deities were associated with fertility. If we also consider ADF’s cosmology, we see that the major source of fertility comes from under the earth – the earth power of potential and the wisdom from the ancestors of the underworld. Chaos is a source of fertility.

Of course, fertility also extends to the ability to have children. As a gay person, it is unlikely I will ever have children of my own. But perhaps by adopting or fostering, I can be fertile by helping bring up children in a loving home and enabling them to be positive people in society. Making fertility into a virtue is also a positive for another reason – it makes Sex into a sacred act. Sex becomes an expression of virtue rather than a sin. It means having an “appreciation of the physical and sensual” rather than being prudish about sex and beauty. It is very much about honouring the body rather than feeling shameful of it. Whether we are able to conceive children or not, whether we are feel we are creative people or not, I believe everyone can exemplify fertility in their lives.

ADF. Our Own Druidry: An introduction to Ár nDraíocht Féin and the Druid Path. Tucson: ADF Publishing, 2009.

Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press.