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.





Dedicant Path ADF Virtues – Wisdom

2 10 2013

ADF defines Wisdom as “good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response.”

The dictionary defines wisdom as –
1) The ability or result of an ability to think and act utilizing knowledge, experience, understanding, common sense and insight.
2) Accumulated knowledge, erudition or enlightenment.
3) A wise saying or wise sayings or teachings.

In my opinion wisdom is the foundation of all virtues. How can someone know what is virtuous in a situation or judge between two contradictory virtues unless they have wisdom? The ancient Celts and Germanic tribes had many gods of wisdom and their mythologies include stories such as that of Fionn Mac Mumhail who ate Fintan the Salmon and became very wise or Odin who in the Havamal is said to have hung on Yggdrasil for nine days to receive the wisdom of the runes. These facts suggest that wisdom was highly valued by the ancients and they honoured those who were considered wise.

Many have offered definitions. Charles Spurgeon said that “wisdom is the right use of knowledge” while Aristotle said that it was knowing why things are a certain way, not just that they are. Socrates said wisdom begins in wonder, while Confucius said wisdom is learned through reflection, imitation and experience. I don’t think it’s an accident that when we think of the wise, we picture old philosophers sat teaching eager students how to live correctly. Philosophy means “love of wisdom” and it’s important to study philosophy to understand how to live wisely. Wisdom is about more than simply reasoning because it sometimes defies reason. It’s not just knowing what the right thing is to do, but also applying, and acting on, that knowledge. It’s a virtue because it’s an essential part of character building.

Being wise is something that takes many years to learn and, while as a young person I don’t like that fact, my own experience over the last several years points me to its truth. Experiences I’ve faced have taught me the value of wisdom, exposing my own naivety about life. When we’re young we think we know everything and will change the world, but ultimately we mature and realise our parents are right. I think I’m becoming wiser as I get a bit older but one needs to be of a significant age to receive such a worthy title as “wise”. I believe wisdom comes from accumulating a lifetime of experiences, mistakes and knowledge. It’s a continuum on which we’re always learning new lessons, gaining experiences and gradually getting wiser. While it’s possible to learn some wise sayings and apply them to our lives, most people develop wisdom through years of experience. To be wise, one needs to be humble, open to learning and exposed to many different viewpoints, but ultimately wisdom is about what works and therefore it’s rooted in traditions – the accumulated knowledge of generations.

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

Ellis, Peter Berresford. A Brief History of the Druids, London: Constable & Robinson Ltd, 2002.

Davidson, H.R Ellis. Gods and Myths of Northern Europe. London: Penguin Books, 1964.

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged. Harper Collins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003.