Dedicant Path ADF Virtues – Integrity

27 12 2013

ADF defines Integrity as “honour, being trustworthy to oneself and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, self confidence.”

The dictionary defines it as

1) The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles

2) The state of being whole and undivided.

I think both these definitions encompass aspects of what Integrity means but neither one is enough on its own. Integrity is about telling the truth, standing up for strong moral principles, keeping your word, being reliable and not favouring some above others but treating all people with respect. It means being very careful with our words – not lying, flattering or exaggerating but instead saying exactly what we mean. It means knowing what’s right and sticking to it. It means not cheating, but instead playing by the rules and being fair. Ultimately it means being someone that others can trust. Trust is vital in all relationships, including with the Kindreds, and it is vital to the success of community. It also means being true to yourself, not compromising your principles or convictions for wealth, power or social prestige. It means being honest with yourself, knowing both your strengths and weaknesses and accepting yourself.

Integrity can also be used in the sense of something being “whole and undivided.” We can talk of structural integrity of a building, or integrity of an ecosystem or community. Integrity must include all these things – not just being whole in oneself, but looking after and protecting the integrity of an ecoystem or a community. Ensuring balance and harmony within yourself, the community and the natural world. It means an acknowledgement of interconnectedness and interdependence – what the ancient Norse called “Wyrd” – what one person does, what happens to one aspect of something, effects everyone and everything else…both now and in the future. We must therefore be concerned not only with our own integrity, our health and moral standing, but also the integrity of our communities and the environment in which we live.

In the book “The Druids”, the author states “From the Old Irish texts one gathers that the Druids were concerned, above all things, with Truth and preached….the Truth against the world.” It is seen as the sustaining power of creation and has magical power. There is also the tale of Cormac, who is given a magical cup by Manannan Mac Lir which breaks when lies are told over it, but fixes itself when truths are told over it. In ancient Norse cultures, making an oath was considered something sacred as can be evidenced by people swearing oaths on an arm ring of Thor. Taking a misleading oath in the name of the gods would be “breaking faith with them.” These examples show the importance of integrity to the ancient Celtic and Germanic people’s and illustrate why it is important for us as Druids today.

Finally, Integrity is about truth. It is about wanting to find the truth, not jumping to judgements, spreading rumours or believing things without evidence. It is about constantly being open to learn new things in the search for truth, even when that truth is something we don’t necessarily like. Within ADF, it means doing the serious work of research to discover exactly what was believed and practiced in ancient cultures and then building our religion upon that, not claiming our ancestors practiced things we have no evidence for. Trust, Truth, Wholeness – these are what integrity means.

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

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

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

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