Dedicant Path ADF Virtues – Vision

29 12 2013

ADF defines Vision as “The ability to broaden one’s perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/ role in the cosmos, relating to past, present and future.”

The dictionary defines it as –
1) The faculty or state of being able to see
2) The images seen on a television screen
3) The ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom
4) A mental image of what the future will or could be like
5) An experience of seeing someone or something in a dream or trance, or as a supernatural apparition.
6) A vivid mental image
7) A person or sight of unusual beauty.

As can be seen from both these definitions, vision involves many things, but primarily it is the ability to create the future. As the ADF definition explains, it begins by looking at how past decisions and actions have affected where one is now, and then considers what actions and decisions one needs to make in the present to bring about a desired future. It is being able to see a future one desires in your mind’s eye, as well as the path to get there. But it also involves the ability to see many possible futures and therefore to choose which one you want to create. Vision is vital to successful leadership however I question whether it can be considered a virtue as it is not really related to excellence of character.

To have vision one needs to know history – mythology, lore and genealogy so that one doesn’t make the mistakes of the past. One needs to be wise to be able to anticipate problems or see opportunities. One needs to be creative to use the imagination to “see” the vision. One needs vision itself to have the drive and motivation necessary for perseverance. Using mental training, and especially visualisation meditation, can help us to improve our capacity for vision.

The ADF definition also talks about the importance of knowing our place and role in the cosmos. For example, scientific advances continually remove us from our self proclaimed pedestal in the universe by uncovering just how insignificant we really are. Astronomy in particular is a very humbling experience. The ancient Norse explored the same concept through the idea of the Web of Wyrd spun by the Nornir. This is an idea similar to fate – or as the author of The Real Middle Earth says, Wyrd means “that which unfolds in life is the natural outcome of all that came before.” Prophecy and divination were highly respected as ways to discover where one’s Wyrd might flow. Both the ancient Norse and the ancient Celts had gods of vision or prophecy like Heimdall and Brighid, and these show the importance that vision held in ancient pagan society.

In conclusion I feel that while it is important as Druids to have vision, and it was something highly respected in ancient cultures, it’s not really a virtue. Instead I think there are other virtues that could replace it. Personally I would consider my ninth virtue to be Ahimsa, non violence to any living being. This is not a virtue that warrior cultures such as the ancient Indo-Europeans would have followed although it did develop out of the Indian Vedic cultures by 500 BCE. In my opinion this is the highest virtue and I seek to express it in many areas of my life.

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

Bates, Brian. The Real Middle Earth: Magic and Mystery in the Dark Ages. London: Pan Macmillan Ltd, 2003

Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford University Press.