Mental Health Self-Care Virtues: Intro

July 22, 2014 at 11:32 pm 4 comments

Over the years I’ve studied European polytheistic religions, and their modern revivals, I’ve seen many different views of ethics- generally focused on lists of virtues that have been presented. Sometimes they can be seen as “one-size fits all” when they are very much subject to interpretation. I’ve realized that we all need to tailor our philosophies and practices to the current situation we are in, mine currently is trying to take care of mental health issues and prepare for seeking employment again, once I am more balanced. I am not trying to promote an easy way out, a “pick and choose” morality that is most convenient. I am still considering this in terms of how these virtues fit into their original cultural worldviews as well as how they fit into our own. One thing to keep in mind, is that the texts we have were all written for elite noble warriors, by poets trying to flatter their lords to earn their keep, or by Christian monks with their own perspective. Throughout most of human history, the vast majority of people were just trying to survive on subsistence farming and herding. They were not literate, and they were not socially important so their stories are not written down. They might’ve enjoyed listening to stories around the fire of brave heroes fighting giants and dragons, but they could relate more to their own stories of how Uncle Thorvald fought off that bandit many winters ago, or how Aunt Sigrid somehow managed to feed all of her children after a bad harvest. And how their fellow villagers banded together to help all of them survive.

We have those stories too, but sometimes we are too ashamed to tell them, because our culture tells us that we are always supposed to be able to help ourselves, and that is the same message we get from interpretations of Celtic and Germanic cultural values that leave out the “it takes a village/tribe/family” part and seem to have a modern bias. Consider that the Nine Norse Virtues were written by the Asatru Folk Assembly in the 1970’s United States,  and while they did take inspiration from the Havamal and other Norse texts, I suspect there was a modern socio-political reaction to love/freedom/peace/anything goes hippie philosophy that was common at the time, as well as a reaction against Christianity. (Similarly as with Anton LeVey’s Church of Satan!) Also in the wake of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements, many white Americans were trying to figure out who they were, culturally since their cultural and political dominance had been challenged, what it meant to be “white” had changed. Europeans also faced this as they watched colonies in Africa and other lands fight for independence. Sometimes this was taken in the wrong direction, certainly the case with AFA. We are still struggling to figure that out.

References:

Ar nDraiocht Fein’s Nine Virtues

Celtic Virtues by Alexei Kondratiev, Celtic Reconstructionist

An Irish Mythic Model for Celtic Virtues by Erin Johnson

Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru by John Yeowell & John Stubbs-Bailey of AFA, adopted by many other Asatru/Heathen orgs since then

Vanic Virtues (unsure of origin)

Fyrnsida- Virtues of Anglo-Saxon Heathenry

Six-Fold Goal from Edred Thorsson’s A Book of Troth

Books: The Other Side of Virtue by Brendan Myers

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Entry filed under: Autism/Asperger's, Celtic/Druid, Ethics, Self-Care Virtues. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

Exploring Heathenry Mental Health Self-Care Virtues: Even-Mood

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