The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru – Fidelity

In my previous posts I have discussed what Courage, Truth and Honour mean to a heathen. These are my interpretations of the Nine Noble Virtues (NNV) of Asatru.

The virtues are:

Courage

Truth

Honour

Fidelity (or Troth)

Discipline

Hospitality

Self Reliance

Industriousness

Perseverance

Please note that these are my own interpretations!

Fourth – There is Fidelity.

Fidelity has many interpretations, among them being faithful and loyal stands out prominently.  As the terms faithful and loyal have their own interpretations, we will stick to the blanket-term of fidelity.  Showing fidelity in a heathen sense is the will to be loyal to the Gods, Goddesses, to one’s ancestors, to one’s kinsmen, to one’s self and especially loyalty to your community or chosen leader.  Ones fidelity is a sacred bond, a promise, an oath, that is entered into with the Gods, ancestors and kinsmen and has in turn its basis in one’s honour and one’s deeds (Ørlög).

From the Hávamál

“I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
be never the first with friend of thine
to break the bond of fellowship;
care shall gnaw thy heart if thou canst not tell
all thy mind to another. “

Troth (oath/promise/commitment) is the native Germanic word for faith, fealty or loyalty to the Gods, Goddesses, to one’s ancestors, to one’s kinsmen, to one’s self and especially loyalty to your community or chosen leader.  As heathens, we commit our Troth, to which our honour and Ørlög is forever bound.  A troth-oath is what is made at weddings and joining ceremonies, at declarations of both peace and war as well as declarations of mutual respect and cooperation.  Now loyalty has a dark side in that it can inspire fanaticism – the best way to avoid nurturing fanaticism is to ensure and nurture mutually earned courtesy and respect instead of distrust and bigotry.  Discerning between these will be a mark of intelligence, since the last thing anyone wants is another “sheeple”.

From the Hávamál

“I counsel thee, Stray-Singer, accept my counsels,
they will be thy boon if thou obey’st them,
they will work thy weal if thou win’st them:
wouldst thou win joy of a gentle maiden,
and lure to whispering of love,
thou shalt make fair promise, and let it be fast,
none will scorn their weal who can win it.”

In ancient times, if you broke your troth then you were made an exile and all bonds that the village showed you were broken and your honour shamed – just an indication of how important troth is to heathenry.

To be faithful to ones self and to keep your wits about you is ones fidelity to one’s self.

From the Hávamál

”Let no man glory in the greatness of his mind,
but rather keep watch o’er his wits.
Cautious and silent let him enter a dwelling;
to the heedful comes seldom harm,
for none can find a more faithful friend
than the wealth of mother wit.”

Thus, if we commit to a troth-oath and keep our wits sharpened to its purpose then we must be unfailing in our loyalty to that oath – whether that is to our Gods, the ancestors, our kinsmen, community or those that we do business with.  If we breach these oaths, we not only bring shame upon ourselves and our family, we end up with tears and breaks on the Web of Wyrd that eventually threaten the destruction of all we have worked to achieve.

Even the All-father broke his oath and has left a stain upon his character, even though breaking that oath would leave him with much to gain.

From the Hávamál

“A ring-oath Odin I trow had taken —
how shall one trust his troth?
’twas he who stole the mead (of poetry) from Suttung,
and the maiden Gunnlod caused to weep.”

In closing,

Now the sayings of the High One are uttered in the hall
for the weal of men, for the woe of Jötuns,
Hail, thou who hast spoken! Hail, thou that knowest!
Hail, ye that have hearkened! Use, thou who hast learned!

 

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