The Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru – Truth

In my previous post I started the breakdown of my interpretation of the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru with Courage. The NNV are a moral code of conduct, a Heathen ethic, comprised of commendable qualities or traits. The virtues are

Courage

Truth

Honour

Fidelity

Discipline

Hospitality

Self Reliance

Industriousness

Perseverance

Please note that these are my own interpretations!

Second – There is Truth.

Truth cannot exist without having the Courage to speak it. Truth is the core virtue of the NNV because none of the other eight virtues will exist without it. Courage fosters truth, and the truth then furthers courage and with truth in your arsenal, you will become more steely in your determination. The truth can be interpreted as the willingness to be open and honest. Truth and honesty are the proverbial guards at the door, if you cannot be truthful or honest then rather be guarded and say nothing. When you do speak, speak the truth that you know and not the truth that you believe the other would want to hear. For speaking the truth and being honest, one is richly rewarded with trust and friendship.

The truth of a moment can also be seen as the reality of that moment. The truth is there to distinguish reality from fantasy or simply, to distinguish one reality from another. The truth is reality, no matter who attempts to discredit, alter or dismiss the truth – it will stay as such. We must always strive for that which is right, for that which we know to be right and for that which we know to be true. But be open the truths of others, listen to their truth and then make a decision.

To be generally truthful is a virtue but to be truthful to the point of leaving your guard open is a fool’s mistake. Tell the truth where you can, even if the consequences are less than desirable. The long-term consequences for lying are usually a lot more harmful than the fleeting pain of telling the truth and getting the situation over with – your fellow man will be grateful for being spared a lie and will think better of you for it.

Truth is also double-edged blade as others would have you speak your mind/speak the truth only to use it against you. The Hávamál councils…

Hast thou a friend whom thou trustest well,
from whom thou crave good?
Share thy mind with him, gifts exchange with him,
fare to find him oft.

But hast thou one whom thou trust ill
yet from whom thou crave good?
Thou shalt speak him fair, but falsely think,
and leasing pay for a lie.

Yet further of him whom thou trusted ill,
and whose mind thou dost misdoubt;
thou shalt laugh with him but withhold thy thought,
for gift with like gift should be paid.

Our ancestors valued speech that was truthful and deeds that were honest. Honesty was a necessity in their society, as a man’s word was his bond. And to break that bond was disastrous.

Honesty and truth walk hand in hand with modesty – the immodest usually embellish their tales with lies. As early heathens met with each other for the first time or after long absence from each others company, they would boast about their heroic accomplishments as well as those of their group, their Jarl and their ancestors and gods. This ritual boasting forms an integral part of the Sumbel (a formal drinking ritual composed of toasting, hails, oath-taking, the recitation of poetry or song, and other forms of verbal expression). There will be those unaccomplished individuals who idly brag, but are trying to deceive you into thinking that they are greater than they really are. In a society where one might have to prove one’s word by risking life and limb, there was no room for idle boasts. If a boast is not to be believed then you could be called on your boast and will then have to prove to those gathered around that you can indeed do the deed (or an equivalent).  Very likely to your own detriment.

Remember, even the All-father’s reputation had taken a knock when he lied to steal from the Jotnarr.

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

So in summation; tell the truth where you can, even if the consequences are less than desirable.  If you are truthful and honest in your dealings with all, your fellow man will be grateful for being spared a lie and will think better of you for it.

Long is the round to a false friend leading,
even if he dwell on the way:
but though far off fared, to a truthful friend,
straight are the roads and short.

Heilsa!

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