Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Virtues Essay: Wisdom

The quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment; the quality of being wise.
                                                                --Oxford American English Dictionary
Wisdom is one of those deceptively weighty words that gets used in the common vernacular with little acknowledgement of the depth that the word truly entails.  Often used in place of "intelligence" or "knowledge", wisdom carries with it much more than a simple gleaming of some book-bound subject.  This is not a word that belies only a superficial capture of information.  Although it is a noun, the definition of wisdom, in my opinion, inherently contains the imprint of actions - a back story that ripples with the echos of verbs.
Behind the knowledge that wisdom suggests is a story of effort, of work.  With sleeves rolled up, a person who has wisdom has done what was necessary to bring static, printed words to life.  She has learned the principles, has applied them to life and, like an artist, sculpted and molded those experiences into something more: wisdomA fisherman will not have wisdom until he casts a line into the water, again and again.  One may read a book about how to grow vegetables, but it is the avid gardener - with stained knees, gritty hands and sunburnt neck - that has the wisdom of gardening. 
Within the pagan community, wisdom comes from years of learning and years of living; learning about hearth cultures, high days and traditions and living each day (with all the challenges and celebrations of life) while keeping the Kindreds and our virtues relevant and at hand.  What is it like to live life out loud as a pagan?  To keep vigil at your altar throughout the year?  What does it mean to represent your grove in the greater community?  These are types of questions answered through wisdom.
"By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest." --Confucius

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