Sunday, December 1, 2013

Virtues Essay: Courage

  • the ability to do something that frightens one
  • strength in the face of pain or grief
                                                                                    --Oxford American English Dictionary

Courage is considered a virtue not just within ADF, but among a wide range of cultural traditions.  Ancient Greece, medieval Europe, traditional Taoist philosophy and contemporary Western ideals all praise courage - the ability (or sometimes, just the willingness) to confront that which normally stops us in our tracks.  Courage (with a capital "C") typically brings to mind the selfless deeds of soldiers defending the unarmed, the brave actions of social justice pioneers or even the fictional fortitude of a fictional character such as Samwise Gamgee.

But how does courage directly relate to a neo-pagan Druid?  As a virtue - a moral standard to which we are to strive towards - courage is not meant to be confined to our secular life.  In his essay on what makes ADF special, Reverend Isaac Bonewits notes that in order for ADF to flourish as a full-spectrum religious tradition (complete with paid clergy, and bardic and healing heritages) we must, as members, go public with our faith, our scholarship and our liturgy. Openly wearing one's paganism on his/her sleeves during times of political and religious conservatism can be a daunting, intimidating request.  There may be unwanted consequences, broken connections...but we must have strength.  As Rev. Bonewits writes, " will take courage and caution for us to safely 'come from the shadows.' Yet if we can follow the lessons learned by the civil rights movements of our generation, we can eventually have full freedom to practice our beliefs."1

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't 
                                               practice any other virtue consistently.”    --Maya Angelou

1. The Vision of ADF:  What makes ADF different from other Neopagan traditions?

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