Monday, 24 June 2013

Consideration of the Gewessi 9 Values

The Gewessi path has it's 9 values which is drawn from a mix of the Germanic and Celtic worldviews. Having read the Heathen Nine Noble Virtues in several formats the Gewessi discussion found it's emphasis is too individual and grim (Odinists please excuse the pun) - industriousness, self reliance, perseverance & discipline - without the flair and concern for truth that is in the Celtic writings. Industriousness and perseverance was viewed as an outcome of creativity and discipline whilst self reliance is integral to bravery & honour - all of the Heathen and Celtic texts suggest that it is inhospitable to become an unnecessary burden to others. The Gewessi path structurally reviews this, attempting to include our Celtic and Germanic heritage into an organised world view.

The foundation of Gewessi Truth:

Personal - Land - Be true to yourself

  • 1. Bravery (courage) - seek excellence in all endeavours, be self reliant, evil acts can only hold sway whilst good people let it. Carpe Diem "Sieze the day." It is brave to be true to yourself and to believe in your dreams. When I was younger, and my body recovered better, the quote "if you don't crash you're not trying hard enough" was applicable to my biking and dinghy sailing. It's about the bravery to push the limits and to get better at what you are passionate about. "You won’t learn to swim on the kitchen floor."
  • 2. Creativity - Every time you wish or want, you plant a seed, that seed is the source of growth. Overcoming problems requires creativity and an inquisitive mind to question the world around you and to make changes. "Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way." Edward de Bono
  • 3. Discipline - Faith is the basis of discipline, nature is the basis of faith, Nature is a manifestation of Spirit. "He who lives without discipline dies without honour." This is more around self-discipline than the disciplining of others. The ability to overcome the monkey mind, good meditation and mindfulness comes from the disciplined and repetitive practice of the art. Eventually the disciplines of practice become positive life patterns.

External - Water - Be true to others

  • 4. Honesty - Mean what you say. Say what you mean. Know yourself. "Honesty is the best policy." Of course being overtly honest can be just rude, but in this context the honesty is about understanding when holding back is the more compassionate option. In reality it's about presenting an honest face to the outside world so that others can trust your words and actions. That your words and actions are aligned, you do what you say you will do.
  • 5. Honour - Have principles and hold them for your Gods, your Tribe and your Land. "It is more difficult to maintain honour than to become prosperous." On various forums I have seen people argue that the misuse of honour, things like so called 'honour killings' which are anything but honourable in truth, mean that this should never be associated with paganism. I disagree and believe that just because some misuse the concept does not mean that it's irrelevant. Honour is central to pagan thought "personal integrity; allegiance to moral principles" as the dictionary puts it.
  • 6. Hospitality - Respect yourself, others and their rights. "When there is true hospitality, not many words are needed." In the laws of Hywel Dda it was not theft to steal food if a person had asked at 3 households and been refused food. It was the duty of every householder to show hospitality to a guest. This is demonstrated throughout Njall's Saga where often a sworn enemy has to be hosted and given the correct hospitality. It would be dishonourable to do otherwise.

Social - Sky - Be true to life

  • 7. Justice - Seek always the path of 'right'; it's usually on the left - the path of most resistance. "Favour and gifts disturb justice." This is one of the trickiest concepts to work with. The Irish texts provide the greatest insight to the concept of justice in the Audacht Morainn The Fergus Kelly translation uses justice rather than truth - "Let him raise justice, it will raise him".
  • 8. Knowledge - with knowledge comes responsibility. When you make a choice, you change the future. "A little knowledge is dangerous. Drink deep, or taste not the pure waters." I think this is key the Druidic philosophy, Draoicht, as described by Searles O'Dubhain is one where learning is constant. One does not just become a Druid, it takes long years of practice and research. The same is shown in the Icelandic saga with Egil Skallamgrimsson and the example of Snorri Sturlusson, poet farmer, historian, law-giver and warrior.
  • 9. Loyalty - Never betray a trust. Trust that you'll not be betrayed. "The road to a friends house is never long." The rune Gebo is fundamental to loyalty the x shape is about the exchange of gifts, the handshake of truth and trust. Betrayal is the murky side of loyalty and who can trust such a person? Where is their truth and honour? It is one of the pillars behind the sacred bonds between people that form a group, tuatha or society as a whole.

Underneath this there are concepts, seen in both Celtic and Germanic cultures, about the law of the tribe, that the individual need counts less than that of the clan or tribe - this is the enclosure or Gard (which is where we get the word garden) that protects the individual from the chaos of the outside world.
These 9 steps are the path around this safe garden. If an individual steps outside the law there is no protection at all. In modern parlance they have lost their human rights, in old Anglo-Saxon they have become a wer-wulf, a human wolf, who could be killed without retribution. Theirs was a more brutal time and a modern Gewessi reviews the advances around justice and law which need to be taken into account. There is a Norse proverb "with laws shall man build land", meaning that law makes society thus members of society have to believe that the law will be upheld. Without that legal truth then society starts to crumble and the Fimbul Wolf will bring the long, cold winter to mankind.

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