In May (May’s article HERE), I showed you how the Virtues of the Asatru and Druid (ADF) traditions differed and that only three of them were actually the same:
- Courage (Courage article here)
This month, we shall be looking at the Virtue of Perseverance in a little more detail, and, with the help of an Asatru Gythia (gyðja) and a Senior Druid, we will see how this Virtue relates to a Kindred and a Grove, and the members therein.
The Meaning of Perseverance
Sylvie, Gythia ~ Mapleheim Kindred (Asatru):
Steadfastness (or perseverance) is a combination of all the Nine Noble Virtues. It takes a lot of perseverance to be courageous, truthful, honourable, loyal, disciplined, hospitable, industrious, and independent. It is cumulative effects of the small actions, repeated on a daily basis that makes people reliable and steadfast. It is prevailing against the quiet desperation of the soul that can set in when life seems ready to overwhelm you. Perseverance keeps you sitting at your desk for another hour of overtime, when you would rather leave and go to the beach. It is the repetition of scales and arpeggios for the musician, and the fortitude necessary for the long-distance runner to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It is the quality that made our ancestors repeat the sowing, weeding and harvesting of their crops, and to keep their animals healthy so they would survive the winter.
Steadfastness helps to ensure the continuation of the individual, the family unit, and society as a whole. It is far easier for someone to abandon their responsibilities and walk away, than to overcome the situation by staying and trying to resolve their problems. It takes perseverance to get up every morning to go to a job you might hate, but that you need to assure the survival of your family and your pride.
As the Havamal tells us, “the lying down wolf never got the lamb, nor sleeping wight slew his foe”.
Julie, Senior Druid ~ Thornhaven Grove (ADF):
Perseverance is not unlike courage, in the ability to push through hardship or difficulty. It is also linked to the concept of vision, in the sense that in having a vision, you are able to remain focused and work towards it. Perseverance is an act of will, and taps into one’s discipline, the ability to continue applying oneself to a task or goal regardless of external (and sometimes internal) factors. Perseverance is also a means of dealing with conflict or problems. Dealing with conflict with equanimity, holding on to the vision and pushing through–this would exemplify perseverance in the face of adversity. In offering your suffering/struggle to the Gods, perseverance becomes a holy act, and brings in another virtue: faith. Having faith that what you are doing is part of the “Great Plan” helps you persevere. That being said, there is always a fine line between perseverance and stubbornness–one should always be open to changing course if the original course proves wrong or pointless.
I have to say that both descriptions of perseverance are, in my opinion, spot on. Life, itself, would not exist if not for perseverance, survival is yet another word for it.
When one perseveres and succeeds, the mental, and in some cases physical, rewards are outstanding, the sense of achievement is intense and well deserved, no matter the reason.
We persevere in our lives a lot more than we think we do and often we have no clue that we are persevering until we step back and look at our actions or someone points them out to us.
- If you took a step back right now, what areas of your life would you recognize as times of sheer perseverance and determination of will?
- Or is perseverance something you have found to be lacking in your life, perhaps something you need to work on?
To end this month’s article, I would like to share with you an inspirational journey of perseverance taken by one woman: