I am taking recess from my normal dedicant’s path and studies thereof so that I might scrutinize myself more closely. Specifically, I have tried to adhere to a personal code basically my whole life, though it was merely a vague thing for most of that time, only given true shape more recently, as I was becoming an adult . . .
Here is my personal code of ethics (modified from the original Code of the ThunderCats):
Justice (to act in a fair and virtuous manner regardless of situations); truth (to be outright and honest mindfully and to bear in mind that enemies are to be met with equal treatment); honor (to adhere to my oaths unfailingly or else willingly accept any consequences); and loyalty (to provide support and friendship unfailingly to my family, by blood or by choice, my friends, and my grove).
For comparison, the original Code of Thundera:
Justice (to strive to help others and fairness in all acts that are committed that is good); truth (to speak the truth at all times); honor (to honor and respect superiors); loyalty (to be loyal to family and friends).
Conversely, the nine Druidic virtues are as follows:
Wisdom (good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate about and decide on the correct response); piety (correct observance of ritual and social traditions, the maintenance of the agreements, both personal and societal, that we humans have with the gods and spirits, keeping the old ways through ceremony and duty); vision (the ability to broaden one’s perspective to have a greater understanding of our place/role in the cosmos, relating to the past, present, and future); courage (the ability to act appropriately in the face of adversity); integrity (honor, being true to one’s self and to others, involving oath-keeping, honesty, fairness, respect, and self-confidence); perseverance (drive, the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult); hospitality (acting as both gracious host and appreciative guest, involving benevolence, friendliness, humor, and the honoring of a gift for a gift); moderation (cultivating one’s appetites so that one is neither a slave to them nor driven to ill health, mental or physical, through excess or deficiency); and fertility (bounty of mind, body, and spirit involving creativity and industry, an appreciation of the physical and sensual, nurturing these qualities in others).
I find it striking how similar my own code and the nine virtues of Druidic dedicants are. I also love the parallels that I notice between my very real, very historically-influenced faith of Druidism and some of the fandoms that I love in popular culture. Sometimes the struggles that the ThunderCats have faced or even the preachings of Star Wars‘ Jedi remind me so strongly of the Druid’s path—especially considering the congruity of the Force and Awen—I love how very universal these ideals seem to be.
I have recently begun to give voice to some thoughts that have been percolating for many a season and even more moons still. I find it interesting how the Christians view the apocalypse, the end of the world, and how they feel that the corruption that they see all around them will hasten its coming. And even I have to agree . . . I do think that the end is near. But not for the reasons that the Christians would cite. I feel that Ragnarök draws nearer because of the hatemongering that most followers of any Abrahamic religion collectively seem to tend to perpetuate. I feel that the golden horn is being prepared as a group of people who espouse the necessity of agape love actively scorn and despise others for having the courage to love any other hearts at all. I think that Jörmungandr stirs every time disdain is felt and especially expressed for another human soul.
And I harbor another potentially unpopular belief . . . I do not fear Ragnarök. I certainly don’t look forward to it or hope for it, but I don’t know that it would be the worst fate within the realm of possibilities. After all, it is the end of a chapter, not the last period of the last sentence of the last book. To be sure, should I survive (and rest assured that I do not expect to), I would miss the gods who died. But forests that weather great blazes grow back stronger and healthier for it; sometimes sickness and weakness must be culled, the old must be decimated to make way for a rebirth of youth.
My life belongs to Cernunnos . . . my death belongs to Odin . . . my soul belongs to me. And so I will do my best to make my gods proud and be the best version of myself that I can be even though I will surely falter, fall, and fail many times along the way. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that all we can really do is try our best. Whether you follow the Code of Thundera, the nine Druidic virtues, the Jedi Doctrine, or any number of other spiritual principles, I’d wager that it’s likely to be that there is more similarity in the various paths we subscribe to, and even in ourselves as individuals, than there are differences.
If we want to keep pushing back the storm clouds gathering on the horizon, we must actively seek out what is alike and embrace what is different with open minds and open hearts.
I urge eclecticism. I urge attempting to find wisdom from many different places. I urge forging one’s own path. I urge looking for the good and what is right with vigor and enthusiasm.
I urge omnism.
Learn all that you can. Read much. Study philosophy, study religion, study science. Combine all of the information, all of the theories you can wrap your brain around, create something that makes sense to you, that means something to you. We cannot afford to hate or to be small-minded, we cannot afford bigotry.
I am not a pacifist. I believe that sometimes fighting, violence, is necessary. Neither am I naïve. Hatred is a very standard human reaction, as is aggression. You will experience both emotions many times over, it is simply an inevitable fact. The trick is tempering your actions and delaying your responses.
I know I can often fly off the handle; I have a mean streak that’s nasty and I run hot to match. I’m certainly not perfect. But I’m looking ahead at what I fear lies just out of sight, over the crest of the next hill, and I am afraid for what’s in store for us, collectively, as a whole, for humanity and all of the gods.
So I urge you all to be more mindful and more deliberate in the coming months and the years to follow. Adhere to whatever truths and standards resonate with you, and hold on tightly, stand strong with steel lining your spine. Women especially, become ugly; those who would do us harm are bound to take what they want regardless, but become like sharks with skin of sandpaper so you hurt them in the process. We must remain vigilant and we must fight back where we can. It is imperative that we remain angry and remain awake. We must seize and celebrate every victory, no matter how small it may seem. Rebellions are built on hope, after all.
Consider this my resolution.