(Following is my essay on the virtue of integrity, one of the Nine Virtues honored by ADF and one of the most important to me).
Integrity has at least two common definitions. The first is the quality of being morally upright, honest, honorable, and having strong moral principles. The second is the quality of being whole and undivided. For my definition and understanding of integrity as a virtue I find that the second definition will be more helpful.
What do honoring oaths, honesty, and maintaining strength in your own identity and convictions hold in common? They are all qualities of a person who is whole. To lie to others by speaking untruths and to lie to yourself by violating your own principles renders you less than whole. As thinking beings, much of the world and how we interact with it is created by our thoughts, both shared and private. Rendering those thoughts false in the face of reality devalues them, and makes us less than whole. Violating the trust that another holds either by not properly representing the truth or by breaking a promise to them devalues the bonds that you hold with that person – and those bonds of trust are as real as anything that we construct and that influences our lives. Devaluing those bonds erodes both the identity of both the violator and the violated.
Maintaining integrity is a matter of making sure that your words and thoughts match your actions and reality. It is is a necessary quality to cultivate to have a healthy and wholesome relationship with yourself and others, and thus is one of the most important aspects of the foundation of community.
So in this post I’m going to talk a little about the ADF Dedicant’s Path, because at least one thing that I will be doing regularly on this blog is adding postings relevant to it.
Ár nDraíocht Féin is a pagan church and organization. It emphasizes lore and scholarship and embraces all pantheons and cultures that are results of the Proto-Indo Europeans, from the Vedic cultures of the Indus Valley to the Celtic and Norse cultures of Europe. The founders wanted a rigorous program of study for the clergy, one that other organizations would admire and seek to pursue as well.
The Dedicant’s Path is a course of study and practice that opens the way to the rest of the organization; once you’ve completed it you can move on to the Clergy or Initiates’ programs, or join a Guild or Order. You don’t need to complete the Dedicant’s work to be a lay member, but you do if you plan on advancing in the organization and finding further training.
It was a boon to me to find a course of self-regulated, structured study; I haven’t had anything like that since my time in college. I was encouraged to join by my (non-Indo European) Matron Goddess, Isis, at a time when I was feeling a lack of community and path. This certainly fulfilled my need, as now I’m a Grove Organizer and have more community nationally and worldwide than I can handle sometimes.
Anyway, some of the requirements of the Dedicant’s Path include essays on the organization’s virtues, holy days, required reading, and other pertinent subjects. I will be sharing some of them here, under the Dedicant’s Path tag and other appropriate tags. I hope that you find as much value in reading them as I did in writing them.