Nine Noble Virtues
**Note: This is an adaptation largely from the perspective given in Ravenbok the Raven Kindred Ritual Book by Lewis Stead.It can be read here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/55846739/Ravenbok-the-Raven-Kindred-Ritual-Book-by-Lewis-Stead-and-the-Raven-Kindred **
The NNV, or Nine Noble Virtues, tend to be a list of values that were taken from Odinic Rite (which itself was codified from Havamal and Sigrdrigomal, both poems of the Elder Edda) and much credit is usually given to John Yeowell and John Gibbs-B. These values were applied as a statement of belief for several different practices, such as Asatru. It is a moral-guide for those who practice and a declaration of belief. (The Nine Charges are very similar to these). There are variants to these. It is said that these virtues were taken from "the philosophical concepts applied through the keen intellect of Odin, the simple common sense of Thor, and the solid honor of Tyr". Many view these virtues as gifts given to us by said Gods. Many of the virtues overlap each other and build upon similar concepts. It was thought that by combining these , a person would better be able to live a sound life, searching to maintain all these respectable virtues.
Here is the common order of the NNV:
Courage is often listed as the first value because of its importance. There are several types of courage and bravery: physical, emotional, moral. It is believed that it takes courage to live in ones beliefs. "The way of Tyr is difficult- to lose ones hand for ones beliefs--but Tyr thought the price worth paying". It can mean not following what is popular or approved by others, but what is true and good by you. Under the concept of magick, it would say stick to what you know, be proud of your beliefs and stand strong by them.
Honesty is a very popular value, and regarded highly in this sense. The NNV say to not only avoid telling lies- but avoid taking actions or doing anything that you would not tell someone of:"As was said at one symbel while toasting truth and honesty: "if you don't want people to know about something, don't do it'". Be honest to yourself as well. This means that excuses are unacceptable. Hold your personal honor through your honesty. Truth also comes in the form of universal truth. Many people would define truth differently, but it is believed there is an ultimate truth under these values.
This value is a giant part of the NNV. Throughout Norse writings, the Eddas, Sagas and tales that were told- Honor was usually the most memorable thing about any given person. "We remember two types of peoples from ancient times: those whose honor was so clean that they shine as examples to us and those who were so without honor that their names are cursed a thousand years after they lived." There are several ways to maintain honor: through respect, through your treatment of others, keeping oaths and actions. The ideal of "internal honor" is often held in high regard: knowing that what you do is right or correct, and standing by your actions or words.
Fidelity means being faithful; to a loved one, a family member, a group of people, strangers, any person essentially. It is key to note that this virtue teaches us to be weary or careful with who we announce our loyalty to: Fidelity teaches us to be faithful to our own ethics, morals, and beliefs- so that we should not give our loyalty to anything that conflicts with these. Asatru teaches that we should be faithful to the Gods as well, as the relationship between them and us is a sacred bond. If we expect them to act a certain way, we must mirror them in the same manner.
Usually discipline is referred to here as "self-discipline" but there are many different forms of discipline: punishment at failure, etc. Under this, personal will power comes into play. Discipline ties in closely with the rest of the virtues. We must be willing to use self-discipline to make things like fidelity and truth parts of our life.
Under this virtue we recognize that we are part of a larger community than just ourselves. Things like courtesy, volunteer help, etc are held in high regard. Hospitality was very common throughout Norse history: people would invite others into their home, and it was thought to be respectable to treat strangers as you would a close family member. The concept is that we are all similar and should help each other. Often throughout Nordic literature the Gods take different forms and would "test" the hospitality of people, showing up randomly and wandering from place to place.
This is the act of working above and beyond to accomplish a set goal. Sitting on your hands, so to speak, accomplishes nothing. Laziness is frowned upon. Industriousness is also representative of creativity and perspective. This virtue teaches "be wholehearted in all you do". The old saying: live each day to the fullest. Set out to do things and do them, as you will find them to be rewarding.
Self-reliance, or self responsibility, is an important pillar in these virtues. It teaches that it is respectable and honorable of a person to not rely on others too much. Much of life is self-imposed, and we must be able to carry our own weight. This virtue says to try before asking for help. Then, you are able to say that you were industrious, and faithful to your virtues. Likewise, though we should be hospitable and help others- we should strive to teach them how to manage on their own as well. Personally, I view this as a very important virtue. It has much to do with life as well as something such as this site: research before asking for help on something, do your best to learn on your own before relying on the knowledge of others.
This is stamina, or ability to continue at something. Generally it is written last because it is said that to live by all the other virtues, you must persevere. Just as industriousness teaches us to work hard to accomplish a goal, perseverance teaches us to continually strive towards something and rise above challenges. We recognize under this virtue that not everything in life is simple, and that there will be hardships, but we will strive to overcome them in a virtuous manner. This virtue also teaches that even should we fail or lose at something, we should continue to work towards what we set out to do: accepting the failure, then going back and starting over the process in an attempt to do better the next time.