Nine Noble Virtues are to the Asatru what the 10 Commandments are to the Jews and Christians. It is a list of guidelines for good living. Nothing more, nothing less. Both sets of rules were first crated centuries ago in a different time. Culture and land was different and the guidelines fit the peoples of the time. Many of the rules, however, have enough common sense that they are still applicable today.
1) No god before me (because it was written at a time when polytheism was the norm)
2) No images of me (because it was written at a time when worshipping statues of polytheistic gods was the norm…I don’t think Catholics got the message…)
3) No name in vein (no one got that message…)
4) Keep holy the sabboth (until modern times when work trumps religion)
5) Honor your father and mother (this needs to be picked up again!!)
6) Don’t murder (got it…unless it’s a kill or be killed situation in which case, I like me more)
7) No adultery (I’m down with that one!…I don’t know about the rest of mankind…)
8) No stealing (again, makes perfect sense)
9) No lying (tell the truth, got it!)
10) Don’t be a jealous tool (love what you’ve got…if you want more, earn it!)
Ok, so rules 5-10 still make sense today. Rules 1-4 were about the founding of a new religion and making sure that religion took hold.
Nine Noble Virtues:
1) Courage (Be brave enough to do what has to be done/say what needs to be said)
2) Truth (Be honest in your words and actions)
3) Honor (Have value in yourself, your words and your actions. Give honor and receive honor equally. Honor, in this case, is what we could call respect).
4) Fidelity (Be loyal to all those around you, both Kith and Kin)
5) Discipline (Follow-through. Be hard on yourself so you can achieve greater things. Be hard on others around you so they can learn to be hard on themselves and achieve greater things as well)
6) Hospitality (Reciprocative sharing. In Viking times when men often traveled, they never worried about not having a place to stay. This does not mean to give away all you have, but to share what you can and know you’ll receive the same kindness in return. Also, many welcomed all those who come to their home as you would a God, for you never know what disguise Odin may wear!
7) Industriousness (Work hard until the job is thoroughly done)
8) Self Reliance (Caring for oneself, family, clan, then country as a whole. If you are successful at self reliance, you will have plenty to be hospitable with!)
9) Perseverance (Return from defeat and failure, and continue on.)
Maybe I’m just biased, (Ok…I’m very biased) but I think each of the Nine Noble Virtues have just as much to do with todays modern world as they did with the ancient Vikings. Actually, I think if we payed attention to the Virtues, we’d all live better lives!