- Aspiring to The Eight Virtues.
The Eight Wiccan Virtues are found within The Charge of The Goddess written by Doreen Valiente, who is considered by many to be the “mother” of Modern Wicca. These virtues can be imagined as an eight pointed star, similar to the eight spokes on The Wheel of the Year.
These Wiccan Virtues are presented in pairs of complementary polarities creating a balance and reflecting the dualism that is found within Wicca. It is important to understand that these are just one of the central tenets of Wicca and are expected to be combined with the other teachings of Wicca in order to create a foundation for spiritual growth and personal development.
The virtue of Beauty does not only address the aesthetics of physical Beauty, it also includes authenticity of self and True Will. This virtue refers to the appreciation and expression of symmetry, harmony, wholeness, and balance. The relationships between light and dark, pleasure and pain, life and death all incorporate Beauty in its natural unadulterated state. It is found in all life experiences; it surrounds us and is within us.
Beauty does not only manifest in the act of creation, but also has a role in the act of destruction. One only has to take a trip through New England to experience the magnitude and vibrant colors of the dying leaves that fall from the trees in Autumn to witness such Beauty in death and decay. Beauty is non-judgmental and all-encompassing as it is a virtue of sacredness.
The balance to Beauty is Strength and like its polarity it does not only address the physical, it also includes mental, emotional, and spiritual Strength. This virtue is expressed when an individual builds the health and constitution of the physical body, but also when that same body is receptive and endures suffering and allows the experience of pain and tragedy. It implies the ability to stand firm when confronted with opposition, moving through resistance, and challenging adversity with force of Will, for when an individual experiences these situations, they gain Strength.
The virtue of Power is found within; the ability to harness, manipulate, and direct the energy from within or from other sources in order to create a change within one’s own reality. While Power and Strength may at first seem to be the same virtue, they are not. While Power is the ability and authority to act or produce an effect, Strength addresses the ability to endure and preserve. These virtues work together, but are applied within the Wiccan’s life differently. Personal Power is a reference to the individual’s ability to control the energy and direction of their life experience, or as some may be familiar with the idea of intentional manifestation. The virtue of Power is applied in these situations either through mental, emotional, or spiritual means to create the change that is desired.
The balance to Power is Compassion, which is also found within. It is the virtue of forgiveness, empathy, sympathy, and unconditional love for others as well as self. Compassion is the motivator for change. It is the willingness to act on other’s behalf when they are unwilling or unable to act on the desire for change themselves. Compassion is consciously aware and works towards Oneness. It seeks ways in which to unify, bridging any gaps in the separateness within humanity or between humanity and the natural world. While the virtue of Compassion seeks to unify All, it does not allow for the sacrificing of self and will not allow for the individual to become overwhelmingly consumed with the needs of others at the detriment of self.
The virtue of Honor is found within our own ethical conduct and is expressed by being honest and authentic with oneself and with others. It requires the individual to have self-respect and respect for others. Honor requires the fulfillment of commitments and promises, the adherence to agreements and contracts, and honoring of the Wiccan’s word. Wiccan’s “walk the talk”, meaning that what the individuals says is what is done. There is a lack of hypocrisy, because Wiccan’s recognize that words hold Power and it is understood that when the Witch speaks he or she means what they say. There are no empty promises or false intentions.
The balance to Honor is Humility and though often times this is taken to mean a lack of self-respect, but this is hardly the case. The virtue of Humility is concerned with clarity and recognizes that each individual possesses personal strengths and weaknesses, and encourages each to cultivate the strengths while transforming the weaknesses. Humility is freedom from pride and arrogance, but does not erode Power or Strength while doing so; it is the balancing virtue that brings all aspects together within the Wiccan’s life.
The virtue of Mirth can easily be mistaken for silly or childish, but Mirth is more than simple laughter and gaiety. Mirth is the action of joy; it is bliss. It is moving, acting, and reacting in a way that is aligned with the Wiccan’s True Will. Mirth is being in the presence of Divinity through the interconnectedness of life and expressing that ecstasy through laughter. The virtue of Mirth is having a deep appreciation and love for life and the shared experiences of it.
The virtue of Mirth balances all virtues; it aids with the creation of Beauty, rallies Strength, enhances Power, facilitates Compassion, alleviates Honor if it becomes burdening, and prompts Humility.
The balance to Mirth is Reverence, which is encapsulated by profound respect and devotion that is not only felt, but is also expressed through words and deeds. This profound respect is directed towards all things deemed sacred or dedicated to Goddess and God, which within a Wiccan’s perspective of Unity is everything and not just Divinity or Nature, since everything is part of and a manifestation of Divinity. The virtue of Reverence is expressed by an individual’s life choices regarding themselves, others, and the Earth. Because the virtue of Reverence is a deed it is able to be shown through actions of gratitude; being of service to others, caring for the natural environment, sharing our time and energy in any way possible. It is through the virtue of Reverence that Wiccans are able to connect with each other and to Divinity in the most intimate and profound way.