ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

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Postby Jingle » 31 May 2006, 19:35

http://druidry.org/modules.php?op=modlo ... page_id=50

These are the words I read which convinced me that Druidry was where I wanted, no... needed to be.  To me, the first was the most freeing statement in my journey so far.  It is further expounded in the later paragraph: Taking Responsibility and Feeling Empowered.  

The statement is also challenging to me as a person who had been taught that if you make a mistake, you can be sorry for it and you'll be forgiven.  It takes a much stronger person to be prepared to compensate for your actions, and it makes me think a little further ahead as to what those consequences will be before I take action.  It's like playing chess with a computer...
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Postby Moira Rhydd » 31 May 2006, 23:47

Yes, indeed.  I think that this (now so-called) "first principle" is a lot deeper than the Rede or the Golden Rule.  It implies a personal, individual capacity and responsibility for administering justice to those harmed (willingly or not)--something beyond a mere "I'm sorry" (it seems to me that compensation is more tangible than that).  I was reading Druid Magic (Sutton & Mann) this morning, and fell upon the following passage--it echoes what we have been discussing here:

"Druidry does offer a coherent system of ethics and values.  These became enshrined in the Brehon Laws of Ireland that sought justice by having the offender directly compensate the victim for the offense.  Justice was therefore based on restoration rather than on punishment. . . . Druidry offers . . . an approach . . . based upon honor for the self, for the earth, for tradition, and for the community" (175).

As for what I had in mind...  I was thinking of magic that is perhaps poorly administered, for the wrong reasons--or for reasons that seemed right at the time, but turned out to be wrong later on.  Can you actually "undo" this through compensation/restoration once you realize your mistake?  The Wiccan Rede would say, "Well--too bad, too late; it will just come back to you threefold..."  But the "first principle" of druidry seems to imply that it's not that simple, or that pre-determined and blind--it is up to us to fix it, no?

To me, too, this is what makes druidry so appealing.  It requires what I'd call "moral creativity."  Quoting again from Druid Magic:

"While there are many Druidic organizations, there is no church.  There is no single administration that says what is inside and what is outside the fold. . . .  Druidry relies upon the experience of the senses, the experience of the body in nature, the experience of the soul, and the pursuit of truth."

I think this is why so many people on this forum declare that coming to druidry is like "coming home."  You are thrown back upon yourself, upon what you know, upon your own intuitive sense of honour, shame, right, wrong.  I like that, because I think that it gives people a lot more responsibility for their actions, thoughts, and intentions.  (Paradoxically, here I am relying on you all for answers, and on books...  I know, I know...  But I'm learning--I'm trying to absorb as much as I can so that I can fly on my own wings later on!
  :humming:

Blessings to all, and thanks for the answers--   :hug:

:mapleleaf:
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Postby katie willow » 12 Jul 2006, 23:31

Thought provoking. I'm new on the path. This was inspiring to me.

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Postby Guardian » 13 Jul 2006, 00:30

Welcome to your new path, and welcome to the board, Katie Willow
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hi

Postby Liberal Fairy » 09 Dec 2006, 23:38

I think a lot of these ethical ideas are similar in a lot of religions, faiths and cultures...  :dance:

I think some of these ideas are closer to where Christianity started off - being about freedom and "the spirit" and personal responsibility for how you behave, a move away from dogma (Shame its lost a lot of that today) its where "do as you would be done by" came from, and I think that's what "building the kingdom of God on earth" was about... behaving ethically rather than dogmatically, and thereby honouring God more...

Similarly, a lot of these ideas are reflected in Bhudism, and some Muslim ideas too.

Certainly a lot of animistic pagan cultures have held the importance of truth and courage and personal responsibility as not only an ethical basis, but the ways in which you behave to please your local god or spirit.

It makes you wonder then, whether a lot of these ideas are pretty universal... even so, whilst you can have an ethical basis and a set of ideas... again, it is so important that they remain ideas and basis, and don't turn into dogma.  :old:

Some years ago, I studies a module on horror films. Ok... and the relavance is.... we discussed how there are about 5 universal taboos in the world that are universal... like, every culture has them. Things like bestiality and necrophelia. Then generally, across the world there are variances on the things tolerated and the things not tolerated.

When I'm not exploring my ideas about faith and spirituality... I'm into politics. Yes... I do it because I want to benefit the community and world around me. And... wait for it.... I'm actually a Lib Dem. Now... I'm not on a canvass here (!)  :whistle:  but just to say.. that the central principle of Liberal Democracy is that "freedom, so long as that doesn't infringe on the freedom of others" should be the basis for legislation and ethical choices root from there largely. So when you design things like policies, they are on the basis of either protecting or increasing freedom. I.E. if someone behaves in a way that grossly infringes on the freedom of others, it makes sense to remove them until they can behave! But there is a fine line to walk over how you do all of that. Economics and social policy should be designed to free people. So you look to increase social mobility for a start. (The capability to earn an honest living and if you choose to - to alter your social situation by working hard). Then you have indirect infringement on others. Things like passive smoking or damaging the environment. Because its not directly aimed at another person then its hard to place restrictions on the behaviour without infringing on freedom... so you end up taxing those behaviours to discourage them.

Unfortunately few people seem to realise why such things are put in place and to some extent what has happened is because things are too controlled and individual freedoms are constrained by some of the law then all responsibility is someone elses. The importance of personal responsibility is lost and noone cares about anyone else. Its a sad state of affairs.  :shrug:

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Charlene » 08 Feb 2008, 08:04

I think that when it comes to delineating what is ethics and values, people worry needlessly about codifying a set of rules or dogma. I believe that Druidry has ethics and values, based on a way of seeing the world.

Let me explain. Here is an example.

One aspect of this is if we are connected to the fabric of life. That would suggest that since we are all a part of it, we would need to acknowledge it, and that it has value based on its connection to us. From this would be the value...of human life, of plant and animal life, of the idea that life seems organized, therefore structured, which could create a value of structuring, etc.

The problem is for some people, the decisions life presents us does not allow this to be tidy. We struggle with sorting out what is important, valued, right, for self and others in the community, or the world for that matter. So, we try to decide what is the "right thing to do", or what is more ethical, based on what we say or believe is valuable. That then starts into the development of rules, codes, laws, anything to make this simpler and easier. There are always going to be people who do not or will not want to think through this stuff, to sort out dilemmas, to process the decisions they look at. And, we try to balance out what seems to be conflicting ideas and conflicting support of individual and community, in that things are not always neat....some selfish decisions are necessary for personal survival, yet when the others, or the planet is affected.....

There was a Canadian scholar who suggested that pagans "in general" (ha! like there is a general), use a form of situational ethics. Basically, in practise, we face each situation, and make decisions of right and wrong based on a couple of principles and the situation that we are in.

More so called witches or wiccans formed that sensibility, and thus makes up this so called pagan ethos, but do we in Druids have ethics and values? Where do we find them? Brehon Laws, within the context of the history and culture that existed, examining this, will give us some sense of this. So too will any other teaching or triad, if we examine it. I think that the work of Dr. Myers and athelia143 is necessary. They have both outlined some of the past antecedants, and hopefully, will inspire the rest of us to think about it. Also note that both are Canadian, which does not surprise me. Ethics is important.

I just hope we don't get to the pissing contest of some witch wars, where what is more druid, and who is acting more druid, is more important than addressing a situation. One of the sad things I saw recently was that someone's participation in a venue that some found not appropriate to a standard of wicca or witch was the justification to not intervene and help in a situation where a person's rights were violated. In other words, being involved in a beauty pageant made someone less of a witch, so therefore, when the pageant disinvited this lady from being a judge for her interest in tarot and reiki, some wiccans felt that supporting her rights was less important because she was not a "proper wiccan" as defined by not being involved in a beauty pageant because that would be demeaning to woman. It would be like saying a person who works for a lumber company in BC is less of a druid (incidentally, I meet a lot of people who are foresters, who call themselves druid), and therefore they are not good druids based on their choice of career. But, that is the inherent thing about situational ethics....we need to sort out and decide what is the issue.

This is a good thread.
Peace All

Charlene

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby sundruid » 19 Feb 2008, 15:54

I saw in Phillip's letter this last Touchstone, it appears that this subject will come to the forefront in 2008. I think that this is an important endeavor!

All paths, cultures and spiritual systems are defined by the behaviors and customs of the adherents. Like it or not, OBOD druids/members carry their own group mind and group identity - we already own it. For most of the membership it is one of peace, ecological responsibility and high character that is beneficial to the world and spiritual development of those around us as well as ourselves.

The subject has its pitfalls too. I like the approach of an exploration of the subject and rather staying close to the universally accepted landmarks. Ecological responsibility, reverence for Earth, self-discipline and honest conduct.

The result should be more of a 'mission statement' rather than a rule book or dogma.
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Navigator17 » 19 Feb 2008, 17:12

Not having Hard and fast "Rules" is what separates us from other faith, even if our beliefs of behavior might reflect some of them.
I , like more then a few people I have read here, have seemed to have found our way home to our beliefs.. as if it was something in us all along and only needed a Key to unlock the door.

I judge not others based on their Religion...just their actions.

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby McCailte » 21 Feb 2008, 05:29

Dear All,

First, I need to introduce myself as a new member to the OBOD Board; however, I have been a member of the Order for over a year now. And thank you in advance for letting me enter the discussion.

Second, I have to say that this thread of discussion is wonderful, timely, and much-needed--not only for Druids and pagans, but for life in general.

Based on the discussion so far, the problem that seems to be haunting many members is that ethics has been framed for us by the biases, prejudices, and abuses of ethics during the last two thousand years, at least--really since Plato, who in many ways divorced himself and his thoughts from his teacher Socrates'.

If there is an ethical "camp" that Druidry would fall under, it seems that it would be in that of "virtue ethics," which is very different than the stuff passing for ethics and morality today.

I cannot do the subject nor my OBOD kindred justice in a short post--particularly my first post as a rookie. However, there are other ethical frames than the dogmatically prescriptive kind, the hopelessly abstract kind, or crudely relativistic kind.

Historian and philosopher Michel Foucault turned his later work to this problem, as did Alasdair MacIntyre. And arguably the most enlightening and careful work in "virtue ethics" comes by way of Rosalind Hurthouse, Philippa Foot, and Julia Annas.

Unfortunately, recorded thought on classical pagan ethics is scant, but what is left for us from the non-Platonic Greek and Roman thinkers might give us hints, which is what the named folks have discovered and explored. The placement of truth at the top of ethical human life seems to be a commonality among many of the ancients. But their understanding of truth was--as ours is today--a bit different than what both mainstream Judeo-Christian theology (transcendental, abstract essentialism) and post-Enlightenment epistemology (peformativity as well as pure rationality) would define as truth.

Also, what seems to differentiate so-called virtue ethics from the dogmatic (conservative) and relativistic (neoliberal) kinds that have come to dominate the world, is that virtue ethics is much more holistic, organic, human, vital, and, well, pagan. Like modern feminist ethics (cf. Nel Noddings), virtue ethics tends to stress care in a deep, integral way.

Thanks to those named, what we can call pagan ethics is not so much being resuscitated as it is emerging anew.

To be honest, the OBOD has been at least on the wave of that emergence, if not ahead of it. (Academicians are usually behind the curve. :) )

I hope I've not been too pedantic, but the stakes are high.

This discussion touches close to home, and I'm excited to be reading it and hopefully contributing to it.
Sláinte!

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Dryadia2 » 21 Feb 2008, 19:18

Greetings and Welcome McCailte!
Your contribution is much appreciated. It's nice that you've just jumped right in! :D
Feel free to introduce yourself in The Pub forum, if you wish.: :shake:
http://druidry.org/board/dhp/viewforum.php?f=5

Peace and Blessings,
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby sundruid » 21 Feb 2008, 19:36

Very thought provoking McCailte..

Wikipedia will help the readers of this thread with more on the subject of Virtue Ethics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtue_ethics

Many give up on ethics conversation because of just that - the predominate views on the subject, and our understanding of it as well, has been formed by the major 4 religions. Virtue has been lost within itself - perhaps we can help form a new or revitalized spiritual view for Druids and Neo-Pagans on this subject.
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby McCailte » 22 Feb 2008, 00:52

Awen to that, Sundruid!
Sláinte!

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Charlene » 22 Feb 2008, 20:07

Dr. Brendan Myers has new book out about this kind of virtues....I will be reading to see.
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Philip » 18 Sep 2008, 16:18

Hi all!

What an interesting thread! We've just received an updated page for the 'Ethics & Values' section taking into account Brendan Myers' and Emma Restall Orr's recent books on the subject. I'd be interested to read what you think of the new page:

http://www.druidry.org/modules.php?op=m ... age_id=155

Many blessings,

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Salomea » 24 Sep 2008, 16:56

I must say I'm really happy that OBOD is making frames of "its" beliefs. It is very useful in definition of what druidry/druidism really is. Freedom is very important, but people who call themselves Druids should have something in common, but the name.

As wrote above I see this sections as a frame, not really understanding what it could be called a dogma. And as for me it's still much liquid frame.

From the text linked on the first page the most questionable was for me the section about truth, maybe because I don't think there is something like one truth. We can say that Romans adjoined Gallia, or that they invaded it. In both ways we are telling the truth, but in each it has a different meaning. That's why I'm happy it was little like replaced by the sections about courage and honour in the last "ethics and values in druidry".

On the other hand I regret that in the new version there is no longer "the value of the opposite" paragraph, because I was finding it the most significant, specially connected with integrity. The fact that in druidism we should appreciate both happiness and suffering, life and death, good and evil has very deep meaning and takes it out traditional white-black thinking, showing that in both we can find wisdom and inspiration, and that opposites are in fact equal and so forth the same values. The fire destroys the forest, but thanks to it the new one can grow. And connected with integrity for me becomes the real ethics, as it leads to understanding that most important in relationships is not avoiding hurt, but being honest, thoughtful and respectful for others.

Of course that probably is just my personal interpretation, or over-interpretation, but as I wrote on the beginning, I see this texts as a base for personal research, but the base is always needed.

With blessings of autumn sun.
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Corvin » 04 Jan 2009, 08:35

Read the article twice now. Is it in the Gwers also?

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Shiwan » 11 Mar 2009, 16:47

What about virginity? Douglas Monroe says that Ynys Mon is the isle of male Druids and Ynys Affalon is the isle of Druidess. What do you think about it? And he also say the Sun is male and Moon is female, but i read from another article Sun is female and World is male.

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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby Selene » 11 Mar 2009, 16:59

Shiwan,

It's my opinion that virginity (or lack thereof) is an individual choice unrelated to Druid ethics and values. From http://www.druidry.org/modules.php?op=m ... page_id=30, under Living in the World:
The primary philosophical posture of Druidism is one of love and respect towards all of life – towards fellow human beings and animals, and all of Nature. A word often used by Druids to describe this approach is reverence, which expands the concept of respect to include an awareness of the sacred. By being reverent towards human beings, for example, Druids treat the body, relationships and sexuality with respect and as sacred. Reverence should not be confused with piousness or a lack of vigorous engagement – true reverence is strong and sensual as well as gentle and kind.
And I wouldn't pay much attention to anything written by Douglas Monroe. See http://library.druidry.org/reviews/21lom.html for a detailed explanation.
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby pworrell » 11 Mar 2009, 17:01

Selene, I was going to say exactly that. I wouldn't put much stock in what he writes.
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Re: ETHICS & VALUES IN DRUIDISM

Postby DJ Droood » 11 Mar 2009, 17:04

And he also say the Sun is male and Moon is female, but i read from another article Sun is female and World is male.
And here I thought they were a ball of gas and a round chunk of cheese...you can't believe anything these days.
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