Sunday, August 4, 2013


The strength to allow one to achieve in the face of opposition.

Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty or intimidation.  Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal or discouragement.  "Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave, o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave." - USA National  Anthem

There is a tradition dating back to Ancient Greek philosophy for counting courage or fortitude as one of the four cardinal virtues, along with prudence, justice and temperance.  As a desirable quality, courage is discussed broadly in Aristotle's Ethics, where its vice of shortage is cowardice and its vice of excess is recklessness.

J.R. Tolkien identified in his 1936 lesson "Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics" a Northern theory of courage — the heroic or virtuous pagan insistence to do the right thing even in the face of certain defeat without promise of reward or salvation.


Strength is a Major Arcana Tarot card, and is numbered either XI or VIII, depending on the deck. Historically it was called Fortitude and in the Thoth Tarot deck it is called Lust. This card is used in game playing as well as in divination.  The modern interpretation of the card stresses discipline and control.

The design of this card is fairly constant across tarot decks. The key characters are that of a woman and a lion, with the woman looking calm and gentle, yet dominant over the lion. Many cards, including that of the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, have the woman clasping the lion's jaws.

The Eight Wiccan Virtues come to us from Valiente, considered by many to be the mother of modern Wicca.  They are listed in the line, "Let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you."  The Charge of the Goddess can be seen as an eight-rayed star, like the eight points of the Wheel of the Year. 

We make our bodies as healthy and whole as we can, since this improves our strength.  We study the use of herbs, eat organic food, sometimes become vegetarians.  But it is much more than just possessing physical strength, this virtue also refers to the strengths of beliefs, ethics, will and conviction.  It takes great strength to say and do the right thing or hold true to your beliefs, especially during adversity or those lean times. The virtue of strength also is expressed when one is gentle, loving and calm in the face of fear, pain or times of tragedy.

Strength is in the buck as he charges through the forest, in the lioness as she pulls down the antelope, in the mother bear as she rushes the hunter threatening her cubs.  By pushing through resistance, by moving through adversity by force of will, we gain strength.

The Nine Noble Virtues represent the distilled wisdom and Ancient Nordic moral code gleaned from various ancient sources.  Interpretations of these virtues range from person to person and from Kindred to Kindred. 

Courage is the bravery to do what is right at all times.  This can be likened to being brave enough to live by the Nine Noble Virtues.  But as always, what one person believes is right, may not be what another sees as right. Courage is more than just fighting courage, especially in our modern times.  True courage can mean the willingness to be a whistle-blower when your company violates the law or even just the courage to stand up and be counted in what is sometimes a hostile world.

We must have the inner strength and conviction that allows us to face the enormity of the task at hand.  Our ancestors went to battle, even death, without fear.  And Tacitus noted that Germans who abandoned their shields were thought to have committed the lowest of crimes.  At the same time, they did not criticize those braver than they, nor did they throw themselves foolishly into the thick of the fray for no reason.



The Ehwaz e rune represents horse power and the ability to work hard and carry heavy loads.  The Ehwaz rune also symbolizes inner strength and fortitude. It is a rune of strength, will and determination to perform one’s duties diligently. It represents energy and motion and the force and power by which to achieve .

The horse allows us to perform tasks that would normally be beyond our strength, and to travel long distances that would normally be beyond our reach. Horses are known to be strong, swift, loyal and courageous and are one of the most spiritual amongst the animal kingdom. The horse is an animal that never lost its power by being domesticated.

Teiwaz t is the rune of the God Tyr. Tuesday was named after him. It is a rune of justice, strengths, warriors and order.  Like the warrior God Tyr, the Teiwaz rune represents inner strength, morality and honor. In Norse mythology and cosmology, the God Tyr’s sacrifice of his hand to allow the binding of the Ferris Wolf, was a noble one.

The Teiwaz rune is one of the oldest runes in the Elder futhark, having remained virtually unchanged from the earliest Bronze-age rock carvings, and it’s meanings and implications remain true. Teiwaz focuses the attention and forces discipline. Embodied in this rune is the energy of discrimination. It is one of courage and dedication.


Uruz u is symbolized by the auroch or ox. The auroch was a species of wild oxen or huge bovine, similar to a longhorn bull, that was once found all over Europe. They had become extinct since sometime in the 17th Century. Aurochs were reputed to have had horns as long as six feet and were highly prized by people as drinking horns. Paintings of aurochs have been found in Neolithic caves.

This rune is associated with strength, tenacity, courage and survival skills. The energy of this rune is raw, powerful, and distinctly masculine .  The ancient people of the Norse saw the horn of the auroch as a symbol of strength. It was used to swear oaths upon, make firm friendships by and to clinch deals.



Thor is a son of Odin and is one of the most powerful of the Gods. He is married to Sif, a fertility goddess and together they have a daughter named Thrud (Strength).  His mistress is the giantess Jarnsaxa and their sons are Modi (Courage) and Magni (Strong).

Thor is the God of Strength and Storm who governs the weather, sending the life giving rain to the farmers fields.  Thor is the embodiment of pure, raw might and power which can be felt upon the intense air of thunderstorms, and seen with each flash of lightning. He is the supporter of society and protector of Gods and Men alike.

Dear Sacred God and Goddess
please grant me
the strength to accept the things I cannot change
the courage to change the things I can
and the wisdom to know the difference.

So may it be.




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