Monday, July 1, 2013

The Cornerstone of all Virtues

The cornerstone of all virtues that one can exhibit is simply this, honesty.

Honesty is required for all virtues, be it being honest with yourself or being honest with others. Moderation (which is an important virtue for many hellenistai) requires introspection and the ability to honestly and freely admit to yourself what you can and cannot have. For an alcoholic no alcohol at all is the correct amount, for someone who handles their liquor well, maybe they can handle seven drinks. For some it may be two or three drinks. When you are on a diet and want that extra slice of cake and insist that you will 'be good tomorrow' or something like that you have to really ask yourself 'do I mean it?'. Whenever you say it, you know what you mean and whether or not you will keep that promise. It is being dishonest if you say you will and then decide not to, therefore being honest about your motivation and limits helps you act temperately.

For being a good host you must keep an honest heart. You must not over-exaggerate on what you can provide nor can you offer your guest less than you can afford. You must exhibit full candor to be a sufficient host and therefore fulfill the obligation of xenia.

Piety too requires an intense amount of honesty, and where this should be self-evident it is not to some folks. You must look inward and truly examine the gifts that the gods have bestowed upon you and sacrifice as is appropriate. If you have been neglecting sacrifices and the honors due to the gods you must have the ability to recognize this and make amends. When you have wronged the Gods or have otherwise behaved unfairly towards them you must be willing to admit this and correct it.

In order to properly revive and carry on the traditions of your faith you must be able to analyze and admit to what you will and will not be able to physically do. If animal sacrifice is not possible to you for moral or environmental reasons then don't do it. Likewise if you can do it, have the proper training, and have no ethical qualms about it then you should be doing it -assuming your faith calls for it-. Do not make your faith out to be something that it is not. Those saying that they are practicing the faith *exactly* as the ancient Athenians did (Or Thebians or Spartans or Teutons or whoever) are outright lying to you and lying to themselves. It is extremely similar perhaps, but it is not the exact same, nor should it be. Admitting and accepting this will lead you down the path to properly reconstructing (if you must) reviving and/or carrying on the traditions of your faith.

Honesty before bravery, before moderation, before wisdom.

Cultivate a spirit of honesty first, then work on the other virtues.

by Vasta on flickr

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A young man living in North Texas. He is an actor, a Hellenistos, and a proud member of Hellenion.