Freoð also known as frith. When I hear or read this word, I think of that which causes peace, stability, and security. It’s a way of expressing amity, free from ill-will or disturbance. Perhaps our ancestors way of saying “no harm, no foul”. I would consider it a freedom from worry, and the status of amicable kinship. We sometimes sign off our letters and e-mails with “In Frith”, which would indicate to the readers that no offenses are meant in the content of the message. Frith however, does not guarantee no “fighting”, just that if such an incident occurrs it would be resolved in a manner that propagates peaceful and fair solutions, to maintain the frith. This concept gives us a separation between the heathen communities and other pagan communities. In most heathen groups(such as mailing lists, forums, etc) it is proper, just, and right to maintain the frith; it is expected. In-fighting and drama are rampant in other pagan communities because they have not espoused the frith concept. It is a very important value to have, to keep a group together, free from strife and flames. With frith, the waters are calm, the breeze is comfortable, and the sky is clear.
We are our deeds. Our renown is what we have left after our death. It is what makes us immortal. To have your story told through the ages is one of the greatest accomplishments one can achieve. The renown of our ancestors is passed down from generation to generation. We learn from the stories of our ancestors, and in turn our descendants will learn from us. From the Havamal: “Cattle die, kinsmen die, all men are mortal. Words of praise will never perish nor a noble name.” One’s reputation is important in our community, and therefore it’s important to make sure it is a good one. To live an honorable life, full of deeds worthy of song, is something we should all strive for. Agood way to do this is to build up good relations in your community, accomplish your goals, never break oaths, and pass your values and heritage down with your children.
The spirituality of our people is what brings us together. Spirituality also gives us awareness of our place within this world and others. Our sacred rites, our blots, our sumbels, our fainings, are where our community starts, and where tribes form. We honor the wights, the Gods, and the spirits of our ancestors and by doing so, adding to our own honor and well-being. The balance this causes is integral to our lives and our gástedóm is enriched. Being mindful of gástedóm encourages us to have fellowship with our folk and allies, leading us to grow stronger as a people. I have felt the gástedóm of my folk for many years, and this is the main thing calling me, drawing me to this faith. I have been brought to my spiritual home, as have we all. The connection we have with one another through our gástedóm shall continue on down the lines of our descendants.
Mægen means strength and vitality. We must seek to be strong in mind and body. We must have courage in spirit and strength in conviction. Mægen means you are not complacent, it means you are not lackadaisical and apathetic. It means you are proactive in life and not just sitting back and letting life pass you by. It is our might and meign that demonstrates our commitment to the faith, and is built by our actions and honored oaths; like a sword being hammered in a forge, the mægen is instilled with each strike. And if it is struck in a wrong manner, the mægen is lessened. So it is beholden upon us to be sure we forge our mægen with good deeds, worthy of our faith, and worthy of our renown. This will add to the mægen of our community, and it would make us good examples of our faith.
Sagacity represents our search for knowledge and the wisdom to use it. Preparing your mind for all that comes in life. The closed mind does no one any good. The wisdom gained from life experience and study will enrich us and aids us against the plague of ignorance. Gearowitolnes is when we have the ability to make good decisions, to judge wisely, and a keen sense of perception. It is important to exercise our minds on a regular basis and make sure our mental acuity does not wane. We’ve probably all heard the maxim, “Knowledge is power”, and this is quite true. A powerful mind is a great asset to heathens, our faith is considered to be “the religion with homework”. It is represented in the lore as well, as Woden made sacrifice to gain knowledge. We should use his example to inspire us, and encourage us to pursue knowledge with the same enthusiasm and we will achieve gearwitolnes.
Abundance, prosperity, wealth, and bounty. We should seek to obtain cystignes, for ourselves and our family. It demonstrates our ability and willingness for hardwork and industriousness. Prosperity is a sign of good luck and healthy wyrd. With cystignes, we aren’t preoccupied with being bogged down in the mire of finances, rather we are liberated from such worries and can enjoy life more. Cystignes should not be hoarded nor be made the sole reason for living, rather it should be shared among kin and folk. Greed is not a virtue, just as poverty isn’t a virtue. To be rich in spirit, to be rich in heart, and to be rich in determination all makes for good cystignes. Generosity goes in hand with prosperity, and add to the cystignes of the folk. We can take pride in our bounty by sharing it with others, and being able to secure the prosperity of our hearths.
Love is a many splendoured thing. Brotherly and sisterly love among folk helps create the harmony in each community. Love of one’s family begets trust and loyalty among kin. You can’t have a fellowship with out some lufu being involved. And of course love for your fellow man, the inspiration for helping those in need, especially in times of crisis and disaster. Lufu is the beauty of life, and inspires us for the good of others. It is important for all people to be willing to love in order for humanity to not fall into the depths of hate, despair, and apathy. Lufu represents the ability to give of yourself and bond with others in harmony. The love I have for my daughter also motivates me and is a source of strength in trying times. Lufu is a great asset to have these days, and it is a sad life indeed that doesn’t have love within as well as on the outside.