What Does It Mean to Live 'Tru'?
By Souveran of the Sachsen Freehold
It's easy enough to say "I'm Asatru" or "I follow the Ancient Ways of my North European ancestors", but, do you really follow the path? Just what is expected of you when you say the words: "living Tru"?
In my explorations of sites on the net, I've found the variations of the interpretations of our Faith to run the gamut from sappy sentimental to downright atheistic. There are sites that color our Faith as a 'free-for-all', where there are little or no moral guidelines. Then there are some that try to mix tenets of other faiths into a blended philosophy which only serves to confuse those of our Folk who are searching for truth.
And, you may ask, just what is the truth? The answer to that is contained in our Lore, but as a quick guideline, we have what is called the "Nine Noble Virtues".
In the late 70's (maybe 1980) John Yeawall (sp?), founder of the Odinic Rite in England, gleaned basic precepts from our Lore and wrote the Nine Noble Virtues. They are as follows:
The willingness to be honest and say what one knows to be true and right.
The will to be loyal to one's Gods and Goddesses, to one's folk, to one's self, and the oaths that are taken.
The feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world.
The bravery to do what is right at all times.
The willingness to work hard--always striving for efficiency--as a joyous activity in itself.
The willingness to be hard with one's self first, then, if need be, with others.
The willingness to share what one has with one's fellows, especially when they are far from home.
The spirit of independence which is achieved not only for the individual but also for the family, clan, tribe, and nation.
The spirit of stick-to-it-iveness that can always bring one back from defeat or failure--each time we fail we recognize failure for what it is and, if the purpose is true and good, we persevere until success is won.
These Virtues are the basic tenets of our 'moral code'. They are not hard to follow if you desire to live according to the wishes of the Gods. Yet I have been surprised to find that there are those, who say they are followers of our Faith, but object to the NNV.
Why do they object? I can't answer that for sure, but it seems to be a matter of their 'modern' origins - they feel it's unnecessary to 'codify' what should simply be a matter of familiarity with our Lore and good-old common-sense. But I also think that putting the Virtues down in black and white makes demands and places limitations on what is considered acceptable behavior - something that some people are unwilling to accommodate, even as a guide, though the NNV say nothing that isn't stated or implied in the Lore. They spell out the basic expectations of right living - they leave little room for excuses when it comes to living 'Tru".
The myths that have been preserved demonstrate not only right actions, but also the mistakes that the Gods have made. Odin himself has stated that there are things that he has done that he regrets, and that he has paid the price one way or the other for errors in judgment. He gives us this advice mainly in the Havamal and is not unwilling to say he was wrong. What he in effect has said was: "Learn from my mistakes - don't repeat them".
A religion is a set of beliefs and guidelines for living organized into a way of life that is pleasing to the Gods, Goddesses and wights of our Folk. We do this so that we may gain favor in their eyes and therefore receive their blessing and assistance in the pursuit of a good life. Either you are willing to commit and make adjustments in your lifestyle to accommodate the wishes of the Gods, or you just want an excuse to socialize and/or 'cut-loose in the manner of barbarians'.
It all comes down to your intention: Are you following a religion, or are you play-acting?
Read and study the Lore, make the required (yes required) commitment to the Gods of our ancestors - and then live according to the ways they have laid out for us. Then you will be able to say with a clear conscience that you are 'living 'Tru'. May the Gods and Goddesses guide your ancestral soul in your pursuit of the truth.