The Five Virtues
Witchcraft has laws to keep the cosmic balance. Laws lead to ethics and rules of conduct. So, a Witch follows rules and has a good behaviour. In ancient times, Withes were wise people who knew how to manipulate knowledge for the wellness of a community. Their social respected role, lead them close to kings and people of great power.
Nowadays, modern witches follow rules, which are very close to our civilization. Some devotees of Hekate, who belong to the Covenant of Hekate have made a list with five basic virtues, that connect Hekate and her followers.
According to ancient hellenic language, education (or paideia in hellenic) has the same pronounciation as the word children (paidi). Paideia also means how to raise a child. So educate a child is as important as to have a child. The virtues are like the columns of a building. The Covenant of Hekate builds the character of its members with the following five virtues.
The five virtues
- Compassion as an aspect of love
- Temperance, self-control and discipline
- Justice, truth, integrity
- Wisdom, prudence
In hellenic we have the word andreia, meaning bravery. Let's see how ancient Hellenes saw courage:
"The brave man should live and die with generocity of heart" -Sophocles, Aias 473
"I am giving you a wish and a curse. Not to be alive to become a slave when you can die as a free man." Eyripides, Archelaos
"In every situation, in all times and places, the brave men should have good souls and good character." -Eyripides, Danae
"The disaster does not harm much the one who is brave enough." Democritus
"For the man who is brave, the most painful humiliation is cowardice." Pericles
According to Aristotle (nicomachean ethics), the courageous man is he that endures of fears the right things and for the right purpose and in the right manner and at the right time, and who shows confidence in a similar way.
So, the courageous man is the one who stands up for justice, ideals and ideas. He is a free man who fights for his beliefs and he lives as a free man, following ideals, being in a service of a higher purpose. The character who embraces those way of acting is virtuous and good with others. There is no room for fear in his heart. Hekate is an unsually brave Goddess. I want to add that when we trust the divine, we can accept some things that are happening in our lives and after the first wave of dificulties will pass, we can see the situation objectively. Bravery was one of the four main virtues of the teachings of Socrates and Plato.
The highest virtue, which includes all others is justice, dikaiosyne in hellenic.
"Justice is the jewel for all people." -Menandros
"Without justice, bravery is not good enough, that's why if all people become just, then bravery will not be necessary." Agesilaos
"Just is the pleasure of good." -Pittakos
"Justice is sacred and sacred is justice." Plato, Protagorras 331 b
"God is not by any way unjust, he is just. There is nothing in the world closer to God than the most just human." -Plato, Theaitetus
According to Plato's teachings the just man or the virtueous one is closer to the divine. Hekate as the Soul of the World she keeps the cosmic balance. Everything in the universe is structured under laws and showing respect to the rules, following them shows understanding of the cosmic plan. In our earthy level justice is a way to show respect to people and all beings. Being just means being pure as closer to the Goddess as we could be and making her work easier by standing close to the right thing.
Wisdom is called sophia in hellenic. Philosophia as a hellenic word consists from filos+sophia. According to hellenic philosophy only God can be wise, but humans could try to be friends of wisdom, philosophers. Prudence or phronisi in hellenic, means the wise acting way of dealing things.
Let's see what the ancient texts write about prudence:
"The man who can control his nature, is a wise one and he knows what is best for him." -Eyripides Polyeides
"During the trips in the sea, we obey the commander of the ship. In life, we obey those who have a wise thinking." -Socrates
When someone asked Socrates what is prudence, Socrates answered that prudence is the harmony of the soul. The same person asked him again, who are those prudence men. Socrates answered those who don't make mistakes easily. As we see, self-control, discipline, patience are important tools to help someone in his trip to seeking knowledge. Wisdom and temperance are two virtues which are connected.
The hellenic word for temperance is egkrateia, the ability to control our passions, our impulses, the animal instincts. A civilized person has this virtue and it measures the level of civilization. Temperance is the application of discipline, following rules. Let's se what the ancient Hellenes wrote about egkrateia:
"To obtain every good thing you should firstly pay the corresponding amount of temperance." -Pythagoras
"It is a great power and wealth for someone to master temperance." -Pythagoras
"It is necessary in any way someone to control the area of pleasures which are far away the middle way." Iamblechus
"A man of great temperance is not the one who stays away from pleasures, but the one who uses them but he is not let them drift , like riding a horse the jockey instructs the horse and don't let the horse lead him wherever it wishes." -Aristippos
So, temperance is a virtue hard to obtain, cause it is connected with wisdom and with determination. A strong character is build in a solid base with discipline. Hekate doesn't like doubts or stepping back. She has a strong character and she is very determined. Temperance is a safe, solid way to lead us to our wishing result. Hard work and step by step we can reach our target.
Compassion is not something we come across in ancient texts. Maybe because it is not needed or sometimes it was necessary to crack compassion to pieces. There are some war customs within the hellenic world that seem a compassion level. In a battle between Hellenes if one side was going back the side of the winners didn’t attack to kill the losers. Philosophy made people very compassionate, that's why compassion is a modern virtue and it is connected with love. In hellenic the word for compassion is symponoia and means that I feel and understand the pain of the other entity. People need compassion to hold communion and form a society. So, we are humans if we understand the problem of our fellow human and better humans if we can help the solve those problems. We ask Hekate for help, but by helping others we show to her that we remain active in her service. Compassion can be a devotional action. As christians do, we can help strangers in her name or we can do charities in her name. Helping others is like helping ourselves, because all we are one, we are connected by spiritual bonds, we are children of the same God/Goddess.