Week 13: The Nine Virtues: Wisdom

Wisdom as defined by Our Own Druidry:
Good judgment, the ability to perceive people and situations correctly, deliberate and decide about the correct response.”

Wisdom as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary:
Knowledge that has been gained by having experiences in life.
The natural ability to understand things that most other people cannot understand.
Knowledge of what is proper or reasonable: good sense or judgment.

Jnana as defined by Wikipedia:
Knowledge inseparable from the total experience of reality.

When I think of wisdom, I usually thinkĀ  of the Vedic jnana as a definition. Many years ago when I was instructed about the definitions and expressions of jnana, it really took root deeply for me. In the modern Western world it seems that we often limit wisdom to ‘what we know’, when it can be deepened to cover what we have experienced and what we feel or intuit. Wisdom, for me, is the point where what we have learned through personal experiences, the empowering guidance of others, and our own latent intuition find intersection. It’s the place where our knowledge, experience, and intuition come into synchronicity.

I often think of indigenous herbal medicine teachers when I contemplate wisdom. These individuals have been trained in the empirical and traditional knowledge of herbs; how to identify them, harvest them, cultivate them, and prepare them as medicines. They have also experienced powerful personal connections and events related to the plant allies they work with which transcend knowledge. There is also an intuitive or heart-centered connection to the plants which allow them to enter into relationship and reciprocity with them.

I work with a reconstructed Proto-Indo-European hearth culture, and in that practice Dyeus Pter, the Shining Sky Father, is the embodiment of wisdom for me. He is a special god who sits atop the World Tree and is able to take in the fullness of what is happening in the Xartus. He can perceive, analyze, harmonize, and empower that which goes beyond rational- the very hidden patterns and substrate of the Cosmos. His wisdom is about working knowledge and intelligent pattern in a very intuitive and even artistic way- the perfect combination of brain power and heart power. I have found that aspiring to cultivate personal wisdom brings me more into alignment with these bigger pictures of wisdom. I get to try and model my own work and wisdom after grand, graceful, cosmic expressions of wisdom and apply them to any area of my life that might need them.

I love that Wisdom is on the list of virtues. It inspires us to learn, experience, and feel all at the same time. It challenges us to read books, hear lectures, attend rituals, meditate, and journey and to apply what we learn and experience in a truly holistic way; to keep it not only in our brains but in our hearts, and our very bodies.

As I’ve been meditating on wisdom in preparation for this essay, I found myself coming back to the Deep Waters over and over again. Meditating on the ancestors dissolving back into the Earth and flowing back into the primordial waters below makes sense to me. The Waters of Wisdom in the Earth contain the experiences and empowerment of all those who have walked this path before us. It is a living tonic of memory and meaning, and with a little organizing anything can be fashioned from it.

From the fiery waters of Xapom Nepots that bestows immortality and the vision of the Shining Ones to the waters that bubble up from the deep Earth, Wisdom is gained through effort, study, and experience every day, all the time. It’s a living thing that is inspired by books, edified by the words of the elders, and given fruition in practice.


Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Various. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary: Wisdom. Web. Accessed July 18, 2016. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wisdom
Wikipedia: Jnana. Web. Accessed July 18. 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jnana
Dangler, Rev. Michael J. Through The Wheel Of The Year. ADF Publishing. 2016. PDF.
Serith, Ceisiwr. Deep Ancestors. ADF Publishing. 2009. Print.