Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chivalry is Simple Things

It is amazing to me how many people look surprised when I hold the door open for them at the store or at work. It clearly seems that people aren’t used to having people show courtesy towards them these days. It certainly seems to be something lacking in their life. Likewise people that I let merge into traffic in front of me seem surprised. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by this. In my line of work as a dispatcher I am certainly aware of the growing number of road rage incidents out there. Many people have become so self centered and isolated. The more discourtesy they experience, the more this feeling in them grows.

I always arrive early at work and let someone on the dispatch line go home earlier than they are accustomed to. Some fellow workers that I do this for seem upset and guilty: They tell me that they can’t come back the next day and return the favor, because they are going on days off. I tell them I don’t expect a “pay back”. I tell them that when they come back they should let someone else go and “pay it forward”.

Courtesy, in other words showing respect and consideration at all times towards others, is one of the keystones of the Order of Scáthach’s Code of Chivalry, just as it was one of the keystones of Bushido (rei). Compassion is another key principle of Bushido (jin). Compassion is another key principle of our Code, as well as being one of the ethical principles named in Doreen Valiente’s Charge of the Goddess: “Let my worship be within the heart that rejoiceth; for behold, all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals. And therefore let there be beauty and strength, power and compassion, honor and humility, mirth and reverence within you.”[1] These two Warrior concepts fit seamlessly into the other thirteen principles of chivalry in the Order’s code: Sincerity, Courtesy, Compassion, Perseverance, Industriousness, Justice, Loyalty, Courage, Self-Discipline, Humility, Largesse, Truth, and Honor. Our Code of Chivalry grows out of the fourth Warrior Precept of the Order of Scáthach: “Develop a sense of right action.” Right Action is what Robin Wood describes as finding the balance point: “The spot where all the possible outcomes on one side of a decision are weighed against all the possible outcomes on the other side, and they come out even.”[2]

The current world situation was largely created by people who violated some or all of these principles. This is why it is so important for Pagans everywhere to embrace these principles and set an example for the rest of the world to follow, to lead us back into stability and security.

BB Kerr

[1] Stewart FARRAR. (1971). What Witches Do: The Modern Coven Revealed, pg 197-8.
[2] Robin WOOD. (1996). When, Why...If, pg 22.

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