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Strength to live, courage to keep going, joy to face the darkness, honor to keep us going, freedom do do and be all we are, kinship so we are not alone, realism to keep us from falling to fantasy and being lost.

Now we come to the eight virtue, Vigor. In its essence, vigor is being full of life. I think one of the first times I heard the term vigor was after the sword fight in the Zorro movie between Antonio Banderas and Catherine Zeta-Jones, where she tells the guards and her father that Zorro was a young man, and very vigorous.

Probably didn’t hurt that he managed to cut off her top with his sword. I suppose it could be debated that they threw the sword fight in there, but that something else was happening that the sword fight symbolized. We may never know.

I think I’ve mentioned it before, but each virtue that follows another works to counter a weakness that can arise from the previous virtue. When you gain strength, you can be come afraid of others who are strong, so you need courage to keep you going. But walking that road leads to dark places, so you need joy to face them.

With realism, can come a crushing sense of hopelessness that can crush the life out of you. As a Heathen, I realistically have to face that about two-thirds of the planet follow Christianity and Islam, both religions that feel the overwhelming need to wipe out paths like mine, and have the capability of doing so. At the worst of it, I’m one man against several billion. At best, I’m one of maybe a few thousand, scattered all over, with no real ability to join up and fight. And that has nothing to do with the rest of the state of the world, which while never wonderful, is apparently getting crappier than usual.

At times like this, one can feel despondent and lifeless. The odds are against you, all seems lost, the battle already fell long ago. We live in a world where Gods have no power, or there’s no gods, or there’s only one God, or a corrupt governments that chip away our freedoms to make us slave, or corporations that run everything, or a thousand other things.

Realism takes us to some very dark places too. Which is why so many people like to fall to dogmatism and fantasy, because it wraps them in a warm, fuzzy blanket and they don’t have to see the monsters. But that is no way to live.

Because that is not life.

That is why we have the virtue of Vigor. We face this despair with life itself. We drink in each breath, because it might be our last. Each drink, each morsel, each fight, we embrace it fully. I think this song embodies it best.

 

When all seems lost, that is when you stand up and embrace life and battle all that stands against you. Spiritually, physically, whatever. Because death is not the end, and victory is never assured, no matter what the odds and numbers. Tiny forces have defeated insanely larger forces. There is hope. There is always hope. And where there is hope, there is life.

Live life.

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