Meditations on the 7-Pointed Star of Druidism
(Seren Derwydd) Series
Part 1: Doethiweb - Wisdom

by Archdruid El Arseneau

The first point of the Seren Derwydd, and therefore the first attribute to be developed by the fledgling Druid is called Doethiweb, or “wisdom.”

Wisdom is esteemed to be higher than knowledge, because without wisdom knowledge is just so much sound and fury. But what is wisdom? How is wisdom defined?

“Wisdom, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is defined as "1 a: Accumulated philosophic or scientific learning: knowledge; b: Ability to discern inner qualities and relationships: insight; c: Good sense: judgment d: Generally accepted belief challenges what has become accepted wisdom among many historians — Robert Darnton>. d: A wise attitude, belief, or course of action. e: The teachings of the ancient wise men.

All of the senses above are related to intelligence, making it difficult to produce a definition of wisdom that is not mostly equivalent to intelligence. Some see wisdom as a quality that even a child, otherwise immature, may possess independently of experience or wide knowledge. The status of wisdom or prudence as a virtue is recognized in cultural, philosophical and religious sources. Some define wisdom in a utilitarian sense, as foreseeing consequences and acting to maximize the long-term common good. As such, wisdom is viewed as consisting of ideals and principles that govern all actions and decisions. Applications of personal wisdom include one's ethical and social guidelines in life that determines one’s unique style of personality, the particular nature of short and long-term goal(s) pursued in life (spiritual or materialistic for example), perspective on life, social attitudes, etc.” (Source: Wikipedia)

A Druid’s use of Wisdom concerns how one uses knowledge for the common good, that being the good of the Tribe. Today we define “the Tribe” as everyone living on this planet. We are one organism, a mere part of Mother Earth, so our application of knowledge needs to be for *“the good of the many,” instead of the few. We can’t afford selfishness. We can’t afford nationalistic perspectives. We have to think globally. We have to look at the big picture. In this sense, WE ARE our brother’s keeper, because a harm to one is a harm to all. Cutting off a leg or an arm may seem like an isolated event, but that action will have repercussions to the whole of the bodies functioning. Our collective wisdom demands that we see other nations, creeds, races, etc., as parts of the same body – the body of Mother Earth, so collective decisions are ethically, “from each according to his/her abilities, to each according to his/her needs.”

Wisdom involves thinking things through to their logical conclusions, and then taking “right action at cusp.” A cusp is a moment of decision, which may or may not allow time to think things all the way through however, so one’s collective wisdom will be brought into play, and depending upon that wisdom’s development, rightness or wrongness will be determined in hindsight. An example of this kind of cusp might be if you were in an alley and getting mugged. In the moment, you might call upon your marital arts skills and kill the mugger, or you might just give them your wallet. Only hindsight can determine the wisdom of a given course of action at such a cusp.

Another example would be a political leader’s decision to go to war. In this case the leader has ample time to evaluate the pros and cons of such a decision, including the environmental impact on the Earth Mother. If wisdom is applied, then 99% of the time the decision to go to war would be negative, as only in the most extreme case (like another nation declaring war on ours) would war be justified, and even then extreme care would have to be taken to limit environmental damage and loss of life (on both sides).

How does one develop the virtue of wisdom? By gaining knowledge. By learning. By taking in as much knowledge, and in as broad a subject matter, as possible. The Druid will have knowledge in Astronomy, Ecology, Biology, the Humanities, Physics, Mathematics, Philosophy, Religion (all religions), the Arts, Literature, etc. A knowledge of Celtic history, culture, art, etc., is a given, but the Druid will also have equal knowledge of the history and culture of all other nations and peoples on Earth as well – even the smallest and most insignificant tribes. A Druids education begins when they decide to become a Druid, and lasts until they die. There is too much to know, and therefore no reason to stop the learning process. In this case, Wisdom would also dictate that educational opportunity, including university, be available to everyone, regardless of means. A well-educated society is a healthy society. A broad knowledge base, tempered by a Druid’s ethical base in the two tenets (the Gaian Hypothesis), and the inspiration of Awen, will develop the Wisdom attribute of a Druid.

"Wise men say nothing in dangerous times."
~~ Aesop ~~

"When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years."
~~ Mark Twain ~~

"I hope our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us, that the less we use our power the greater it will be."
~~ Thomas Jefferson ~~

"Patience is the companion of wisdom."
~~ St. Augustine ~~

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
~~ Plato ~~

"Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers."
~~ Alfred Lord Tennyson ~~

"It requires wisdom to understand wisdom: the music is nothing if the audience is deaf."
~~ Walter Lippmann ~~

"All I know is that I know nothing."
~~ Socrates ~~

"Above all else, the greatest gift and the most wondrous blessing hath ever been and will continue to be Wisdom."
~~ Bahá'u'lláh ~~

* -From the OMS Pledge ( http://mithrilstar.org/pledge.htm )
1 – From Stranger In A Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein