Numinous and Concrete
Honor: From the Inside Out
To live honorably requires commitment: to self; to practice; to community; to earth; to deity; to action; to love. This enables us to begin to integrate our lives, bringing more and more of our parts into truth, becoming an unwavering beacon of self in the world. When we consistently live out of fear, shame, resentment, or envy, it becomes difficult to consolidate around our core, to live from the center out, rather than from the outside in. In doing this, we are constantly looking to be reflected in other's eyes and words, like a child trying to find her place in the world. As adults, we need to know where we stand and what we are responsible for.
Without integration of the parts of ourselves, there is no integrity. Without integrity, there is no honor. Self-knowledge, willingness, and action all come together to form us as people of honor. Do we walk our talk? Do we practice so that, when called upon, we are ready to give aid? Are our minds and bodies as keenly tuned as we can make them?
It takes only one brave soul to step forward and behave according to our common virtues to evoke that character from within each other." ~ Scott Sonnon
To look at ourselves as clearly as possible, showing up every moment of every day to the best of our abilities, to re-engage our willingness to try, even after seeming failure—all of these forge honor. In forging honor through such avenues, we are learning to honor ourselves. By truly honoring ourselves, we reach toward further integrity, will, power, and grace.
The virtue of honor gives us the strength to become capable of living and acting for the long haul, rather than immediate gain. There is nothing we cannot do, because we learn to not give up easily, to approach tasks from a different angle, with practice as our lever. It may take us until we die, but we will accomplish what we set out to, even if it looks completely different in the end than what we had in mind when we began.
I sometimes look at decisions made in our communities, or by big business, or government, and shake my head in bewilderment. The actions taken, and the scandals or upheaval or oppression that result make no sense to me, until I recognize that people are making decisions based on short term gain rather than long term consequence. By valuing honor, and choosing to live as honorably as possible, we commit to a long term view and help those around us to do the same. This in turn helps all of our relationships, both close to home and far reaching.
It is my firm belief that we cannot live in right relationship with the earth, the cosmos, ourselves, and each other, without striving to live from a place of honor. This is a learning process, of course, to integrate more each day, to learn what honorable speech and action sound and look like. I do not always succeed in best honoring those beings around me, but I commit to continuing to try.
T. Thorn Coyle is an internationally respected visionary and teacher of the magical and esoteric arts. The author of Make Magic of Your Life, Kissing the Limitless, and Evolutionary Witchcraft, she hosts the Elemental Castings podcast series, writes the blog Know Thyself, and has produced several CDs of sacred music. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook!