The Covenant of Hekate is guided by five virtues, we are supposed to uphold these virtues for the Covenant and for Hekate, as well as for ourselves. When we find one lacking in ourselves, we are to try to work on the problem.
It’s expected that we will all be lacking in some of the virtues throughout our lives, we aren’t perfect and probably never can be. The point isn’t to be perfectly aligned to the virtues, just to try, to work on them, to better ourselves in whatever ways we need at various times.
At the start of the year Sorita our Keybearer asked us which of the virtues we, as individuals, thought we need to work on the most this year.
My answer was the same as the one I answered when I first joined the CoH last year.
Moderation and self-control are both acts of Temperance. A person attempting to develop the virtue of Temperance within their daily life and practise may choose to restrict some part of their life be that thought or action in an attempt to find a balance rather than choosing to allow extremes.
In this context, temperance can really refer to many different things. Any sort of excess and/or addiction is pretty obvious here – whether it be food, shopping, drugs/alcohol, or anything like that. But there are things that perhaps aren’t quite so obvious.
I have my normal addictions, such as to caffeine and nicotine – but these aren’t really things that I find problematic right now, at least not within the scope of this virtue. My issues with this virtue stem from other areas.
Shhhh! Be Quiet!
I am nosy and opinionated. Not unlike a lot of people, I enjoy getting into the thick of debates and having my say. It’s not an unusual thing in this internet social media age, and I don’t really suffer from the problem many others have. I can debate and attack the topic without attacking people. I am even pretty good at defending positions I don’t particularly agree with.
My problem here is actually the choice of when to speak/write and when to just keep my mouth shut and fingers still.
I’ve gotten better over the past few years. Back in 2012 or so I had little control over my reactions to stupid statements and would jump into every debatable thing I saw. Over time I have realised this isn’t really good for me – and it’s generally pointless anyway. Jumping into too many debates and arguments, you end up pretty stressed – even when you don’t really care about the topic, you still feel a tension in your body just from the act of debating.
So for the most part this isn’t a huge problem anymore. But, occasionally I don’t realise that joining a simple discussion is going to end up going the wrong direction, and often it’s because of something I say. A good example is a discussion from last year on Facebook, in one of the Hellenic groups I am in.
Someone asked about the November Hekate festival, they just wanted to know about how to make an offering for the festival, simple question. Others asked about the festival itself, historical veracity etc. I, without thinking, answered that it has no history that we know of. And suddenly I and some others were told that we were judging people who celebrate modern festivals and we’re purist traditionalists and all of that.
I am still not entirely sure how I came across as being judgemental or purist – especially considering the fact that I am not traditionalist and actually do celebrate modern festivals, even creating my own region specific ones. But the fact does remain, I answered someone elses question on the history of the festival and completely ignored the first question that was asked – how to make offerings for that festival.It was not a good thing to do. I was at that time researching the November festival for a blog post here, and when the topic came up on Facebook, I gave into the urge to show off my limited knowledge on the subject.
And so, my struggle with temperance in this area continues.
Finding the Balance
I like to talk about balance, it comes up in my posts a lot. At the start of the year I mentioned in one of my blog posts that one of my “goals” for the year was to strive to find a better balance between all the parts of me – all of my responsibilities and desires. To find a better way of giving time to my blogging, homeschooling, religious observances and everything else.
I have not done well so far.
To be fair, I didn’t have a lot of control of what has happened and though I control how I react, the things that have happened did not really leave me room to just sit back and let things go as they may.
So I began the year with trying to homeschool my kids, plus just be a mum, trying to blog here, trying to do my religious duties, trying to pack to move house and trying to fight the proposed changes to the homeschooling regulations in my state. These things were already too much to do all at once, there was no balance to be found in this. With the added fun of the Patheos contract debacle and the fact that I live in a terrible town, I was pretty much so far out of balance that the word held no meaning in my life.
Obviously things had to give, and the blog here was one of those things. I didn’t do as much packing as I should have, the homeschooling certainly fell down – at least the formal homeschooling, my kids have learnt a lot about politics through all this though.
And yes, I have even missed a few important rituals over the past month.
But through all this, I at least did have the good thought to say no to a whole bunch of other things that I would normally say yes to. Even when completely overwhelmed, I still would have said yes to these things and everything would’ve tumbled down as I broke into so many pieces from the weight of it all.
And so, my struggle with temperance in this area continues, but I have begun to show restraint in some things at least.
I don’t know what will happen next nor how I will deal with it. But these are things that I really do need to get a handle on. I need to stop putting my hand in the air to volunteer for things that I really don’t have the strength to handle in the moment. I need to make sure I don’t volunteer for so many things that, even though I can handle them in the moment, it leaves me no room to deal with the things that will inevitably pop up later on. I need to stop talking when my voice isn’t really needed.
And sometimes I just need to stop. Everything, all at once and just do nothing. It’s better to stop for a day or two and abandon nearly everything, than to burn yourself out and not be able to function properly for months.
So, temperance. The virtue I really suck at. But I am working on it. I suspect I will always be working on this one.