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Courage - One of the 13 Virtues of Odin's Warrior Tribe by Lindinwulf

Marine Combat engineers of the 4th CEB breaching an obstacle.


There are 13 virtues in the Odin’s Warrior Tribal Code. The first virtue is Honor which remains both the foundation of the tribal character and the wellspring from which the other virtues flow. The second virtue is courage. Courage has existed as a concept for as long as man has wandered the world, yet for many, courage is a difficult concept to define. Courage is an ancient attribute attested to in the Sagas of our ancestors, glorified in our own tales and boasts, exemplified by our brothers and sisters on the battlefield, and recognized on an instinctual level by all, even if we struggle to define it with our language. Throughout the Eddas the members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe may see examples of courage that can guide them. The many physical battles Thor participates in to protect his people, Hermod’s ride through the forbidding realm of Hel to secure his brother Baldur’s release from an unjust death, Tyr’s valor as he stepped forward when all the other Aesir shrank away from placing their sword hand in Fenrir’s maw, and even Odin’s willingness to suffer great wounds and agony, sacrificing an eye, hanged, and pierced by a spear, in pursuit of the knowledge to foresee Ragnarök and protect his people. The sagas of our ancestors also teach us of courage by retelling the greatest tales of bravery. The lone warrior of Stamford Bridge standing against a Anglo-Saxon army, the exploits of the Volsungs throughout their saga, and Grettir’s heroic persistence despite the misfortune that befalls him, all show examples of courage to follow though they do not directly define courage.

The examples of the past coupled with the military service of Odin’s Warrior Tribe members helps a tribal member to define this ancient attribute in our modern world. Courage, for a member of Odin’s Warrior Tribe, is the mental, moral, and physical strength ingrained in one’s character that brings about the mastery of fear, preserves the ability to do what is right in the face of adversity, and prepares us to make tough decisions under stress and pressure. Cultivating courage enables a member of Odin’s Warrior tribe to overcome danger, fear, difficulty, or anxiety in daily life and when called to more heroic action. Our courage allows us to accept responsibility for our kith and kin, placing conscience and the needs of the tribe over competing interests regardless of the consequences. Developing courage gives us the ability to make the conscious, overriding decision to risk bodily harm or death to save or defend others if called to do so. The histories of our respective branches of service and the stories of our ancestors are resplendent with tales of valor, those who knew when to fight the good fight and when to discipline their anger and have the courage to temper their actions. Medals recognize those who persevered against the odds and lives have been saved by those that have had the courage to act in the moment, to speak when injustice befell them or others, and to put the tribe above the self. Courage is a personal strength that is moral, mental, and physical, and it should be developed by all the members of Odin’s Warrior Tribe.

It has been said that courageous people have not risen to the occasion, they have sunk to the level of their level of training. The mental, moral, and physical strength to master fear, to preserve the ability to do what is right, to risk mental or bodily harm, and to put the tribe above the self must be trained to develop courage. Courage, for a member of Odin’s Warrior Tribe, is not a reserve to draw from but a skill that must be cultivated. Though naturally courageous people may exist, courage is a skill that must be developed like any other skill and honed like the edge of a blade, kept sharp and ready. A member of Odin’s Warrior Tribe should always stand for what they know to be right and true, doing so builds courage. A tribe member should routinely face that which makes them uncomfortable, be it physically or mentally. Doing so develops the courage and the resilience to persist in physically demanding situations and to mentally operate when facing difficult times or difficult subjects. Developing courage helps tribal members to be independent and resourceful but also grows their worth to the tribe. Courage is cultivated, practiced, and refined daily by remembrance of the past and by deeds in the present. Courage defends personal and tribal honor and increases the reputation of both the tribe and the individual. I could argue that Odin and Tyr demand courage of those holding an affinity for them, but I know that our ancestors expect courage of us, or brothers and sisters in arms rely upon our courage, and our kith and kin grow stronger in the presence of our courage.

The author Lindinwulf is a Marine Corps Staff NCO and combat veteran

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