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The Twelve Aetheling Thews

Before I go any further here, I'd like to give credit to the person who introduced me to these ideals, Swain Wodening, whose homepage is HERE and includes far more information on Asatru (Heathenism) than I could ever compile here. This page is a must visit, and I refer anyone interested in learning more about Asatru to the capable hands of Wodening. That being said, here they are...

1) Boldness- The ability to face any threat, no matter how great, without fleeing from it.

2) Steadfastness- Endurance and tenacity, the enduring of one's wyrd.

3) Troth- Troth, the native word for faith, fealty, or loyalty to one's friends, kindred, lord, or gods.

4) Givefullness- Givefullness, the native word for generosity, was seen as perhaps the highest of thews. This was reflected in such kennings for king as "giver of gold" and "ring giver."

5) Gestening, Guestliness- Guestliness or hospitality for the Elderen was not just a virtue, but a necessity. Traveling long distances was often dangerous, and to ensure free trade and communications, the Elder Heathens opened their homes not only to friends, but also to strangers.

6) Sooth- The Elderen valued truth and honesty. This was shown by their strong avoidance of lies (unless lied to) and of oath breaking.

7) Wrake- Vengeance for the murder or harming of one's kinsmen was not just a thew, but an obligation. In today's world, it means seeing that justice is served thru legal means.

8) Evenhead- Evenhead is a native word for equality. Equality of the sexes was one of the ancient Heathen's virtues, though no doubt to them it was just a way of life.

9) Friendship- Friendship was highly valued by the ancient Heathens, and friends were often counted as kin.

10) Freedom- Freedom, or self reliance as has already was important to the ancient Heathen. The Romans noted this in combat, and in Anglo-Saxon law a man's sword could not be taken from him even if exiled, as one should always be able to rely on his own arm for pro-tection.

11) Wisdom- Wisdom was a highly valued trait amongst the ancient Asatruarmenn. Learning was a part of this, as it was the starting point on the road to knowledge and later wisdom.

12) Busyship/Workhardiness- This trait went hand in hand with stead-fastness, and was necessary for survival. There were fields to till, cows to milk, swine to feed, wood to gather. In the mechanized world of today we often forget how hard life was for the Elder Heathens. They didn't just go to the fridge and grab a beer. They had to collect the honey (risking being stung by bees), and brew the mead before they could drink it. In the ancient Heathen's day, laziness could leave one starving or freezing to death, so naturally individuals with this trait of busyship were highly regarded.

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