Nobility is a reserve of inner strength – a type of character strength that not everyone develops. Ancient cultures used to assume that nobility meant being born to a certain bloodline. In modern times, we view that type of nobility as outdated and antiquated. But is it? Were the ancients wrong about nobility being a blood-right?
I’m talking about nobility today because Freyr’s path is a noble path. Yes, he is associated with fertility and considered a very lustful god in some ways, but that isn’t the aspect of Him that I wish to talk about – enough people have done that. What I find interesting about Freyr’s path is the raw inner strength it requires to walk and the noble grace that is required.
When I say raw inner strength, I am talking about mental strength. Physical strength may also be present, but mental strength is the biggest component of a person’s noble character traits. When I say mental strength, I mean a combination of intellectual and emotional strength. To act nobly, we must be able to be smart about our emotional reactions.
If someone threatens my family, then I will react to that threat. That doesn’t mean jumping straight into a fistfight. If the threat is just a threat that hasn’t escalated to actual violence, then jumping into a physical fight isn’t going to do any good. Instead, I have found it’s better to assess the situation. Has the person threatened my family as a joke or is the threat a serious one? If it’s a serious one, have I done something to provoke the threat? If not, why is there a threat being issued at all? What is the mental stability of the person issuing the threat?
In each case, there are a lot of questions that need to be asked before action is taken because the answers to those questions tell me which action to take. Acting with nobility doesn’t mean seeing a snake in the grass and then leaping to kill it immediately. It’s seeing a snake in the grass and asking, “Does this snake actually mean me harm?” Sometimes, the answer is yes. Other times, the answer is no. Even if the answer is yes, direction action is not always the best action.
Freyr is a political genius. He maneuvers the other Gods with a grace that even Loki admires, and that says a lot, considering how much disregard Loki holds for a great deal of the Gods. Freyr makes alliances – he is the Lord of Alfheim, despite not being an elf himself. That, in and of itself, speaks a great deal to me about his strength of character. Someone who is able to go into a realm and become the Lord of the Elves despite not being an elf Himself – well, that’s impressive.
To do something like that requires an incredible amount of political maneuvering, something that used to be done by the nobility of the ancient cultures. They navigated the world by striking bargains and forging alliances. Imagine our political system free of corruption and that is what nobility should be. Informed politicians making educated decisions instead of conforming to popular opinion.
In ancient cultures, nobles weren’t voted into power – they were granted power by their kings. There was no fear of losing the power, as kings didn’t grant nobility to every family who wished for it. I’m not saying no corruption existed there, but I am saying that the corruption was much less then than it is now. Because then you had one king serving his self-interests and granting nobility to those who would support him. Now, we have two parties full of individuals serving self-interests with no true central figurehead, all concerned with popular opinion and what they have to do to stay in power. There’s a huge contrast.
I suppose the best way to put this is that Freyr’s path represents what nobility could be if it were untarnished by corruption. Freyr shows how a lord should behave with his vassals, valuing every insight given and judging every option carefully before making decisions that impact his kingdom. He is a lordly ruler, which makes since, considering his name means Lord.
Some people think about nobility as the stuffy old English guys with handkerchiefs in their back pockets, interested only in the time it takes them to get away from business. But that isn’t how I view nobility. Not only because Freyr is such a shining example of true nobility but also due to my own family history.
On my mother’s side, I am tied to Scotland and a member of the Clan McGregor. The McGregor motto translates from Gaelic as “Royal is my race.” Originally, the McGregors were one of 8 noble lines in Scotland with ties to royalty. I remember my mother telling me that we were of royal blood when I was a small child, and that in the first few seconds when someone of royal blood bled, the blood was purple instead of red. That is obviously 100% false but it was still an amusing tale. But no, I did not go around cutting myself to discover if my mother was lying to me.
Anyway, to get back on topic, it is generally said that there is no actual proof that one’s blood makes them royal. That no one is born to rule. I used to agree with that, but lately, I’ve started to wonder if that’s just a product of the modern age. We are all pretty vehemently against being seen as inferior to anyone else, so any worldview that suggests the opposite tends to be shot down fairly violently.
Royalty in countries with monarchies is a blood right. You are either born into royalty or you aren’t. It has nothing to do with wealth – there have been incredibly poor kings and queens in the history of the world. Doesn’t mean they were any less royal. Logic decrees that royalty must be based on blood-rights.
Most people also don’t think of blood as being all that important. Old family feuds are disregarded because “we don’t do that anymore.” And yet, when I was a child, I went to school with a Campbell. Before I even knew about the violent feud between the McGregors and Campbells – before I even knew that I was descended from the McGregors – I hated him. He hated me. We had an incredibly strong mutual hatred for the other.
By the time I reached high school, I knew about the McGregors feud with the Campbells, so I did what I could to avoid him. One day, however, completely out of nowhere, he came up to with a soda in his hand and threw it at me. I slapped him. Then I walked away before it could escalate. So, I have had personal experience with my bloodline tying me into a blood-feud that I certainly didn’t start. They are called blood-feuds for a reason – they transcend generations and the knowledge of their existence doesn’t matter. I don’t know too much about the logistics of blood-feuds and how they end, but I know they are never settled peacefully. I still get angry thinking about him, and I am generally a rational person. If it had been anyone but him who threw the soda at me, I could have laughed it off as a joke. That’s what I mean – blood-feuds make you irrational.
So, if blood-feuds are real, then it isn’t a hard stretch to imagine that blood-rights for nobility are real as well. My family line has been traced back to ancient kings of Scotland, so I know that I am descended from a noble line. In my immediate family, I grew up poor, but I never experienced the “trailer park” world that is a common story amongst many impoverished families. Instead, I was taught to behave properly. My mother insisted on proper etiquette, and I still find it disquieting when I am in public and someone does something crass. Formality matters to me in a way that it doesn’t matter to others, and I’m keenly aware of it. I’m also aware of how obnoxious it can make me seem, so I do my best to tone it down when I’m around people who don’t appreciate it. Adapting to social situations is a political maneuver as much as forging alliances or making bargains, so it fits within Freyr’s realm.
Talking about this raises a lot of controversial topics that most people prefer to shy away from, but I don’t think that is a good way to represent Freyr. He doesn’t shy away from difficult situations or controversial topics, so I won’t either. I think that Freyr’s path may be one of the hardest ones to walk because it involves understanding many perspectives and then deciding on what is good for the whole rather than for each individual, and the good of the whole must matter more. Understanding priorities is a big theme with Him, and I think the “whole vs. individual” thing is best understood by thinking of it in a family context. When parents make decisions, they try to do what’s best for their children (assuming good parenting skills) even if those decisions anger the child. Nobility, in my mind, is the same concept applied on a much broader scale.