Integrity is a very important virtue in my life. The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary explains that to have integrity is to have a “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values.” The Dedicant Manual describes a person with integrity as having honor, trustworthiness, honesty, fairness, respect, and self-confidence (15). These definitions are helpful in understanding the full scope of what it means to have integrity.
It is important for a person to possess a sense of integrity. Without it, a person’s identity is likely to be diffused and inconsistent. A person with a sense of integrity knows who they are and what they stand for. For the most part, integrity requires a moral code, such as the acceptance of the Nine Virtues of Druidry as a guideline, or the acceptance of the Ten Commandments as rules to live by. I am pleased that the dictionary also included “artistic value” because artists such as myself have standards to live up to that we set and strive to meet. This is also a type of integrity.
You can find examples of integrity in lore. I have read multiple times that the Celts and many Indo European people detested oath breakers. It was perhaps one of the worst “sins” one could commit and so you find most ancient heroes have a deep sense of integrity and personal loyalty. For example, Sir Gawain of Arthurian Legend sticks to his moral code (after some temptation and with the help of a magic belt) and keeps his promise to the Green Knight, meeting him in battle despite the high likelihood of failure. To have run away out of cowardice would have been against Gawain’s personal code.
In regards to oath breakers, I think it’s especially important to maintain integrity when dealing with the Gods. If you cannot be honest with them, then who else can you be honest with?
~Grey Catling, 2008