Wednesday, August 10, 2011


“By the blessings of the holy kindred let my seas be fertile, let my sky be fertile, and let my land be fertile”—Invocation of fertility by Gwynt

Fertility is far more then the simple matter of physical reproduction. That is merely one small meaning of the word and very little to do with it as a virtue. defines virtue as:
1. the state or quality of being fertile.
2. Biology . the ability to produce offspring; power of reproduction: the amazing fertility of rabbits.
3. the birthrate of a population.

None of these definitions fit the meaning of fertility as used by ADF and as a virtue. In ADF Fertility is defined as: "Bounty of mind, body and spirit, involving creativity, production of objects, food, works of art, etc., an appreciation of the physical, sensual, and nurturing". When I read this I come to understand that fertility is much deeper virtue then just about producing children. It’s about the act of creation, regardless of it’s something physical or not. It could be art or ideas. When I see the deeper meaning to fertility I see its value as a part of society. A society with fertile people is healthy, strong. It can overcome almost any problem that comes its way. Fertility is not just coming up with ideas, though that is the first stage of it, to be truly fertile, I believe one must in some way bring the ideas into the physical realm. The Painting painted, the words written or typed, the invention built, the plants must grow. Ideas are but seeds. If the seeds never grow, one cannot say the ground is fertile now can they?

I see the land, sea, and sky as not just realms around us, but within us and what we are made of. I see my physical body as the land, my emotions the sea, and my mind the sky. When I speak the prayer quoted above, I am asking that my body be strong and full of life. I am asking my emotions to grow and change to spring up and die off as is natural. I am asking my mind to be creative, for ideas to grow and blossom. This is what it means to be fertile in land, sea, and sky.

I think one of my greatest acts of fertility I have done in my life was the creation of an eclectic meet up group of pagans in my area. It is called kern County Pagan Circle and is made up of Wiccans, eclectic witches, druids, and Asatru. We meet each week at a local metaphysical store. Many people who were lost and following the faint rhythms of their pagan heart have come to the group and learned to hear those rhythms clearly. They have found not only information, but a community, a community that has come to call itself “the tribe”. It has grown over the years, and at our Lughnasadh celebration we had forty five attendees and their families. This represented three counties and five cities. When I look at all the happy faces, I know that I had a hand in helping them find a spiritual path that makes them fertile in land, sea, and sky.


  1. I've always regretted that we chose 'fertility' as the term for this third-function virtue. I lobbied for 'sensuality. IMO it is meant to refer to the cattle-lords' love of display and pomp, the wearing of gold and silk, the delight in feasting and sex and music and pleasure in general.
    "Fertitlity" reduces it to a biological metaphor where I think it refers to a social phenomenon.

  2. I can see your point, and I recall an argument for "sensuality" on one of the tribeways. The word fertility certainly has problems and baggage, but I am not convinced that snesuality is the correct word either, for it to comes with bagagge as well. There is, to me, a significant difference between "fertility" and "sensuality" Case in point, take the shades of meaning in these two phrases: "he has a fertile mind" vs. "he has a sensual mind". I get two totally different impressions about the person. The biggest problem with the word fertility is the ADF defenition veers greatly from the commonly understood meaning of the word, and thus can cause confusion. yet I have to ask, is it a bad thing that ADF is asking people to broaden their understanding of what fertility is and means? Now I am not saying sensuality isn't a virtue or a good thing to be or have, I am saying I don't think it's the same thing as being fertile (and you may be in agreement, not sure). Fertility may not be the best word choice, but until I or some one comes up with a better descriptor of what we are trying to convay in this virtue I am happy with it. To me sensuality just isn't it. =)