Our Own Druidry defines perseverance as “Drive; the motivation to pursue goals even when that pursuit becomes difficult”. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as “persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success”, while “persevere” is defined as “to continue in a course of action in the face of difficulty”.
The version of the Asatru Nine Noble Virtues in Our Own Druidry makes the above points in stark language: “We hold to the path until its completion and are not ashamed to be strong. The cult of the anti-hero will find no support in us, and the gods we follow are not for the weak”.
I find the Asatru language hostile, and unforgiving for people with conditions such as depression, that can weaken our resolve and make perseverance more difficult, but the general sentiment of all the above definitions is clear. In the words of Winston Churchill (who was a Druid), “KBO: Keep Buggering On”.
Perseverance is to continue in a task even when the end seems far off, or the task is difficult. In Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the hero’s journey, perseverance is always required for the hero to complete their quest, to reach their destination, slay their monster or find their reward.
In the Dedicant Path, perseverance is essential to keep going, even when exercises like the mental discipline requirement, or the seemingly-endless stream of essays, look impossible to finish. To have perseverance, the virtue of vision is also needed: you need a clear goal to pursue.
The ancient Pagans, especially those in harsh climates such as the Celts and Norse, would have valued perseverance highly, as it meant you could keep fighting, keep surviving in the sparse landcape and cold winters. In Norse myth, you can see Odin’s nine nights of hanging on Ygdrassil to gain wisdom as an example of perseverance, as he kept going through his long ordeal.
ADF. Our Own Druidry. ADF Publishing, 2009
Oxford English Dictionary for Students. Oxford University Press, 2006
Dangler, M.J. The ADF Dedicant Path through the Wheel of the Year. Garanus, 2010