Ancient Wisdom: The Stag at the Pool

Pewter Stag Brooch, which you can buy from my Dad's shop! http://www.spiral.org.uk/acatalog/Spiral_Virtual_Shop_The_Animal_Kingdom_9.html

Pewter Stag Brooch, which you can buy from my Dad’s shop! http://www.spiral.org.uk/acatalog/Spiral_Virtual_Shop_The_Animal_Kingdom_9.html

I mentioned previously that although many Pagan paths do not provide as clear moral guidelines as some other religions, many Pagans draw wisdom and moral teachings from myths, legends and folk tales of old. I’d now like to share one of my favourite Aesop’s Fables, which I think has a lot to teach us in the modern world; it’s “The Stag at the Pool.” 

The Stag at the Pool

A Stag overpowered by heat came to a spring to drink. Seeing his own shadow reflected in the water, he greatly admired the size and variety of his horns, but felt angry with himself for having such slender and weak feet. While he was thus contemplating himself, a Lion appeared at the pool and crouched to spring upon him. The Stag immediately took to flight, and exerting his utmost speed, as long as the plain was smooth and open kept himself easily at a safe distance from the Lion. But entering a wood he became entangled by his horns, and the Lion quickly came up to him and caught him. When too late, he thus reproached himself: “Woe is me! How I have deceived myself! These feet which would have saved me I despised, and I gloried in these antlers which have proved my destruction.”

***

The moral of this story, of course, is that what is most valuable is often underrated. I think it’s definitely true that in modern society, celebrity worship has made us feel inadequate, both of our physical appearance and our own achievements and talents. What’s more, society places so much emphasis on acquiring wealth, objects and social status as a measure of success that we tend to forget so many of the more important things in life – such as family, friendship and remembering to enjoy life as it is! “The Stag at the Pool” may have been written in ancient Greek, yet its message seems to be more important now than ever. I think that the Pagan lifestyle can help us to remember to place greater emphasis on life’s treasures – good food, good company, time to reflect and the respect and enjoyment of nature.

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