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7 Deadly Sins & 7 Cardinal Virtues
7 Deadly Sins & 7 Cardinal Virtues

    Introduction ψ  Throughout history man has been grappling with the idea of good and evil.  These ideas have been played out in their myths, legends, and daily communications to one another.  The idea of Virtue and Sins stems…




ψ  Throughout history man has been grappling with the idea of good and evil.  These ideas have been played out in their myths, legends, and daily communications to one another.  The idea of Virtue and Sins stems from the Original Sin, which in the Western world is Disobedience to the Law.  According to the Bible, God created a special Garden for Adam the first man to live in.  He then placed Eve, the first woman in the Garden for a mate.  As the story goes, God gave Adam a strict directive not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge Good and Evil.   Eve, the partner was beguiled by the Serpent and encouraged Adam to eat.  When God found out about the disobedience, he cast Adam and Eve out of Eden.  And so placed Adam and Eve on the path of struggle, pain, and eventual death.  It is thought that the reason we all have the same struggles is due the Disobedience to the Law, the Original Sin.  Thus, sin is not following the Law.

What is Sin and the Law?

To understand what sin actually is let’s look at the Greek word, αμαρτία, that most commonly translates to “sin” means “to miss the mark” or to fail to adhere to the righteous standards.  Thus, when we miss the mark, or fall short of standards, we sin.  Therefore, sin could be thought as knowing the standards but not following them.   Some of us have limited natural ability to properly live up to right standards and values. Sometimes we repeatedly fall short of the honourable conduct.  An example would be when your mother tells you not to play with knives, and you play anyway.  What generally happens is that you end up cutting yourself or someone else and getting in trouble.  It is like you do not have the “will” to do what you know is right and there can be lots of reasons for that.    We won’t go into the psychological reasons now, but will save that discussion for another topic.


The Origin of the 7 Deadly Sins and 7 Cardinal Virtue

The origin of the 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Cardinal Virtues stems from the pre-Christian Greek and Romans.  340 years ago, Aristotle wrote 10 scrolls which formed 10 books on ethics.  It is said that he wrote it either as tribute for his father, or his son, both of which are the namesakes of the body of work.   The writings are called the Nicomachean Ethics and is organized as Socratic Questioning, and thus the themes are posed as practical questions as opposed to theoretical exposition.   In the Nicomachean Ethics, he lists several excellences or virtues and suggested that each positive quality represents a golden mean between two extremes.    Aristotle lists virtues like courage, temperance (self-control), generosity, greatness of soul (magnanimity), measured anger, friendship, and wit or charm.  His theory on the vices parallel Horace, a Roman poet writer and satirist who was born December 65 BC, in Venusia, Italy and died in Nov. 27, 8 BC in Rome, during the time of the Emperor Augustus.  Horace wrote in his epistles that “to flee vice is the beginning of virtue, and to rid oneself of folly is the beginning of wisdom. ”

Thus, a virtue is a moral attitude, that cultivates good habits which govern one’s actions, passions, and conduct according to reason; and are acquired by human effort of mind and through will and discipline.  Immanuel Kant said, “Virtue is the moral strength of the will in obeying the dictates of duty”.



The 7 Deadly Sins and the 7 Virtues

The seven deadly sins, also known as the capital vices, or cardinal sins, is a grouping and classification of vices. Behaviors or habits are classified under this category if they directly give rise to other immoralities. The sins are pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and sloth, which are contrary to the seven heavenly virtues which we will discuss next.

According to sources, the classification originated with the early Christian hermits, ascetics, and monks (Desert Fathers) who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt beginning around the third century AD.  These early Christians identified seven or eight evil thoughts or spirits to be overcome. The seven Deadly Sins were discovered to be “evil thoughts or evil spirits“. One ascetic Evagrius created a body of work and his pupil John Cassian wrote a book entitled The Institutes, introduced the classification system to Europe where it was adopted into Catholic fundamentals. The function of classifying the deadly sins was to help people become aware of their evil inclinations and assist them in mastering them so that the inclinations would not master them. Using this system every occupation would have its pet Sin, that thing that while maturing could sever the Soul from Grace and lead to other sins.  And example is a great chef who owes his greatness to the sampling of his wares and grows to obesity as a consequence.


Classification and Outline of the Sins

The seven Deadly Sins were studied and categorized as they related to and affected the mind.  They were then put into three broad categories:

Lustful Appetite of Mind, Body, Soul, or Spirit (gluttony, lust and greed)
Irascibility of Mind, Body, Soul, or Spirit (wrath and sloth)
Corruption of the Mind, Body, Soul, or Spirit (envy and pride)

So here are the Seven Deadly Sins.


1. Lust

Lust, or lechery (Latin: luxuria (carnal)), is intense longing. Lust means unbridled desire, an insatiable appetite such as for money or power. It rarely is directed at oneself but more towards other people.  It is the longing for someone else’s property mind soul or spirit.  It is thought that the impurity of lust transforms one into “a slave of the devil”.  However, in some context is thought to be unbridled sexual desire, which may lead to fornication (including adultery), rape, bestiality and other sinful sexual acts.

Some people believe that it is the least serious capital sin.  It is thought to be the abuse of a faculty of the instinctive nature of the body/soul/spirit complex.  And some people argue that the sins of the flesh are less grievous than spiritual sins.  This implies that one can have a spiritual sin without a physical sin.  It is our belief that isn’t true.  More on this in the course.


2. Gluttony

Gluttony (Latin: gula) is the overindulgence and overconsumption of anything to the point of waste. The word derives from the Latin gluttire, to gulp down or swallow.  The idea is that when a person over-indulges in anything or in any way it creates a habit that feeds upon itself.  In other words, gluttony creates an empty Soul, one that removes resources from the environment and thus steals from the needy and those less fortunate.   There is also the connotation that it means the obsessives anticipation of meals and overindulgence of foods.


3. Greed

Greed (Latin: avaritia), also known as avarice, cupidity, or covetousness, is, like lust and gluttony, a sin of desire. However, greed is applied to emotional or mental desire and extreme pursuit of material possessions.  Dante suggested that it is concentration excessively on earthly thoughts leads to ruin. The unreasonable obsession with things leads the justification of people’s actions towards theft, robbery, leading to violence, trickery, or manipulation of authority.   And back in the old days people attempted to bribe their way into Heaven.  Some people believe that greed causes a person to possess more than one needs in material wealth.  Like pride, this can lead to evil if taken to extreme.  I like to think of it like the mind of a three-year-old who hasn’t learnt about personal property.  Instead, they believe what is theirs is theirs and what is others is theirs.


4. Sloth

Sloth (Latin: tristitia or acedia (“without care”)) refers to pathological spiritual, mental, and physical states. It is defined as the absence of interest or habitual disinclination to exertion.  When sloth is viewed spiritually it is the energetic indifference to finding and performing one’s Thelema, that is the thing that one was born to do in their lives.  It is though that through the Soul each person is connected to other people who need their frequency and energy as physical, emotional, or spiritual products.  And failure to support their destined connections means that the “Great Plan” of life will have unnecessary flaws and challenges.  It also means that someone who didn’t have the destiny of working with their contacts or networks will be pull off their path to make up the difference. Evil exists and proliferates when “good” people fail to act. Therefore, failure to fulfil one’s spiritual Thelema results in the Soul’s retraction of its vital force and energy leading to poor decision making, misfortune, leading to ill health, depression, and eventual early death.

Mental slothfulness is a lack of any feeling about self or others.  It is a mind-state that gives rise to all of the qualities leading to passivity, inertness or lack of mentation. It is basically sleeping through life, moving like a leaf in the wind waiting to land and die.   It leads to physical sloth which is the next topic of discussion.

Physical slothfulness is fundamentally associated with a cessation of motion and an indifference to work; it finds expression in laziness, idleness, and indolence.  This means the body itself devoid of the energy of mind will start to atrophy moving towards entropy and fission.  Sloth not only subverts the livelihood of the body, taking no care for its day-to-day provisions, but as mentioned earlier slows down the mind, halting its attention to matters of great importance. Sloth hinders the man in his righteous undertakings and thus becomes a terrible source of human’s undoing.

Again, spiritual, mental, and physical slothfulness is failure to do things that one should do.  It therefore doesn’t use the seven gifts of grace given by the Soul and Spirit.  Those are Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Piety, Fortitude, and Reverence to the Spiritual Laws.  Once again the person who is slothful doesn’t fulfil their unique and special role in their own lives and for society.  They are simply wasted.


5. Wrath 

Wrath (Latin: ira) can be defined as uncontrolled feelings of anger, rage, and hatred. It is a mental state by which the individual is beyond frustrated, helpless and is ready to take the next step which is to assault the perpetrator in vengeance.  Anger in action becomes wrath when it is directed against an innocent person, and when it is strong, long-lasting, or when it desires excessive punishment to be inflicted. If the anger reaches the point of actual desire to kill or seriously wound a person, it becomes highly dangerous.

Hatred is also a form of wrath and is the desire that someone suffer misfortune or evil.  Wrath generally starts with an injury that is either real or perceived.  The injured then feels indignant of the injury.  And then either immediately or over time the injured believes that some sort of justice should be enforced either by themselves or some other party.  If no justice has come about then there is a desire for violence, and hatred towards the perpetrator by the injured/victim.  The victim may continue to experience wrath long after the wrong and may exhibit emotional and mental symptoms such as impatience, anxiety, and hateful misanthropy as a means of reducing the intense emotional state induced by the wrong.  Without the balance of justice, the person may seek revenge and exhibit self-destructive behavior that leads to all sorts of abuse and suicide.  As the hand of cause and effect turns the victim may become the assaulter.


6. Envy

Envy (Latin: invidia), like greed and lust, has the nature of insatiable desire. It is an intense inner struggle with self and others.  It doesn’t see its reflection as an equal in the external world and feels intense and painful resentfulness for its lack.  It longs for the perceived or imagined advantages enjoyed by others and has the desire to possess the same.  It can be a personal desire, or it may be a desired for its family and friends.  Some describe it as sad longing or resentful covetousness towards the traits or possessions of someone else.  It is void of understanding of the causal effects of nature and in many cases it doesn’t care.

Envy can turn malicious and when this occurs it is quite like jealousy.   The similarities between the two are that both views their standings as less than desired and the viewing of other’s possessions, traits, status, abilities, or rewards as more desirable.  The difference is that the envious also desire the entity and covet it. And jealousy is the inclination to react and respond to their extreme feeling of lack.  Both envy and jealousy lead to greed, having all that one has and it not being enough because you see others with more or different.

Dante defined envy as “a desire to deprive other men of theirs”.  According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the struggle aroused by envy has three stages.  During the first stage, the envious person attempts to lower another’s reputation; in the middle stage, the envious person receives either “joy at another’s misfortune” (if he succeeds in defaming the other person) or “grief at another’s prosperity” (if he fails); the third stage is hatred because “sorrow causes hatred”.  See

It is thought that only pride weighs down more on the Soul than envy among the 7 deadly sins.  Both pride, and envy has been associated directly with the (d)evil.  And we will leave envy with this thought… “the envy of the (d)evil brought death to the world”.   Because prior to his envy there was eternal life.


7. Pride

Pride (Latin: superbia) is thought to be the original and leader of all of sin, as it is also seen as the most grievous. It is dualistic as it can be considered angelical, or demonic in the same context.  It is in its negative form is considered dangerously, insidious, corrupting, and selfishness.  It always puts its own desires, urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of other people. and is just as quickly able to self-sacrifice in its prideful descension.  It grows out of a burning need to be viewed for its courage, forth-rightness, and virtue.

It has both positive and negative frameworks in which it operates much like the daily sunrise and sunset.  In its both positive and negative frameworks it doesn’t realize boundaries and limitations.  In destructive cases, those where due to his/her arrogance there is injury to others, it irrationally believes there is no fault, and it was the Fates that had a hand in the outcome.  He or she believes that they are essentially and necessarily better, superior, or more important than fault and others, thus failing to acknowledge their own mistakes and errs in judgement.

Pride also fails to recognize the accomplishments of others.  They do not see that encouraging others’ time for admiration, and positive personal image is important because they believe that the “world revolves around them”.  Therefore, Pride is a monster for others and itself.  And its sin leads one into a dark place personally and spiritually.


Why Do We Sin?

The seed of sin is inherent in most people.  Sometimes it only needs a little fertilizer and sunlight and then darkness.  Most of the capital sins are perverse or corrupt versions of love.  Love is defined as a like or enjoyment of something leading to a great interest and pleasure in something creating to an intense feeling or deep affection.  It is the desire to immerse oneself into the object with little regards for one’s own safety and security.  It almost always leads to destruction of the personal self.

Lust, gluttony, and greed are all excessive or disordered love of good things.  Wrath, envy, and pride are perverted love directed toward other’s harm.  The exception is sloth, which is a deficiency of love. In the seven capital sins are seven ways of eternal death.  The capital sins, from lust to envy, are generally associated with pride, which is thought to be the Father of all sins.

The Seven Cardinal Virtues is next.


Thank you for Reading!

Last Update: May 14 2021

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Copyright 2019-2024 Sabrina Renee Lemire


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Over the years, I have had the opportunity to develop my studies into skills. I have practiced Tarot for 20 years along with Astrology, Numerology, Runes, Spiritual Healing, Hebrew Mysticism, Theosophy, Chinese Medicine and Ancient Philosophy. I use all of these skills along with my background in Business, Counselling and Intuition to get to the stem root of every problem and to come up with creative Answers to heal the person from the Inside Out, and Outside In.

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