Tuesday, 11 May 2010


This is of course a matter of sovereignty and its place within contemporary paganism, primarily so those strands which have a strong focus upon the relationship between the landscape, the people and the gods and how all three come together as one in a form of meta-ecosystem. This isn't about political sovereignty, the role of the state or head thereof – the Queen in the case of the United Kingdom – as we live in a larger society and these concepts have their place in a society-wide framework. This is really more about a kind of religo-magical sovereignty; the relationship between the person and the landscape.

There are a couple of things I just want to throw in at this point without going into in detail right now (I can refer back to the courses when needed and if needed);

1. the place of horses as representations of landscape and their part in views of sovereignty
2. the marriage of king and mare followed by mating and eating of the mare
3. the horse associated goddess Riannon in the mabinogi, her role within sovereignty and the effect of her mistreatment and disappearance
Mitra-Varuna/Odhinn-Tyr/Lugus-Nodens as embodiments of how the human component functions within the sovereign relationship

The religo-magical component has been all but removed from sovereignty in the modern world, if it does exist it is in a merely vestigial form. Politics, law and the place of The State have come to primacy. The landscape is a belonging, an asset almost, of the state and the people which they have a legal right to make use of and exploit. It has pretty much become a commodity. This mindset is now inescapable in the modern world and trying to get away from it is an exercise in futility.

So, to quote someone who has already expressed it in a clear and expressive manner (Deiniol):

"sovereignty" is not an inherent power or attribute of a tribe: it has to be granted by its proper owner. Without the sovereignty, the tribe has no right to live on the land: it is not theirs to possess or use or rule over. Therefore, to me, "sovereignty" could be defined as "the gift of place". I am not a Brython because I was born in these islands, nor because my ancestors have lived here for generations. That's not important. I belong to Britain, and Britain belongs to me, because the sovereignty goddess allows it: it is solely by her grace (to use the Christian term) that I can interact with the land."

The goddess of sovereignty, in my world-view; Rigantona, forms that connection of proper person and proper power via the king or ruler in a tribal society. As a group of people spread out in the landscape such an arrangement falters, so a slightly different method of obtaining the right to live on the land must be sought and obtained but on an individual basis. I do also wonder if perhaps it is something that could be sought as a group; a group where a common understanding of what is required and expected is met and as such taken on by individuals and a group at the same time. Effectively, sovereignty is granted to the group as a whole and to the people as individuals. A burden then lies on those individuals to uphold their responsibility for their own sake and the sake of the group.

From what I have been reading of late, the role of a Mitra-Varuna pairing also come into play with regards to the functioning of this relationship. I think it might be something to come back to later. In addition 'how' this sovereignty is obtained and divulged to the group/individuals needs some thought.


Nellie said...

Having read this post and the following one I'm left wondering why on earth i have never even considered any of this before.

Do you think sovereignity is something that only a representative of the group as a whole can hold, or has the 21st century changed us enough that we are all obliged in our own way to 'marry' the land and take up the intended function of soveriegnity?

Lee said...

I think the latter; we simply dont live in a society like that any more. the closest we can come is a pagan working group for instance, so within that i am sure 'something' could be done. we have a mind to work on something like that within Brython but as yet will be waiting till closer to our next meeting in early summer.