The Four Treasures – Keys to Sovereignty Part 4, The Lia Fail

 

The Lia Fail translates to English as the Stone of Destiny or the Stone of Ireland (Fail is an ancient name for Ireland as in the Irish political party Fianna Fail translates to Warriors of Ireland) was from Falias. It represents the direction of the North. When the rightful High King of Ireland put his feet on the stone would roar out in joy. The stone would rejuvenate the King and provide him with a long reign.

The Lia Fail has obvious parallels with the Stone of Scone/the Coronation Stone, and have been linked by some Scottish researchers. There is some speculation that it was loaned to Scotland alongside the Stone of Scone. The Lia Fail at some point returned to Ireland as per legend, whereas the Stone of Scone stayed in Scotland.  The Stone of Scone became a contentious issue in Britain after it was taken from Scotland to England by Edward I during the 13th Century.

The stone represents the ancestors, as well as knowledge, wisdom and history. The Lia Fail, (like the stone Excalibur was drawn from in the Arthurian tales), is the arbiter of sovereignty.  It represents communing with the Otherworlds and the knowledge and wisdom that comes forth from such interactions. Thus, it subsequently represents our histories, our pasts, our roots. The stone is literally our foundation and without it our houses cannot stand. We must always know what our foundations are and keep them in good repair.

Stone also represents the metals of the Earth, which makes the sword (in the south) an interesting opposite. The stone is the substance that the sword comes from, yet the sword has been honed, polished, crafted. In this regard, it is like civilization, which it represents – something which must be cultivated. The stone is the essence of civilization, it is what we have built our pasts out of. Studying our histories is very important. The stone is feminine as the sword is masculine. The women were the ones who kept track of the lineages of their kin and they were the ones who transmitted the culture because women tend to be the ones that usually teach the children. This probably goes some reason to explain why women have traditionally been the bestowers of sovereignty on Kings and depicted as embodiments of the land (Eiru, Britannia, Columbia etc.), because they represent the essence of the culture and the passing it down through the generations. This also gives a nod to the cycles of time represented by the cauldron, which is also a feminine aspect. The men defend (sword) and provide (spear) for this civilization. The women regenerate (cauldron) and transmit (stone) it. Women are the stone of foundation.

So, both axes balance each other. The east to west is more centred around physical/emotional sustenance and the north to south is about mental/spiritual sustenance. The provider ethic of the east(spear) satisfies the nurturing aspect of the west(cauldron). The rootedness of the north (stone) finds changing expression in the civilized south(sword). In fact, it is this rootedness which drives it forward.

Reclaiming sovereignty in this aspect means to study our history, our pasts, individual, local and national. It means to get in touch with the land you are living from and know about the events that happened in your region. On a spiritual level it implies work with the ancestral spirits of the land, and we can finally see that they are the drivers of our culture, which is expressed in the sword/south which is where we find our civilization and a more ‘of the moment’ time.

Each generation has the task of reweaving the national character/story and expressing that story. This weaving explains the rise and fall of different artistic movements and interests/tastes, but through all of these different expressions their are usually some common threads running through that.

In Britain today, and England in particular, we’ve let those threads slip from our grasp and now we have the task of not only weaving the story of our generation/s, but finding the threads in the first place. I don’t think it is necessarily our fault that they have been ‘dropped’ as it were. I think that our grip has been loosening on them for quite a while now. However, someone has to do the dirty work and pick them up and sort them out – so it looks like its us, here on Earth now.

Tracking our character and our national story, through the ages is essential and it’s primarily what this blog is about. Who are we? As it’s difficult to know, who we were is a good place to start. This is what the stone is about, it is about fixing the foundations, so that the house doesn’t fall down around our ears!

The balance within the axes demonstrate that, for sovereignty to flow within each one of us correctly, the masculine and feminine aspects must be balanced.  In my next post, and final one of this series, I’ll be exploring some ideas of how we can do that.

The Four Treasures, Keys to Sovereignty Part 3- The Cauldron of The Dagda.

The Cauldron represents the direction of the west and originated in the city Murias.  It was known as the Undry and was one of two magical artefacts belonging to the Irish god, the Dagda (the other was a magic staff or club, which could take life with one end and give life in the other). The Dagda took over as the king of the Tuatha De Danann after Nuada was wounded in the first battle of Magh Tuireadh (pronounced Moytura in English). He is known as the ‘All-Father’ or ‘The Good God’ and has parallels with the Norse god Odin, as well as the Greek god Zeus.

The Cauldron was capable of constant replenishment – no one ever went away from it unsatisfied.  It is entirely possible that this cauldron is also the cauldron in the story of Branwen, the daughter of Llyr from the second branch of the Mabinogion. The cauldron plays a crucial role in that story.

The Cauldron represents the ability to regenerate. It points to the Celtic belief that rather than being an ending, death is merely a transformation into something else. The Cauldron as a motif signifies knowing how to renew and transform oneself, knowing how to nurture and how to respond to the rhythms of release, change and renewal in good time. (Incidentally, the Dagda was also said to carry a magic harp made of Oak called Uaithne which when played would put all the seasons in correct order.) The Cauldron is akin to the void, which we all go into and return from in different form. Knowing how to release and to allow oneself to transform (which is more difficult than it should be for us material Westerners) is an essential part of its teaching. This release can be as simple as having a longed-for afternoon nap or as significant knowing when it is time to make the ultimate journey to the Otherworlds. Essentially, the process is the same.

The first two treasures of the Spear and Sword are very masculine. They seek action and reception, they are very phallic. The Cauldron and the final treasure, the Lia Fail (Stone of Destiny), represent the feminine aspects of sovereignty.

The ability to regenerate oneself touches many different aspects of life but what seems to bind them together is a humility and a surrender to bigger forces at work in our lives. Areas of life such as creativity, physical health, intuition, cycles of time and procreation all come under the cauldron. Knowing how to work with these forces necessitates knowledge of the cycles of time, especially the larger, forgotten ones. It is about being tuned into the spider-web threads of life and sensing what is or is not needed in any given moment – such as when to comfort a grieving person and when to stand back. It is about knowing all of the seasons – those of the year, most definitely, but also those of life, those of individuals we meet, even the different seasons that can occur in one day.

In times gone by, women were the adepts at this due to their menstrual cycles, which instinctively tuned them in to different cycles of time.  Women are able to sense the reverberations on the spider threads of emotions that permeate most social situations. We are able to pick up information from the slightest nuances in a voice or a look. Reading such information is akin to knowing another language. Knowing these spider webs show women an invisible language of appropriateness, it shows us when a hug or a cuddle is needed, or when to stand back and observe, when strong words are needed or when hushed tones will be better. It shows us what to talk about and when. It shows us how we are viewed in our community, women feed back to each other through incredibly subtle ways which are beyond men. However, I would argue that most women are insufficiently in touch with these cycles today, leaving them open to manipulation and misunderstanding from such impressions.

Being able to respond to these cycles keeps a community and a people in harmony. This is why most women in a household, especially where young children are present, will oversee the finer details of Christmas, Easter, birthdays and any other important holidays or festivals. Women keep the pulse of time and rather than denigrating or decrying this, we should be celebrating it. It is a sacred role.

Opposite the Cauldron is the Spear. On a mundane level, the Spear takes life via the masculine act of the hunt and brings the quarry to the feminine Cauldron to be transformed into something palatable. These energies balance each other out; the Spear represents the masculine aspect of transformation/regeneration, the Cauldron the feminine.

As the Cauldron represents regeneration, it is natural that it should represent our physical health and a good indicator of that is our reproductive health. The Cauldron signifies being in tune with the growing cycles of the year and being able to select the choicest of foods to support and feed the tribe and ensure their health and survival. It implies knowing about plants, herbs and the nutrition value of each food and the healing properties of plants. As a result, it implicates the literal regeneration of ourselves as well – and our ability to reproduce.

In terms of sovereignty, anything that undermines any aspect covered by the Cauldron should not be tolerated. So, things such as over (or under) work, harmful substances (especially in excess), GMO foods and anything that undermines our ability to regenerate on any level should be regarded with suspicion and derision.  Obviously, we have to take responsibility for our own lives and manage our own actions, all of it is a balance.

So, reclaiming sovereignty under the Cauldron means knowing the cycles of life. Knowing when to release and let go is a key part of this. The cauldron signifies healing knowledge and being aware of what is needed to make oneself healthy and strong, what foods to eat, when and how to exercise, when to sleep and rest. It is about knowing what activities make our souls sing. It is also about knowing how to create healthy offspring. Now, this isn’t to say that everyone should feel obligated to go out and reproduce but knowing how to do so, even if one chooses not to, is an essential Cauldron knowledge and power. Attempts to impinge on this sacred power of reproduction for men and women is an abomination, as it is our ultimate creative expression, one we should all guard to the death, whether we have children or not. Once that is gone, all other creative expressions will soon follow suit.

Being able to regenerate our spirits changes our brain patterns and therefore changes us. Knowing what nourishes us and nourishes those we love is an overlooked but significant power. On a wider scale, such knowledge will feed a nation and keep it on its evolutionary track.

In my next post, I’ll be talking about the fourth and final treasure, the Lia Fal/Stone of Destiny.

The Four Treasures, Keys to Sovereignty Part 2 – The Sword of Nuada.

The sword represents the southerly direction and the city Findias. It is named after Nuada, King of the Tuatha de Danaan. Known as the Claiomh Solais (Sword of Light), no one ever escaped from it once it was drawn from its sheath and no one could resist it.

In Irish Mythology, Nuada loses his right hand during the first battle of Mag Tuired and was subsequently unable to wield a sword. This led to him losing the Kingship of the Tuatha de Danaan, as their tradition stated that a King must be physically perfect. The ability to wield a sword is particularly crucial, and the loss of this ability causes Nuada to loses his position of sovereign over his people. His arm was later replaced by a silver one, leading him to be known by the nickname Nuada Airgetlam (silver arm). This silver arm was later replaced by a flesh and blood one, and he was restored to the throne.

As the spear represents the ways of the wood/nature, the sword represents civilization and boundaries of all kinds. It denotes, justice, fairness, the law and all the accoutrements of civilization such as metal work, artisan craft and of course, being able to fight and protect oneself. It represents being able to defend your ground, physically and metaphorically. Not only does it incorporate self-defence, but also implies being able to defend one’s position with words, which necessitates being able to debate. The sword emphasises the use of logic, reason and intelligence. It also represents a discernment, which requires a certain type of clear-sightedness, that enables one to see the truth in every situation and respond accordingly. Civilizations were built upon the sword and it truly is a noble instrument. It marks boundaries. Our ancestors would have been skilled in sword fighting, which in turn would have sharpened the mind and instincts. In ancient European culture summer fairs/games were common, and one reason for them was to display the physical strength and prowess of the tribe. However, these fairs were often accompanied by bardic performances and contests and markets. The whole fair was an expression of skill and aptitude, demonstrating the level of civilization of the people. Today this lingers in our own summer fairs, and although the Scottish tradition of the Highland Games (amongst others) is an obvious example, where I sense it most in Britain is at the humble fruit and veg competition that is a common event at such gatherings, it is this need to demonstrate of prowess that taps into something primordial. I know that may be amusing, but it’s true! This showcasing of the level of civilization was a way of recalibrating the roles of each member of the tribe, it showed how able you were to live alongside each other and communicate. This is the glue that binds people together and is expressed materially through trade and art – two closely related commodities.

So, as we move around the wheel we begin in the realm of the wood with the Spear as our instrument. This aspect of sovereignty, although powerful, is self-contained – it pertains to primal instinct, survival and the ways of the animals. As we progress to the realm of civilization, with the Sword as our instrument, interaction with others – whether as friend or foe – is key. The sword is a motif for how we deal with others.

The spear and the sword represent the two masculine expressions of sovereignty and are expressed through access to material resources and strength. Strength, although physical, is a mental trait too.  For many of us today it is easy to feel disempowered because these two particular aspects of sovereignty have been under extensive attack. I would strongly argue, that one of the quickest ways for us to reclaim this aspect is to hit the gym, get fit and learn about defence. Learning such skills switches on the mind to perceive reality in a different way so we can think more critically about such things as foreign policy for example.  A strong body is not enough in and of itself though – learning about ancient Western philosophy, how to construct an argument, how to debate, how to use reason and logic, the differences between rhetoric and dialectic are all crucial too. The mind and body both need to be trained in strength and wisdom.

Another way to reclaim this treasure is to learn about our laws, Constitutions and how our governmental systems (at all levels) work. We are woefully uniformed about this, we don’t know enough about what keeps our civilizations in good order.

Tomorrow I’ll post about the third Treasure: The Cauldron of the Dagda.

The Four Treasures, Keys to Sovereignty: Part 1

This post has been rolling around in my head for a while now, so I thought I may as well set it down and get it out there. Since Brexit, Trump and the rest of the populist movements rising across the rest the word sovereignty gets bandied about a lot. But what is sovereignty?

Traditionally sovereignty has meant self-determination, being able to control borders, set taxes and those sorts of things. It is about having power and the ultimate say about what goes on in a country.

However, the quickest way for us to become a sovereign nation, is for us to become sovereign beings.  As a person who works with my ancestors and spirits of the land, I have been back and forth about sovereignty and what it means, and want to share a model I have been given for each of us to reclaim our personal sovereignty.

The model I was given was based on the Four Treasures of Ireland. I have some Irish ancestry, as well as British, and I was reluctant to share this model at first because I’ve been unsure of how it would be perceived. However, I’ve been informed that this model is important, not only for those of Irish and British ancestry, but it’s value will resonate with all peoples of European descent, and needs to be shared now.

Each treasure represents a different aspect of sovereignty, and in this model, operates on a compass/medicine wheel, with each aspect clearly defined, yet flowing into the next aspect. Only through balancing these aspects/treasures can one claim to be sovereign. So here they are.

What were the four treasures?

The Four Treasures of Ireland were rumoured to have been relics, from an older, much loved, but long past Civilization of great repute. They belonged to the Tuatha de Danaan, an ancient race of beings who were just one of the prehistoric groups who inhabited Ireland. Mysterious and wise, the Tuatha de Danaan have been speculated to be Gods, aliens and even a lost tribe of Israel – who they were is a post in and of itself, today I wish to confine myself to the Treasures.  Each treasure was said to have come from a northern city of antiquity, long perished. These cities were thought to correspond with islands in modern day Scandinavia, where the Tuatha de Danaan went to learn magic and knowledge. Each famous treasure of theirs held magical properties and was associated with a different aspect of being sovereign. I want to outline how these treasures are a kind of shorthand, a lexicon if you will, for what true sovereignty is and what we can each do to acquire it.

 

The Spear of Destiny.

The Spear of Destiny corresponds with the direction of the East, and the city Gorias. It is also known as the Spear of Lugh (the Irish god of light, whom the summer harvest festival Lughnasadh is named after). The Spear was said to be possible to overcome and had to be kept in a pot of water to prevent it igniting. According to the Lebor Gabala Erenn it was made of Yew.

On a mundane level the spear is the primal weapon of hunting, and although it was later surpassed by the bow and arrow, it still represents that ability. Hunting has been much maligned in the West for a fair few generations now, so it is difficult for us to examine the Western psyche of Hunting in the modern age. However, if we look to our ancient past, such as the Lascaux cave paintings, we can see that hunting was an obvious preoccupation for our ancestors. Some have speculated that these ancient drawings have been assault plans on a quarry. Others have argued that the drawings represent the setting down of a set intention, a ‘build it and they will come’ approach to capturing the bison or whatever. If this is the case, which I do suspect, because our ancestors would have been much more attuned to the different worlds than we are, this shows how the spear can also be viewed as a staff or a diving rod seeking out prey, as well as the weapon to make the kill. Such a concept hints at the hunter and hunter being in a symbiotic relationship. The hunted eventually gets tired of the chase and thus surrenders to the hunted.

The spear as a staff is a short metaphorical leap away from spear/staff as a wand, and this is should also be included in our definition of the spear. On a symbolic level, spear represents our AGENCY. It symbolises those areas of life where we set our goals and aims for the future and go out and achieve them.  It also symbolises our ability to act upon our instincts. Mastery of the spear represents the possession of finely tuned instincts and cunning which are both firmly supported by strategy and logic. It is about being able to survey the savannah of life (whether that be the streets of London or the Pyrenees mountains) and determine what you need to do to make it today. It necessitates knowing your local terrain, wherever that may be, and being able to operate skilfully within it.  The balancing of these forces is necessary to perfect the art of the spear, or the skill of the archer. Obviously, in a modern context the spear represents being able to support yourself and others financially, it covers bringing home the bacon. On a more sacred level it is about being able to make your dreams into reality. The wisdom implied here shows us that manifesting your dreams isn’t about meditating for six hours a day on your dream and lighting a purple candle. Achieving dreams, like hunting is HARD WORK, you have to put the graft in.  Goal setting, planning and working are the stepping stones to ACHIEVING. Luck is also involved.

The spear represents the huntsman in the forest who always gets his quarry. It is about staying alive. So, one part of sovereignty is about being able to support yourself and others. Are you able to snare your quarry? Hunting is an ancient practice, and demonstrates a symbiotic relationship between hunter and hunted, between goal setter and the goal. The metal point of the spear acted as a dowser, a magnet for the quarry.

Being able to support yourself and a family is part of being sovereign. In the West, wages have been frozen in real terms for approximately 10 years. I would argue this is a deliberate attack on this aspect of self- sovereignty. So, one way we can restore sovereignty is by implementing the adage of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay. Working hard is an essential part of spear/hunting. Denying capable people the opportunity to financially support themselves robs agency.

Tomorrow I’ll publish the second part, the sword of Nuada. I’ve broken this post up into parts as they would be too long otherwise.

ADDENDUM:

I want to thank Rosemary Taylor for her feedback, which prompted this addendum. It’s been a while since I received this model, so there are levels of it that I may have missed. Anyway, Rosemary’s comments reminded me of this aspect of the Spear – so thank you, Rosemary.

The Spear also represents the ways of the wood. It is that primordial time of the forest and is represented by Lugh, Herne, Odin. It is the way of the tracker, the hunter, the woodsman. It also represents the wisdom of the animals and how they are our teachers. Observing and copying animals has always been a part of human behaviour since time immemorial, in the metropolitan west we have forgotten about the animals and just generally see then as a nuisance to be controlled or managed. Our ancestors lived very differently, and lived alongside in animals who they regarded as allies, friends or foes.

In Britain, certainly, but in many urban parts of the West, we don’t know enough about the animals of our landscape, where they live, their tribal patterns and hierarchies, which they have. We don’t know where the badgers make their setts, or the difference between male and female molehills. We don’t know how to build shelters and make fires. It is very easy to argue that they are of no use today – and on one level, this is true, but activating these skills ignite parts of your brain forcing you to think creatively and be resourceful. This is just one reason why these skills are important – they are transferable.

I know for sure that in Britain, we are hungry for this sort of knowledge. Why else do people watch Bear Grylls and Ray Mears with such fervour? The enduring popularity of animal stories children’s literature also indicates the passion for this type of knowledge. From Aesop’s Fables through Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh to the Wind in the Willows and even the Gruffalo, we can see that this resonance with our native animal kingdom is still incredibly strong.

So, one way we can restore our sovereignty is to get back into nature and feel that connection with the land. Learning and studying nature is also essential, books are good, but there is nothing like the real thing. Having nature breaks such as camping weekends, or wildcrafting weekends which have become popular in the past few years are also part of this. We need to pass these skills on to our young people urgently. Doing these types of activities on a regular basis will change the way you think and approach life. It is essential aspect of sovereignty.