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.
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.