Sovereignty requires courage

Sovereignty requires courage, this is my first thought as I sit down to write this for you. Sovereignty requires courage.

Too often I’ve heard people define sovereignty as relating to ‘rule’ or ‘the land’ with a casual wave of the hand and a knowing nod that excludes any real meaning or purpose. The Morrigan is a goddess of sovereignty, of the land, of battle, and more. What does that mean exactly for us in these days, in this day, where we find ourselves now.

I’m not an historian, but I know enough about history to know that the ways that people would have understood these concepts, and themselves in relation to these concepts, is very different to how we will see them and see ourselves now. This even with the best will and intention. We can be grateful to scholars for pointing us in the direction of understanding, but our understanding will never be the same, as we occupy a different space and perspective in time and place.

And this is as and how it should and must be.

The gods – for those of us who believe in or who have experienced them – are living and transforming, not static. Yes, we need to know and appreciate their stories and histories, how people worshiped them and connected with them in the past. But to me, this is as we would like to understand and appreciate a mother or a father or a friend or a teacher or a lover, by understanding over time who they have been and where they come from, learning their likes and dislikes, how to appreciate and love and work with them more fully. This knowledge informs us, and deepens our practice. It can warn us as well of the personality or characteristics behind this god-force. But it in no way limits Them or us in our relationship to Them.

And so sovereignty requires courage.

The biggest question of sovereignty in these times, for most of us who will be reading this, is the question of personal sovereignty, and of courage.

Personal sovereignty in the rule of the self. Personal sovereignty in our connection to the land. So I challenge you to answer, what do these things mean to you? How do you work with them in your personal practice (ritually or practically)? How will you work with them? Commit. Now. If you haven’t already.

If I’ve learned nothing else about sovereignty, I’ve learned this: it isn’t about making excuses or stepping back and letting other people do it. It’s not about using the gods as excuses for our own weaknesses either. Worshipping a battle goddess is not an excuse for sowing dissent or hatred or confirming prejudice. It’s not an excuse. It’s a challenge.

The battles begin within ourselves, and She will show us where we are lacking. So that anger you feel against the other, that hatred, that fear, look at that in yourself as well. There is undoubtedly a message there.

Personal sovereignty is a challenge to awareness of these forces working within and around us – forces we so often don’t see or acknowledge because they feed the forces that hold us prisoner.

True sovereignty? It requires of us the courage to see clearly. To speak truth, yes, but also to see truth within ourselves. To see our own weakness clearly and to root it out. To stand firm in truth and power (that is, the capacity to hold or to bring change).

It’s where we don’t make excuses for the maltreatment of ourselves or others.

Instead we stand up, stand firm, provide sanctuary and refuge for the weak, the wounded, the damaged – not because we look down on them, or think they are less. They are not. Nor are we or have we been less in our vulnerability than we are in our power.

We stand because we know the wound, we know the strength of the power that runs through it, and we are not afraid of it any longer. And when we can do this fearlessly and wholeheartedly, for ourselves and for others, not shrinking from the wound or the pain, but carrying within us and extending outward that which is needed most, that is sovereignty, and that is courage.

About: Rebecca Wright is a shamanic healer and teacher, and a daughter and priestess of the Morrigan. She is one of the founders of the Call of the Morrigan Facebook group, and this blog. Come and meet and work with her at the Call of the Morrigan UK retreat.

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