I have decided that it’s time to be the Queen of Me!
Seriously. I have been exploring the Celtic concept of being sovereign. This was a foreign idea to me until recently; something I had never even considered. But being sovereign in your own life is a key part of the Celtic belief system. And being of Scottish and Welsh descent, I tend to naturally resonate with all things Celtic. So, a few months ago, I began researching Celtic sovereignty. And I have been slowly teasing out what sovereignty means to me. And that’s how I became the Queen of Me. 🙂
My Celtic ancestors viewed Mother Earth herself to be the sovereign ruler of all of life; in ancient Ireland, mere mortal men were made kings only after they acknowledged and honored the sovereignty of the land. I completely agree with the idea of Mother Earth’s sovereignty; none of us would be alive on this planet were it not for the bounty of food, water and oxygen that our earthy mother provides. Mother Earth rules human life, whether we choose to acknowledge and honor her or not.
But what exactly do I mean by sovereignty? The dictionare defines it as:
1. Supremacy of authority or rule as exercised by a sovereign or sovereign state.
2. Royal rank, authority, or power.
3. Complete independence and self-government.
4. A territory existing as an independent state.
Hmmm, yes to governing myself, yes to being independent and to holding royal rank, authority and power within myself. And the terms ‘state’ and ‘territory’ imply set boundaries to me, which every human is expected to honor and respect. Yes to honoring boundaries. A BIG Yes to sovereignty over my self and every part of my life.
When I dig further, I discover that ancient Celtic Shaman placed sovereignty at the center of the Celtic wheel of life. In many depictions of the Celtic wheel, the Tree of Life sits sovereign at the center or axis mundi of the circle. The Celtic Tree of Life holds the center, reaching limbs up and roots down to connect heaven with earth. And the tree spreads out horizontally from the center of it all, making connections with the 4 directions of north, east, south and west. I find it so beautiful and appropriate that my Celtic ancestors chose the tree to symbolize holding center and being sovereign.
A Celtic spirit wheel depicts the Celtic view of life in much the same way the Native North American medicine wheel depicts their view of life. When I look at one of these sacred wheels, or physically walk within one, I get a visceral sense of sovereignty; I understand in a deeper way how important it is for each of us to consciously own ourselves; to claim ownership of our bodies, our thoughts, our emotions, our actions and our beliefs as we live and interact in the world.
In their book, Goddesses Who Rule, Beverly Moon and Elisabeth Benard link the word “sovereign” to the Sanskrit word sva-raj, which means “self-rule”. Another meaning for raj is “luminous” or “radiance.” How fitting – embracing sovereignty is not just about ruling over one’s self but also allowing our inner luminous radiance to shine in the world. When we are sovereign, others are not allowed to control our fate. We empower ourselves. We give ourselves permission to shape ourselves and our fate and create the life we truly desire.
What would it look like if I were truly sovereign in my own life? Nelson Mandela comes to mind when I try to think of a person that embodies my idea of sovereignty. Nelson was never Celtic by any stretch of the imagination. But when I look back at his history, I see a man whose entire life revolved around being sovereign; he stayed true to himself and held on to his own knowing and dignity during decades of imprisonment. And after his release from prison, Nelson tirelessly championed the cause of the black people gaining sovereign rule in South Africa long after most men retire from public life.
Ultimately Nelson Mandela became an icon; a symbol of the transformation that is possible when a simple human being lives in the knowing of their true wisdom and worth. He held onto himself and his knowing, even when ridiculed and abused for his views. And he transformed his world. For me, Nelson embodies sovereignty in every sense of the word. As he, himself once put it…
“I am the captain of my Soul.” ~Nelson Mandela
I claim sovereignty over my Self. I choose to captain my Soul through this life in the quiet, eloquent way that Nelson Mandela embodied. I claim sovereignty. And I understand that just my intention of claiming sovereignty over my life changes everything. My journey shifts and deepens. This is another turn along my spiral path.
Celtic Tree of Life
an original design by Welsh artist Jen Delyth ©1990
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
William Ernest Henley