Come with me while I journey as an Initiate through the Feri Tradition of Witchcraft - a shamanic path of fey sorcery; a martial tradition of magic.

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Saturday, 4 June 2011

Pagan Values Month 2011: The Sovereignty of the Individual

Sovereignty, as defined by the Oxford Dictionary, is the state of “supreme power or authority”. Personal sovereignty, having supreme power and authority over your own person, is a crucial Pagan value. We are reflections and part of the All, the flow of the non-dual: the Goddess. As such, each of us is holy, and able to make our own decisions regarding our bodies, our minds, and our lives.

We Pagans are big fans of individuality; we recoil at all forms of fundamentalism and I am yet to meet a Pagan who would blindly believe what somebody tells them to be true. While we may be great respecters of tradition, elders, teachers, and lore, most of us know that we each have access to the divine without the need of an intermediary. How we cultivate that connection with the divine is different for each individual. In Feri, we recognise that part of our three-fold soul is the Godself, the halo that surrounds are head, which literally crowns us as our own sovereign. We are each the master of our own kingdom. It is through our own Godselves that we are able to connect with the greater Flow, the Gods. During my morning meditation this week, I received a message from my own Godself: “You are sacred and special, holy and chosen…just like everyone else.”

Now here is a paradox: we are each an individual, a God in our own right, yet we are also each a part of a greater whole, which Feri Tradition calls the Star Goddess, the soul of the universe. Our ethics should be borne from such a paradox. Whatever we do to ourselves, we do to the whole. Whatever we do to others, we do to ourselves.

The ramifications of sovereignty are many, yet the most profound is that we must respect another’s choice to do with their body and mind what they will, from the most innocent tattoo or piercing, to the deep and distressful issues of abortion and euthanasia. Yet, how to we decide which choices to respect? How do we know when we need to intervene and stop another’s destructive behaviour? Naturally, each situation is different and we should be wary of a one-size-fits-all ethic. Perhaps the question we should ask ourselves is this: if I truly respect this person’s sovereignty, am I willing to accept the ramifications of me interfering with their free will? Sometimes, unpleasant action is called for, in service to the greater whole. Curses, calls for justice, even mundane acts of physical self-defence, all impact upon another individual. Is it worth it?

In Feri, we walk the double-edged blade of the warrior’s path. We must balance our own individual desires, goals and will with a respect for other individual’s desires and needs. Coercive behaviour, unwanted sexual attention, and ‘power-over’ are all symptoms of this illness: not recognising our individual place within the All and that each individual’s personhood is inviolate. Whenever I indulge myself with notions of being special, or am tempted into coercive behaviour to achieve my goals, I shall remember this: 

“I am sacred and special, holy and chosen…just like everyone else.”

A Body Blessing

With sacred oil or holy water, anoint yourself at the following points while reciting the prayer:

"Blessed be my feet, which walk the path of Feri*;
Blessed be my knees, which kneel at the sacred altar;
Blessed be my loins, source of life and pleasure;
Blessed be my centre, my core sense of self;
Blessed be my heart, which beats in love and truth;
Blessed by my breast(s), formed in beauty and strength;
Blessed be my hand, which do the work of the Gods;
Blessed be my lips, which utter the sacred names;
Blessed be my crown, which kisses my Godself."

*Naturally, insert the name of your own Tradition, if any, here.