Danu Forest on connecting with Lady Sovereignty and earth awareness in changing times.
We live in changing times, when it’s easy to feel cast adrift of uncertain seas, or held at the mercy of events outside our control. At such times as these, it can be hard to find our feet and return to a position of calm and centeredness in the short term, or to gain a sense of perspective and rhythm for our lives over longer spans. If we lose this sense of presence, we can become disconnected from our spiritual resources and inner nourishment, but with a little care we can always return to centre and gain enough soulful resources to assist not only ourselves but others, trusting in the greater rhythms of the land to guide us through.
Britain gains its name from our patron sovereign goddess, Britannia as she was known to the Romans, or the earlier Brigantia- ‘the exalted one’, probably another name for the goddess Brigid, later St Brigit. There are many other forms of the goddess of sovereignty in our lore and legends, such as the wife of King Arthur, Guinevere, and sometimes she is seen as not one but three women or goddesses, each working together but holding different attributes, such as the Romano-Celtic Dea Matronae, or mother goddesses. These are depicted in numerous Celtic reliefs from the Roman period. Each one is different but they usually have something in their hands, such as a baby or a child in their lap, or a sheaf or corn, or a distaff, among other details. They care for the totality of life, raising families and crops, tending to the living and the dead in equal measure. Lady Sovereignty is also depicted in our ancient tales as a white horse, such as the Uffington White horse chalk figure which dates from the Iron Age. As such she is a figure of great strength and power, as well as great compassion and care.
Visually Brigantia and Britannia often have war like attributes, and was depicted first by the Romans as dressed in Roman white toga wearing a Centurions helmet- armed with spear and shield. Yet she was not always associated with victory, she was often in fact depicted as under the heel of the Roman emperor. To the Romans depicting the sovereign goddess of Britain as sexually attractive and vulnerable, whilst also warlike and armed- a powerful and desirable opponent yet defeated by the burly Romans- suited their agenda perfectly, yet sadly this is an image that has endured through two thousand years and informed our sense of the soul of the land.
In popular modern iconography she remains armoured, not always victorious, but always in battle mode. Protective perhaps, but a hard mother for her children. Yet in practice this is not so- Lady Sovereignty, the sovereign goddess of any land- each nation has them- cares deeply for those who dwell upon her land, all of them endlessly and equally without discrimination or moral judgement. She is the loving mother, the tender caregiver offering sustenance to all her people body and soul.
There are many ways to connect with Lady Sovereignty, but each way is always to do with being and seeing the best in the land and its people, the most generous, the most beautiful. She doesn’t care about bloodlines and territory, she cares for compassion wholeness health and wellbeing, the soulful fertility of a land in tune with its heart, its inner goodness. She wears many faces.
Try these to connect to her endless support and care, and make prayers for the good of the land and its people- all those who dwell upon her soil, regardless of status, religion or ethnicity.
Meditate on the earth
1. Take time to slow your breathing and feel the earth beneath your feet. Let your imagination guide you deeper into the soil and feel her ancient beating heart and the very centre of the earth. Draw up a little of this power into your body with your breath. Breathing in deep and slow, use your breath to call your own sovereignty over your life into your consciousness. This is especially powerful when visiting sacred sites.
2. Make offerings of song and poetry and your care to the land where you live, reach out to it with your senses and your heart, and in time you will feel your relationship to the land grow and your attention will be reciprocated.
3. Light a candle for sovereignty each day, taking a moment to pray in whatever way suits you, for the wellbeing of the land and all the creatures that dwell upon her. Include everything and everyone.
4. Care for the environment and your local community with acts of kindness and compassion as well as responsibility, often a small amount of thoughtfulness can go a long way to improving things around us. Reduce reuse and recycle, put food in the food bank box at the supermarket, take care of and speak up for those experiencing vulnerability for whatever reason, including the sick, elders and children. Plant wildflowers and trees wherever possible.
5. Know yourself. Return to centre often- breath and feel your heart, your inner core. This will tell you what is right action and what is not. Do your best to act only on what you know to be true and good, that which comes from a place of compassion, hope and kindness. Each of us can embody sovereignty, our own sovereignty within our own lives, by gently listening to what is best within us, and acting upon it.
Step by step, if each of us remembers and holds the power of our compassionate core, our connection to ever loving Lady Sovereignty, we can change our lives and we can change the world.
Danu Forest is the author of The Magical Year. has been a practising druid witch and Celtic shaman for over twenty years, has been teaching Celtic shamanism and witchcraft for over a decade, and runs a shamanic consultation and healing practice. She is the author of Nature Spirits: wyrd lore and wild fey magic (Wooden Books), The Druid Shaman (Moon Books) and Celtic Tree Magic (Llewellyn), creates and teaches email correspondence courses, writes a “Danu’s Cauldron” blog for witchesandpagans.com, and has been published in magazines such as Kindred Spirit, Soul and Spirit, and Pagan Dawn. She is also an Ard BanDrui in the Irish Druid Clan of Dana, an ordained priestess, a druid grade member of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates (healers/seers) and Druids) and a member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners.