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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs
Peace and Sovereignty

At the moment I’m reading a biography of Tori Amos that she wrote with journalist Ann Powers, entitled Piece by Piece.  Within the first few pages Tori mentions inner sovereignty, something that cannot be taken from her by anyone. They can do what they like, say what they like but she knows who she is, and is queen of her own self. I’ve been thinking about sovereignty, how we can come to an understanding of it and really see it manifest in our own lives.

I see sovereignty and peace as being inextricably entwined. We cannot have one without the other.  When we know ourselves, when we understand why we do the things that we do, when we can control out thoughts and feelings, living lives of intention instead of reaction, then we are truly sovereign of our life. This comes from a deep well of peace, wherein we find that inner core of our selves that is silent and still, that sings our soulsong in its purest form. It is our personal truth. Neither sovereignty nor peace can be conferred from without – both must begin from within.

Peace is related to truth.  We have to be willing to be open and honest with our selves, to see through our many layers of delusion, in order to understand our very being.  We have to see the good and the bad, acknowledge all these within our selves and through this acknowledgment, gain some control, some sovereignty over our behaviour.  Too often we run from the truth, whether it is the truth about ourselves or the truth about climate change. To face these truths requires us to change, to possibly suffer in order to bring about that change. We don’t like change. We don’t like suffering. Yet we cannot escape either of these things. To live means to live a life that has good and bad within it; let’s transcend those notions of good and bad and just live. When we do that, we move beyond suffering. We face our truth, and in facing our truth we find peace.

Peace is achieved when we manage to step beyond our selves, to switch off that inner chatter, that constant thinking instead of being. This does not mean that we become robots, with no thoughts, feelings or emotions. Rather, we do not attach to them, we do not spend so much time with them, entertaining them as they go round and round in our minds. We step outside of that, moving beyond our own story in order to see the story of the world around us as it unfolds in every moment. This peace can be achieved with discipline, with daily meditation, with time spent out in nature. There is no limit to our ability to learn each and every day what this means. Little by little, we come closer to joy. When we realise the world is more than just us, we find peace.

We cannot control how others behave. We only have control over how we behave in the world, how we act and react to others.  We can lessen our reaction to others to a more intentional way of being, through mindfulness of our thoughts, our bodies, the world around us. When things like pride or anger are not getting in the way, we can see things for what they really are.  We have no need to threaten others, to undermine others, to make them suffer. We realise that in doing so we are only doing that to ourselves, through the inter-relatedness of nature.  Letting go of the ego’s need for validation, for constant chatter, for endless self-centred thinking we can dive into the still, calm pools of reflection where peace is found. We find that we can contemplate the self without recrimination or judgement. When we can do that with our selves, we are able to do that with others. In that doing is compassion and understanding.

It can be difficult when others deliberately try to shatter our peace, who try to shake our foundation and inner sovereignty. But we cannot control them, and can only have compassion for them as they are so caught up in their suffering that they feel it necessary to spread it out into the wider world. We can instead find our true sense of self worth, our inner sovereignty, and let that light shine out in the world. We are our actions as well as our words. Our deeds are what is lasting in an impermanent world.

We can be at peace even in world that seems to going to hell in a handbasket. We can be at peace when others are trying to cut us down. We can be at peace in a world that is so materialistic and consumer driven that it is making itself extinct. That peace is the core of our being. That peace is within each and every one of us, if we are willing to see it. Through the opening of the eyes and the soul, we find that still, deep pool of being and of knowing, and there we reign supreme.

 

To find out more about mindfulness, meditation and peace, see my first book, Zen Druidry: Living a Life of Natural Awareness.  This book combines Easter and Western philosophies, techniques and spirituality to create a path that is focused on the here and now, awake to the beauty of the world and its rhythms of nature that flow through and around us each with each and every breath.

Blog image:
Still Pool Print by Jennifer Oakley-Delaplante 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Thank you, Gwion, for your kind words and support. x
  • Gwion Raven
    Gwion Raven says #
    A lovely piece on Sovereignty. Thank you for the reminder. Gwion

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Habit Of Truth

This particular blog is focused on divination, and on giving readings, but the idea of developing habits that support good practice can be generalized to many other situations.

 

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Linette
    Linette says #
    Great article! This habit of truth is true in all areas of life, and as you say it IS a habit/practice. In addiction recovery th
  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr says #
    I am in full agreement with your observations!

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

So the missionaries want to translate the Bible into Inupiaq.

In Inupiaq, every verb conjugates in one of two modes: what we may call Eyewitness mode and Hearsay mode.

Eyewitness mode conveys highly trustworthy information, because it means that the speaker has witnessed the event herself and can personally vouch for it as a matter of honor, of personal integrity.

Hearsay mode bears much less credibility. This is what I've heard, but I didn't see it myself and so can't personally vouch for its accuracy. It might be true, but it might not.

So the missionaries want to translate the Bible into Inupiaq.

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Hit Piece in Sheep’s Clothing

One Saturday when I was chatting with the Native American chaplain who sponsors our Wiccan circle at San Quentin, he handed me a book.  He’d received it from the Jewish chaplain who’d been our previous sponsor.  Wicca’s Charm: Understanding the Spiritual Hunger Behind the Rise of Modern Witchcraft and Pagan Spirituality, by Catherine Edwards Sanders.  I said I was unfamiliar with the author and had not heard anything about it, although I generally keep half an eye open for newer Pagan publications.

He casually mentioned that according to this book, and according to the chaplain who gave it to him, ostensibly for the small library we keep in the Wiccan storage locker along with our ritual supplies, Wicca was for women and had little relevance here in an all-male prison.  Not that he thought that, but that the book made that case.  He gave it to me to take home.  Book sl-t that I am, I took it, thinking that with all the reading material stacked around my house awaiting my attention, it would be very low priority.

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  • Brenda Caudill
    Brenda Caudill says #
    That book is so wrong that I felt sorry for the author.
  • Greybeard
    Greybeard says #
    Thanks for the warning. We used to say that the difference between Wicca and New Age was about one decimal place (in the price of

Posted by on in Studies Blogs

Veritas is boldly tattooed on my left forearm. In time it evolved to be surrounded by acanthus leaves and three pomegranates, creating a half sleeve down to wrist. In shades of grey, it is only augmented by single red thread.

Often, I am asked what it all means. Both the tattoo and the thread?  Many mistakenly assume I came to Qabalah through Madonna and that veritas refers to being a wino, in vino veritas or Harvard alumni whose motto is veritas. All are false. I am not a big fan of the Material Girl, or wine, and I did not go to Harvard.

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The Druid Approach to Ageing

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Trine
    Trine says #
    I'm 25 and sometimes tired of wearing makeup. I only put on makeup if I'm going out or to work, but never on Sundays (and Sunday a
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    It's all a matter of perspective. When my wife and I moved to our retirement community of Sun City, Arizona, we heard the followin
  • Carol P. Christ
    Carol P. Christ says #
    blessed be.
Peace - Learning When to Speak and When to Keep Silent

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven says #
    Thank you for your kind words, Tashi. x
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Tashi means auspicious and Delek means fine or well. From Tibetan Buddhism. Different authors render it as "Blessings and good l
  • Ted Czukor
    Ted Czukor says #
    Thank you so much for this perfectly timed message. I know exactly what you mean! I was called out - quite politely, but still

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