Sacral Kingship: What it Really Is

Since Rhyd has made such a big deal over the fact that I support sacral kingship, there have been several articles by those in his faction trying to explain what sacral kingship is and how it’s a Bad Thing ™. Problem is, none of the authors seem to have read any of the relevant academic literature on what sacral kingship actually is. This is vexing, because not only are their articles inaccurate, but also because they’re playing on people’s fears of the unknown. So I’m going to talk a little bit here about sacral kingship, what it is, what it isn’t, and why I favor it.

Firstly, the seminal work on this topic, at least for those with Northern Tradition interests is “The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England” by W. Chaney. Of course, this type of kingship existed in other parts of the world as well, but I’m only really interested, being Heathen, in the Northern tradition variety. (1) In this article, I’ll only be exploring the Western European and to some extent Mediterranean versions of sacral kingship. It had its counterparts in Asia with the idea that kings ruled by Heavenly Mandate but that is outside the scope of both my research and my particular religious interests.

I think it is firstly important to point out that, and this is particularly relevant for contemporary polytheists, we have two types of sacral kingship in the ancient world: religious and political. Sometimes the two were merged into one rank, but quite often the ‘sacral king’ was a religious functionary only. While I think that it is possible to have the latter in today’s community (I know of several people who have been tasked with holding this position for their communities), it is important to note that it is a sacral role only and not a political one. Given the structure of our world today, particularly the dominant religious structures, the conditions do not exist wherein a legitimate sacral king or queenship could exist on a political level. While I may (and do) think that such a thing is ideal, it is only ideal under certain very specific conditions and given that we lack cohesive tribal units it is simply not possible today.

Nor is it synonymous, as one Pagan writer recently assumed, with the divine right of kings. Before I touch on that particularly egregious error, first allow me to explain what sacral kingship actually is, something that I doubtless shall be touching on repeatedly throughout this article.

Sacral kingship denotes a type of ruler where “rank rests on sacrality,” and that sacrality is dependent on the ruler possessing a very specific range of skills and qualities.(2) Historian N. Aitchison notes that one of the most important of those qualities was that the king be physically unblemished because, and this touches on the heart of sacral kingship, the body of the king represented the healthy body of the tribe and people, for the well-being of which the king was responsible.(3) Likewise in many cases, the king was bound by taboos and obligations and there were serious consequences to abandoning or breaching them. The well-being of the tribe was of utmost importance, maintained by a sanctioned figure that embodied sovereignty and the blessings of the Gods.(4). The king held and more importantly maintained the luck of the tribe. In many polytheistic cultures, the Norse among them, luck was part of the soul. That means essentially that your sacral king was responsible for the integrity of the soul of his people. He was responsible for preserving his people and ensuring abundance, which he could do specifically because of his connection as a living manifestation of divine sovereignty. He was also the embodiment of his people’s haleness and luck.(5)

One of the biggest misunderstandings that I’ve seen in recent community articles about this topic is the equating of sacral kingship with the divine right of kings. Now, I suspect that this is conscious strategy because such an equation, however, inaccurate, then allows the writers in question to heap the faults and crimes of the worst of our European [Christian] kings onto the idea of sacral kingship, thus discrediting not only the idea of sacral kingship but anyone who supports it. It’s a particularly underhanded and dishonest type of writing, but I digress.

The divine right of kings is an idea originating in the 16th century that states that the monarch is not subject to any earthly authority and moreover rules by the will of God alone. It arose during the Protestant Reformation to justify the monarch’s right to rule but also their absolute authority on religious matters. It actually has its origins in the hierarchy of the medieval state but wasn’t clearly articulated until the middle of the sixteenth century with the reign of James I of England. (6). Not only does this have absolutely nothing to do with sacral kingship (the sacral king was not, in fact, above any authority), but sacral kingship itself dates back to antiquity and did not actually survive the Western world’s transition to monotheism.(7)

Looking at antiquity, amongst the ancient Romans, the rex and regina sacrorum were specifically religious roles. Chosen from amongst the patrician class, their function was to maintain right relationship between the Gods and state. Livy tells us that after abolishing political kingship in ancient Rome:

Mattters of religion then received attention. Since certain public sacrifices had been usually performed by the kings in person, they appointed a king of sacrifices so that kings would not be missed. This priesthood was made subordinate to the pontifex maximus…(Livy, 2.2.1-2)(8)

The ancient Romans were scrupulous with regard to religions matters and obviously this role was considered vital enough that even though they no longer had kings of state, and indeed were very hostile to the notion of kingship throughout the Republic, with respect to sacred things, such a position could not be dispensed with. The Greeks, with their archon basileus likewise felt the same.

Sacral kingship recognizes the inherent sacrality of sovereignty. In many cases, both Mediterranean and northern European, the sacred king was bound through what religious studies scholars term hieros gamos, or sacred marriage. He was symbolically wed to the Goddess of sovereignty of his land. This was the case in bronze age Greece, and we certainly see elements of it both in Irish lore, Mesopotamian, and to some degree early Scandinavian. (9) In this way the king was tied directly to the fertility of the land and while he was in right relationship with the sovereign Goddess(es), the land would flourish, fruitful and wealthy. Later we see something approaching almost a vassalage system between the King and the Gods of fruitful abundance.

Åke Ström notes that kingship in Old Scandinavia was “entirely sacral.”(10) It was the king’s obligation to perform certain yearly sacrifices to the Gods, which in turn sustained the fertility of the land. Ström actually links all priestly sacrifice and duties to a “disintegrated sacral kingship,” a position that I personally question, but which would serve to highlight the presumed importance of the connection between sacred rights and ancient monarchical power. He notes a runestone dating from 900 C.E. with an inscription that references a particular person by calling him “the priest of sanctuaries, the honorable prince of housecarls.”(11) The connecting factor is a connection with sovereignty, or royal power. Aitchison supports this and likewise draws a comparison between power and physical force, which brings us back to the Greek idea of life force or ΒÍος, the protection of which is really what is behind the institution of sacral kingship. (12)

For those of us who support sacral kingship as both a religious and political institution, it is largely because just as the shaman negotiates and maintains relationships with the spirit world for the folk, the sacral king maintains the container in which the luck, haleness (holiness), and well being of the community are contained. It is his (or her) responsibility to make sure that such a container is a fertile field upon which the blessings of the Gods may fall.

Part II, coming hopefully next week, will explore the nature of Sovereignty and Power.

Notes:

1. Historian Goffart makes a compelling argument for the lack of sacral kingship amongst Roman era German tribes, noting that it was largely a Scandinavian development. I think there is room for his assertions to be challenged as his article is primarily aimed at deconstructing Nazi era ideas of the cult of the leader, but it must be noted that Roman sources on Germanic tribal structures do seem to bear out the lack of a cohesive idea of sacrality with respect to rule. William Chaney offers a different interpretation of the surviving evidence, one that points to the centrality of sacred kingship amongst the early Germanic tribes.
2. Aitchison, p. 60-61.
3. Ibid.
4. In tribal societies like the Irish, which Aitchison examines, the king was not the only person who embodied sacrality and likewise carried obligation and taboo. So important was this function that in some cases the sacral king could be put to death to protect the strength and well-being of the tribe, to protect its potency though E.O. James notes that this most often occurred either through the sacrifice of a ritual substitute, or symbolically in the course of a ritual, which would, one presumes, ostensibly lead to a transfer of power to a new sacral king. James, p. 63 in “The Sacral Kingship” in Contributions… In the same work, historian Ström notes that in ancient Scandinavia there is evidence that sacral kings were actually ritually sacrificed in Uppsala to deliver their people from some terrible dangers. See p. 709. This would have been part of his job, his obligations as king in protecting his people. Under the right circumstances, sacred king could turn into homo sacer at a moment’s notice, becoming then the ritual scapegoat carrying danger and destruction and malignancy away from his people by virtue of his death. To be sacer was a dangerous thing. It means that one belonged to the Gods. That is its original meaning and we draw our word ‘sacrifice’ from this Latin root.
5. See here, which I found on a simple google search. You do see some sense of the medieval ruler as what E.O. James terms a ‘mixta persona’: containing elements of both priest and ruler, but it was nowhere near the role of the sacral king of antiquity. See James, p. 64 in “The Sacral Kingship” in Contributions… See also Chaney, p. 63.
6. Sacral Kingship can be found in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Italy, Ireland, certain parts of Scandinavia, and Israel to name but a few cultures and communities who embraced this structure. In Ireland and Northern Europe there are some difficulties in ascertaining precisely how this may have functioned if only because of the orality of the cultures and the potential for Christian writers to have “de-paganized” the lore. See Draak, p. 651 in “The Sacral Kingship,” in Contributions
7. See also Warrior, p 7.
8. See Draak, p. 656 in “the Sacral Kingship” in Contributions
9. Ström, p. 702 in “The Sacral Kingship” in Contributions
10. Ibid, p. 704. His article is fascinating in its analysis of the accoutrements of the ritual of blot, even if one disagrees with his conclusions.
11. Aitchison, p. 45

Sources

Agamben, Giorgio, Homo Sacer, Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1995.

Aitchison, N.B., “Kingship, Society, and Sacrality: Rank, Power, and Ideology in early Medieval Ireland” in Traditio, Vol. 49 (1994), published by Fordham University, p. 45-75.

Chaney, William, The Cult of Kingship in Anglo-Saxon England, Berkely, CA: University of California Press, 1970.

Goffart, Walter, “Two Notes on Germanic Antiquity” in Traditio, Vol. 50 (1995), published by Fordham University, p. 9-30.

“The Sacral Kingship” in Contributions to the Central Theme of the VIIIth International Congress for the History of Religions, published with the help of the Giunta Centrale per gli Studi Storici, Rome, April, 1955.

Warrior, Valerie, Roman Religion. NY, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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Posted on April 4, 2016, in Heathenry, Polytheism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. The archon basileus was a crucial aspect of the Dionysian festival, Anthesteria. The archon (king) would marry his own wife to Dionysos and she would make love to the god. There is some contention of if this was symbolic or actual intercourse. Or if Dionysos was a man dressed as Dionysos or a statue. Regardless the sacred king (elected) sacrificed part of himself, his wife, in a public ceremony greeting the return of Dionysos, therefore bringing spring, life, bios.

    This kind of ritual is still performed today, during public festivals and parades. Often there is a symbolic king and queen, we can also look at prom queens too. Here in Melbourne we celebrate labour day with a festival called Moomba. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moomba#Moomba_monarchs

    Liked by 2 people

  2. From the position of the Gaelic tradition with which I engage, I fully resonate with this cultural concept of the sacral kingship. What I wonder, Galina, is how you support its being applied today. As you note, the role was more religious than political, but at the same time, as a person who connected the tribe with the land and sovereignty goddess, there was a clear political dimension to the role. You note also that political ways of enacting this role are not feasible today, so I wonder, how do you envision this role being enacted religiously, and how do you envision that religious role being fulfilling without its political aspect attached to it? Thanks for your time.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      well, in the two people that I know who fulfill or have fulfilled this role religiously, their small communities support them and they maintain that community’s well being and luck and don’t talk much about it. It may or may not be significant that one is a shaman and one a spirit worker who take time all the time to actually listen to what the Gods want.

      My idea would involve a tribal community where the sacral leader (king or queen) had political and religious function and power, but until we have polytheistic communities, until we have fully restored the role of oracular work and divination, until we have restored the protocol by which a community can healthily engage with the Gods, and until we return our religious specialists to their proper function within those communities, we can’t even think about sacral leadership. I’ve seen theods try it and it’s always based on human things never what the Gods want, never listening to the Gods, never consulting with them and therefore it fails every bloody time. it’s not about the power the prson has on a human level, it’s about their service to their Gods on behalf of the community and we also disrespect service a bit too much to grasp that in america i think. we’ve a ways to go before it can even be considered, but my idea is a tribal community with this type of leadership, hand in hand with your religious specialists, and a devoted laity.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for clarifying. Yes, I am very familiar with this idea within the revived tribal context. I had wondered if you envisioned the role functioning somehow outside of a tribal context, since I couldn’t picture myself how that might look/work. I see that you also envision this role being enacted firmly within the tribal context. I see what you mean.

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      • I would love to have an arrangement like this in a polytheist group – it would need to be one where they meet regularly (much like a coven I guess, the one I am with meets forthnightly) or live close enough that it would function as a slightly dispersed community.

        Having a Ri/Rex/Rix appointed by the gods through divination for a year and a day. ‘Coronated’ with a horse sacrifice ritual (symbolic to some extent) and then act as the sovereign for that year before undergoing sacrifice at the end of their reign with a new sovereign to take their place. This is conceivably possible right now, though the group of polytheists I am with outside of Wicca are too dispersed across the country to give this a go.

        One day…

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Yes to all this…

    I suspect there’s a further dimension to the dislike shown to this concept of late, of which many of the people reacting against it are unaware…I can elaborate in e-mail if you like, but suffice it to say, it’s sad that there is this much misunderstanding and purposeful obfuscation of things on the part of that faction.

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  4. I live under a constitutional monarchy (the UK) and prefer this to the republican model. Sacral kingship/Queenship is good with me – particularly in relationship to the wedding to the land as goddess and the horse sacrifice rituals and marriage.

    I prefer the idea of a figurehead who represents us and stands as our head of state who does so out of duty and a sense of responsibility, someone who lives in a gilded cage (a cage nevertheless) in the public eye with little in the way of privacy and levels of scrutiny that would make most of us baulk. I am not a raging monarchist – but prefer our current Queen to some politician who WANTS to be head of state.

    Liked by 5 people

  5. ganglerisgrove

    Lee…as a Latinist, I gotta say: plural of rex is reges. feminine is regina. there is no neutral form. (latin as a language has gendered nouns: feminine, masc., neuter but it’s a grammatical category based on how the language declines. i’m being pedantic but…i know several folks who want to give a gender neutral version and …it doesn’t work in Latin.

    but yeah. i would actually like to see us return to cohesive tribal groups politically, communities. Not likely and so, without economically and politically independent polytheistic communities a political kingship isn’t workable.

    Likewise, there’s no reason to sacrifice the sacral leader after a year. I’m not quite sure where this is coming from. It’s not the standard form. the leader was only sacrificed generally if he or she began losing vitality, or the land was in grave danger, etc. (and then symbolically most often, and only in great need actually physically). I’ve seen this idea come up of yearly sacrifice and I really think it’s a matter of mixing up sources. Yvonne Aburrow wrote about it, but it’s simply not borne out by a study of the sources. Marion Zimmer Bradley and other authors used it in their fiction but again, not sure where they’re getting it. 95% of your ancient sacral kings follow the pattern i note above.
    not meaning to be bitchy. LOL. just got home from work and i’m typing fast before I need to run out in five. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      woah. the above is what happens when I pop on line after having taught a latin class lol

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      • 🙂

        Work offered us some latin classes to help us out a couple of years ago – botanical latin being handy for botanists – but the guy ended up teaching flat out latin and after a month or so I was getting lost…so I defer to you on this 🙂 I ended up switching to French to make fieldwork in west Africa less terrifying.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Lee was citing the Irish, Latin, and Gaulish nominative singular versions: (Irish), rex (Latin), rix (Gaulish), all of which are cognates.

        In the Irish context, one doesn’t just get to “give up” the Sovereignty that has been invested in oneself, it has to be removed, and that is where the sacrifice comes in. It’s not punitive, it’s just necessary to “break the connection” that the person so invested has that investment removed by a death-like experience. But anyway…

        Liked by 2 people

  6. Virginia carper

    They’re getting it from James Frasier’s book, The Golden Bough. Aburrow cited it in her piece. When I researching about this on line, Wikipedia quoted Frasier. And it seems that other places just restate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      OMG FRASIER???? seriously? um….he was very useful for his time but the conversation has progressed since then…. @_@

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  7. ganglerisgrove

    he’s absolutely worth citing but only if you then follow up with more current scholarship. @_@ omg. same with Robert Graves. they’re very, very dated.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      but this is something i see a lot: finding one source that one likes, who made a significant contribution and not going farther. I’ve been guilty of it myself. the conversation didn’t begin or end there though (i’ve seen this a lot with Gimbutas too, for instance and Robert Graves, and even Dumezil) and it’s important to keep current with scholarship. I love Chaney’s book, and it is one of the seminal works on the topic, but I’m always hunting for newer, more up to date material. Frazier made an amazing contribution to the field, but his work is flawed based on what we know now and no scholar is sacrosanct, none of them are to be taken without question as the be all and end all of a topic. it’s all an ongoing discussion.

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      • I cant say I have read Frazer, I have a horrible suspicion I remember here I picked up something like this though that was seven years. Anyhoo..for a purely ritual role I am a fan of the sacrifice thing 🙂

        Politically then of course that would have to be different, I havent really thought in those terms from a polytheist perspective as we are centuries away from that.

        I will put Chaney on the ‘when you feel flush and have a mad moment online shopping’ list.

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      • Crikey…just found it viewable online here if anyone wants a look:

        http://www.ucpress.edu/op.php?isbn=9780520014015

        minus one chapter

        Liked by 1 person

      • urgh..scrub that, missing a huge chunk it seems.

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  8. ganglerisgrove

    Lee, it’s awesome you’re a botanist. that sounds really neat. 🙂 I teach Latin. it…can be confusing for like the first four years LOl. eventually the pain stops and one can read but it takes awhile of memorizing paradigms and crying. 😛 (seriously…..).

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  9. ganglerisgrove

    crap. I knew i was spelling his name wrong. >_< His best known work is "The Golden Bough" and it's an awesome work of comparative mythology and ….it's really important to double and triple check every single bit of it with at least two other sources.

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    • I have an abridged version of the Golden Bough knocking about now that I think about it, nice old edition whihc I still haven’t looked at properly. I agree – Frazer and Graves are good points to start at (though The White Goddess is the biggest pitfall trap out there) but really should be left behind for better scholarship.

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  10. ganglerisgrove

    ah, that’s unfortunate! 😦 but at least some of it is legitimately online.

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  11. Thanks to Virginia Carper for clearing up the Frazier and Graves stuff!
    There is some evidence in Greek myth that this did happen, but most of the authors assertions have been dismissed.
    Greek did practice certain scapegoat rituals during times of hardship, but instead of a king it was usually an outcast. The pharmakos ritual. During which someone was exiled or killed to cleanse the city. The pharmakos was often seen as a symbolic replacement for the king.
    http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-ancient-greeks-sacrificed-ugly-people
    The citations are much better than the article itself.

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  12. ganglerisgrove

    lol. i have. i’m bugging him now actually as i type this.

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  13. ganglerisgrove

    Lee, my apologies. I’ve seen variations used for Rex before that were just….well meaning but wrong and I assumed that was what was happening. PSVL thank you for clarifying. ok…so PSVL, did the Gauls and Irish get their word from the Romans? what happened there linguistically? are we talking original IE root?

    Liked by 1 person

    • As I understand it, it’s all common PI-E descent…there is an Italo-Celtic subgroup on the Indo-European tree, as the Celtic and Italic languages are pretty close to one another and heavily influenced one another (many of the Latin words for warfare technologies come from Gaulish roots, e.g. gladius, currus, scutum, etc.; and then Latin had a further influence on Old Irish in various ways, e.g. all the words that start with “p-” in Old Irish are Latin borrowings, because the main difference between Celtic languages and Latin is the loss of PI-E initial “p-,” so in Latin one has pater, whereas Irish has athair, Latin has piscis and Irish has íasc, etc.).

      The Irish word for “king” is a guttural stem, so it is (nom. sg.), ríg (gen. sg.), and so forth, which is also present in the Latin, rex (nom. sg.), regis (gen. sg.), etc. I am not sure where or how Gaulish and Latin get the “-x” in the nominative, but there you go…!?!

      And then the Latin for “queen” is regina and in Irish it is rígan, as in The Morrígan! But that’s another subject entirely…! 😉

      Liked by 4 people

  14. I posted this article on my polytheism page & boy is it sad how narrow-minded some/many folk are. They appear not to bother reading your article just want to post how much they hate you.
    Thank you for all you do for the modern polytheist revival in the West.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. While I’m not generally a fan of monarchy, I can readily appreciate the difference here between late Medieval/Renaissance constructions of kingship and the concept of “person most directly responsible for the esoteric health of an entire people”.

    Interestingly, in a way, I think our Presidents here in the States once DID fulfill this role- at least the sacrificial role, though not consciously. While elections do provide a means of replacement and such, that’s not to which I refer.

    Starting with the election of William Henry Harrison in 1840, every President elected in the twentieth year died in office. Talk of curses aside, the trend continued until 1980, when Nancy Reagan purportedly hired esoteric help to keep Ronald from dying.

    Why 1840? I don’t know for sure, but it’s worth noting that the men elected in 1800 and 1820 both died on July 4, five years apart. Jefferson (and Adams) both died 50 years to the day from July 4, 1776. Monroe died in 1831, the last President born under England’s George II.

    It’s clear to me that somehow the Reagans broke a kind of “sacral presidency” lineage that existed from the very early days of our nation. Mind you, I’m not advocating taking any action to imperil any President or other person. I’m simply pointing out that we did have an allegory to at least one of a sacral king’s responsibilities for most of our nation’s history.

    I suspect there was more to it and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m fairly certain that if sacral kingship (or presidency or chiefdom or whatevership) is a natural law, which it likely is, it will assert itself upon any system of leadership.

    So I think that the issue is less that we’ve abandoned it (we can’t) and more that we do not recognize it when it appears and work with it. Instead we pretend that it doesn’t exist and rebel against concepts like shared responsibility and community that allow us to benefit from a process that keeps happening whether we pay attention or not.

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    • ganglerisgrove

      I’m going to post this here, because I don’t want to make a full post about it and your comment made me think of it: Ryan Smith of HUAR fame wrote a piece that went live this morning at G&R talking about Heathenry being innately democratic (because that’s worked so well for the US *sarcasm*) and using Tacitus and late Icelandic sources on the Thing to prove that kingship has no inherent role in Heathen traditions and….the best i can say about it is that at least it’s written by a Heathen.

      He misuses Tacitus, who was holding up the Germanic tribes to shame the Romans into recalling their old values of pietas and gravitas and virtues, Romans for whom even in the early Empire, the idea of a ‘king’ was odious (one of the reasons Julius Caesar was killed was that the people were afraid he was going to claim a kingship. Augustus was smart enough to avoid that blunder, and allowed the senate to “Vote” him honors, which they did because they knew what was good for them. 😛 there was an illusion maintained that the Senate was still in control of the State with Augustus as the first among them, an illusion that came crashing down with later emperors). Also, Ryan makes it sound as though the Icelandic model of Heathenry, what mainstream Asatru is drawn from is the *only* Heathenry. it’s not. there are plenty of tribal models. There are plenty of denominations that have zero interest in following the Icelandic model, which is, at any rate, a later iteration of the traditions. I just love how these folks are attempting to erase the broad spectrum of Heathen traditions that exist in favor of their uber-liberal icelandic based model. no, no, and no.

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  16. Galina, I am wondering, in your holding your views as you do here about sacral kingship, do you personally align with what is being called the new right, as some have noted that such views indicate such an alignment? Wondering if you identify with this at all yourself. While I have long been engaged online with Gaelic polytheists who, like yourself, wish to recreate ancestral tribal society with sacral king leaders, I’d never heard any of them directly espouse or embrace a viewpoint called the new right (although one has taken to routinely critiquing what he calls ‘the left,’ so perhaps this new right is his position, but he’s never clearly stated his own positionality). Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ganglerisgrove

      no i don’t. nor do i align with the left. I don’t really fit within the scope of american politics (not surprising since my adopted mom was swiss and that had quite an impact on me).

      In american politics my one issue is abortion. I very much believe bodily sovereignty starts with NOT being forced to incubate a fetus. I find any restrictions at all on abortion a violation of women’s bodily sovereignty and i will never vote for an anti-choice politician. there are other issues i’d love to consider but with women’s body-rights being chipped away every day, I don’t feel I can afford to do so.

      I tend to be fairly socially liberal but look at what we are dealing with in the states. we have states that think it ok to ban people from peeing. seriously. here, being socially liberal, imo, means respecting basic human dignity and rights. I suspect in any other country i probably would track far more conservatively, but here the majority of conservatives tend to be christians, or at least it seems that way. and they have stances on social issues i can’t get behind.

      Liked by 3 people

      • Thanks for your response, I appreciate understanding how you politically position yourself with respect to your religious orientation. Incidentally, I very much resonate with what you expressed about womens’ bodily sovereignty and how it is routinely threatened. Thanks for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

  17. ganglerisgrove

    thank you, Erin, for asking, btw. part of what is so incredibly disgusting about what Rhyd and co. are doing is that they’re defining the identity of several people for them, and not only is that particular gross but they’re doing so inaccurately.

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    • You’re welcome, and yes, that concerned me too, as it does in the many places where I see certain groups/people defining other groups/people for them, thus undercutting a given group’s/person’s voice and ability to publicly self-identify in their own chosen terms, which seems to me like a violation of sovereignty. I’m not in agreement with all of your positions, but I do appreciate being able to dialog with you in order to better understand them, and how you envision and express them. Thanks for engaging with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ganglerisgrove

        My ideal is sacral kingship but we’d need to return to a tribal model for that to work and that’s not happening, so outside of the realm of speculation and academic discussion it’s a moot point whether I believe that is correct and ideal or not. I have to work with the political system in the country in which i live, either to navigate it or to change it and pretty much what i said above reflects how i engage there.

        I also appreciate being able to dialogue. and yes, i think defining someone else’s identity not only for them, but in a way that is odious to that person is very much a violation of sovereignty. i see it with polytheisms all the time: outsiders trying to undercut our identity and chosen terms, but it’s also starting to happen on an individual level and it’s troubling in a lot of ways.

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