Sovereignty – what does it mean?
The word "sovereign" means to be in authority over someone or something, and to be both effective and powerful. It is usually applied to gods, kings and queens, and governments, as in the sovereign rights of nations and States.
Personal sovereignty, then, implies the authority and power of an individual to determine his or her own direction and destiny. This is, in fact, the same thing as free will. Being a sovereign person means being able to choose one’s actions and reactions without being forced to by another person.
While sovereignty means to be powerful and effective, it does not mean that once you have it you can do anything you want. You always must consider the sovereignty of others. The fact is, we each have only as much sovereignty as we demonstrate.
To increase your personal sovereignty, you increase your use of free will. You decide for yourself what actions to take and how you choose to react in a situation. You decide for yourself how to interpret your own actions and reactions. Personal sovereignty has a high price. It is called personal responsibility. As you increase your use of free will, you also increase your responsibility for your own actions and reactions.
Declaring our sovereignty is a declaration of independence. Hekate is both external to us and within us. When we honor Her, we are engaging in intentional self-respect because it affirms the divine within each of us. Learning to maintain our sovereignty during our lives is perhaps the most important aspect of witchcraft. As witches, we have an abundance of natural energy that we can learn to control and use for our own best interests. Living a magical life helps to focus our energy overall, but there are certain skills that we can develop that will help us to be better at managing our internal forces and our magical connections, enforce personal boundaries and become better at controlling our internal states, thereby ensuring our personal sovereignty.
Our first symbol then is a key, or a set of keys. The priest/ess of a Greek temple carried the key to the temple. The temple key was seen as a symbol of priestly authority.
Hekate is sovereign. She reigns supreme.
Several Linear B tablets from Pylos and 110 inscriptions dating to the Hellenistic, Roman, and Imperial periods provide evidence for cultic officials as key-holders. Numerous grave stelai and vase paintings depict mortal and mythical figures holding the so-called temple key that served as an iconographic insignia of female priests.
So, I suggest that we honor Hekate as Sovereign and our own Sovereignty, by declaring ourselves as Her Keyholder.
Hesiod, who was potentially a devotee of Hekate, gives over 40 lines of his poem to defining the powers, honors, and attributes of Hekate. In addition to describing her parentage and importance, Hesiod is the first to confirm her sovereignty within the three realms found in Greek Cosmology. He states that she continues to control a portion of the Earth, Sea and Sky, the three realms traditionally associated with Hades, Poseidon, and Zeus.
As keyholders, we keep the keys to our Destiny, and can open or close the doors we want, as we can work directly with Fate. Our keys are symbols of our own work as Keyholders. They are the Keys of our Destiny. As Hesiod acknowledged her Sovereignty through a hymn, write a hymn for yourself.
Also, we often see Sovereignty as something related to a crown. In this meditation with her, we could not only receive the title directly from her, having our keys blessed for it, and crowned with oak leaves by ourselves and Hekate to complete the work, as a blessing!
One reason oak trees were revered was because of their height. The top branches of the oak, it was thought, extended up into heaven where the gods resided. The roots, on the other hand, extended into the underworld. The Oak tree is one of the most loved trees in the world. They say the oak courts the lightning bolt, but its strength comes from the roots system that spread as wide and the widest branch, providing grounded strength from which to stand tall and proud. Oak leaves are some of the last leaves to fall in autumn. Some do not lose their leaves at all. This has been looked at as a positive quality – tenacity and determination. Oak leaves came to symbolize victory.
Then there is the oak tree in Hekate’s garden …
“In the furthest recess of the enclosure was a sacred grove, shaded by flourishing trees. In it there were many laurels and cornels and tall plane trees. Within this the grass was carpeted with low-growing plants with powerful roots. Famous asphodel, pretty maidenhair, rushes, galingale, delicate verbena, sage, hedge-mustard, purple honeysuckle, healing cassidony, flourishing field basil, mandrake, hulwort, in addition fluffy dittany, fragrant saffron, nose-smart, there too lion-foot, greenbrier, chamomile, black poppy, alcua, all-heal, white hellebore, aconite, and many other noxious plants grew from the earth. In the middle a stout oak tree with heaven high trunk spread its branches out over much of the grove.” Sophocles described her in The Root-Cutters “she who is crowned with oak-leaves and the coils of wild serpents”
To do your own personal Rite of Sovereignty …
· Write a personal hymn to Hekate declaring your own personal sovereignty.
· Make a crown of oak leaves.
· Acquire a key or a set of keys
Create sacred space as you normally would. Make sure you have your symbols of the four elements on your altar to consecrate your key(s).
Offer a hymn/invocation to Hekate as Sovereign Queen and make an offering to Her.
Holding your keys, consecrate them with symbols of the four elements (incense, candle flame, water, and earth).
Read or say your personal hymn of sovereignty.
Crown yourself with your oak leaf crown.
Offer your thanks to Hekate
Close your circle as you normally would.
To offer a sample of a Personal Hymn of Sovereignty to get you started on your own …
Hekate, Sovereign Goddess,
You who rules over three Realms
And all spaces in-between,
It is you that I adore.
I follow you with my Heart,
My Body and my Soul.
It is because of you
That I hold these keys.
So that I, too, may open all doors,
Cross all thresholds
In your Realms.
With your keys in my hand,
I declare my personal sovereignty.
I am free to make all decisions in my own life
While at the same time, being accountable
For my actions.
Beloved Hekate, Guardian of my Soul.
I am yours.
Feel free to modify this simple ritual to make it your own.