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Royalty, the Land, the Cosmic Model & the All-seeing Eye

June 22, 2012

In Josselin (Bretagne, France) there is an impressive Renaissance castle, which is built onto a series of round medieval towers. The new owners filled their sumptuous rooms with portraits and sculptures of themselves and their royal compatriots from across Europe. It’s a kind of exclusive club, where they all marry each other to maintain power. This much we know about royalty in general and we tend to think of it as an archaic establishment, part of a bygone era. Of course recent world events remind us that a corporate elite, especially in the banking world, continues to defend its position at the top of the heap, looking down on the rest of humanity – let alone the rest of nature – from a height that must cement their feeling that they are a race apart.

I toured the Josselin castle just after witnessing the British fervour over the 60th Jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II and while beginning to watch the second series of Game of Thrones. All of this has been reminding me of the odious way that royalty traditionally tend to associate themselves with divinity. We know this from the records left by Babylonian sun-kings and Egyptian pharaohs, who considered themselves the rightful heirs to the throne by dint of their ancestry in the heavens – specifically, as children of the sun-god. Just like the Aztec or the Inca, the leaders look down from the top of the pyramid and wonder what the people can do for them.

What a ridiculous scam. How much do today’s faceless and almost placeless corporate elites continue this tradition, at the apex of social power (alongside the various military junta they are aligned with), granting themselves carte blanche to despoil the earth and to remove all those who would live by its laws. (This includes outright genocide of indigenous peoples.)

In Britain, a woman interviewed by the side of the road says she feels so included when she sees the queen; that the crown includes all the people of the realm. This is the mystic significance of the crown and all it represents. In terms of political power, it looks over all the people under its dominion, surveying the colonies and ensuring peace and prosperity for all (as long as the rules are followed and the taxes paid). We know from earlier, more agricultural societies that the regal head was also mystically connected to the health of the land. His vigour helped guarantee its fertility and thus abundance for the people. Frazer’s Golden Bough spent volumes telling this story and the way an associated sacrifice of the king ensured ongoing vitality.

It’s not a long stretch to the ancient idea of the universe as a womb out of which we are born, nature as a feminine matrix, with human culture as the ‘son’ who emerges into the light for a while, constructs an ego boat for himself so that he can make it across this life to the horizon, then dies and returns back to her eternal embrace. This works at both cosmic and earthly levels, as a model of the primal spiritual concerns of the human race. An obvious danger is the place of masculinity as it presides over culture; men run the show, while women are the passive bearers of nature, the raw materials that can be shaped to suit the tenor of the times.

Alongside this problem comes the relationship between modern human societies and the rest of nature. With advanced technologies comes a virtual guarantee of surplus crops and animal products for the privileged – if you are reading this, you are almost definitely one of us – and with this abundance comes an inheritance of mechanical domination of land and sea. Megacorporations run the machines, their fossil fuels, the chemicals for the crops, and the media that sells the story of how wonderful this all this. Faceless corporate heads erase all links to the rest of nature, except cute images that help sell their products or ‘greenwash’ their practices.

In all of this the monarchy is long since made pointless, not so much by democracy as by a new offer of prosperity and a loss of the link between us people and the rest of nature. The all-seeing orb at the apex of the pyramid still surveys all beneath its dominion, however it has no particular interest in the health of the land as long as abundance can still be ensured by technological manipulation. The new corporate kings have no care for the welfare of the people and creatures of the earth and the waters – just an eye on their profits. It’s about time the office was sacrificed.

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