The Golden Bough: Kingship & Royalty
“For strength of character in the race as in the individual consists mainly in the power of sacrificing the present for the future, of disregarding the immediate temptations of ephemeral pleasure for more distant and lasting sources of satisfaction. The more the power is exercised the higher and stronger becomes the character; till the height of heroism is reached in men who renounce the pleasures of life and even life itself for the sake of winning for others, perhaps in distant ages, the blessings of freedom and truth.”
The Golden Bough 1890
Priests of a particular stature have been speculated to have been named the “King of the Wood”, in the Ancient world. Indeed, the union of royal and priestly duties remained a well-established ancient practise it seemed. Indeed, the title “King of the Wood” was postulated as a title akin to the divine personification of the oak tree; the oak tree often thought to be synonymous with the Golden Bough tree itself. One might gain further clarification on this, by considering the necessity to first break the Gold Bough tree before a King might be killed. The oak tree often bore mistletoe, and mistletoe; like ancient royalty was fabled to never touch the earth and yet never see the Sun. As a brief side note, one might consider the myth of Baldur, whom is killed by a mistletoe tipped arrow fired by Loki. One might consider Baldur under his other variant names across the world, such as the Egyptian: Ra, the Greek: Apollo, the Roman: Helios and Mithras, the Celtic: Bel, Lugh and Herne, the Baltic: Saule, the Slavic: Hors, the Hindu: Vishnu-Hari-Krishna, the Eastern Asiatic: Shen-Yi and Amaterasu, the Mesopotamian: Xochipilli, Inti, Kan, Utu, Shamash and Babbar, the Persian: Mithra, the Phoenician: Baal, Moloch/Melech, and the legend of King Arthur as well as the myth of the Phoenix. These names, including the Norse Baldur, arose much later than the ancient savage. However; the underlying meaning, adapted interpretation allowing, remains largely consistent throughout. The underlying essence of the above god forms remains that of the Sun; or rather, the consciousness in its most harmonized and balanced form. One such example of consistent underlying meaning arisig when drawing comparison between the myths. Baldur was shot through the heart and King Arthur has his heart broken by Guinevere (who corresponds to Venus, Aphrodite and Freya; synonymous with the mistletoe; the White Goddess). From this, one might notice an undying theme pertaining to Venusian essences undermining Solar essences. Or perhaps the non-harmonized unbalanced consciousness undermining the harmonized balanced consciousnesses; Chaos undermining Order. One might propose that this occurs by way of seduction, but not in the most obvious sense. But then, what has this all to with that of Kingship? Indeed, it would seem rather a lot.
So often was it, that Kings of ancient times were revered not only as an intermediator between men (the earth) and gods (the heavens; upon which the bark of the Sun travels), but also as gods themselves. In contrast, and perhaps suggestive of the above described dichotomy between the Sun and Venus, Frazer describes that not only were young men and women seasonally sacrificed as personifications of harvest and crop god forms, but the King, too, could be sacrificed as a personification of divinity. The latter perhaps a practice in accordance with the Sun giving Himself to the World (Venus), or indeed a sacrifice made to restrain Chaos. As stated, the King was heralded as yielding godly powers, and would also be known to bestow blessings upon his people, to which they would often be left in awe. Further, Frazer postulates that Ancient Kingship was synonymous with an incarnate god form. He draws particular attention to Zeus, as well as the alternate forms thereof, such as the Egyptian: Amoun, the Norse Thor, the Roman: Jupiter, the Celtic: Taranis and Nuadha, the Baltic: Dievas, the Slavic: Svarog and Herovit, the Hindu: Indra, the Eastern Asiatic: Kami-Nari, T'ien and Tai-yi, the Mesopotamian: Hurukan, Itzamma, Enlil, Marduk and Ashur, the Persian: Ormazd, the Phoneican: Dagon and Adad, and the character Sir Galahad of the legend of King Arthur as well as the myth of the Unicorn. Many Indo-European nations, and those founded therefrom, would adorn divinity with oak, thunder, rain and lightning; the correspondences here being obvious. Similarly, ancient people would adorn their Kings in the same like; whom, as the Frazer suggests, were belived to be incarnations of the attributed god form.
It would seem that the ancient man drew little distinction between that of the natural; that which the present day man seems solely well acquainted (materialist reductionism), and the super-natural; that which present day man more often seems to have relegated to the realms of the imagination, or the forgotten. Indeed, the ancient man saw no limit in his capacity to influence natural variables in accord to his own Will and desire. As it was well accepted that men yielded all that was needed to influence the world around themselves to meet the requirements of their own and their fellow man’s, well-being; be it within any or all of the 11 ToL orbs. Frazer proposes that it was this very mindset that continued to reside at the innermost core of Indo-European founded nations across the world. Further, it was for this reason that such nations adorned their Kings as they did their gods. Indeed, it was in early forms of society where the King would often possess and unite the power and qualities of both magician and priest. Further, it was suggested that his very possessing of such power, which led him to become King in the first place; be it through just or unjust use of such power.
Frazer too, acknowledges the influence of so called public magicians, whom, as described, made themselves Kings and yielded great power over the early nations of man. But this was not without price, as indeed, and as stated, Kings often were met with violent ends, not only through sacrifice but also by way of assassination and murder. Indeed, it wasn’t only a Kings end which was his burden, rather, there were a number of so named, troubles, a King would also bear.
Likely due to the King being renowned as an incarnate god, he would too be known to yield influence, purposeful or not, over not only nature, but the world and it's people too. Whilst this would bring him to be seen in awe by many, it also saw him bringing people much fear too. Not only this, it was often thought that if the King should come to harm, be that by subtle or grosser means, that there would follow a significant detrimental effect; not only in the world of men but in nature too. Thus, was a King often kept in isolation, his face never seen nor known at all. One has to ponder then, if a King of such stature, would partake in such isolation through choice. In contrast, one could suppose that a King's isolation happenend of itself, as he elevated himself upward in Kingly stature. Indeed, the life of a King was almost wholly governed by ritual and superstition it would seem. One might ponder the great benefit of the King's isolation, for sake of his practises. Above all, it would seem that the life of a King did not appear to be one of glorious privilege and splendour, but rather, one of sacrifice, grace and humility; not to mention discipline of the strictest kind. Needless to say, the life of an ancient King was not a straightforward one. Frazer describes King's of the ancient world as “worshiped as a god one day, and killed like a criminal the next”. So it bode well for any King of such times, to remain well aquainted with considerations of the afterlife. A common belief in ancient times was the death of a King, spelled his soul transgressing into his successor. One might ponder this occurence to concur with the death only of the body of the King, with his Spirit and Soul transgressing across incarnations. Further, much like the underlying essence of a god form, and not the god form itself which transgresses across pantheons; in likeness, the underlying essence of the King always lives on and "lives long", transgresses across incarnations. For added clarity, one might ponder that this process is akin to a regular change of costume, with the actor remaining the same actor nonetheless. So then, whomever the King's successor may be, matters little, since the essence of the King remains and transgresses into the successor again and again. However, only a King may choose his clothes, for no pauper may do so at all.
Additionally, Frazer describes a process by which the qualities of a King's spirit may be syphoned by way of associative consumption. Thus, would a man strive to eat mostly of King's tongue or heart. This seems to be accordance with Sympathetic Magick practise of ancient times, where by the eating of a particular animal, plant, or in this case; kindred, the person eating thereof would express traits thereof. Further, differing aspects of the essence or spirit would be expressed depending on the particular body part consumed.
“Break not these limits or walls, or chains shalt rise around thee”
The House Thēvdos - 3 Frater LHT – V:5
One might draw comparison between a shared characteristic of the ancient King and the present day Initiate. This being the embracing of limitation.
Both the ancient King seemed to demonstrate commitment to ritual and practise, by way of necessity. One might consider that such a King was Wilfully guided by duty as well as the tasks appropriated within that duty. Further, the Frazer postulates that an ancient King chose to pursue the path which would make him King, and thus, one could draw comparison again ton the present day Initiate, whom seems also to Wilfully pursue his path.
Perhaps then, the path of the present day aspirant, is no different at all the path of the ascending ancient King; perhaps differing only in the characteristics of the aeon in which each one lives. Moreover, one might ponder the relevance of present day practises being rooted wholly in the practises of the ancient King. Again, one must ponder: does not the present day aspirant Wilfully strive toward the conducts of the ancient King? Indeed, the conditions of the aeon of the present day man may indeed mean that such Kingly conducts likely manifest in ways and means perhaps far removed from that of the ascending ancient King. Regardless of the mechanics, the underlying essence must surely be upheld. Further, in doing so, might the present day aspirant express some of the timeless identifiable characteristics such as clear values, the upmost integrity, and an abundance of grace; much like that of an ancient King? Further, within these characteristics, might the present day aspirant strive toward greater degrees of discipline in accordance to his own True Will; be his fate that of a King or not?
“There are Kings who govern always, throughout all seasons” The House Thēvdos – 6 Frater LHT – V:5
One might suggest then, that an ancient King, could perhaps be akin to that which a present day aspirant strives. Further, might any good aspirant not only strive to live in accord to his own True Will, but such an apsirant does so as second nature. Thus, whatever such a man may be called, he must surely yield and express the highest accord of grace, discipline and sacrifice. These too integrated within himself as second nature. As crude a description of an ancient King and present day aspirant, as this may be, and as reductive as any such comparisons may be. One should ponder further, that there Art aspirants who shall Be Kings and there are aspirants who shall not. For this is in all surety, already fated so. Frater LHT
V:5 ☉ in ♑︎