Image from Heritage England
On Sunday 5th July 2022, the UK celebrated Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. We all got a four-day bank holiday, although the two days that fell on a weekend don’t really count in my opinion, but the thought was there.
Many UK pagans are sceptical of a monarchical system, but the symbolism and ritual of royal events do speak to a number of pagans here. Considering the split in opinions, I thought a little investigation was due.
What really got me interested was that those who were not monarchists were happy to go about their day without celebrating the jubilee – that was until her face was shone on Stonehenge. This resulted in a huge uproar that English Heritage would take such a liberty. But did they? A friend of mine argued that technically nobody owns Stonehenge, and English Heritage choosing to project the Queen’s image serves to reinforce the idea that they don’t just care for Stonehenge, but that they DO own it, and therefore can do what they want. He also said that as the Queen is the head of the Church of England, there is no reason for her to be on a pagan artefact. However, another argued that it is an example of the ancient British Isles and the new United Kingdom coming together.
There are many who see the Queen as an embodiment of Britannia. Elizabeth I, for example, was a great believer in ‘the earth of the land’. She also had John Dee as an adviser. He was not just a mathematician, but also an astronomer, astrologer, teacher, occultist and alchemist. He spent much of his time on alchemy, divination and Hermetic philosophy. As an antiquarian, he had one of the largest libraries in England at the time, and he is often seen as the next evolution of Druid. Under Queen Victoria, the Golden Dawn was founded and flourished. This was a secret society devoted to the study and practice of the occult, which actually admitted women, and was dedicated to study. During this time, the Boadicea and Her Daughters bronze sculpture was designed.
It's also interesting that 2002, when the Queen celebrated her golden jubilee, was the same year that the Glastonbury Goddess Temple opened. There is the opinion that Queen Elizabeth II is a traditional crone.
Mike Stygal of the Pagan Federation said in February, “I don’t feel the queen has had any effect on my life as a pagan, either negative or positive.”
I would love to know more about what our readers think and discuss this further. Please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
Please remember this is a respectful debate, and I will be looking at balancing both sides (if there is a balance!)