Druids and their rights

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Druids and their rights

Postby Welsh Mythology » 15 Dec 2015, 01:25

This thread follows on from comments made in another. Some questions arose and they're better explored here.

Celtic myth has much to say on the subject of rights, particularly in which relationships are our rights best expressed, and in which are they constrained. These could at heart be called issues of sovereignty, both personal and collective.

For example, in the first branch of the Mabinogi, Pwyll is a young nobleman who grows from simply having power in the world to coming into a relationship with the powers of the world. In this greater, supernatural world the natural human order brakes down and three sacred laws come into play.

At the very beginning of the tale, while out hunting, Pwyll claims the stag of another huntsman. As a young nobleman it would have been within his normal rights to make such a claim, but in this instance the stag was the quarry of the Magical Huntsman, an ancient figure often portrayed as the Lord of Animals, a sovereign king of the deeper world where normal human rights brake down.

As the sovereign lord of all animal life, Arawn is, amongst other things, the keeper of a sacred law: all mortal beings live by virtue of the deaths of other mortal beings. In these terms a right to life is first and foremost dependent upon a prior right to take life. Life is dependent upon what the environment can bare so an unsustainable use of this right will bring an end to life, not secure its continuation.

Pwyll then spends every night for a whole year in bed with the most beautiful woman in the world. Having taken the place of her husband, Pwyll could easily have his way with her, but instead he chooses to show her respect. He chooses to abide by a principle, even though it’s at odds with his most fervent desires.

In this he asserts his freedom to choose beyond his own desires, as a result he exercises his right to self-determination. This illustrates another sacred law that there can be no self-determination without an understanding of our desires. If we only live by our pre-determined instincts, we forget to act with conscious, self-determination.

Pwyll then confronts his final challenge at the ford with Hafgan. According to Arawn, this battle is only to be fought in accordance with another sacred law: an individual has the right only to the minimal action required to resolve a conflict. If this law is transgressed, an imbalance is created whereby the protagonists are drawn into an entangled, mindless spiral of continuing conflict.

All three of the sacred laws outlined above and the rights that come about from following them are inter-related, each strengthening aspects of the others.

My questions are:

Do the rights of life, self-determination and conflict have relevance for modern Druids?

How do the laws of the lands in which Druids currently live support or diverge from these rights?

Does the culture in which they live foster these rights?
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Re: Druids and their rights

Postby Hennie » 15 Dec 2015, 04:18

Well, in this, the modern days, many people agree an the 30 human rights as accepted by the UN. These rights are rights that come to you just by the fact, that you are a living human being. Among them : the right of free speech; the right to be free in religion; the right to labour; the right of having enough to eat; shelter; school; equality before the law; fair trial; being not guilty until proved differently. etc. These rights are of course executed by humans. You may want to have the right to have friendships with trees, which is a right no one can account for, so...

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Re: Druids and their rights

Postby Welsh Mythology » 15 Dec 2015, 08:34

To the [post]Modern mind there is no such thing as a teleological right as they are all entirely relative and based on the finicky whims of human conscience and power. However, if you dare to tread in the realm of the Source-of-All, right flow top down, from the deontological font of truth -- The Truth.

Some things are just reflectively right and if you dare...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h2caT4q4Nbs
I'm yet to be assured that such Post-Modern loops can create durable cultures. Teleological or not, as they arise from conditions inherent in the world such laws and rights have profound impacts on how we live. The branches frame them as such, but we could as easily call them something else. But whatever we call them, they would still impact how we live.
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Re: Druids and their rights

Postby Welsh Mythology » 15 Dec 2015, 08:38

Well, in this, the modern days, many people agree an the 30 human rights as accepted by the UN. These rights are rights that come to you just by the fact, that you are a living human being. Among them : the right of free speech; the right to be free in religion; the right to labour; the right of having enough to eat; shelter; school; equality before the law; fair trial; being not guilty until proved differently. etc. These rights are of course executed by humans. You may want to have the right to have friendships with trees, which is a right no one can account for, so...
Yes, you can have as many rights as you wish. It doesn't mean they can ever be enacted, defended or adopted by others. The question is why did the authors of the Four Branches want to illustrate these in particular? They are primarily concerned with bringing things outside of human influence into the realm of human comprehension.
Last edited by Welsh Mythology on 15 Dec 2015, 20:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Druids and their rights

Postby Gwion » 15 Dec 2015, 10:52

Welsh Mythology, I’m slightly ashamed to say that I’d not interpreted the tale of Pwyll and Arawn in quite this way before – I’d been looking at it in a much more superficial manner. (I excuse myself on the basis that I am here to learn after all.) I’d thought about the “acting honourably” aspect but not related it so well to the “deeper world where normal human rights brake (sic) down”. I know this doesn’t engage in the questions you were asking but I just wanted to say thank you for giving me access to this new line of thought – I’m off to consider it more deeply now.
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Re: Druids and their rights

Postby Welsh Mythology » 15 Dec 2015, 20:56

No problem. Hope you can return the favour some day.
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