You may have heard that there was a Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey this week. Some polls showed that not even most people in Britain were that interested in it, but you wouldn’t have gotten that impression from the million people lining the street outside the Abbey or even from the Royal Wedding fervor in my neck of the woods. Members of my family were up at 5 am to take in every moment and just about everyone at my office was DVRing it and bringing in Dunkin’ Donuts Royal Wedding donuts. When I asked them, a bit insensitively, I suppose, “what was the big whoop,” it was hard for people to quite put their fingers on why this wedding made them so happy and fascinated. It was “an inspiration,” “a little bit of fun,” “the stuff fantasies are made of,” they said. There was just something about it…
Which makes me think of the tradition of The Goddess of the Land (and not just me – others have also seen mythic significance in various aspects of the wedding*). In the ancient Celtic tradition, as well as in others, kings married the Goddess of the Land, the spirit of Mother Earth, and without her favor they could not rule. Caitlin Matthews, in her excellent book King Arthur and the Goddess of the Land (Inner Traditions International, 2002) describes this tradition and its relation to such Celtic goddesses and mythic figures as Rhiannon, Epona, and Gwenhwyfar. Could it be that some of the reason people were so drawn to this event was an unconscious remembrance of this idea that a happy marriage of king and queen guaranteed peace and prosperity, two qualities so lacking in our own time?
If that is the case, how much has changed in the past 30 years since the marriage of Charles and Diana! Diana, as I have read this week, was only 19, hardly knew Charles, and was of privileged birth. She became the celebrity of celebrities, far removed from ordinary folk, though people I know who adored her did so because of her good-hearted charity work on behalf of those in need and the fact that her well-publicized family troubles made her both more human and more noble.
Kate is, as her fans have told me, a new kind of princess. They tell me she is 29 and the first woman who is or could become queen who is university-educated, she has held a job, and she a commoner. Reporters have noted her “normal” family and how comforting that must be to William. The number of people at the wedding that Kate and William knew through their charity work far outnumbered the celebrities. If rumors are true, she and William will do their own shopping and live as much like regular people as you can while waiting to be king and queen. One of my favorite details is that Kate’s sister Pippa hung disco balls at the Royal Ball to make the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace a bit snazzier.
Maybe a Royal Wedding is really just a Royal Wedding, but I cannot help but wonder if the difference between the popularity of Diana 30 years ago and that of Kate today is not also related to the Goddess of the Land and how she is re-emerging in the everyday lives of women as the Sacred Feminine within each of us. Could it be that women love Kate because she is not so far removed from them? She shows that the royal/sacred is now not outside their world, but is inside them. Their sense of the sacredness of their daily lives is reinforced by Kate and William’s choosing of normal over royal.
My favorite poster handmade by a spectator along the wedding route said “It should have been me!” More important than ”It should have been me!” is “It could have been me!” because we all could be, and are, the Goddess of the Land and are responsible for the Earth’s protection and the creation of peace and prosperity. Every way that women from all walks of life discover and demonstrate that is a big whoop indeed.
* I found these two commentaries and I’m sure there must have been others: http://www.patheos.com/Resources/Additional-Resources/Royal-Wedding-Marrying-the-Land-Star-Foster-04-28-2011 and http://planetaryenergies.net/2011/04/28/astrology-of-the-royal-wedding/