Sovereignty | Wisdom of the Cailleach

Published by Alison Cross on

The second Old Woman that I’m sharing from the Wisdom of the Cailleach cards is Sovereignty. You can read the first interactions with the cards HERE.

Sovereignty sits enveloped in her green cloak, her staff of freedom grasped firmly in her strong hands. A pale green tendril flows ribbon-like along the staff.

In the accompanying booklet author and artist Jane Brideson has given us an incantation for Sovereignty that talks of freedom, independence and bravery. There can be no deck created in Ireland that does not place Sovereignty at its heart because the arrival and effect of colonisers on her soil is as old as Ireland herself.

As a Scot, the story of Ireland is not my story to tell though. I need to find my own relationship with Sovereignty.

What exactly IS Sovereignty – it’s not a word that we hear spoken every day. We most associate it with a King or Queen – it’s a way of referring to them – as our Sovereign. It means that they are the supreme ruler.

It was also a British coin, made of gold. Nice. Or is it?

Here, in this card, the Old Woman speaks of Sovereignty of the land. But I’m not even clear about what that means, really. There is the ecological and environmental awareness aspect of treating the land with importance but there is also a more spiritual feeling behind the phrase too.

This morning I sit with her for a while – difficult because my partner is buzzing around like an angry wasp (RAC cover is due – don’t ask) and his presence is not conducive to meditating quietly! My head is all over the place at the moment, I am finding it difficult to be present and it’s very frustrating; that’s a vicious circle try to find your way out of!

There are lots of jumbled ideas and thoughts crowd into my head which I write down and try to make into something coherent to share with you. I end up with this:

“Borders mean nothing to me.
Politics and Government mean nothing to me.
Economic need and profit mean nothing to me.
Respect me, the land beneath your feet.
Protect me, the land of your children.
Love me, the land of your home.”

We can impose our temporary will upon the land through various Governments and political decisions – but she exists as the land on both sides of a border. She runs under the sea, she is all the land, not just a town, county, country or continent.

We look at her for what we can get out of her – from crops to coal, mines to motorways. It’s quite an exploitative relationship.

She stretches back in time to hold our ancestors, stretches forwards in time to our children’s children. But what we do to her will ultimately impact US, not her.

And yet, despite how we treat the land – carving our lives into her skin, gouging out resources from her flesh – she longs for us to create a relationship with her.


Where is the nearest sacred space in your landscape? If you are not near one, you could create one of your own. I am very blessed with sacred spaces nearby – wells, stones, old trees, caves and so on.

Recognise that the earth is holy.

It is the supreme power – this, for me, is Sovereignty of the land.

Time to create a simple ritual – using natural materials. It could be a prayer or a song, but please don’t leave anything non-biodegradable in the landscape.

Every day, find a way to demonstrate my respect, protection and love of the land.

What does Sovereignty say to you?

My review of Wisdom of The Cailleach Cards

Alison Cross

The Tarot's Court Cards are my specialist area.  They talk to me. Not LITERALLY though ....


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