King Harold was a tall, thin, balding man in early middle age. Although diffident and reserved, quite unlike His Excellency in appearance and manner, he was in fact a True King. He was not a ceremonial figurehead living a life of luxury encrusted boredom, a puppet moved and ventriloquised by crass and cunning politicians. He was the best sort of king – the mystic sort. He had completed the ordeals and rituals of kingship, not in any symbolic show, but in reality, so that the symbols he wielded had real effect. He had merged with the Land whilst still living, and the Powers of the Land had accepted him as Sovereign. The King and the Land were One. He experienced the timeless memory of the land and participated in the lives of the creatures that inhabited it. It was because he devoted so much effort to seeking further levels of insight and initiation that he had not attended the opening of the Avebury
Midsummer Festival this year. Seated around a table in a conference room in the Royal Palace at Winchester he had listened carefully to the reports of his ministers, and then listened to those of his advisers who had already attended the opening days of the Festival and heard their accounts of events, concerns and public mood. Now he murmured a quotation quietly and wryly to himself, “What should they know of England, who only England know?”. “Tell Sally I’ll be there for the Closing Ceremony and will speak. Liaise with her in organising some suitable meetings.” He nodded to his private secretary and turned away. Should he honour Mrs Sugden by appointing her as the Lady of Avebury? Was she yet up to the initiatory level required? Perhaps in a year or so if she continued to develop her spiritual talents as well as supervising the Midsummer Festivals competently. Now there were other things he wished to discuss with his Archmage.
His Majesty was not naturally a socializer. Standing around making small talk with grasping merchants and false faced social climbers wearied and wilted him. He had more liking for many of the lower classes, but their narrowness, pettiness and coarseness were also trying. Nevertheless, he was their king and would seek to benefit them in whichever ways they could best understand. He had accepted his advisers’ recommendation that he should meet his people more and become a better known focus for their loyalty and affection. He would attend a variety of meetings at the Festival, hobnob with many people, and at the closing ceremony he would make small awards and give public praise to many people for minor but worthy accomplishments, brought to his attention by his advisers, and the leaders of many of the associations, as well as by public request. This would be an occasion for him to wear a crown in ceremonial display, reminiscent of the medieval seasonal royal Courts where the King would meet and entertain his nobles and transact formal business. The crown, of course of gold often encrusted with jewels and sacred symbols, sparkled with light and was a visible symbol of the Royal Glory or ‘body of light’ only visible to psychics. The halos in depictions of saints had had a similar meaning. Kingship was both a sacred and a secular function. His Majesty would also attend with far less publicity, certain private meetings and initiations, for he had himself attained the degree of Stone King, who could mediate a deep sense of peace and cosmic consciousness to those who were appropriately prepared to receive it.
This year, after the opening days, mainly devoted to commerce, entertainment and socialising, King Harold was present and took an important part in the ritual and religious activities, which after all, were the main point of the Midsummer Festival. He was known to be there, but was only visible to the public at the grand procession and ritual in which all could participate on midsummer’s day. Most of his time was spent in more intense and private rituals and initiations of the more advanced grades of groups of the druidic/shamanic/priestly classes. He became the centre of attention in the closing days as he presided over a public meeting of the Witan, consisting of such notables of the kingdom as happened to be present, and where discreetly vetted members of the public could present petitions. There was little actual business to be discussed, but those who took an interest could see their government in action, and feel able to participate in their degree, or feel satisfied that their King and their rulers spiritual and temporal were accessible to their concerns. Although there was nothing like the old ‘democracy’ and no whining about ‘rights’ or ‘minorities’, and people had to be respectful, they were able to speak with considerable freedom to the king and his ministers. Nor was the King afraid to move among his people. Unlike the Presidents and Prime Ministers of old who had hidden behind bodyguards and body doubles and only been present to carefully selected and heavily guarded audiences, because their evil natures and evil deeds caused them to live in fear of assassination, the King would have scorned such measures. He and his people were of one birth and one Land. He was not afraid to lay down his life for his people; for unlike the rulers of old who had devoted their peoples lives to their personal interests, his life was devoted to the service of his people and his Land. No one who was not of the land was present, and the people were not corrupted by such evil influences that they failed to recognise their emotional and spiritual bond to each other and to their ancestors and the powers of the land through the person of the King or would wish to harm themselves by injuring him, so His Majesty could move among and converse with relative strangers without more than honorific guards.
More popular by far than the ceremonies of government and the meetings with occasional petitioners or groups of notables and social climbers, was the huge Closing Day feast hosted by the King for all who wished to attend and eat and drink their fill at his expense. All did. There were far too many to fit in any one tent or inn, or even the mighty circle of the henge. The landscape was dotted with groups enjoying the hospitality. His Majesty and his leading ministers went from group to group, welcoming them, urging them to enjoy themselves. wishing them well for the coming year, and leaving discreetly before the proceedings became too boisterous. It was an event which added noticeably to the popularity of the King.