You may have read in my books of The Glastonbury Chronicles about the protection of the Sovereignty of the Honey Isles, as the British Isles were once known by its bee shamans who understood the alchemico-magical, fertility metaphor of their bees suckling on nectarous apple blossoms. This was a reference to sacred sex magic, an ancient shamanic technique that would be taught to kings on the night of their coronation. That evening, under a Full Moon, the newly-crowned ruler would lie with a cuen, which is the Anglo-Saxon source of the word “queen”.
The cuen did not need to wear a crown on her head because she was Bright-browed; her inner crown was already sparkling with the gold of the Sun and the diamond light of the Moon. And she did not require any anointing from the Archbishop of Canterbury because her innermost elixirs were already flowing like honeyed nectars throughout her whole being.
The cuen was an Anglo-Saxon womb shaman skilled in evoking and awakening the two energetic serpents which, during sexual intercourse, rise and interweave up through the human body, just as they do on a caduceus, to create what alchemists call the Marriage of the Sun and the Moon.
The purpose of this initiatory rite for royals was to charge up the inner fire which sets the upper brain centres alight around the pineal gland, and thus it bestows the enlightened wisdom to rule a land successfully.
The cuen was able to initiate the new sovereign because she was a conduit for the spirits of the land or the cuentry, who even today still hold its sovereignty. These spirits have many different names in different cultures all over the world – but in the Honey Isles, they are the Fae, the Sidhe and the Elves.
That the Anglo-Saxon king Alfred the Great was thus initiated into this wisdom seems highly likely from the evidence of his geo-mythic knowledge, but also from his name that comes from an ancient Elfish-inspired lineage.
Ælfrēd meant “elf counsellor”. His father was Æthelwulf (“elf wolf”) and his three brothers were named Æthelbald, Æthelberht and Æthelred, who all reigned over much of England in turn before Alfred.
The Gift of the Elves
Alfred named his daughter Ælgyva, which meant “gift of the elves”. Our word “gift” derives from the Old Norse rune gyva, which is otherwise known as gebo or gifu.
Once you know the deeper meaning of this rune you can appreciate the two-way high road of reciprocative songlines that lead the cuen through the portals into Alfheim, the world of the Elves. This boon or gift is won through offerings based on gratitude and love between the cuen and the spirits of the land. By ‘love’, I don’t mean the sentimental, dove-like ‘love’ that we learn to yearn for from Hollywood movies. The love between the Elves and the cuen is more like a serpent or dragon in its ferocity and tenacity … and it burns with the passionately raging flame of eternal love.
In those days, the cuen would be recognised at an early age by the Druids, and her parents would be advised to place her in a secluded environment like a nunnery. There she would spend her days in complete dedication to “God” or the gods, and would eventually become the lover of the Lord of the Elves. He is found in the Old Norse Eddas as Freyr, and he is the Elf most connected with love, fertility and Sovereignty.
So this is the original meaning and purpose of the celibacy of this type of nun. It was not about refraining from sexual practices per se; it was about refraining from sex with a human, in order to keep her way clear for her Otherworldly lover.
A cuen would often go on to become an abbess or Mother Superior, as did Alfred’s daughter, Ælgyva, who became the Abbess of Shaftesbury Abbey.
According to King Alfred’s chronicler, Asser:
King Alfred ordered the monastery to be built at the east gate of Shaftesbury, as a residence suitable for nuns. He appointed as its abbess his own daughter, Ælfgyva, a virgin consecrated to God; and many other noble nuns live with her in the same monastery, serving God in the monastic life.
We cannot be sure whether she is the same Ælfgyva shown here on the Bayeux Tapestry, which was embroidered by Norman seamstresses after the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
However, this frame is clearly about the sex magic of the cuen, with its ithyphallic nature spirit and fire-breathing dragon. At the same time, the preceding frame depicts King Harold Godwin pointing out Ælfgyva to William of Normandy, as if he was claiming the right to the Sovereignty of the Honey Isles – the gyva of the Elves – through his ancestral line.
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