Saturday, August 12, 2017

How Do Elven Communities Govern Themselves? Do They Have Kings and Queens?

"In our own experience, the elves we have known who have had communities,
even temporary ones, and most are temporary,
have sought to create a sort of consensus for decision making."

     Traditionally, elves are viewed in stories as having kings and queens, and this is the case even in modern stories, including urban fantasies about elves and fae folk. The reason for this is primarily, we believe, because most folks that wrote about us in the past were not elven and imagined our world was just a more magical version of their own world. They lived in kingdoms or queendoms and imagined that we did the same.
     More modern writers tend to base their stories about us upon the tales of the past. They take ancient lore and rework it, although in some cases they just put a new mask upon it, and so accept the idea that our communities are a form of monarchy because that’s what traditional lore says. And surely there is no great harm in this and it is perfectly understandable. It is not easy to imagine what an elven form of government really is like, particularly when you are basing it upon the world around you. The reader may wish to check out our book on how the realms of elfin are governed,  The United States of Elfin:Imagining a More Elven Style of Government, to see our more elaborate thoughts on this matter (once you have clicked on the link to our website book page, please scroll down for an excerpt from Chapter One of this book).
     Certainly, these elves, having been raised in a democracy are more inclined toward that form of government, a republic, really, but there is surely no reason why elves couldn’t have a kingdom or queendom if that was their desire. We’ve certainly heard from numerous elves throughout our forty plus years journey through these lands in our current incarnation, who are eager to claim to be a king or queen of Elfin. Usually, these are the least suited to that position, but we honor their aspiration and where possible do whatever we can to help them become truly worthy of such titles.
     We’ve even encountered those, although this is rare, who were eager to have a king or queen to rule them. And that is surely their right, although our own feeling was that there was at least of bit of S&M to this desire. Not that we’re judging, mind you. To each their own, as we elves say.
     In our own experience, the elves we have known who have had communities, even temporary ones, and most are temporary, have sought to create a sort of consensus for decision making. However, the power of personality still had its affect on the situation and there were often various power blocks, this elf allying with that, in order to sway what was going on. But the larger the community gets, the less consensus seems a workable process.
     However, what is important and what is vital is that whatever form of government elves choose, it is a matter of choice and that the rights of all individuals, the majority, the minorities (and elven groups tend to be nothing but minorities of various kinds of elves and elfae, anyway) and every individual is protected. Everyone has the right among the elves to choose their form of government, their religion and even their mode of dress and fashion. This does not include, however, the right to force others to be as we think they should be.
     Without that, without the choice to be ones’elf and to live in the community of one’s choosing, we might as well be men or some other less savory sorts of individuals and would surely, in time, lose our essential elfinness no matter how pointed our ears might be, how beautiful we may appear in the world or how much we choose to wear traditional elven garb.
The Silver Elves

"We elfin do not understand the concept of Kings and Queens as it is perceived by most folk. To we elves, a king is someone who donates everything they have for the sake of the people. So you must be very careful of what you claim around the elven or we will be showing up at your door continually, expecting to be invited to dinner."
—from Elf Quotes: A Collection of Over 1000 Ancient Elven Sayings and Wise Elfin Koans by The Silver Elves About Magic and The Elven Way

If you enjoyed this blog article and would like to read more on elven community government, we invite you to read our book The United States of Elfin: Imaging a More Elven Style of Government. It is based on the Thirteen Treasures of the Ancient Britons, but with an elven twist that gives us a unique and delightful perspective. These treasures are explained in the book to be very similar to the four treasures of Tuatha De Danaan, the faerie folk of Ireland, and when followed give us a clear path to a government that serves the needs of all its people. The United States of Elfin is a must read for all students of history and government, as well as for all fae folk who are endeavoring to participate and develop an elven community and would like some guidance in the governance of a truly elven community. It is a comprehensive and unique book in that it combines political science and philosophy into both a historical and spiritual perspective of better governments throughout the world.

Excerpt from Chapter One of The United States of Elfin:
"Most stories about elves and faeries, both ancient and modern, picture our cultures as being monarchies. In old stories this is probably due to the fact that the writers themselves lived in monarchies or constitutional monarchies. In modern stories, this may have much to do with the reality that most writers of today base their ideas of elves upon ancient faery lore and tales rather than conceiving our culture in new ways. In some cases, these faerie worlds are pictured as benevolent monarchies; in others they are less so. Quite often there is a conflict between the various elven realms such as in Kingdoms of Elfin by Sylvia Townsend Warner, although this would not rate as one of our favorite books. But also frequently these conflicts reflect the ancient ideas of the conflict and war between the Winter and Summer Courts of Faerie, the ancient strife between the Holly King (Alferian Gwydion MacLir in his book Wandlore suggests this should be Holly Queen and we are quite inclined to agree with him) and the Oak King and between the Unseelie and Seelie Faerie courts. The number of books that represent Elfin Faerie as monarchies are too numerous to mention here, however, some of our favorites are Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series. But this tendency can also be seen in Melissa Mar’s faerie books, Holly Black’s wonderful faerie novels, Emma Bull’s great War for the Oaks and even in some of the Dresden Files novels.

There is no reason, however, to suppose that elfin faerie societies are strictly monarchal, or that even if that had been so in the past that they would necessarily be so in the present or the future. Elven and Faerie folk, more than any other group, tend to promote evolution and change, adaptability and transformation as key elements of our culture. Nor should we suppose that every society of elves would necessarily organize thems’elves in the same fashion. We can expect variation and variety among the elfae (elves and faerie folk) even more than we can among normal humans since we tend to be unique and eccentric as individuals and that eccentricity is reflected in our families, governments and social organizations...."

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