The significance of the name ‘The Regency’
In the Candlemas issue of Pentagram, 1967, the initial public notice of the Regency stated:
It is called “The Regency” for at present it has no living member of sufficient spiritual stature to speak with the authority of the great religious leaders of the past (Arthur still sleeps in Avalon).
This has led to speculation that the founders of the Regency believed themselves to be preparing the ground for the emergence of a new religious leader. This is not the case. Indeed, it would have been quite against the spirit of the Regency.
In common with many other pagans at that time, Ron and George believed that they were living at the beginning of a new age of paganism.
(They were not wrong. A sign of the times: last month the Druid Network in the UK was officially recognised as a religious organisation by the Charity Commission.)
At the first Reading of the Festivals in November 1966 Ronald White said in his address:
At this time of the promise, I speak of Regency Festivals, and the things and thoughts that Regency brings. For we are all Regents for the coming kingship of a different way of thought and life.
This was what the Regency anticipated and worked for; not the arrival of an earthly king or leader.
In 1974 in the article A Modern Pagan Group Who Meet in London Ron explained their ideas further:
We call it the Regency for we are all regents in our outer selves for that centre of our being where the Goddess and the Gods dwell. There is only to each one that self, and the possibility of realising that self. This is each person’s own disparate responsibility. It cannot be traded off by accepting the commands, peccadilloes and conceit of a leader.
What, then, did he mean when he said ‘Arthur still sleeps in Avalon’?
The awakening of Arthur which Chalky anticipated was not the return (or emergence) of an earthly ruler, but the return of the God.
The awakening would happen within people: ‘we are all regents in our outer selves for that centre of our being where the Goddess and the Gods dwell’. The process to which paganism called people was the realisation of the self: the spiritual growth that came from living in accordance with the rule of the divinities within. By undertaking this responsibility, individual pagans would also become ‘Regents for the coming kingship of a different way of thought and life’: the Return of Arthur.
The Regency taught that unthinking allegiance to a leader was harmful. Pagans, in Chalky White’s view, were called to accept responsibility for themselves.
In an interview that Chalky and George gave in 1968, which was later published in Man, Myth and Magic, Chalky is reported as saying “The idea was that we would have no dogma, no creed and no leaders.” The interviewer explains: ‘Chalky, who tends toward the Left in politics, … distrusted the idea of High Priests and Chief Druids.’
In June that year, Chalky scribbled on a page of his diary ‘no one leading. Committee of 6 avoid cult of personality’.
And in 1974, in the article quoted above he described the Regency as
an organisation with no organisation – a group as its name suggests with no leader, for who can be so great as to presume the power of the Gods?
What the Regency expected and worked towards was the restoration of the gods within.
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