I have been reminded recently about a topic that is quite fundamental and unique to the Ursan philosophy and culture. That topic is personal sovereignty. Personal sovereignty at its simplest, is a feeling and understanding of the fact that you are our your own master, and no person and no thing can take that away from you. To our understanding, it is the reward for living our lives the way we do, and not just as an abstract gift, but as a representation of the sum of our actions.
Primary to our decision making process is personal responsibility, especially as it is expressed through the filter of free will. We understand that we are the only ones who can and should be in control of our lives, and as such, we are the only ones that will reap the rewards and suffer the punishments for the actions that we take. Nobody can make us do something we do not want to do, and similarly, we cannot control what other people do in any meaningful sense. We take complete and absolute responsibility for ourselves, who we are and what we do. We understand that while doing our personal work of learning, making responsible choices, and being the best that we can be, we will reap the empowering psychological, emotional, and societal benefits of being good people. We understand that in very practical terms, if we want to be helped in our life, we must help others, and it is that structure of a supportive community that allows us to accomplish things bigger than ourselves. And with the knowledge that by holding up our end of any bargain we enter, we ensure the success of our community, taking on responsibility in those respects are rewarded too.
As a result of this, we take great pride in our accomplishments, and stand tall in the knowledge that we have always done our best in every situation, and that we have always fulfilled our obligations with thoroughness, compassion, and good cheer. This also applies to the magickal and religious aspects of our lives. Our interactions with whatever Gods we work with are colored by our knowledge that as personally responsible people, we must acknowledge that the Gods cannot do our work for us. Which brings us back to the personal sovereignty, because, as in our interactions with each other, we also understand that we cannot simply blindly follow any God, without surrendering our personal responsibility and free will and everything that has earned us. This has created the unique dynamic in Ursan culture of the ability to stare any deity or spirit square in the eyes and say "No. I will not do that, because I do not believe that it is the right thing to do. Furthermore, if you continue to attempt to control me without allowing me my free will and personal responsibility, I will stop working with you altogether."
This is unlike any religion I, or any of my most learned friends, have heard of, and I see it as quite the beneficial, positive, and empowering evolution of the religious aspect of the human experience. It allows us to recognize uncontrolled agents of negativity, as well as patterns of behavior, in ourselves and in others, that are self-destructive, manipulative, or malicious. Once recognized, we can make educated and responsible decisions, secure in the knowledge that those things are not worthwhile or beneficial, since they require us to give up our own free will or steal that of the people around us, wrecking the structure of support and beneficial action that our community relies on, much less our own personal feelings of righteousness or security. In fact, it elevates righteousness to its proper stature of an absolute feeling of being right, because you are secure in the knowledge that you have done everything in your power to be doing what is right. Perhaps most importantly, it also allows us to recognize false righteousness as a position that is not actually supported by responsible actions that respect free will. And I believe it is this that sets our path apart as the truest route to personal power - within ourselves and with each other, over nothing but our own destiny.