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Observations placeholder

Organisation of Pictish society – Roles - The Hierophant



Type of Spiritual Experience


The Tarot card

A description of the experience

Picts Gaels and Scots - Dr Sally Foster

The Church, a centralising force, played a crucial role in the late 7th early 8th century as the kings … actively promoted and established the concept of the single Pictish kingdom (Veitch 1997; Fraser 2009). Not just kings, but also local lords, could see value in undermining the local cult centres of their neighbours and drawing their followers to them.

If as king or a lord you granted land to the Church, then in certain regards they acted as your local agents and representatives. The local nobles derived additional authority by their association with this fashionable new source of power, which also widened their career opportunities. Its pastoral system was a means of extending and establishing an ideology that was pro-state. The Church was also able to assist in administrative matters … This type of symbiosis between king and Church was a recognised phenomenon throughout north-west Europe in the 8th century.

In return, the Church obtained the land (and associated rights) that it needed both to survive and to generate wealth for its own works. Ecclesiastics were in effect ideologically endowed nobility who derived their authority from their access to Christianity.

……………………….. In this .. we see how the influence of the Church came to permeate all levels of society and was probably the most successful and effective method by which the authority of kings could be peacefully extended. It did so by extolling an international and outward-looking belief system as part of a Universal Church, reinforcing and sustaining the breakdown of locally based power structures that were highly individual and personal in their character. Its ideology was pro-state and hence supported the aspirations of kings who now modelled themselves upon leaders of the former Christian Roman Empire and sought to expand and centralise their power base.

With time, the Church also came to provide some degree of administrative support for the king and nobility. Through the history of the Church and its interrelationship with the rest of society we can therefore trace evidence for the consolidation of society.

St vigean's stone no 11  showing two flagellants

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



V sign

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps