Sande Amici announces closure of its Headquarters

The Sôgmô in Second Life, as Gaius Tiberius Curio, the ‘Princeps Sande Amicorum,’ has announced the closure of ROMA Sande Amici’s properties in the new Gregorian year as a result of the devolution of powers caused by the recent ratification of the «Building Democracy & the Council» plan and by a recent reduction of personal funds. Sande Amici virtual properties in ROMA Subura and Colonia Nova, in the Confederation of Democratic Simulators, are to be sold and liquidated with the exception of an art museum owned jointly between the virtual micronation of the Barony of Europa Wulfenbach and the Sandum ROMA Sande Amici group.

ROMA Sande Amici is the State of Sandus’s virtual representation group in Second Life, tasked with raising awareness about the State of Sandus, supporting micronationalism, and developing Sandum culture in the virtual world. Founded in November 2013, ROMA Sande Amici has celebrated such events as Transgender Day of Remembrance, Athena’s Day, the festivals of Peace in January, the Days of Secession and Foundation, Remembrance Day, the 5th anniversary of the Creation of Sandus, and LGBT Pride Week. The group will continue to exist in Second Life, though on a reduced capacity to reflect its reduced activity in recent months. The group has called ROMA, an estate in Second Life, home since its foundation, leading it to be named in part after the estate.

The Princeps Sande Gaius Tiberius Curio posted the following statement to the ROMA Sande Amici group notices:

Salvete omnes qui amici Sanderum sunt:
Greetings to all who are friends of the Sandum People:

For more than a year now, the State of Sandus has sponsored ROMA Sande Amici in Second Life, an ambassadorial discussion group intended to raise awareness about Sandum culture, micronationalism, and our modest polity. And what year it has been — full of beautiful exhibits, kind support and interest from friends, and many wonderful and thought-provoking questions asked and answered.

The State of Sandus, however, is in transition. On 21 December, the results of the 2014 Winter Solstice election were announced and the Sandum People ratified the creation of a direct democratic assembly here in Sandus. Pursuant to these constitutional changes, the Sôgmô (the head of government and state of Sandus) announced the publication of the first Sandum budget in our five and half years of existence. In this budget, $758 USD was projected to be spent in the Gregorian year 2015: $220 USD of which would have gone to paying tier for Sande Amici’s space in ROMA Subura at plot 1b.

Normally Sande Amici would be spent out of the Sôgmô’s personal budget but, after changes to his personal income and the constitution of Sandus, ROMA Sande Amici will close its land in the new Gregorian year on 10 January 2015.

ROMA Sande Amici will continue to exist as a group and, in the future, events and holidays celebrated in Sandus will be continued to be celebrated here in Second Life at other venues according to future possible arrangements.

These past 13 months have been full of much excitement to share the history, culture, and people of the micronation of Sandus with you and these changes do not negatively reflect on any person, group, or estate in Second Life whom we continue to keep in high esteem. Instead, pursuant to Sandus’s founding principle in ‘Realism’ and pragmatism, it has become necessary to consider major changes to the running of the Sandum budget in the New Year.
In the Teachings of the Three Jewels and the Benedictions of all the Gods:
Gaius Tiberius Curio, Princeps Sande Amicerum

Sôgmô publishes First Sandum Budget

The Sôgmô has published the first Sandum budget in the history of the State of Sandus and since Sandus’s creation 2009. The Bureau of the Treasury projects an operating cost of approximately $708.00 USD in the Sandum budget, covering such policies as Sande Amici and a 2012 policy which donates transition essentials to transgender people. Essential costs cover the registration of the website, the 2012 Trans*ition policy, and other cultural expenses projected by the Collegio Sacerdae. Necessary but non-essential spending covers such items as Sande Amici, the operating costs of Tellus and Erganê cooperatives, and extemporaneous spending by the State of Sandus. Essential and necessary spending comes to $188.00USD and necessary but non-essential spending comes to $420.00 USD.

In the new Gregorian year, after the Council has met, the Sôgmô will work to develop seek foreign donations, crowdfunding, and donation taxes for the operating budget of the Central People’s Government. As per tradition, if there will be a pitfall in funding, the Sôgmô will cover the remainder of the necessary money pro bono — as he has done since the creation of the State of Sandus on 13 April 2011.

The details of the 2015 Budget can be found here in the books of the Bureau of the Treasury.

Sandus Prepares for Winter Holidays

Ave, Sandum Citizens!

Over the course of the past few weeks, the State of Sandus has been preparing for the major Sandum holidays of the season — the Halcyon Days or Brumalia, the Consualia and Opalia, Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice and the Majesties’ Jubilee, and the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. With the Consualia past, the beginning of Saturnalia looming, and the Winter Solstice just five days away, the State of Sandus is making final preparations for the Winter Holidays — which are expected to be the most celebrated in the recent history of Sandus. Here is a summary of preparations made and those still to be made.

XVII ad XXIII Decembro or 17 to 23 December

The Office of the Sôgmô has been preparing a Saturnalia dinner plan for some time during the Saturnalia. This meal will be celebrated by the Sandum Royal Family, the immediate family of the Sôgmô, and shall include new dishes considered symbolic of the Season. In addition to the meal held at le Palaso d’Etato (the Palace of State), Kremlum Sandus Province, the Sôgmô is preparing to create sigillaria for the Saturnalia season. Sigillaria are small clay figurines first created by the Romans and sold at markets during Saturnalia. They formed the bulk of the Saturnalia gifts that would be exchanged by members of one’s family, and thought to be symbols and representations of offerings and sacrifices. The Sôgmô shall prepare a few sigillaria for Sandum citizens, close friends and family members, and friends of the State of Sandus. The Sôgmô shall prepare a Saturnalia fire in the fireplace of le Palaso d’Etato (the Palace of State) or shall prepare a stand-in fireplace for the Saturnalia. As well, the Sande Amici group on Second Life — a recent project of the Office of the Sôgmô intended to make Sandus’s existence well-known and pursue the Second Philia Advance’s cause of “Opening Sandus to the World” — has decorated its headquarters for the Saturnalia season and has created an exhibit for Saturnalia in Sandus.

the Winter Solstice & the Majesties’ Jubilee
XXI Decembro or 21 December
The Winter Solstice is the most important Sandum administrative day of the four major administrative days on the calendar. Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, it does not differ much — charity taxes are still due on the Winter Solstice, census information is expected to be turned in and filled out on the Winter Solstice. However, in addition to these, the annual national referendum concerning the Sôgmô’s next year in office is held. During this referendum (often simply called the “Election”), citizens vote on whether or not the Sôgmô maintains the legitimacy of the Sandum People to continue to reign in the next year until the next Winter Solstice. This year’s Election will mark the third of its kind, and current early voting results of depict a unanimous vote for the continued legitimate reign of the Sôgmô. Around the time of the Winter Solstice this year, too, the Citizens’ Communist Party of Sandus is expected to release its Year Plan on the plan of developing Sandum Socialism in the new administrative year and follows the CCPS Party Conference held early last month.
Coinciding with the Winter Solstice is the Majesties’ Jubilee, which shall commemorate the Fourth Anniversary since the Founding of the first Barony of Sandus. The Office of the Sôgmô has already released a special commemorative video on the State holiday which marks Independence, Realism, and — especially — the Monarchical element in the State of Sandus’s dual definition of government as either an elective monarchy or a republic.

Dies Natalis Solis Invicti
XXV Decembro or 25 December
As is customary, the Sôgmô shall present his annual speech to the Sandum Nation-State in the early morning of Dies Natalis Solis Invicti (the Day of Birth of the Unconquerable Sun). In his speech, the Sôgmô shall review the past year’s events in the State of Sandus, as well as express general holiday goodwill to all citizens, friends, and allies of the State of Sandus. This year, however, the Office of the Sôgmô shall publish an article on the holiday of the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti on a comprehensive report of all actions taken by the State of Sandus in the past year, comprised of all policy projections and major events of the last Gregorian year. A similar article may be published at the end of Februario for the New Sancta Year.

It is prudent for us to report on the recent events in the State of Sandus, which have to do with the policies of the State. Concerning Sandus’s social progressive policies on LGBTQ issues, the Sôgmô, as Princeps Sande of the ROMA Sande Amici group on Second Life, raised Linden $1,000 out of Linden $6,054 to fight homophobia. In addition, and related to the Winter holidays, the Office of the Sôgmô, acting in the capacity as Sacra Flameno of the Collegio Sacerdae, has published the long-awaited Sancta hymn Gratias Deae or “Thanks, Gods”. We’re looking forward to more leitourgía throughout the holiday season!

— Sôgmô Sörgel

Athena’s Day Celebrated Here

Ave, Sandum Citizens!

An image released by le Palaso d'Etato (the Palace of State) depicting the State Altar to Athena before the Athena's Day ceremony.

An image released by le Palaso d’Etato (the Palace of State) depicting the State Altar to Athena before the Athena’s Day ceremony.

Athena’s Day is a Sancta holiday centred around the Sandum cultural matron, Athena. XXIX E Novembro (29 November) is an important cultural holiday in the State of Sandus, where the Sandum People celebrate the two gods of crafts: Athena and Hephaestos. True to the cultural advancement of Sandus, Athena took a key importance year due to the rising production of the Sandum State following the creation of the Tellus Agrarian Cooperative. More interesting was this year’s Athena’s Day compared to other previous celebrations of the holiday for a variety of reasons.

This year’s celebration was made more interesting by the recent changes to the rituals of the Collegio Sacerdae used for all previous rites. Instead of using rites which were not standardised, the Sacra Flameno passed a by-law entitled «Standardisation of Collegia Rites» for the Collegio Sacerdae concerning the rites of the traditional ritual holidays of the Collegio. In this by-law, the Sacra Flameno of the Collegio Sacerdae established a uniform template for all rites of the Collegio from now on. In doing, the Sacra Flameno has established that all three official languages of the State must be used for all rituals on the traditional holidays which have required their use over the years, since the Collegio Sacerdae was established on XXVI Maio MMXI (26 May 2011) for the anniversary of Sandum Independence under the new regime. The new template, as well, has specific parts of a public ritual, intended to increase Sandus’s cultural output and cultural creativity.

The Sôgmô was presided over both rituals done in the Palace of State and in Second Life, shown here carrying a kanoun -- an Ancient Athenian basket used in religious rites.

The Sôgmô presided over both rituals done in the Palace of State and in Second Life, as shown here carrying a kanoun — an Ancient Athenian basket used in religious rites.

The holiday was also made more interesting as the Sacra Flameno’s ritual was replicated in Second Life, where the State of Sandus has been placing much emphasis on in order to pursue the Second Philia Advance’s objective of “opening Sandus to the World”. The Sande Amici group in the ROMA estate in Second Life has been used as a project by the Office of the Sôgmô to encourage more Sandum policies centred around the National Philosophy and social activism, and to encourage discussions with like-minded peoples on topics important to the Nation-State. The recent discussion on Gender Identity in the Ancient World has encouraged the State and the Central People’s Government to look into potential policy changes for trans* issues and for combating transphobia. Despite being less than a month old, the group has engaged many people with its two events for Transgender Day of Remembrance and for Athena’s Day — leading to both successful turn-out and successful discussions. The Athena’s Day ceremony attracted more than the attention of national citizens and intermicronational politicians: it attracted the attention of a Professor of Ancient Religion who had encouraging remarks about the ceremony. Following the ceremony, as well, the Sacra Flameno and the visitors to this rite engaged in a discussion on the Collegio Sacerdae and Secularism in the State of Sandus.

A very controversial topic is that on Sandus and Secularism, and was discussed following the ritual. In the past few years, the Office of the Sôgmô has stressed that the Collegio Sacerdae is a cooperative intended for pioneering historical, religious, and philosophical knowledge in the Sandum Nation-State. This clarification comes after initial criticism for violating the separation between religion and state. The role of Athena’s Day and the celebration of Athena as Sandus’s cultural matron is two faced: there exist both a religious and a secular interpretation. For polytheists in Sandus, the celebration of Athena as a cultural matron is a religious and cultural hallmark of the Sandum Nation, which relies on the type of wisdom that Athena is characterised for; for monotheists and atheists alike, Athena remains a cultural hallmark of Sandus as a cultural matron and as a symbol of the Nation similar to Anticosti. To both interpretations, She represents as goddess of wisdom the Philosophy, as goddess of strategy and war – Libera‘s Defence of the Sandum State, as goddess of the arts and of the crafts – the innovations of our culture and of the Sandum Nation-State. Therefore, what is controversial to some outsiders has led to Athena’s Day being celebrated under the Party’s leadership by religious and atheist Secretaries alike.

Athena’s Day is thus a holiday of patriotism and of national unity. In the Sandum calendar, it begins the Winter season of Libera and Isolationism, where cultural development is both the pride and the goal. The rite of Athena’s Day, in effect, begins the season with honourable intentions and auspicious actions. And it remains, nonetheless, an important Sandum cultural holiday.

Athena's Day 2013 Portrait

In the spirit of Athena’s Day, may we pursue the Second Philia Advance!

— Sôgmô Sörgel

“Gender Identity in the Ancient World” Discussion – a Success for Progress

Poster used for this event, displaying a 2nd century bronze statuette of Hermaphroditus (British Museum).

Poster used for this event, displaying a 2nd century bronze statuette of Hermaphroditus (British Museum).

The transcript of the discussion can be found here.

A discussion in the Sandum social group Sande Amici (“Friends of Sandus”) on the virtual world Second Life yesterday evening from 17:00 to 19:00 Sandum Local Time (14:00 to 16:00 Second Life Time). Commemorating Transgender Day of Remembrance, the discussion was centred around the topic of gender roles in sexes, gender identity, and gender expression in ancient and modern societies. In attendance were more than a dozen people who gathered on the Sande Amici land in the ROMA estate’s Subura region.

Gathered in the Comitium, the discussion members considered the topic of gender issues in the ancient culture of Rome and through out the Roman Empire. Meeting the conclusion that they were far too rigid and exclusive, the discussion turned to the relations between ancient and modern gender. Despite the fact that gender is a modern concept, the participants concluded that the Romans had a preconception of the social construct of gender. The discussion turned to more social liberal and progressive topics, as the discussion formed an arc from ancient Roman gender, to modern gender, to how to resolve the issue of gender and what a society and country such as Sandus can do in order to resolve the issue of binary and exclusive genders.

The Sôgmô, present and leading the discussion, included ideas that the participants discussed on a page to implement into Sandum policy. The first point was the use of gender inclusive language on all government documents and forms; this will require a task-force of trans* activists to look over the documents and forms of the Sandum government and conclude whether or not they are inclusive to the many gender identities of others. The next topic is to teach gender non-conformity and gender fluidity with arts and humanities to enable those who do not question their gender to “see through the eyes” of those who do not conform to binary genders, part of this will be discussed later in the communication point. With discussions such as the one held and through other personal interactions, communication between various gender identities ought to be held to increase interactions between perspectives and self-identities. The State of Sandus, it was discussed, ought to encourage activism and not simply “pass”. Thus, we turn to a large point: communication.

Sandus ought to encourage one-on-one discussions between individuals on gender and sexuality topics. “Soap-boxing” ought to be encouraged for those who are comfortable and courageous enough to go beyond the closet and express themselves public; eone way to do this is through Sandum media (Channum Unum, Veritum Sandus, Sande Amici). Thus relates a key importance of Veritum Sandus and Channum Unum, which provide a medium and basis for which trans* people can express themselves publicly, and we shall also encourage citizens and non-citizens alike to engage others with articles beyond Sandum media. Thus is the importance of viral websites — such as Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr — and the process of submitting their stories to the world. Finally, the last communication effort is to have discussions like the one held last night, for group get-togethers and invite those who are outside the group and unfamiliar with the topic.

These were the results of the discussion. The Office of the Sôgmô shall look into the possibility of engaging task-forces to examine Sandus and the Sandum government on a variety of topics to bring inclusion to Sandus on gender, sexuality, sex, race, ethnicity, nationality, language, religion, age, culture, and so on. For the first discussion of the Sandum discussion group Sande Amici, we look forward to discussing other social and cultural issues at the front of Sandus.

Finally, the discussion concluded with a moment of silence for victims of transphobia and to commemorate the lives of those attacked and who have committed suicide as a result of this hatred and ignorance.

As we say in Sandus,
In the Truth and Teachings of the Three Jewels and the Benedictions of All the Gods!

— Sôgmô Sörgel