[poster for ‘Pan’s Labrynth’ by Drew Struzan]
27th Hestia – Lunadi
Just a few quick notes as updates on my spiritual journey as well as something personal I wish to share. Warning; in a couple of paragraphs I will be waxing lyrically about a divine masculine image in my faith which I know for some Filianists is incongruous in our faith so if you’re not interested then don’t feel the need to read.
I’m contemplating either a complete rework of this blog or whether to simply start it a new. The reason for this is that I feel it currently looks more like a page dedicated to setting up my own Déanic tradition, rather than its original intent which was as an online faith journal. There may have been times where I was trying to set up my own tradition and lay out where things stood and what other traditions I connected to, but it was still always a way for me to lay out my beliefs for self-examination as well as to share for anyone interested. The lack of updates is often because I worry they seem too personal when put on a site which lays out like information for those interested in the idea of ‘Sophian Filianism’. Reworking or starting anew as a personal journal on its own I think might allow me to feel more free to write what I wish as I continue my own spiritual path.
For the record; I still consider myself a Filianist of the Janite Tradition (who I acknowledge is a Déanic tradition but with no objections to having devotees identify as Filianist). Recently I’ve found myself using the more popular names for the Mother and Daughter among both Orthodox and Independent Filianists; Mari and Anna. Information passed on by Race, our wonderful MDF scholar, has also revealed possibly more insight to the use of the name Rhiannë, essentially being similar to Anna (properly spelled Jana with a silent or soft J) only with the ‘Rhi’ denoting Her sovereignty. I personally do prefer the ‘name’ of the Daughter to have three syllables, particularly in the Mythos where Her name is announced, as I feel it flows better in the rhythm of the scriptures. Anna was a name I didn’t have much connection with when first coming into Filianism but learning its many meanings has slowly made me comfortable in using it. I especially love how ‘Jana’ with a soft J connects to the Islamic word for paradise; ‘Jannah’. Zoe Anna also has a nice flow to it, which can mean Living Grace, or Living Gateway depending on the wording and translation. Zoe Sophia, as Living Wisdom, will also always have a special meaning in my personal heart temple.
And ‘Mari’ or Mari Sophia will always be my name for the Mother, it simply feels natural as the word Mama or Mum.
There is something else which I still feel links me to the Janite tradition more so than any other which is a topic I don’t like to talk about often in Déanic circles and that’s the involvement of a male deity in my path, even when he is kept completely separate to my worship of Déa. I know for some Janites, namely as well as Déanic Collyridians, that male divinity is seen in Yeshua and the Abrahamic father god who I will refer to as Yahweh (though I’m aware that Yahweh or YHVH more often seen as the Holy Name for God beyond gender, I personally associate it with the father image, going all the way back to his beginnings as Ugarit/Canaanite god El, the consort of Asherah). For many years as a Gnostic Christian, I attempted to rebuild a relationship with Yahweh, or Abba Yahweh as I tried to know him as, after having torn myself away from Christianity as a child when I read the Bible. As much as I tried to take in the parts of the Bible that showed a sweet, loving and nurturing side of Yahweh, I could never fully get that image of a loud, abusive father figure out of my head. And as for Yeshua, while he’ll forever be a respected teacher to me, and a ‘Hera’ who guides me, I haven’t seen him as divine for many years.
For me, the male deity who has stayed with me and I’ve felt most comfortable with is the Horned One from when I was a Wiccan. This is rather funny as I became Wiccan out of a desire to know the Goddess and worship Her, which I did, but I never felt especially connected to any particular Wiccan or Pagan goddess image. It wasn’t until I became a Gnostic and found Sophia that I truly felt I found my Heavenly Mother. But the Horned One was an interesting figure who sort of crept into my heart without me realising. For those unaware; the Horned One is essentially a syncretic male deity based on various horned male deities from Pagan religions around the world such as; Pan, Cernonnus, Herne, the Green Man etc. When converting to Gnostic Christianity I tried to leave the Horned One behind as he didn’t seem to fit into the Christian ‘pantheon’ as it were. And yet he’s always been there, in the background of my worship, never intruding but never abandoning me.
I suppose what draws me to him is that he is the opposite of everything I, personally, knew Yahweh to be. The image of Yahweh in my head has always been a similar one to say Zeus or Odin. Very large, very stern, very traditional ‘masculine’…I suppose very human – as humans, particularly men, were ‘made in His image’. The Horned One, on the other hand, typically has animal features such as fur, hooves, antlers, sometimes not even a human face. Sometimes his body is made of leaves or tree bark as if he’s part of nature itself. Another contrast is how loud and bombastic I always heard Yahweh speak in my head, leaving me trembling with a very uncomfortable feeling of self-deprivation, like being told off by an angry King. The Horned One, on the other hand, has never said a single word to me. He doesn’t need to. His eyes, that seem to have seen everything, say it all, as does his smile. He plays a flute or another wood instrument to express himself, whether in joy or frustration or sadness. And while Yahweh was always so high up in the clouds, always distant and needing others to mediate between him and his children; the Horned One is right here. As close as my own breath.
That may be to do with the other main difference I suppose in how I see them; Yahweh is all powerful and transcendent for his believers, the Horned One is – simply – not. He has power and strength, yes. He is the protector of wildlife and little children, a champion of the earth and guide to lost souls. But he makes no claim to omnipotence or omniscience or any of these almighty terms we give to great deities. That is how he fits into my faith; he is not Déa’s equal or anywhere on Her level. He is her child, as are all spirits, but not on the same level as the Daughter; Our Lady. He is not even on the same celestial plane as the Janati. This may be why I refer to him as the ‘Horned One’ instead of the ‘Horned God’ as I’m hesitant to even assign the G-word to him. I personally view all the gods and goddesses of hard polytheism as children of Déa and shattered fragments of Her image, whether female or male or androgynous (as described the Creation Mythos). While I worship Déa with every aspect of my soul, I don’t ‘worship’ the Horned One as such – nor does he wish for me to. Similar I suppose to how Catholics have a relationship with their patron saint, I see myself praying with the Horned One to Déa. I love him and respect him as a guardian and spiritual father image, but I am not devoted to him as I am Our Lady or Her Mother.
I’m aware that the Horned One is most commonly known as a deity of sexual energies. This is possibly the only aspect of him I don’t connect with. To speak personally for a moment; I have very little sexual interest myself and that which I do is, as a lesbian, focused on women. So very little of what the Horned One physically represents is relevant to me other than that which is connected to the animals we both care for. Honestly the depiction of The Faun in Pan’s Labrynth, as shown above in the header image, or Mr. Tumnus from The Chronicles of Narnia, fit with how I envision the Horned One in everything except his speech. Very asexual, platonic, but wise and tender. As a Wiccan I often felt uncomfortable that it seemed how many liked to project rather toxic masculine elements onto the Horned One; aggression, lust, control, stoicism etc. This wasn’t the Horned One I’ve known, but one who is the ideal caring father, the patient friend, the brave guardian, the wise teacher, the just leader, the joyful bard, the chaste guru….Oh look, I’ve just described the virtues of the Janati and how they can relate to men as much as women, but sadly we still live in a world where many of those virtues are derided. As far I’m concerned we are all Maid, female or male, and are all called to balance the seven planetary energies within us to live a life in Thame.
So how do I include the Horned One in my faith? To be honest, I don’t. At least, not practically. I have a Herne pendant I sometimes wear which I’ve had since I was thirteen. I’ll often envision him on my walks through the wood, I’ll hear him playing or see him strolling beside me, always mute. But I don’t really offer anything to him or pray to him, though I may ask him sometimes to pray with me to Déa. Sometimes I’ll invite him to visit my heart temple and there are other times I might visit his. I call him Papa, out of affection, though it is not to equate him next to the Mother who truly created both of us. I know the issue of blending polytheism with Déanism is often debated in the Ekklesia. One of my favourite Filianic authors, Lady Brythwen Sinclair, is herself both a Filianist and a hard polytheist. Now I wouldn’t consider myself a polytheist but more a monoist. The Spirit is One and Déa is that Spirit, as am I, as is everyone within their heart temple, which is confirmed in scripture itself.
So it’s for that, as well as some other reasons, I still feel the Janite path is for me as the divine male images are accepted, even if not every Janite wishes to worship them, while I think that Orthodox Filianism believes that ‘male’ is purely a material image and all souls are, in truth, female. Now there is an element to that I may agree with, part of me does feel like the soul is beyond our human understanding of ‘gender’, and as we are all from Déa who is ‘feminine’, then our souls would be feminine in a sense as well. It’s difficult to explain and more so to even understand myself where I fall on the subject. But I know that there are spirits and beings and ‘deities’ out there who present a male image for some of us, namely those who do feel a connection to masculine gods or god. Is this Déa wearing a different appearance or are they Her sons who are distant reflections of Her? I can’t say that I know and I don’t wish to be the one who needs to know the truth.
All I know is that the Horned One is there for me and he always will be. I feel I can welcome him into my faith journey now, as Sophia is no longer bound by her place in the Gnostic pantheon as ‘daughter of’ or ‘bride of’ God – but rather the Mother of All ‘Gods’. Like Sophia, the Horned One is pan-cultural.
And I know he loves and serves Déa and Her children, as I wish to follow his example. He is not my ‘Lord’ nor my ‘Father’, but he is my Papa.
Let me take one moment of your pain
You have died a million times over
Who would comprehend the mystery of life’s game
So come, let’s share of life’s treasures
We’ll live a life of passion undisturbed by shame
What you require, I offer with pleasure
Let’s fall laughing, tumbling in vermillion rain.
My Prince of Shadows