Happy Luciad!

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11th Brighe – Sunnadi

Today is a special day for many who love the Divine Feminine. For Christians it’s Candlemas (as well as St. Brigid’s day yesterday), for Wiccans it’s Imbolc and for us Filianists it’s Luciad or Lucidi to Janites. Also called the Feast of Lights. It commemorates the third chapter in our Mythos of the Divine Maid; when the Holy Daughter reaches maturity and is tasked by Our Mother to take up the mantle of Princess of the World and carry the Light of Déa to all those who have turned from Her.

And why yes I am using Galadriel as a depiction of Her because I’m partly annoyed at myself that I never made the connection to her being ‘Lady of Light’ before! Also I wanted a change from using Disney princesses.

This is one of my favourite Filianic holidays (which I know I say about most of them, shush). As we don’t view our Mythos as a historical record but rather a description of infinite cyclical events, this time always serves as a reminder of how Our Lady is present with us. How She walks with us, comforts us, ministers to us, nourishes and protects us. She is forever our Princess and Priestess. While, as I posted before, it’s delightful to think of Janah as a little child encouraging us to play, there is also something majestic to visualise Her as a glorious maiden, full of wisdom and compassion, now ready to lead us by the hand and be our saviour – before She has even taken up Her painful quest for us.

“Every soul on earth and in the heavens shall be given into Your care, and the highest stars of the firmament shall know You as their Sovereign.” (M 3:4)

“And the Maid ruled over all the world, making the earth grow fruitful and attending to the prayers of Her creatures, and oftentimes making prayers of Her own that they might come closer to the Mother. And Divine Light shone once more upon the earth, and the Maid was a friend to every creature, and all who turned to Her were filled with life, and with the peace that comes of wholeness.” (M 3:6-7)

I love picturing Janah Sophia kneeling beside me when I pray. There was a recurring teaching given back when I was a Gnostic to pray ‘not in twoness but oneness’. Visualising Her holding my hands and being the bridge between myself and the Mother helps me find that oneness.

May Her light shine upon you even in the darkest of times. Blessed is She.

Happy Nativity!

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27th Astrea – Vikhedi

Hail to the light of the glorious morning!
Hail to the first gentle rays of the dawn!
Hail to the star that has guided us onward!
Hail to the Princess,
Hail to the Princess,
Hail to the Princess of light that is born!

Deep in the dark night of death we have fallen,
Far from the Mother from Whom we have turned.
Still in the darkness a clear voice is calling
Back to the Homeland,
Back to the Homeland,
Back to the Homeland for which we have yearned.

(Chorus)

Over the valley the starlight is streaming,
Over the mountains and over the sea:
Waking the world from its slumberous dreaming
Bearing the glory
Bearing the glory
Bearing the glory of God’s mystery.

(Chorus)

White as the snow are the Angels descending,
Bright as the Sun are their banners unfurled,
Through the earth’s darkness their voices are rending:
Echoing clearly
Echoing clearly
Echoing clear to the ends of the world.

Hail to the light of the glorious morning!
Hail to the first gentle rays of the dawn!
Hail to the star that has guided us onward!
Hail to the Princess
Hail to the Princess
Hail to the Princess of light that is born!

Blessed Madria Nocte!

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24th Astrea – Rhavedi

The night is always darkest before the dawn and this is most true for the Longest Night of the year. Different Déanic calendars vary on the dates of Madria Nocte and Nativity but for me it just makes sense for Mother’s Night, the time when Our Mother goes into labour for the Holy Daughter, coincides with when the night is longest. In some parts of the world, around this time, the darkness can last for days, just as the same is true for when a mother goes into labour.

Pregnancy is a mystery that it is unlikely I will experience myself, partly because I choose not to and, at almost thirty years old, I’ve come to peace with that decision and the realisation I’m something of an Anti-Natalist. I know people hear that word and reel back in horror; “child hater!” “prude!” “fatalist! you want us all to die out!” And no, no and definitely NO. Me being an Anti-Natalist is as much a personal decision as say going Vegan but not a militant Vegan. I adore children, I might even have them someday but it will be through adoption if it happens rather than wanting to create one from myself, with or without giving birth. I am grossly uncomfortable at the idea of carrying a child inside me, just the thought of nine months of anxiety and pain and the risks involved do not outweigh the desire for a child for me. However, that doesn’t mean I am against those who do go through pregnancy; if anything it makes me respect them more for doing what I couldn’t. And lastly, I am not anti-human or whatever. I do believe overpopulation is harming the planet and my choice not to reproduce, but rather perhaps focus on taking care of the children already here in what way I can, feels ethical for me – but I still want humanity to continue and think those who are having kids of their own are doing a good job – so long as those children are being raised in safe and loving environments.

I should also note that I have PCOS and have been informed that my fertility rate is incredibly low anyway, not to mention being a lesbian. If I ever find a wife that wants us to have a baby, either through surrogacy or IVF, I would probably be willing to try but I would discuss adoption as a first resort rather than a last. But it all seems rather a moot point to me at this time of my life.

Despite my own personal views, I value Motherhood as a tremendous blessing to those who make such a sacrifice – and it is a sacrifice. It IS a torture to bring about something wonderful. I’ve watched my sister in law suffer immensely through both a cesarean and a natural birth, the latter of which she described as ‘like something out of The Walking Dead’, as well as a tragic ectopic pregnancy. And the struggle and sacrifice does not stop after pregnancy, I see my friends who are mothers almost at the point of breakdowns when their children are testing their patience and the fathers are either nonexistent or unwilling to help. Not to disrespect fathers and their efforts but the dads that do put in just as much effort as mums are sadly the minority. They are getting better, thank Déa, but there are still so many who leave most of the burden on mums shoulders. It’s a burden that I know I would crumble under; just a day with my nieces when they are difficult is enough to send me wanting to get sterilised! And I’ve been a carer for adults with learning disabilities!

Bringing this back to Filianism; I firmly believe that even Mari does not exclude Herself from the agony of birth and motherhood. Just as Her Daughter chose to suffer the tests of entering Hell, Our Mother chooses to feel the pain of giving birth just as a human mother does. This part of Her sacrifice and Her proving to Maids what She is willing to do for us, to reconnect with us. She has no consort to hold Her hand, no midwife to help Her, She enters the cave alone just as many mothers of many different species have had to do since the dawn of life itself. There is no blood, but instead She pours out Her spirit and Her light into the world, more and more, slowly but surely, until that light is fully emanated into the form of the beautiful Daughter in Her arms. Every second of darkness, of cold and fear and pain, is a tribute from Her to all the mothers who have had to suffer in the world, to bring about the precious new life.

Fun fact, as a child I was taught that Mary, mother of Yeshua, did not suffer in her labour as God had blessed her and made her “clean, unlike other mothers” so no pain was involved. I’m not sure whether this is a common belief among Christians or merely something told to kids to feel better about Mary or whatever. It certainly isn’t a view shared by other Christians I’ve met who praise Mary for the ‘very human’ labour she endured in very unsanitary and unceremonious conditions, to bring about the ‘very human’ Jesus. Islam has an entirely different account of the Nativity that removes Joseph and the stable; instead having Mary give birth to ‘Isa’ on her own, in the desert, beneath a tree with only Allah as her comfort and midwife. The reason so many take inspiration and comfort in the idea of Mary, mother of their Lord, having such a real and human labour is the same I share for Mother God; more so in that there was no need for Her to feel such pain as a Deity but She chooses to, and does so Herself instead of a human surrogate (but of course that difference lies in the fact that Janah, unlike Yeshua, is a spiritual being, not a literal or physical human who existed in history).

This night, as I contemplate the image of Our Mother’s labour pains as She brings Our Lady into the world, I pray for all the mothers out there going into labour and may feel this is the darkest and scariest point in their life. I pray that Déa ease their suffering as much as possible, that She comfort and inspire them, and ensure their good health and survival just as much as the new life being born. I pray that those mothers who lose their babies to stillbirth or miscarriage are held and supported by Déa and others through their grief and that the little lives lost are carried to Avala, along with the mothers who also lose their lives to pregnancy. I pray that, just as Our Mother, though giving birth alone, had the protection of the Janyati and the vigilance of faithful Maids outside the cave, so too does every mother have the good support of family or friends around Her as well as the support of Déa. I pray that mothers who, for whatever reason, choose to have an abortion for their own health and well-being, are not judged or condemned for their own bodily autonomy. I pray that every surrogate mother be treated with care and respect and not merely a vessel. I pray that adoptive mothers and stepmothers are supported and blessed with the same patience and courage as any parent. I pray that all children have a family, whatever shape it may take, that is safe and free and healthy and loving.

These are my wishes for the mothers of the world that I send up as I meditate on Our Mother’s labour this night and for the three days that follow. I personally celebrate Nativity on the 24th December, though I know some celebrate it to coincide with ‘Christmas’ on the 25th, which was a date co-opted from the Roman pagan celebration of Sol Invictus. There are also some traditions who celebrate Nativity today to coincide with the Neopagan celebration of Yule. Whatever the case, this is part of my favourite time of the year, when different religions are united in the symbolism of the light (especially in the Northern hemisphere), the very hope and love of God, returning to the world.

And She entered the cave. And a star rose above the sacred grove that lay about the cave, brighter and more resplendent than all the stars of the heavens. And the star was seen over all the earth; and the children of the earth were filled with wonder, and they came to the place where the star stood in the sky.
– Mythos 2:2-3

Tonight I plan to light a candle at my altar and visualise myself among the crowd of Maids gathered outside the holy cave on this darkest night. Remember; the birth of Our Lady is not a past historic event but one that is constantly reoccurring, just as She lives and dies and resurrects with the seasons and energies of the cosmos. I’m not skilled in astral projection, but I like to believe that visualising myself being vigil at the Nativity is a way of my soul being present at this celestial event. Anyone who is wishing to join me is more than welcome! I hope to share a candle with you as we wait in support and reverence for Our Mother and Her Daughter; Our Princess and Saviour.

Blessed is She,
And may She bless you all.

(PS. I just noticed how fitting it is that, this year, Madria Nocte also takes place on a Saturday / Rhavedi. I associate Sai Rhave, both her darkness and her aspects of faith and patience, the most this night!)

She…is my Lady

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22nd Werde – Thamedi

When I realised I no longer believed in Yahweh, the Father God of Christianity, I stopped praying to him and I felt liberated.

When I realised I no longer saw Yeshua as divine, but still respected as a spiritual teacher, though no longer the centre of my faith, I stopped calling myself a Christian and I moved on.

Recently, I attempted to let go of my Gnostic Christian background entirely, ripping the beliefs out root and stem. This included saying goodbye to Sophia. I decided to focus on Déa simply as a whole without using any living stream image to connect to Her. The only link between myself and the Mother being the Holy Daughter.

And since then, despite only being a couple of weeks, my heart has ached more each and every day.

Sophia has been the only ‘goddess’ to truly enter my heart. I tried for years as a Wiccan to look to goddesses from different pantheons; Kemetic, Hellenic, Hindu, Norse etc. While there were many goddesses who inspired me and that I found myself in awe of, none of them really came to me, or I felt called me to worship them. Part of that may have been because I still felt tied to Christianity at the time, who offered no real divine feminine image for me – keep in mind I was Anglican so I was unfamiliar with the idea of the Virgin Mary as being anything close to God or Jesus. It was a chance meeting on a Wiccan chat room in the early 00’s with a Gnostic Witch that introduced me to the idea of the Magdalene being honoured as Yeshua’s equal, and then Sophia as the Holy ‘Mother’ Spirit.

I can only describe it as falling in love. As soon as I heard Her name, it became inscribed on my heart. Often times, when words fail me during prayer, I simply breath Her name. Not a chant, an exercise and invocation. In and out. In and out. Like every time I say Her name, I felt Her spirit moving in me and all around me, sustaining me, embracing me. For a decade and a half, I searched and read almost every book and article I could find on Her from a variety of Gnostic and Mystic sources.

My love and devotion to Her quickly overshadowed any previous veneration I had for Yahweh and Yeshua. Even though I always rejected the idea in certain Gnostic groups that Yahweh (of the ‘Old Testimant’) was the deceitful Demiurge, I still found it difficult to connect with him as the Gnostic description of ‘the True Father’ didn’t seem all the more appealing than how he was viewed in orthodox Christianity. This ‘Father’ may not have been jealous or sexist or warmongering; but he was distant and ‘unseen’ and only possible to know through the Mother and Son. It was as if there was no one worth having a relationship with. And while Yeshua’s teachings would always mean a lot to me, far more than any dogma about ‘sacrifice’ or ‘original sin’, it was tough for me to focus on him when the Magdalene was right there! And while there was so little said about who the Magdalene really was or what she did, the mystery about her and multiple myths enchanted me. It was said that through Yeshua, one could reach the Father. But it wasn’t the Father I wanted, it was Sophia. And quite a few of the Gnostic groups I found taught that it was through the Magdalene we reached Sophia.

However, while I felt I had found my goddess in Gnosticism, the religion itself left me wanting in regards of how to worship Her. I have waxed on more than enough about how Gnostic Christian groups will shout about wanting to ‘restore the divine feminine’ one moment, and then the next use primarily masculine pronouns and imagery for God, focus mostly on Yeshua, and speak of Sophia or the Magdalene as if they were merely an afterthought. A ‘bride’ to the divine masculine, as opposed to holy in their own right. I won’t go on about it anymore, as that is part of my attempt to let go of Gnosticism is also letting go of the resentments and misgivings about the religious groups.

When I came into Filianism, I planned to keep Sophia as the centre of my faith, as my ‘image’ of Déa. This seemed to be easy for me as I was already familiar with many Filianic concepts that Sophia and Her many legends fit into. The Seven Janyati can be linked to Sophia’s ‘seven pillars’ mentioned in the Bible, as well as Her seven aeons to combat the Archons in Gnostic texts, also the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and so on. The Trinity of Déa was easy to synchronise with the Sophian trinity of Barbelo (the Mysteria), Pistis Sophia (the Bright Mother) and Zoe Sophia (the Holy Daughter). Over time I started to use the more traditional Filianic names for the Trinity such as Mari and Janah, but I still recognised the Sophian trinity within Filianism. It all seemed to come together so easily. As if Sophia had been guiding me here all along.

But for some strange reason I became incredibly disillusioned with Gnostic Christianity yet again, despite having left, and how Sophia continues to be seen among their groups. This was honestly unfair of me, as I had already stopped being a Gnostic and a Christian. Though I wished to look to these groups and older texts for inspiration in strengthening my faith in Sophia, I should not have expected them to hold Her in the same regard as She would in a Déanic faith where the Divine Feminine is always revered first and foremost. I suppose it was the fact that these groups rarely even meet the standard of ‘egalitarian’, let alone feminine-focused. So, for the sake of my own sanity as well as not wanting to be a pain in the ass for others, I decided to leave Gnosticism and Christianity alone and just focus on my own faith; Filianism.

For some reason I thought this meant saying goodbye to Sophia. All because I convinced myself that the Gnostics and Christians had some claim over Her. They may do with the Magdalene, I can accept that, but Sophia is a perennial figure. I have found Facebook Pagan groups that worship and invoke Her without any links to Christianity. Also, outside of Eastern and Russian Orthodox (and possibly some other sects), the majority of Western Christianity barely recognises Her or merely views Her as an allegory for wisdom. She is not an angel or spirit or anything close to the level of Christ! As for Gnostics, all I can say is that the Sophia I know is not the one they know. They may share some similarities but we are looking at two different facets of the same diamond. Like to Muslims who honour Yeshua (Isa), yet view him through a completely different lens than a Christian would.

Basically; cleaving to Sophia in my faith does not make me a Gnostic or a Christian. I am not the first Filianist or Déanist to worship Déa through Sophia; there was a poem dedicated to Sophia found in one of the original Madrian magazine copies of The Coming Age, going back to the 1970’s. And I’m sure I won’t be the last. I feel Déanism and Filianism, as well as giving a space for those who wish to worship the divine feminine in Her own right, also allows us to venerate these goddesses free from the chains of patriarchy, many of which we find were shackled centuries after the goddesses original, empowering myths and cults.

My Sophia has no Father and no Consort or Brother who saves Her.

My Sophia did not create a false god or a false world.

My Sophia is not fallen or trapped or r*ped.

My Sophia is the Mother of All Things. And All Things came from Her goodness.

My Sophia is the Holy Daughter, Her own self lowered to save those who turned from Her.

My Sophia suffered no brutal torment or bloody sacrifice; but became the living spirit within all Maids to help them rise and return to Déa.

My Sophia is not ‘Bride of God’ or ‘Spirit of God’. She is God Herself.

After mere days of feeling like my heart was hallow and aching, I called to Sophia and I felt Her there within me. She had never left. She is Déa. She is my Lady. My Queen. My Heavenly Mother and Divine Saviour.

Blessed is She.

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Accepting Change

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5th Werde – Candredi*

Tamala has come and gone. We’re now into that rather ominous space that lies between the ‘death’ of Summer and the celebrations of Winter. I find it rather fitting how in Filianism, ‘Samhain’ isn’t just a day but rather a whole month (or at the very least a three day festival) commemorating the passing of souls to the other side and the memories of those who have left this world. Astrea – and with it Nativity – is my favourite month and when both my anxiety and joy start to rise again. November, I find, is a very sombre month but in a different way to say, Moura.

I’ve started to feel my age a lot more recently. Next year I’ll be thirty and I know there are friends who read this blog who are much older and probably rolling their eyes at how that is hardly old at all. Thing is, when I was a kid in the 90’s growing up watching Friends, thirty did always seem like the year when you were officially an adult. I expected to have it all sorted out by then; good job, place of my own, maybe even someone to live my life with. But no, I’m still living at home, I’m still struggling with a heap of mental health problems, I work over forty hours a week and yet have no hope of being able to move out any time soon unless I win the lottery as there is zero affordable accommodation in my town (and no, moving would not be an option for me). And to add to that, I’m becoming more aware of just how fragile everything around me is, including the people who help support me.

There haven’t been any recent tragedies or big changes to affect me. Yet. But I’m becoming more aware with every day that passes they are inevitable. Someone I love will die. Someone I love will get sick and need help. I might get sick. I might lose my job or have to leave (there is some drama at the moment I won’t go into). Anything could happen and it’s a struggle between trying to plan for the worse so I have a safety net and not letting the worry tie me down to the point that I’m paralysed with fear. That’s usually how my anxiety affects me when it’s at its worse. It’s like a black mist goes over my eyes and I can’t see my own hand in front of my face, let alone try to work out a plan to think something gone wrong. And my whole body is stuck in tar and I can’t move.

The majority of my strength at the moment to get through this comes from Déa. The acceptance of change, of bad things happening, has always been something in religion I’ve found oddly comforting. Back when I first left Christianity, the teachings of suffering as inevitable initially drew me to Buddhism. I definitely see some Buddhist influence in the Filianic Scriptures, in particular the Clew of the Horse:

All things, once gained, must pass into the darkness; all things, once built, must crumble into dust. Sickness, old age and death must come to all maids; what thing within this life should’st thou pursue? Thy fairest hopes undone bring desolation, or else, fulfilled, shall vanish in a day. Life is a passing dream; of all its treasures, there is no thing among them shall endure.”

Teachings 1:2:18-21

What I appreciate about Filianism is that, though we are reminded about the impermanence of this life and what we have in this world, we are not told to detach ourselves completely or to fall into nihilism. Everything we experience in this world is a reflection of Déa, however cracked or distorted. If we become too attached to the point that we are unable to overcome grief then we only cause ourselves to suffer more. But that does not mean we cannot feel love or joy or gain wisdom from those experiences while they are here.

On Tamala I lit some candles and sent good wishes to both my grandparents, to my aunt and to my dog as well as other pets I’ve lost in the past. I remember the warmth they shared with me and continue to bring whenever I remember them but I know not to let my mind linger on them for too long. Part of me wonders if doing so causes them as much harm as it does us? If remembering a soul passed on helps them stay close to us, what if being too obsessed to the point the grief is crippling that it also ties them to this world, though they are still unable to properly comfort us? It’s a rather terrifying thought, even though it’s just a theory, it helps me to avoid falling into such a state. Because I know it would cause those who loved me as much pain to see me suffering over them. They would want me to live. They would want me to be happy.

This is going to be a tough month but I will hold fast to my faith in Déa that She will guide me through to the other side, so that when Astrea comes around I will be ready and buzzed to hang up the decorations and sing carols to welcome the coming of the little Lady Janah; our Princess Divine!

I always find it amusing that America has Thanksgiving as a nice transitional feast between Halloween and Christmas. Meanwhile here in Britain we have Guy Fawkes Night where we celebrate the failed plot to blow up Parliament. Given the state of our government at the moment, I’m almost surprised Fawkes isn’t seen as an unsung hero (I joke, obviously). I haven’t attended a bonfire night in years but we constantly have fireworks being set off around town, much to the chagrin of my dogs. A shame, honestly, as I do enjoy watching a bonfire. There is something incredibly symbolic after Tamala about watching a cleansing fire destroy the old to make way for the new, as well as the rather cosy and friendly atmosphere of friends and family huddling together for warmth as the nights draw in. Fire and destruction are associated with Sai Vikhe and Sai Rhave; not as ‘evil’ forces but in order to bring about the inevitable change for the good. As I spoke of in a previous post, darkness must sometimes enter first in order to make way for the light.

I pray that the Winter months are not too cold or turbulent for my followers and that the souls of your loved ones hold you close.

Blessed is Our Mother God and Her Holy Daughter,

Blessed is She.

 

*Eagle-eyed followers of my blog may notice that I’ve started using the ‘Orthodox’ terminology when it comes to Filianic names for months and days of the week. This isn’t a sign of me becoming more in line with Orthodox or Chapel ethics or tradition, rather it’s just become habit from hanging around other Chapel-leaning Filianists in the Discord as well as guidebooks from authors such as Lady Sinclair using the Orthodox calendar.

 

Question Time: Is the Dark Queen the same as the Snake?

Veiled Witch's Mirror

Miss R. Stephens asked the following question in a community that we’re both part of.

As a newbie to Filianism, I may have made a connection that is either totally preposterous and misguided or really super obvious to the rest of the faith that I just haven’t caught onto before, and I’d like some input! A few nights ago, I was reading through the Scriptures again, and it struck me that first daughter of the Mother embraced the ‘snake’ or the darkness that was before things were created, and the outpouring of her energy/creative power gave this darkness a shape, a body ‘like hers.’ In at least one version of the Scriptures, I know the Snake is written as ‘he.’ But here I wondered – a body like the daughter’s. Wouldn’t that mean a female body? And then as I read further along, and went through the story of the…

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Scripture Study: Cry Marya Verses 7 – 10

Veiled Witch's Mirror

7.The Awakened seeth not things, but seeth only the spirit My Mother, for no thing is outside Her, and all things are nothing save She.

8.The unawakened is she who seeth but fragments: who seeth the waves, but not the sea; who heareth the voice, but not the word; who seeth the light, but not the sun.

9. These fragments, contradictory, impossible, these are the severed substances of the world. How should the Awakened see these?
Gospel of Our Mother GodThe Filianic Sutras:
Cry Marya Verses 7 – 9

Some of the language here is difficult. The use of the false archaic ‘seeth’ in place of ‘sees’ makes today’s verses difficult to read. This can be seen in the use of ‘heareth’ as well. If we replace the with ‘sees’ and ‘hears’, these verses read much easier. Also, the femme-centric language is a little difficult…

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