In Filianism, Déa is most commonly worshipped as a Trinity. While many first assume this to be similar to the Christian understanding of their Trinity – the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost – there are quite a few unique differences in how the Filianic Trinity functions. One could also just as easily draw a comparison to the Triple Goddess archetype that has become popular in many Neopagan religions; the Maiden, the Mother and the Crone. However, most Trinitarii Déanists, such as Filianism, believe that a better understanding of our view of the Trinity lies with Hindu Shaktism.
The Hindu understanding of the Three-Formed God, the Trimutiri, consists of the belief that God works in three key roles; Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. When compared to the Triple Goddess of Neopagans; the Mother is obviously the Creator, the Maiden the Preserver and the Crone – as the final destination – becomes the inevitable Destruction. However, it is important to remember that the Crone is also the Original Source of the Mother-Creator. She is Grandmother Time itself and the foundation of the Mother and Maiden. Her role as Destroyer is not performed out of malice, but is necessary for the renewal of life and the eternal cycle of existence.
In Trinitarii Déanism, most notably in paths such as Filianism; the Trinity of Déa exists as the Celestial Mother (Déa Madria), the Holy Daughter (Déa Filia) and the Dark Mother (Déa Mysteria).
The Dark Mother serves much the same role as the Destroyer or Crone. Despite being referred to as ‘Dark’, this is not to say She is evil or to be feared, so much as it is describing Her being the First Great Mystery. Unlike the Celestial Mother, who can take form and be known to us, the Dark Mother is much too great and whole to ever be truly understood. Her energy can be ‘tapped into’ by those willing to put in the spiritual practice and deep meditation. However, She has no face to look upon and no real name to be addressed by. She was there at the beginning, before time itself, and Sophian Déanists believe that all will eventually be drawn back into Her.
The Celestial Mother comes forth from the Dark Mother. While She acts as a Creator, drawing all energy from the Dark Mother into Herself and giving birth to it anew, Her true role is the Genetrix, for it is She that gives the Dark Mother’s essence a living form. The Celestial Mother in Déanism is often compared to the Sun, in how She can be seen to us, but also too bright to fully look upon from our perspective. We see glimpses of Her, but She does not have One True Face to be seen, for She dazzles all of us differently. While She may have come after the Dark Mother, She is just as important, for without Her the Dark Mother’s foundation would have never been built upon.
The Holy Daughter is often symbolised by the Moon in Madrian scripture, to contrast Her Mother’s symbolism as the Sun. While the Mother’s radiance is too bright to look upon for long, the Daughter acts as a mirror to reflect that light in a gentle but dimmed form for us to experience. The Daughter acts as the Mediatrix between the Celestial Mother and Maidkind. In the Clear Recital, Our Lady achieves this by a great sacrifice which allows Her soul to become the bridge that connects us back to the Mother, conquering the illusion of separation caused by kear. It is the Holy Daughter who allows the Mother to function in a panentheistic state – in that She exists outside and beyond our world but is also present here with us, even within our very souls. For the Mother and Daughter are, in truth, two halves of one whole which came forth from the Dark Mother; Grandmother Time or She-Who-Has-No-Name.
In showing comparison to the Triple Goddess archetype of Neopaganism, as well as the Trimutri of Hinduism, we see examples of how the ‘Goddess Trinity’ has been understood throughout history. The Christian Trinity of Creator, Saviour and Sanctifier also holds similarities to the Sophian Trinity; however the roles of the ‘Holy Spirit’ would most likely be shared between the Mother and Daughter.
In Gnostic theology, Sophia is also understood to work in a Trinity by many traditions. Her three forms correspond uncannily with the Déanic Trinity. Her Three Personas, according to ‘Gnostic’ scriptures and revealed through Her apparations, are known as Barbelo (the Dark Mother), Maria (the Celestial Mother) and Zoe (the Holy Daughter). In Sophian Filianism, these are the titles and names used to refer to Déa Sophia’s three forms in prayers and rituals, while their roles remain much the same as in Orthodox Filianism.