Friday, 11 August 2017

Shaiva or Shakta - 'Same Difference'?



God is Self and Self is God And God is a Person like myself

The other night - or rather in the wee hours before waking - I had a conversation on the astral plane with someone from my past who taught me Neoplatonism, as well as pointed out the parallels between [Western] Neoplatonism and [Eastern/Hindu] Shaivism. It felt like that night/early morning we picked up a dispute we had three years ago, which I feel I wasn't able at the time to complete; because at the time (three years ago) I did (obviously) not have all the facts about Neoplatonism and Shaivism (the latter I studied parallel to my year of Neoplatonic studies). Linda Johnsen - an esteemed writer about Hinduism in general and Shaktism in particular; being a spiritual adept and initiate of the advaita tantra Shakta Tradition - points out in her superb beginners book on Hinduism ('The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism), that Shaivites say that Shiva in his highest form includes Shakti, whereas Shaktas say that Shakti includes Shiva; and calls it a 'same difference' situation. Of course in her wonderful book ('The Living Goddess - Reclaiming the Tradition of the Mother of the Universe') - which is one of my 'staple' and 'frequently referenced' books - Linda Johnsen explains how for Shaktas there is a level above the level of Shiva-Shakti, respectively that this level is Adi Shakti - Shri Lalita Tripura Sundari, as She is called in Linda Johnsen's Tradition of Shri Vidya - who births from within Herself the ultimate reality, which is Shiva & Shakti, and which is inherent in Her. In Tantric Shaktism the above level I mentioned is called the 37th Tattva. Where Shaivism knows Tattva 36 & 35 to be Shiva and Shakti respectively, it is only in Shakta (Deanic/Panthea & Feri Craft Traditions) that we know even the highest reality - Divinity itself - the Ground of all Being - does not come from Nothing, but rather has its Consciousness-Being-Bliss (Satchidananda) in Shakti Devi Herself.* 
Coming back to my nightly astral plane conversation: I'm very good at playing 'Devil's advocate', respectively at really putting myself into a given perspective, in order to truly understand. Therefore, when I woke up, having just had engulfed myself in the Neoplatonic/Shaivite understanding of the One/Para Shiva as Absolute and Highest (which in a sense it is; but not in the sense that nothing exists beyond/prior to it - although of course we cannot speak here in terms of time and space, that coming a "lot" "later"); I asked myself if the Shaiva/Shakta perspective really is a "same difference"; whether I merely choose to fall on the Shakta side of perspective; and whether I would ever "switch" back to Shaivism/the Shaiva perspective. 
I recalled to myself that I have exercised many times the point of logic that even the highest 'ultimate reality' comes from somewhere, and that this "somewhere" birthing forth the ultimate reality can only be Mother; since the Father always needs the mother-aspect inherent, which keeps us always in the realms of dvaita/duality (even if it is a 'classified duality') - even Parashiva needs his Shakti to "do the job" for him, as does The One/Good/God in Neoplatonism need the inherent Ananke (Necessity); in order to leave dvaita/duality and reach advaita/non-duality we only do so at the level of the 37th Tattva - Adi Parashakti. It is from Her that all forms of duality (classified and distinct) proceeds - that The Great Game (lila) of Shakti, is 'like a game of chess with the Divine Twins at play while Mother makes the rules" [quote Cora Anderson].  
As much as I am Shakta/Deanic Witch out of devotion to my Lady the Divine Mother; and I choose to be a Shakta both for intellectual and devotional reasons; it is ultimately Divine Knowledge (Shaktividya) - reflected in the lunary realm of reason and logic - which confirms me in that.
As I was contemplating on all of this at that day on my walk to work, it suddenly hit me: I.e. a great saying by Victor Anderson, grandmaster of the Feri Tradition/Vicia, which puts all of this in one simple elegant sentence. (Victor Anderson was amongst many things a great poet - poetry being called white magic in the Feri Tradition.)
God is Self and Self is God - and God is a Person like myself.
Some people - including Shaivites and Neoplatonists - are happy to go no further than the 35&36th Tattvas - which means that the Absolute will either be an incomprehensible Neuter, which incorporates an "active ingredient", and/or be He/Father who creates via an incorporated "mother-component". In both Shaivism and Neoplatonism the Supreme exceeds both the universe (brahmanda/Encosmic One) and is the ground of being (brahman/Hypercosmic One) from which the universe forms - yet the Supreme remains more or less impersonal, (even in the case where the One/Shiva is a quasi 'He').
For me as advaita (non-dual) Shakta (Goddess devotee) - being both jnani (following the Path of Knowledge) and bhakta (following the Path of Devotion) - the Absolute Supreme as impersonal Neuter-He does not make sense, nor does it appeal to me, nor does it sing with my intuition.
God Herself - Dea - Shakti Devi is not some abstract concept; She is Person - transpersonal, i.e. personal in a way which exceeds our human understanding as long as we are not mukti (Self-realised).

~

For many people who have the concept ingrained that the Absolute is Male, and that the Male contains also the Female, and that the Female emanates out of the Male - respectively that the Absolute is Neuter and either contains both Female and Male, and/or that Female and Male emanate form the neuter original - it can be, at least at first, very difficult to understand the above presented. In many cases such a person is not even willing to open to an attempt of understanding, as this would challenge their long-standing former understanding. Often the Mind rather clings on to the secure darkness of ignorance than opens up to challenging (and even [perceivedly] threatening) enlightening of Jnana (Gnosis).
However, to the open mind the above concept - as Truth (satya) in general/principle - is actually very simple. (Which is something that Cora Anderson is said to have repeatedly re-iterated.)

My former Advaita Vedanta & Shakta teacher once provided me with a good mathematical analogy: He pointed out that the Vedic rishis were the first to promulgate the concept of Zero.
In answer to the question how Shakti can be Brahman (Divinity/Being), and Parabrahman (lit. 'beyond brahman) being the Mother of Brahman, and "half" of Brahman as the duality of Shakti&Shiva/Prakriti&Purusha etc. at the same time; he said that if one divides the Whole, individual parts/aspects still remain the whole. As such - in said mathematical analogy - one can say Adi Para Shakti is 0; Shakti-Brahman is 1; Shakti-Prakriti is 1.1 and Shakti-Purusha is 1.2.

[Nota bene: interestingly Feri initiate T. Thorn Coyle, in her excellent book 'Kissing the Limitless', points out how God Herself is the great Zero - the Centre and Circumference of all that is - rather than being [merely] 'The One'; pointing out that the concept of the One does not quite apply to the Absolute and if taken for the Absolute leads to potential problems.
Here I think lies the the point of difference between originally Greek, male-centred Pythagoreanism/Neoplatonism (which went on to influence all of the other male-centred religions) on the one hand, and the pre-dating female-centred Goddess religions of all cultures on the other hand.] 

--
*In a strange but interesting twist, in order to preserve a coherency of theology, Shaiva Siddhanta theology reverses Satchidananda (Consciousness, Being & Bliss, which is the Ground of all Being) to be Shakti (even "Adi" Shakti, as they, of course, deny any higher form of Shakti). While this is in itself ingenious, it is totally inconsistent with common Hindu thought.


If you are interested in more, have questions, or are interested in Pantheacraft (or any of her Root Traditions), you are invited to write to me at the provided email. 

Friday, 4 August 2017

Those Traditions which uphold Dea/Devi as Sole Supreme and Absolute


Recently there has been a discussion on the Janite Deanic email-list about non-Deanic Traditions which incorporate a concept of a form of the Divine Mother, respectively a form/forms of feminine divinity; and how it happens that sometimes followers of Dea/Deanics switch to such a -more mainstream religious- Path. Of course it is the prerogative of any person to choose freely any religious Tradition or none to follow - at least that is how it should be. Also, learning about religious traditions and making comparison is super interesting (I know what I'm talking about!). Having said that, I feel I should point out something which is important to remember: In our current time of being, there are only [literally] precious few religious Paths which uphold the Core Truth of Dea/Devi (The Goddess) as Sole Supreme and Absolute. I'm not saying "sole Absolute" as this would be a contradiction in terms; however, this oxymoron is exactly what is attempted by some of these Traditions in question which include a form of Feminine Divine. And this is exactly the crux of the matter: As Deanics (I include Shaktas here) we need to be aware that comparing Deanic Traditions with non-Deanic Traditions that have a form of the Divine Mother, is comparing apples to bananas. There are only 3 Religious Traditions, I'm aware of, which understand and acknowledge Dea/Devi as Supreme and Absolute - i.e. [Hindu] Shaktism, [Western] Deanism/Filianism, and [Pagan] Feri Witchcraft/Vicia. Of these, only two - Shaktism and Feri/Vicia - incorporate a concept of Male Divinity also.
Only in Shaktism and Feri Witchcraft is the Male to be understood to derive from Dea/Devi/Shakti/The Goddess - being Her Child and an actual manifestation/form of God Herself.
Please compare my pages on this matter:
~
If one were to leave Deanism for a non-Deanic Tradition, she needs to be aware that she would either have to abandon the understanding of Dea as Supreme and Absolute, or have this concept constantly challenged. This is what happened to me when I tried to fit in with Wicca after coming to the UK in 2006. I had been a "free-flying" Dianic Witch who could never find community. I did find community at the time within Wicca, which was lovely; and yet, the duotheistic concept did mess with my head - especially as at the time I had not arrived at the thealogy of Shaktam/Deanism/Feminine Essentialism.
The fact is that those traditions which have a 'Father God' and a 'Mother Goddess', operate on either of the three following systems a) there is a neutral -impersonal- Divinity which takes on the form of both Male and Female; or there is a dual-gendered Divinity and focus can be put on either the Male or Female attributes, b) there are "two Absolutes" - one Male, one Female - co-existing (obviously, there are religions which are not too concerned with Logic), c) the Female manifests out of the Male, with the Male being transcendent and the Female being (solely) immanent. The latter is the great corruption by the patriarchal religions, Semitic, Hellenic and Hindu.
~
Conversely, both Shaktism and Feri/Vicia - as well as Pantheacraft (which has Shaktism and Feri/Vicia, together with Filianism/Feminine Essentialism as her Three Roots) - allows a focus on a male god and a female goddess ... This is one core principle of Pantheacraft, i.e. to be accommodating, inclusive and to pick every one up at where they are. Having said that, it needs to be understood that this integrated Male/Female concept, is not at the level of the Absolute - that being Dea/Devi/The Goddess alone; but is the very Being of Dea Devi Herself. This 'Being of Shakti Devi' is God/Brahman/Shiva, who at this point is God Herself and thus female, albeit containing all potentialities. From Brahman/Shiva comes 'Man' (the more fitting Filianic terms are 'First Daughter' or 'Maid'). "Man" (or better Maid) is female (xx) at this highest level but becomes male (xy) with the outward direction of manifestation into and within creation. Of course at the level of consolidation as human souls [on earth]  - incarnated or not, we are all both "male" and "female". This is because all beings in the lunary and sublunary/terrestrial realms are a composite of Form&Matter, Essence&Substance and Quality&Quantity; and are thus a composite of Female&Male.
At the point of manifestation of creation the Holy Mother flows through The Divine Twins.

If you are interested in more, have questions, or are interested in Pantheacraft (or any of her Root Traditions), you are invited to write to me at the provided email.    

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

The Golden Festival of Regeneration



Yesterday was the Feast Day of Cerealia, Chelanya, the first of the three Harvest festivals (called 'Mysteries of Life Festivals' in the Filianic religion). It is the 'Golden Festival' and the 'Festival of Regeneration'. For a deeper understanding I recommend these articles by the Chapel of Our Mother God:
'Chelanya - The Golden Festival'
'Filianic Scriptures - The Golden Time'



The Golden Festival, while not being a 'High Feast Day', is nevertheless of paramount importance, in that it relates to the Mystery Religion of God the Mother & God the Daughter of the Elefsinian Mysteries, which the contemporary Female Mystery Tradition and religion of Filianism is based on to a fundamental extent.
See the article by the Chapel of Our Mother God:
'Greek Goddess Demeter - A Journey to the Depths of the Mother-Religion'

In terms of Germanic religious culture, this is a time to honour Dea in her form as goddess Sif - the Germanic 'Grain goddess', who symbolises the Heavenly Gold of the Solar-Mother (Sun Goddess) on Earth in the form of precious grain.


My family and I celebrated a day early, with a day-trip to London. Incidentally, all day long we had the most amazing golden sun-shine - even sitting in the train on our way back, witnessing a beautiful drawn-out golden sun-set. Arriving back at our home-town we were surprised to see everything wet, and learned that there had been torrential rain-fall throughout the day!

On a personal level, London had her usual inspiring influence on me ... Throughout the day I came across signs and messages, as well as information and intuitive insights - especially regarding a new direction and expansion for Pantheacraft ...

I feel truly blessed by this First Harvest of the Divine Gold, which is a synonym for Wisdom/Divine Knowledge.

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Definition of Terms


Lately there has been quite a bit of confusion, anxiety and anger happening in the Deanic-Filianic community, based on the question who can be Deanic or Filianic - and who the Filianic scriptures are for, respectively who may use them. This upset has been voiced publicly online on some blogs, as well as privately via email. I have found myself surprised at all of this, uneasy at the responses, and disconcerted by how the situation has developed. Some individuals have even declared to not be Deanic because of this.

Personally, I will not get involved in contentious discussions; however, because I have been made aware of this upset, I have been pushed to re-examine my own understanding*; and will offer here a brief and concise 'definition of terms', in the hope that this will help those who are genuinely interested to understand particulars of the religion.

Deanism/Deanic - Deanism is not a religion. At least not a single religion. It is an umbrella definition for any and all religions and traditions which understand and declare Dea/Shakti/Devi/"Goddess" as Absolute - One without another. This is the fundamental premise to be Deanic. It does not matter, which Deanic religion is followed - or if any at all.
-
In comparison to male religion, Deanism/Deanic would equate to Abrahamism/Abrahamic, respectively to a understanding of God as 'He'; whether that be in a context of any particular religion - Abrahamic, Hindu (yes, there are male Hindu religions, which actually form the majority within Hindu religions), or other - or not.
 ~~~
Finianism (Trinitarian Deanism)/Filianic - Filianism is a modern/contemporary form of the Ancient Mystery Tradition of Mother God (Demeter) and The Holy Daughter who is The Saviour (Kore/Persephone).
It is a specific religion - as is Hindu Shaktism - which falls under the umbrella of Deanism.
Filianism is a Female Mystery Tradition.
-
One might compare - to male religion - what is Filianism to Deanism, is Christianity to Abrahamism. (Christianity also being the only Mystery Tradition - at least that is the original idea - within the Abrahamic context.)
~~~
The Janite Tradition, as example of a Filianic Tradition -
This is a specific tradition (one might use the term Church, when comparing to Christian traditions), of the Filianic religion. As Filianism is a very small religion - in terms of followers - there are not many distinct traditions/Churches at present. As far as I'm aware, at this time, there are only the Janite Tradition (headed by ArchMadria Candra Sophia) and the Lucienne Tradition (headed by ArchMatrona Ghrian).
-
One might compare - to male religion - what the Janite Tradition is in relation to Filianism, is what Roman Catholicism is in relation to Christianity.
-
[Nota bene: While Pantheacraft is Deanic at her core and also includes the concept of the Divine Mother & Holy Daughter Mystery Tradition, my tradition is not an exclusively filianic tradition; which is why I am not including Pantheacraft here.]

Looking back at the beginning of formation of the Filianic religion in its contemporary form, one could say that there was the original Madrian Tradition, which branched off into distinct groups/congregations - of which the Aristasians were one such group, which developed and later presented - most notably with the website A Chapel of Our Mother God - the Filianic religion.
The Janite Tradition is based on the Madrian Tradition; whereas Chelouranya/The Daughters of Shining Harmony - as well as the Chapel of Our Mother God - seem to derive from the Aristasian.
~~~
The Janite Order of Priestesses and Sisterhood -
The Janite Order of Priestesses and Sisterhood (JOP) is open to adult women who identify as Deanic. It is also a Deanic ordination order, meaning women interested in priestesshood may become ordained as priestesses of Dea in due time. Priestesses may either be of the Janite Tradition, of another Deanic Tradition, or be independent Deanic priestesses.
-
This model of the JOP is really quite unique and as far as I can tell has no direct comparison in non-Deanic traditions/religions (but please do correct me if I am wrong about that).
~~~
Other Filianic groups and congregations -
The Chapel mentions online and on-the-ground Filianic congregations; and there is also the sub-culture group of the Daughters of Shining Harmony (Chelouranya) who are based on the Filianic religion. Chelouranya and the mentioned Filianic congregations are female-only groups.
-
These groups are comparable to the worship groups/church congregation of branches of other religions.

To answer, to whom all this may apply:

Anyone can be Deanic - if they accept the essential definition; which is presented by the Chapel of Our Mother God as follows:
The Faith of Our Mother God consists in the acceptance of our Mother-Creatrix as the one Supreme Being, the Source and Origin of all that is, the One without a second, upon whom the existence of anything whatever is absolutely dependent. To know this and to love Her—or even to wish to love Her—is the whole of our religion in its essence.

Anyone can be Filianic - if they understand and respect that this is a Female Mystery Tradition, which is not only Deanic and Female-centred, but also exclusively women-led.

Anyone can be Janite - if they identify as Filianic-Deanic exclusively and follow the traditions tenets, which includes customs and modes of worship.

Adult women who are Deanic may be members of the Janite Order of Priestesses and Sisterhood.

Lastly, - and that really should go without saying -
every being in this world, every being in any world - be that in this universe or any other - is a child of Dea, regardless of any characteristic whatsoever.

*Please note that my definitions of 'Deanic' and 'Filianic' differ, from that of the Madrian/Janite and Aristasian/Chelouranyan (CMG) traditions, in respect to exclusivity.
In Pantheacraft we acknowledge any individual (woman or man) and any tradition as Deanic to whom the essential definition - understanding Dea as Supreme and Absolute - applies; by 'Filianic' we understand a focus on / inclusion of the Female Mystery Tradition of the Divine Mother (Dea Mater/Demeter) & the Holy Daughter (Maid/Kore, Persephone).
I understand and respect - albeit do not share - the position of the Madrian/Janite and Aristasian(CMG)/Chelouranyan traditions which see inclusion of any male principle, female-male principle, and/or male deities/cosmic beings as incompatible not only with Filianism but also with the broader Deanism.
~
Further, Pantheacraft welcomes [adult] followers and students of any gender and none - character, ethics and knowledge being the decisive criteria.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Rosalia/Rosa Mundi Shrine Photo



From the evening of Rosalia (Stelladi 9 Rosa). I didn't have the time to hold Liturgy on the day - (I served Liturgy on Foradi of the succeeding Trinity Days) - but I did offer that evening, upon coming home from work, one single perfect rose, and a new pure beeswax-candle.
O Dea, Fiery Rose of Heaven!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The Light shines in the Darkness



In the light of all the recent happenings - in the light of what has been going on in the world for way too long:
With all the sadness and fear - of which there is so much in the world, and which claws at me all the time (and I believe does at many of you who are reading this too) - I feel it is of paramount importance that we keep at our work as torchbearers for the Light, Love, and Life of Dea!





(Irrespective of what our particular Soul Path may be and how we name the Divine or practice our devotion.)

As to the particular way of feminine spirituality as expressed [though not exclusively] in Deanic tradition:
It has been said before, but cannot be repeated often enough: to uphold and talk about things of Beauty, Truth, Love and Light - no matter how "superficial" it is deemed by the mainstream society - is neither superfluous, nor is it "selfish". It truly is absolutely essential that we maintain areas - even little spots - of light in the surrounding darkness.


And in all this, when what happens on our planet, and in our human society on earth, becomes so all-overpowering; let us not forget, that this all is not the Ultimate Reality - it is an imperfect reflection within the realm of flux and change - at the coarsest most consolidated level ...


I have often wondered what I am doing here, feeling so very estranged from most of my surrounding; or what a pure soul like my child is doing here ... what lovely, innocent, pure souls, who have somehow managed to remain uncorrupted, are doing here ... and I can only think that the answer truly is to be torchbearers of the Mother's Light into a world that is spiralling further and further into Darkness.




Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Floralia




Flowers delight the devas*. The devas reside in flowers ... The supreme light manifests itself in flowers and is delighted by flowers.
- quotation from the Kalika Purana

In two days is the 'little festival'** of Flowers. ('Florimaia'/'Floralia') While being a 'little' festival, it has a wonderful meaning, which I adore. In all traditional cultures and religious traditions flowers are of important spiritual implications. 
Personally, I love this time of the year! While I am prone to say this about every season ;) it is this time of the year - at least where I live - that stands or for three of my favourite things: flowers, lush foliage, and birds. 


Everywhere are the beautiful Enlish flowers - especially Roses, a precursor to Rosalia. While Rosalia (celebrated at the Summer Solstice) is indeed the height of Summer and the natural year - (remember, the natural world, as per Traditional Essentialist view, is always a reflection of higher spiritual levels) - it feels that Floralia is really the height of 'Life' - the height of Spring. Since I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I prefer the light half of the year, (from the Spring Equinox to the Autumn Equinox), in terms of well-being/well-feeling and productiveness. Of course, there is the Return of Light at Lucidi (a noticeable increase in daily natural light), and of course Eastre, when the light half of the natural year starts. Yet, even at Eastre, it is often still cold, rainy and uncomfortable (again, where I live). And then wonderful wonderful Rosalia - the time of the Mother's Solar Light, commencing the Mother half of the year in Filianic Tradition. Yet, it means knowing that from this point on, the light will ever so slightly and soon all too noticeable decrease. And this is why - amongst many more reasons - I adore the time of Floralia.


Naturally, part of the tradition for Floralia, as well as a custom within my family, is to indulge in even more flowers than usual. (Lately I have taken to the premise that 'fresh flowers are a necessity'.) Another custom we practice as family for Floralia is to craft simple tissue-paper-flowers, made from colourful crepe-tissue. We create a stash for the year, which I use to adorn statues and my sacrarium, and even use for offerings. Since they wear out after a while (they cease being 'crisp' and just look a bit worn), it is good to make fresh ones at least once a year.

There is so much more to say about the deeper meaning of flowers ... especially also in Hindu tradition. However, I believe it is not even necessary to describe this from a scholarly point of view, it is something which is inherent in our nature, that we understand the 'language of flowers'.
So, at this time - for Floralia - 'say it with flowrs' (as a German saying goes); and delight in the heavenly beauty of the flowers. (Note the 'light' in 'delighted' ... )



___
* 'devas' is often translated as 'gods'; however more accurate, (although there's not much in terms of accuracy when translating sanscrit terms in English), would be 'angels', or the Greek 'daimon' (equally misunderstood in modern English context; and -not- to be confused with the similar sounding 'demon')
nota bene: Abrahamic culture reversed the ancient terms for 'angels' = devas, suras, and 'demons' = 'asuras' (non-suras).
** I prefer the term 'little' in this context to 'minor' - as little sounds softer, cuter, whereas 'minor' sounds somewhat disparaging.
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source for all images: google images