Isis and the current situation

I created this blog in 2008 to be a place in which I could discuss my thoughts regarding issues ofblack-madonna4 religion and spirituality. At that time I saw it as being primarily a place in which two discussions could be initiated by my posts. One of these was to be a discussion of the relationship between the Roman Catholic and Neopagan understandings of the Virgin Mary. Along with this blog I also established a decent sized yahoo e-group in hope of developing a Christian Pagan dialogue on Mary while simultaneously searching out the internet to see if any convergence between Pagans and Catholics on Mary was occurring. The contrary in fact was the reality. Within the post-Vatican II era Roman Catholic Church, Marian devotionalism has been downgraded as being offensive to Protestants and as being biblically unsound. Within liberal Catholic circles Marian devotionalism is increasingly unfashionable because traditional stories of Mary are believed to portray unhealthy and sexually repressive role modals for young Catholic girls.. Within the circles of traditionalist Catholicism Mary was still revered. However it soon became obvious to me that the last thing that people in that cultural milieu wanted was for any association to be seen between Mary and Paganism.Thus it soon became clear that the discussion which I wanted to initiate within this blog would never happen. . As the years have passed and my last flicker of interest in Christianity burned out in 2011 so has much of my interest in Mary.Even though; I still love many of the beautiful icons and statues of Mary and I still see her as the closest thing that Christianity will ever have to a goddess.

209px-Isis_-_ViennaThe other aspiration I had for this blog was for it to be a place in which discussions on development of a religion devoted to Isis could be developed. I had hoped that a religion based on Isis devotionalism centered on the worship and devotion to Isis as the Goddess / God / creatrix of the universe might develop. After all a widespread at least superficial interest in Isis exists throughout much of the culture of Neopaganism. She is mentioned on many websites and many e-groups seem to be dedicated to her. I saw Isis at the time and still see her as essentially a monotheistic Goddess in which all other goddesses and gods are aspects. I saw her as the supreme deity and not just as one aspect of the Great Goddess of modern Neopaganism. This vision of Isis as supreme and universal Goddess for me is inspired by the theological vision of Isis as universal Goddess which for at least five centuries, 300 BCE to about 200 CE, inspired educated followers such as Apuleius and Isidorus within the Graeco-Roman world.

That goal was also doomed to failure for several reasons. First in spite of the fact that a belief in a functionally monotheistic Great Mother / Goddess may exist within modern Paganism, it increasingly seems to me that the real energy in Paganism is focused on its polytheistic features. Most pagans with whom I have had contact over the years seem much more fascinated by the many various particular gods and goddesses of the Pagan pantheons than they are in the Source or Ultimate from which these come.

Two. To the degree that modern Paganism does have an interest in the Great Goddess, she has in general been conceptualized primarily by the modern ideas of the theologians of modern Neopaganism. Thus she is often is connected to Jungian archetypes, the celebration of modern female sexuality or woman’s empowerment concerns which are quite modern in character. She is not tied particularly closely to the conceptions of the universal Goddess which might have been held by an Apuleius, a Plutarch, or an Isidorus. To the extent that moderns are interested in the real ancient Isis they seem to be drawn more to the Kemetic vision of the particular Goddess of the Isis / Osirus / Horus mythos. Within this mythos however Isis is simply one of the several significant goddesses of Ancient Egpyt and hardly the supreme deity of the Graeco-Roman period.

Three. Modern alternative religions such as the New Age Movement and Neopaganism seem to have an aversion to any religion which is focused primarily on the worship, praise and devotion of a single Deity. The ideal of an ongoing obedience or submission to the divine will of a particular Deity no matter how compassionate or just that will is smacks of the monotheisms of the Abrahamic faiths and no doubt is seen as a violation of the freedom of free spirits.

Certainly this suspicion of anything that smacks of monotheism and its many forms of moralism is understandable. All of the Abrahamic faiths to greater and lessor extent though out their histories have embraced systems of oppression in the name of submission to the will of God. They have all impeded legitimate aspects of human freedom.

However the concepts of divine law and obedience to practices that bring one closer to the Divine or which bring greater justice and love into the world is legitimate and to be desired. Concepts of divine law not only exist within the Abrahamic faiths, they also exist within Hinduism, Buddhism and even within faiths such as Taoism. It is a traditional teaching of vital importance. Without the concepts of Divine Law, Dharma, Torah, Ma’at, or the Way human beings are left subject only to their immediate passions, impulses and habits by which to live. Without divine law and strong vital religious traditions the human person is left alone without the knowledge of the body of wisdom which has developed though out the history of human existence.

A corollary to this is the emphasis on magic within neopaganism which seems in general to cause any emphases on the worship or adoration of the Deity to be deemphasised. I have of course run into persons who clearly do have a strong love of Isis or some other goddess or god of one of the ancient pagan religions. However these seem to me to be the exception to the rule. Look at any bookstore under the Pagan / Wicca / New Age sections. How many books will one find on how to do magic? How many in which hymns or psalms to a deity play a part? The answer to these questions in general enables one to see the trend.

Four. A final reason for the failure for a new and vital Isian faith to develop in the modern world seems based on the simple lack of theological resources on which to develop a mature Isian devotional theology. The fact is that there is a paucity of ancient theological literature regarding Isis from the ancient world which can usefully serve that purpose. For example within most of the ancient Kemetic literature Isis plays an important role as the mother of Horus the representative God of the Egyptian monarchy and as the wife of Osirus who would ultimately have the role of the King over the realm of the Dead. She basically played the role of the Queen Mother of the important terrestial Gods. However she did not play the most significant role within Kemetic religion the most important position of which was held by Amen Ra the God of the sun and the Creator. Further more both Osirus and Horus have much greater roles within the most of the sacred literature of ancient Egypt. Examples of this are found within the Pyramid texts and the various Books of the Dead. This literature does not provide much support for a modern religion of Isis

Isis only came into her own during the Graeco-Roman period when she fired the vision of the influx of new Greek worshipers who could see in her character that which was lacking within the mythologies of the goddesses of their own pantheons. They saw characteristics which enabled them to see her as the supreme deity from which the other deities precede. Unfortunately in spite of the fact that writers such as Apuleius, Isidorus, and the writer of the Kyme aretalogy may have provided the seeds of a strong devotional theology of Isis, the amount of literature dedicated to Isis is still quite small. Admittedly while much more literature is committed to Isis than is committed for instance to Hera the Queen of the Olympian gods or to Athena the supreme goddess of Athens, it is still extremely limited. We for example have the beautiful hymns dedicated to Isis by Apuleius, and the three hymns committed to her by Isidorus. We have the Kyme and Maronea aretalogies and the hymns from her temple at Philae. This is the bulk of what we have and no consistent theology exists within this literature. Though it is possible that this literature can be used as the initial core for the development of an Isian theology, this has not happened.

In the early part of 2012 I converted to a religion called Filianism based on the theology articulated on a website called the Chapel of Our Mother God. Perhaps converted is too strong a word to use. I did not convert to all of the aspects of that faith. However from that time on, I came decisively under the sway of that faith and increasingly became strongly committed to my own understanding of that faith. I become a member participant in what I call the Independent Filianic community and developed strong working relationships and friendships with some of its most important actors.

One of the consequence of this is that I developed a another blog initially named the Sodality of Thea now named In the Way to Thea. It has become over time my primary theological blog in which issues of Filianism / De’anism are most frequently discussed.One result of this is I no longer have much time to dedicate to this blog and It is not useful for me to divide my writing efforts between these two blogs. On the other hand I do not want to close this blog down or to simply let it hang in the wind in neglect. It has been too important for me for that.

Therefore I plan to begin to regularly reblog most of my writings from In the Way to Thea here. Hopefully readers of this blog will find those articles to be of interest. I also want to say that I in no way believe that such a use of this blog is contrary to the spirit of its original purpose. Isis is still at the center of my spiritual universe. She to me is Thea / God. The De’anic religion to me is most of what I had hoped for from a mature Isianic theology and religion. I also want to say that at some point in time I may continue to post articles here specifically on an Isian theology. Time will tell.

Re: A Chapel of Our Mother God

Over the past year I have often been intrigued by a website called “A Chapel of Our Mother God” and by the religion which it represents variously called Deanism, the religion of Dea (Dea is Latin for goddess) or Filianism, the religion of the Daughter (Filia in Latin). During the past week I have spend a lot of time trying to develop a post to show the why? of my fascination with this site. However what I have produced so far is excessively long and no doubt gives way more information about the history and ideas of Filianism than most people would want to read. So I am attempting to cut it short and simply will say what I find attractive about the website and the religious faith which it represents.

So the question is why do I believe that the Filianic faith is so significant? I will start by explaining that I do not buy hook, line, and sinker into all the elements of the Filianic faith. There are aspects of Filianism of which I am quite critical. However in spite of this, there is much about the Filianic faith which I deeply admire.

I will start with the fact that in contrast with many modern alternative New Age faiths and a some forms of Neopaganism, Filianism does not stress esoteric forms of knowledge revealed to a chosen few, complicated mysteries, new ideas interwoven with ideas of modern popular phychology or ideas of modern enlightenment. The religion of Mother God instead emphasizes the role of traditional forms of worship, religious devotion, love of God, and simple obedience to her will as the means to approach God the Mother. It emphasizes a bhakti / devotional approach to Dea, who is ultimately very personal. She is not an abstract impersonal force, energy, or cosmic consciousness as she is in so many modern spiritualities. While she may have those aspects she is more importantly personal and loving, and powerful. Personality trumps abstract energy in the Filianic world view.

Another aspect that attracts me to the Filianic faith is the fact that as Pamela Lanides who is one of the founders of “The Hestian Temple” an offshoot of Filianism has stated Filianism allowed her to see the Goddess “as fully God and Divine on her own right.” So often in modern “divine balance” theologies the Mother God / Goddess is inevitably seen as a part of a couple / a collective / a party of two. Thus one feels that one can not worship her fully and completely with out looking over ones shoulder at a disapproving jealous male deity. This is particularly true for some of us who have attempted to combine a goddess spirituality within the Judeo Christian context. This is not the case in Filianism in which one can unabashedly worship the Mother, the Lady with ones full heart, mind, and soul.

Other aspects of Filianism? Well I find the religious writers on the Chapel of the Mother God to be simply interesting and insightful religious thinkers. For example the Filianics have taken great care to create a Filianic calendar which sees the wheel of the year as reflecting the divine drama of the Mother and Daughter and of the soul’s spiritual quest for the Mother God. This does help enable me to find a sacramental meaning for the annual cycle of the time, a meaning that the patriarchal cycle of time of the Christian church does not provide for me. Another aspect of Filianism in which I see great value is in the doctrine of angels or Janyati in Aristasian terms. While Filianism tends to be critical of modern neopaganism, its doctrine of “angelotheism” of the seven “Great Angels / Janyati” helps resolve the thealogical issue of the many vs. the one in a monotheistic context. It integrates a good amount of pagan diversity back into a living faith. Another aspect of the Filianic faith that I admire lays in its willingness to go against against the grain of many of cultural / intellectual tends of secular modernity.

Finally while I do not buy into the totality of the religion of Dea. Even when I read articles on the Chapel of the Mother God with which I disagree, I usually find insights and thoughts expressed there which may in fact contain much truth and are certainly thought provoking,

A last thing. I want to end this by stating that in a world dominated by religions that are patriarchal at least on the symbolic theological level. [Even the most liberal of Christian religious communities visualize God as ultimately masculine] , It is a wonderful thing that a religion exists, even if it is a very small that unabashedly worships the Divine Mother

The link to “A Chapel of Our Mother God” is http://www.mother-god.com/

Glenn