In most modern Pagan circles, the Divine is celebrated as a polarity of masculine and feminine energies, with the exception of some radical feminist groups such as Dianic Wicca (a group I take issue with on a variety of matters that I will address in a future post). Critics claim that replacing a monotheistic male God by a monotheistic female Goddess is merely replacing one evil for another. To many, the idea of only worshiping the Divine Feminine smacks of sexism and cisgenderism.
As many of you know, I am a Filyani. Here I will give my own experience with the Divine Feminine and address the critics with my own personal reasons of worshiping only the Divine Feminine.
I believe this issue on gender balance in representations of the Divine was addressed well on the FAQ on A Chapel of Our Mother God, although in some parts of the website it seems to claim that any vision of the Divine Masculine is a corruption of the original Divine Feminine. I will only quote the passages I agree with as a valid answer to critics of all-feminine pantheons or feminine monotheism:
Q. So of the two human sexes, you believe that the female represents the Divine? Shouldn’t there be a balance?
A. That is an interesting question, and it is always one of the first questions asked when we worship God as Mother. It is not asked of Christians or Moslems “Why isn’t Allah feminine as well as masculine?” So the first answer we will give is this: for some people, for some forms of society, God as Father is necessary and right. For others, God as Mother is necessary and right. For some a balance between the two is needed. But some see God just as Father and others see Her just as Mother.
Q. So it is a matter of temperament, or perhaps more exactly of one’s svadharma: one’s special nature in relation to God? One can see Her as Mother, or Father or as both. But there has to be a place for the Supreme Mother alone as sole Deity.
A. Yes, absolutely. We are not saying that everyone should worship God as Mother. Actually, in this patriarchal age, we are likely always to be a small minority. We respect all orthodox faiths. But we know that for some of us God as Mother – not mother/father, but the pure original worship of God as the Supreme and Absolute Feminine Creatrix – is a heart-need.
I strongly feel that “heart-need” to connect with the Divine Mother. I was born into the Catholic faith, a monotheistic religion with a trinitarian approach to God as Father and Son, along with a gender neutral Holy Spirit. When I first discovered Paganism, I was delighted to find that worship of the Divine Feminine is not a dead practice, but rather a living tradition. I adopted various pantheons of Gods and Goddesses, predominantly from the Hindu tradition. But I always felt as though the Gods were somewhat of an after thought, a necessary but burdensome addition to my spiritual practice. I couldn’t spiritually “connect” with any of the masculine Gods. This spiritual experience was a direct opposite of my mundane life, in which the majority of my friends were male.
For several years, I listened to other Pagans who claimed that “the feminine is not complete without the masculine, and vice versa”, Pagans who saw the Gods and Goddesses more as Jungian symbols and archetypes of the mind than legitimate Deities worthy of worship. The dominant mentality in the Pagan community had rationally trained my mind that both a Divine Feminine and Masculine was necessary, even though in my heart I only felt close to the Feminine. Even when I discovered Filianism for the first time, I felt guilty for feeling an affinity for a faith that celebrated the Divine Feminine while excluding the Divine Masculine from worship. But in matters of spirituality and of the heart, why should we be guided by the intellectual’s claims of what is rational and what is not, rather than the deepest longings of our hearts and souls?
I won’t ridicule those who believe in a monotheistic Divine Masculine, nor will I insult those who insist on a “balanced” God/Goddess view, nor backbite those who insist upon a genderless Deity. Everyone has their own spiritual path and their own vision of who the Divine is and what She/He means to them. My worship of the Divine Feminine is not a political, radical feminist backlash against patriarchy. It is a pure faith, in which I walk hand in hand as a child with my Mother to a place deep in my heart that I call home.