I started reading a book a couple of days ago called “The Biblical Headcovering: Scarf of Hidden Power” after a renewed interest in head covering. Granted, I am not a Christian and the Biblical meaning of head covering holds no weight in my religion, but as I had found Islamic interpretations of the head covering to be quite beautiful in terms of glorifying modesty, I was interested in a Christian perspective.
There was some merit I found in this book, such as the statement of the importance of symbols and how they reflect higher principles. This is a very important concept in traditional metaphysics, feminine essentialism, and Filianism. I have not finished the book yet, but unfortunately, what continued to be stated and re-stated over and over again throughout at least the first twenty pages can be summed up with “Men don’t have to wear head coverings because they only have to be obedient to God, women have to wear head coverings because they have to be obedient to men and God, because this is the hierarchy God has established,” along with various other misogynistic statements (oddly enough, the author of the book is a woman).
Maybe feminine submission is fine and dandy for some, but every time I come across literature promoting this ideal, I think back to the conversation between me, my ex, and the quack relationship counselor my ex’s parents made us go visit. “You know, I physically and emotionally abused this girl, brainwashed her, took her away from her family and country, stole her virginity, kept her locked in a small apartment for weeks on end, stayed on the computer playing video games all day, every day rather than go out and get a job, but she isn’t a obedient and submissive to me.” And of course, despite everything my ex had done to me, the relationship counselor starts hassling me about my lack of “womanly obedience”.
The concept of “obedience” is something I struggle with, not only in human-to-human relations, but also in hierarchical religious structures. I realize that the traditional organization of religion is hierarchical. This hierarchical structure continues to be reflected most strongly in Catholicism to this day, and the Filianic groups I have come across adopt a hierarchy as well, with their own ordained clergy and laity (though on a much smaller scale than Catholicism). On the Filianic view, I believe that Rev. Pamela Lanides from the group “The Elegant Lady Feminine Seminary” touches upon the subject quite nicely with:
“According to my understanding, spiritual hierarchy (specifically meaning clergy) simply means that those in the hierarchy must serve the people. That’s it… really, that’s all there is to it. The spiritual hierarchy exists to serve the people. Not to rule over them. Not to treat adults like children. Not to make the people become emotionally dependent upon them. Not to make the people become spiritually dependent upon them. Not to brainwash them into thinking that the clergy speak for God or that they are closer to God than the rest of the world. Clergy…from no matter what religion; whether it be Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Jewish, a Pagan Tradition, Buddhism, Hinduism, Wiccan, anyone claiming to be a Priestess, Guru or a Spiritual Teacher/Mentor… what have you…all exist to serve the people through God and for God, period.
The only authority I have from God as a priest is to serve the liturgy, serve the sacraments and serve the spiritual needs of the people. I do not have authority to tell people how to conduct their personal lives (outside of requested spiritual guidance) or how to run their families. I do not have the authority to tell people how to think, dress, what to eat, when to fast or to tell them what they can and cannot do in their intimate lives. I do not have the authority to tell people that I am infallible because God/Dea is acting or teaching through me, nor do I have the authority to tell people that only I have the truth.
Those of the hierarchy are servants. The higher up in the hierarchy, the greater the service.”
It is an ongoing personal struggle of mine to balance living in a traditional manner, which is not marred by the skepticism of this contemporary era, with my knowledge of the dark character of the Age of Iron. In this day and age, in the dark times of the Iron Age, many false prophets and religious leaders have emerged, leading the devoted astray. Can we always trust the judgment of religious leaders? I say no. In spiritual matters, we can surely learn from others and even change our ways if we find that others have a better way. We can respect religious authorities for their dedication to their religion and their knowledge, but in the late of Age of Iron, I believe it is important to take everything with a grain of salt. Perhaps in previous eras this was not necessary, as the shining light of Dea was clearer in those days.
As my regular readers know, I am an independent Filyani with ties to various Filianic groups. I read the articles from Filianic websites and ask questions to those who have been involved with the Filianic faith for a much longer time and to a much greater extent than I am. I do not know everything (in fact, I am terribly ignorant on a variety of topics), and sometimes my own soul-searching and research does not clarify my view on an issue. In times like this, I feel it is necessary to ask of others “How do you feel about this subject?” At the same time, while holding true to the fundamental beliefs and core of Filianism, I have my own views that conflict with bits and pieces of the mainstream Filianic thought.
I think the only form of obedience I feel entirely comfortable with is obedience to Dea. Obedience to Dea is obedience to the True Self and to the True Way.