As Filianism gains the attention of people outside the Filianic community, I would like to address some myths and misconceptions about Our Faith that I have seen propagated as truth on the World Wide Web. Below I have included five of the most popular misconceptions I have seen circulating around about Filianism and what we believe:
Misconception #1: Filianism is an Aristasian religion.
Truth: Filianism is a religion for everyone. I am not an Aristasian, and am indeed quite critical of Aristasia. While the Aristasians have done a wonderful job in creating the Chapel of Our Mother God for all the world to discover the beauty of Our Faith (and I frequently cite this website in my work not to promote Aristasian Filianism but to give credit where credit is due. I do not agree with everything that is stated on the Chapel of Our Mother God or even on the pages I cite in my articles, but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel), they do not “own” Filianism. No one “owns” Filianism. Even the Aristasians themselves do not say that Filianism is only for Aristasians, as the following passage taken from the Chapel of Our Mother God demonstrates:
Q. Déanic religion has a history of being closely involved with Aristasia and its all-female subculture. Is that correct?
A. Not all Déanists have been Aristasians, but Déanic religion obviously appeals to Aristasians, who choose to create an all-feminine culture here on earth. Many of them are deeply spiritual and devotional, and naturally they need a feminine spirituality that allows them to worship, not only in an all-female congregation, but with a purely feminine Deity and Angelology. This need is by no means exclusive to Aristasians and there are other women who need this kind of feminine spirituality.
The views expressed by Aristasians do not speak for Filianism as a whole, just as my views do not speak for Aristasia.
Truth: This reputation comes from the public perception of many modern Goddess worship religions, as well as the practices of the Madrians and Aristasians. Filianism promotes love in all forms. We do not view female-female love as superior to love between men and women. Likewise, we do not discriminate against homosexual love. Everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is invited to worship God Our Mother.
Truth: Filianism is not one of those modern parody religions you see at times masquerading around (i.e. Pastafarianism, Landover Baptist Church, etc.) This somewhat goes hand-in-hand with the misconception that Filianism and Aristasia are intertwined (I still am confused whether Aristasians really believe they are an intermorphic, all-female species or if Aristasia is simply an elaborate role play.) We are a real religion with a small but growing community.
Truth: I can understand how this misconception came into being, but it is nonetheless a misconception. Especially in the Pagan community, feminine monotheism has come under fire in recent years as being as oppressive as patriarchal monotheism. I myself acknowledge the divine nature of masculinity; I simply don’t feel inclined to include the Divine Father in my worship at this time in my life. This issue was addressed in a previous article of mine titled “Why I Only Worship God the Mother”. The following passage taken from this article revisits my personal reasons for including only the Divine Feminine in my worship:
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.
It must be noted that several Filyanis, especially in the House of Kyria group which I belong to, worship God the Father alongside God the Mother. Filyanis come from a variety of religious backgrounds: Judaism, Catholicism, Paganism, Islam. Several people in the Filianic community are simply looking for a way to honour the Divine Mother in their religious tradition by incorporating Filianic beliefs into their pre-existing theology. That is perfectly acceptable. I myself, as well as many Filyanis, are perennialists. By this I mean that we believe that every religion is ultimatley a path to the same universal truth.
Filianism is not a women-only movement. I can speak for at least the House of Kyria that men are welcome to join and even become clergy if they so wish. Dea loves all of Her children equally, both men and women.
Truth: Feminism is a hot-button word that means different things to different people. It is true that Filianism has nothing to do with feminism. Filianism is not a religion founded by feminist politics, unlike many other modern Goddess worship movements. I do find peace in the fact that Filianism and much of the existing Filianic literature lends itself to the promotion of femininity over feminism, but this is not to say that one cannot be a feminist and also a Filyani. We simply do not include feminist politics in our religion. I will go more in depth on this topic in a future article, so stay tuned!Any questions about Filianism? Anything I left out that should be addressed? Leave a comment below! I appreciate your feedback!