Thoughts, lessons, and theology from an eclectic witch from a varied background.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Question Time: Is the Dark Queen the same as the Snake?

Miss R. Stephens asked the following question in a community that we're both part of.
As a newbie to Filianism, I may have made a connection that is either totally preposterous and misguided or really super obvious to the rest of the faith that I just haven't caught onto before, and I'd like some input! A few nights ago, I was reading through the Scriptures again, and it struck me that first daughter of the Mother embraced the 'snake' or the darkness that was before things were created, and the outpouring of her energy/creative power gave this darkness a shape, a body 'like hers.' In at least one version of the Scriptures, I know the Snake is written as 'he.' But here I wondered - a body like the daughter's. Wouldn't that mean a female body? And then as I read further along, and went through the story of the Daughter descending into Hell and seeing the Dark Queen, I also thought - what if this is the same snake? In the body that the first daughter gave it? I had previously thought this was the Thea-Beyond-Form, since I've seen her referenced as the Dark Queen. But now I wonder if this is the same? It would make sense. . . . . like I said before though, this is probably either absolutely ridiculous or something really obvious to other believers. So. Give me your thoughts. Did I read this the right way or I am missing something??
Before I give my thoughts upon this, I wanted to share the position of the esteemed Bishop Georgia Cobb, who is head of the Elegant Lady Feminine Seminary, of which I am a member. She writes:

The Snake is not a person (he or it or she).  The snake is a concept.  The concept is "distraction: from Dea and Her Divine Will.  It is the "space" between that which Dea has Created and that which she allows to happen (i.e. the consequence of free thought and free will). Embracing the snake (embracing those things which "distract" ; her from looking to Dea for guidance) does not give the snake ("distraction") a life of it/his/her own.  It is only a weight which drags the soul of the first maid away from Dea.  This weight, takes on the shape of she who embraces it.  But this weight (distraction) does not then become a person like the first maid (nor does it enter into a relationship with her). 

This is not the same story as is told in the Palagians Myth in which the Goddess Eurynome has an intimate relationship with a snake (the north wind) as is impregnated by it/him.

The Dark (Evil) Queen is not the same as the Dark (Mysterious) Mother aka Dea Beyond Form, The Absolute Deity, The Darkness Beyond the Light and the Light Beyond the Darkness). 

The Dark Queen is not the snake. 

The Dark Queen is another concept which represents the power of Evil, that which is furthest away from Dea (Goodness and Light).

The Mythos of the Divine maid is a mystery, not a history lesson.
The question of the relationship of the Snake and the Dark Queen to Dea can be difficult to understand. To examine this more fully, let us take a moment to look at the scriptures in question. The first one we consider is that of the Creation. In chapter two, verses six through nine, it speaks of how the First Daughter of Dea embraced the Snake and that it took on 'shape like hers.'

Now, just as Bishop Cobb noted, the story of the Creation is not an entirely literal story. Much is detailed here that is difficult to see as literal events. In my consideration and meditation upon the elements of the Creation story, I too struggled with the concept of the Snake. I then realized that the Snake is an allegorical figure. The First Daughter and the events surrounding her are also allegorical.

The Snake symbolizes that which is not of Dea. Bishop Cobb describes the Snake as an aspect of the power of Evil. It could also be understood as the essence of self deception. In engaging in self deception we 'embrace' the Snake. One who is completely given over to their self deception has taken the Snake in their arms and cut themselves off from Dea.

Additionally, the Snake can be understood as the illusion of the world. It is the pleasant lies that we tell ourselves about life and how the world operates. By immersing ourselves in these deceptions and giving them our thought energy, we give 'form' to the Snake. It is something like an egregore and the more thought we give it, the more powerful it becomes.

Now, the second set of scripture verses that we consider come in the Mythos of the Daughter. In chapter five, verses twelve through nineteen, the Daughter is confronted by the Dark Queen. Again, we must consider that the story of the Daughter's decent into Hell is not like the story of Jesus of Nazareth. The Daughter and her mythos take place outside of the scope of history. It is like the Creation story, a tale intended to reflect the greater truths by way of symbols that we might understand.

The Daughter's confrontation with the Dark Queen could be rephrased as the Divine's confrontation with that which opposes it. Within the Filianic understanding of the universe, the Divine confronts that which opposes it for the sake of all that is. In confronting opposition, the Divine suffers as that which exists does. Then, by way of Grace and Love, the Divine is restored to wholeness, and in the process restores all of existence to wholeness.

The Gospel of Our Mother God speaks of a term 'khear'. Khear is not only the Snake within the context of the Creation story. Khear is the Dark Queen and her daughters. Khear is akin to the concept of sin. It speaks of the abyss that divides all of existence from Dea. That abyss is understood to have opened up between existence and Dea when the first essence of existence turned from Her and embraced the Snake.

The mythos of the Daughter speaks of how that abyss is bridged by the Daughter's death and resurrection. Additionally, we are cautioned within the Gospel to be vigilant and mindful of how we tend to turn away from the Truth. We are called upon to repent and correct our ways. We are also called upon to reach out to the Daughter for aid, because while we are frail and fallible, Dea herself might bring us into her arms.

There are elements of the Gospel that I interpret differently from Bishop Cobb. Like her, I agree that the Snake and the Dark Queen are separate emanations of the antithesis of Dea. I, however, do not see them as beings of pure evil. I see them as beings of pure illusion. If we can resist the temptations of the lies about reality, then we might learn to see truly.

Evil is not an intelligent thing. It is a trait. Can the Dark Queen and the Snake be perceived as evil? Yes. That is possible.

I can not separate reality from Dea. She is present in all things. As such, the Snake and the Dark Queen are some how bound to Her. I understand the Snake and the Dark Queen to be illusions. I understand evil to be the actions of humanity. Once we master illusion and see things for what they are, we see that there is only Dea.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Iconography of the Goddess.

In my earlier post, you may have noticed that I have an image of St. Anne and the Blessed Virgin Mary. What you may have figured out is that I am using this iconography to represent the Mother and the Daughter of Filianic faith. Borrowing images from established traditions is a frequent thing in the representations of the Goddess. It happens in almost every tradition or faith within the western world that involves a goddess figure.

In some cases, this is a symbolic reclamation of earlier iconography that has been carried forward through the traditions of other faiths. This is most frequently the case with Catholic Christian imagery. In other cases, the imagery of other faiths are recast with different meanings. An excellent example of this can be found in the use of various Catholic Christian devotional images within Voudon. (This is not with out precedent, for the early Catholic Church quite famously took Isis statues where she is nursing Horace and recast them as Marian images.)

While there are parties at work on building a modern vision of the Goddess in her many manifestations, I would kindly ask for others to view our borrowing of their iconography as a way of honoring them. We uphold these images so highly that we understand them to represent the fundamental truth of our deities. We treat them with respect and have as much love for them as you, though it may be for different reasons and seem rather odd to you.

Pagan Advent.

The advent season is upon us. For the Christian community, advent is a time of preparation and anticipation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus Christ. Within the pagan community, a similar time of preparation is observed, but this is in preparation for the celebration of the winter solstice.

Within the Filianic faith, the advent season is a time of preparation and anticipation of the birth of the Daughter. It is, what some would call, a pagan advent. The Filianic calendar begins their advent season on the first of the month Astrea (Nov. 28th according to the Julian calendar). On this day, many of the Filianic faith will begin their decorating and preparing their homes for Nativity. On the eleventh day of Astrea (Dec. 8th), is the feast of the Conception of the Daughter.

I celebrate the Filianic advent season as a time to honor the Lady. As such, the Mother and the Daughter are equally honored in my home this time of year. I am in the midst of also preparing something special for Yule.  For, I am not only eagerly awaiting the birth of the Daughter, I also am preparing and awaiting the rebirth of the Sun child.

Image from here.

Spell Craft: How to Write your own Spell.

Anyone who has seriously considered spell craft has been faced with the question of writing their own spells or purchasing them from another person. If one chooses to write their own spell, it can be challenging to determine what precisely you will do.

There are two approaches that can be taken in crafting a spell. The first is using what you have on hand. The second is one that requires purchasing components. I tend to fall more along the first methodology. In either approach the same foundational requirements are there.

     1. Purpose/Intent
The question of 'why' you are casting your spell is very important. Before casting any spell, it is good to have a clear idea of what your objective is. For a formal ritual, at the beginning of the ritual, you will state what your intent is. A clear and simple statement of what your goal is serves to front load your mind with your objective at the beginning of your ritual. The simpler your statement of purpose is, the easier it is for you to keep that fixed in your mind as you engage in your spell.

Equally important is to make sure that what you state as your intent is truly what you wish to accomplish. Many people state that their goal is one thing while their true objective is something a bit different. A classic example of this is that they want person B to find 'true love' while they are really seeking for person B to establish a relationship with them. The end result of their attempted love spell is that person B does find 'true love' but it is with some one other then the spell caster. Here, the difference between objective statement and true intent results in a successful spell that does not accomplish the desired result.

At the same time, many spells fail because the cognitive dissonance between the objective statement and the true desired result is so intense that improper focus renders the spell impotent.

     2. Methodology
The method that you choose to cast your spell can vary widely. Some spells are mere incantations and others require a great deal of ritual and many materials to complete them. There are some people who argue that the high ritual content of more 'formal' spells collects a greater amount of psychic energy. This is because they engage a greater percentage of the mind in the enacting of the spell. Using more of your mind allows you to bring a greater degree of focus to the task and create a stronger initial psychic ripple.

This said, it is possible to have very potent and successful spells that are done very, very simply. One of the ways this is accomplished is by way of repetition. Either a gesture or a phrase is repeated to create successive psychic ripples in the universe that have a cumulative effect akin to the strong initial psychic ripple. The more repetition, the more psychic energy you are moving. The stronger your psychic push is with your spell work, the more likelihood you will have success.

In addition to repetition, one can use volume or intense gestures. Thus, saying something quite loudly and accompanying your spell with a dramatic motion that uses large muscle groups helps to add more of that psychic energy into the push you are making with your spell.

In determining what method you wish to use for casting your spell, you will want to consider the following factors:

  1. What tools do you wish to use?
  2. What Elemental or other spiritual beings do you wish to call to for assistance?
  3. What correspondences* are you using?
  4. How quickly do you want your spell to manifest?
Magical tools come in may shapes and sizes. The most popular ones are candles, poppets, and sigils. Looking at these three, you will have different physical items required for each magical tool. Candles are the simplest, requiring merely the candle in question and something with which to light it. Poppets require the doll and something to interact with the doll (most often depicted as being pins). Sigils require paper, pen, and a source of fire to burn them (safely). If you are not using combustion in your sigil magic and you are placing them upon other items, it may necessitate different tools and the item in question.

    Elemental & Spiritual Beings
Some people choose to call upon Elemental beings and spiritual beings (such as angels) for assistance with their magical efforts. This may require the addition of other tools (ranging from candles, to incense, to an entirely separate altar) and additional invocations. 

Correspondences are a system of symbols that serves to identify the representatives of the ideas you are working with. This can range from simple symbols such as a heart for love to powerfully complex ones, such as sigils (which serve a dual purpose of being a ritual tool and part of the symbolic language of magic).

The speed with which your spell will manifest is dependent upon many factors. Some of this is by the method you choose to work your spell. Spells that are done with a short time frame focus (ie long enough for a match to burn down) will generally manifest quicker then spells with a longer time frame focus. I don't entirely understand why, but this seems to be the case. On average, when I am doing candle magic, a birthday candle brings results within 24 hours, a tea light brings results in approximately a week, and a votive candle can be about two weeks. Your mileage may vary.

Another factor to consider is the psychic 'weather' that you are operating in. The moon phase will have an influence on how much and what type of psychic energy is generally available. Waxing phase has energies of increase associated with it. Waning phase has energies of decrease associated with it. Full and New phases can be understood to have a the apex of the phase immediately prior's associated energy and a subtle undercurrent of the following phase's energy. If you put this in terms of the tide, waxing phase is the tide coming in. Full moon is high tide. Waning phase is the tide flowing out. And the New moon is low tide. Sun signs and moon signs will play an influence in your magical efforts, if you choose to incorporate them into your metephysical framework.

Monday, December 2, 2013

New material coming soon!

National Novel Writing Month and some familial chaos took a huge bite out of my time. As such, I was forced to leave this blog languishing. Look for new material tomorrow. I'll be continuing on the themes of my last post and addressing something to the 'advent' season.