About the middle of last year, with the initial development of the House of Kyria, the initiation of Sarah Amy Morrigan’s Divine Felicity, and the ongoing blogging of such writers as Carmilla DeRosa, the term Independent Filianism was coined to identity this new development of Filianism. This was done in order to distinguish these new Filianic voices which were clearly different in a number of ways from the the voice of the older Filianic community as represented by the Chapel of Our Mother God, operated by members of the Daughters of Shining Harmony community. That older community then began to be referred to as the Orthodox Filianic community by many within the newer movement.
Within the last month. however, the term “Independent Filianism” seems to have become obsolete. The simply fact is that the primary actors of what used to be called the Independent Filianic movement no longer want to be identified as such. For example the new Church of Kyria led by Matrona Pamela Lanides now defines its theology as being “Trinitarian De’anism” and not as “Filianism.” The fact is though that it is hard to distinguish what is the real difference between these two theologies. The real difference between the Kyrian Church and the Orthodox Filianic community is that Matrona Lanides at least two years ago decided to include men within the Filianic community on a status equal to that of women, for which I will ever be grateful. She also decided that members of the community did not have to renounce their ongoing membership in prior longstanding religious communities in order to belong to the Kyrian Community. Neither were they required to give up the belief in a male form of Deity in order to belong to the church. All of this basically constituted a revolution within Filianism without however making deep changes in its basic structure of theology.
Of course the Church of Kyria in spite of the radical nature of the changes it has made (from an Orthodox Filianic point of view) is still focused completely on devotion and service to God the Mother. For what ever interest that its members have in a God as opposed to a Goddess, they will have to go outside of the Church to find that divine balance worship and theology.
Sarah Morrigan the other primary actor in the movement (I will not include Bishop Georgia Cobb in this list because she ceased to identity with Filianism several; years ago ) has announced that she also rejects a Filianic identity for her new Celestial Steam Church in Portland, Oregon. She admits that her church’s theology and its scriptures are Filianic. But because she hopes to synthesize a Filianic theological vision with the more immediate hopes, concerns, and needs of contemporary women who do worship the Goddess, she no longer feels comfortable in describing the identity of her new church as Filianic. Another aspect of her rejection of the identity of Filianism lies clearly in her long term rejection of much of the daily culture the Orthodox Filianic community. See her Open Visioning article Furthermore she clearly has doubts about the very concept of an “authentic” Filianism which she feels that she can not legitimately represent.
Thus the situation paradoxically now exists in while Filianic influenced churches or movements, having clearly inherited the Filianic theological DNA, in most cases no longer wish to be perceived being part of any Filianic movement in spite of the fact that they embrace its overall theology. Certainly that is a choice that they have the right to make. However it does make discussing the Filianic movement difficult if most of the actors reject a Filianic title.
The idea of this article came a few days ago as I was attempting to write about Sarah Morrigan’s recent decision to diverge from the longstanding animosity that the Orthodox Filianic movement has had toward the use of the word “Goddess” within modern Neopagan movement. I decided to compose this article because in the process of writing the other article I kept describing her as being a part of the Independent Filianic movement, a movement to which she and others particularly Matrona Pamela Lanides no longer claim to be a part.
The problem is while its primary actors deny it, an object Independent Filianic movement does exist. Institutions and churches are developing which have a theology which while differing from the theology of the orthodox community is definitely Filianic in nature. This development is parallel to the example of many religions historically. After all the Christian Protestant denominations are clearly separate in religious identity. and theology from the much older Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Yet they are still part of the broader Christian religion. Within Buddhism the Mahayana Buddhists diverge quite radically from the more orthodox Hinayana Buddhists, yet they are still Buddhists. Very few would argue otherwise. I think that the newer Filianic churches are clearly also Filianic in type. What else could they be if their theologies are based primarily on the Filianic scriptures and the theologies which ultimately were developed within the Orthodox Filianic community. The fact that they have decisive disagreements with the interpretation of the faith with the older community does not change that fact.
These new churches of course do have the right to attempt to distance themselves from the label of Filianism for what ever reasons that seem right to them. That is the be respected. However I think that if these new communities do grow those who study the movement in the future will of necessity have to label them at least for purposes of analysis as being a part of the broader Filianic movement. As for my self when I do write about issues of the movement as a whole (which will not be often) I will continue use the term Independent Filianism or Independent Filianic organizations, etc. when referring institutions which are clearly such, at least until a new and better general term is developed by which to describe them.