Sarah Morrigan leader of the Celestial Stream branch of the Independent Filianic movement has recently announced in some of her blog articles and by her information page on her churches website that she has rejected the long term Aristasian now the Daughters of Shining Harmony based animosity to the use of the word “Goddess.” She herself now embraces the word “Goddess” both in her blog and within her churches website. Within Orthodox Filianism the religious vision of the Shining Daughter community the use of the word “Goddess” when referring to the full Deity is not used. This is because much goddess language both historically and today in general has not been used to describe the Divine Source / Creatrix of all being. Within religions of ancient polytheism the word “goddess” instead was generally used to refer to either begotten or created female spiritual beings that ruled over only certain aspects of reality. Very seldom was the word “Goddess” used to point to the One Divine Source, Origin, and Creatress of the universe. In fact the goddesses and gods of the ancient pre-Christian world were in several ways more similar to the angels of the later Monotheistic traditions.
Another criticism made by the Shining Daughters is that the word “Goddess” has as its root the word “God” which they believe implies that Goddess is dependent and derivative of God. Thus the female is derivative of the male. A final objection made in objection to Goddess talk is that in popular culture the word Goddess is used in a multiple of ways to which they object. For example the word “Goddess” in modern society is often connotative of fertility and sexuality. Within this society males in particular tend to think along this line when the word Goddess is heard. The word “Goddess” is also often used in a purely metaphorical / phychological sense to express the inner power and “divinity” of women. Thus women are often exhorted awaken the ” inner goddess” within. In contrast the word “God” is seldom used in the same way in relation to men. How often are men told to realize the “God” within? One reason for this contrast lays in the fact that the word “God” (even if much of modern culture rejects the concept) is still used primarily to refer to the fullness of the Deity. The word has not been trivialized to the same degree as has the word “Goddess.”
The solution to the perceived Goddess problem for the Aristasian community was in general to replace the word “Goddess” with the word “Dea” its Latin equivalent. Within the Filianic scriptures the word “Dea” is often used, thus a precedent existed for this. Another strategy is to simply refer to the ultimate as our Mother God or God the Mother. Of course to many members of the modern Neopagan community the term “God” itself has enviable connotations of maleness and the embrace of the words ” Mother God” as opposed to “Goddess” is seen to be a failure by many as to embrace full female Divinity.
What Sarah Morrigan has suggested is that the Independent Filianic community or at least the Celestial Stream Church that she leads should reject the traditional animosity to goddess language. She is suggesting that while much goddess language has problems, the fact is that many modern women particularly many of those within the modern Pagan movement do embrace the word “Goddess” as meaning the full manifestation of the Deity. Therefore she argues that the Filianic movement should meet women where they are, and embrace the use of Goddess language. I for one relate very well to old Aristasain languge of Dea. I much prefer the use of the word “Dea” or “Thea” to that of “Goddes.” On the other hand I think that Sarah Morrigan is right in what she is trying to do. There is no reason why issues of simple linguistic usage should be allowed to halt a communication between persons within the modern Filianic movement and those within the modern Pagan movement. Others should follow Sarah’s example.