Dea: Singularity and Multiplicity by Jacqueline

Reblogged from

https://underthevioletmoon.wordpress.com/2016/12/14/dea-singularity-and-multiplicity/

Dea: Singularity and Multiplicity

December 14, 2016

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My recent post on the thealogy behind the Conception of Anna inspired me to look more deeply into the thealogy behind the Déanic/Filianic concept of Dea as Daughter, Mother, and Great Mother.

My home altar to Dea features three large pictures on the wall which represent Mari, Anna, and the Mysteria, respectively. Then, on a shelf beneath those three I have seven small pictures set up, one to represent each of the seven major Janyati. A friend visited my place recently and asked about my altar, so I tried to explain what Déanism was to them. When I mentioned it was monotheistic, they were a bit confused, and said, “But your altar- there’s so many!”

I explained to them about the Janyati being Dea, but I think the intricacies of this question are worth exploring (or at least I find them fascinating), but I confess that in researching this post (after feeling like my brain was being painfully stretched) I determined that there are no logical answers available and that all I can say is that God’s nature is above and beyond human logic.

Both the Filianic and Janite Déanic Creeds affirm that Dea is “One,” and that “She is also Three.” The Deity of the Janyati is well-attested to across Deanism, and is stated explicitly in the Janite Déanic Creed.

Insofar as I understand, Déanism can be understood as both monotheistic and panentheistic. That is, we believe in one God, not a multitude, and we also believe that God is greater than the universe, yet She includes and merges with it as well.

I will explore the concept of singularity and multiplicity of Deity in other faiths and traditions in order to help understand the particularities of Déanic understandings.

Pagan Triple Goddess: Aspects

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Image Credit

An “aspect” is a “particular feature of something.” So when Neo-Pagans refer to different “aspects” of the God or Goddess, they are referring to different features of those Deities.

This is fairly straightforward, insofar as I understand. I could talk about different aspects of myself- Jacqueline the student, Jacqueline the writer, Jacqueline the girlfriend, Jacqueline the sister, and so on. I am always myself but I have lots of different features which are separate from each other, though interconnected as well because I am one person. I think when Neo-Pagans speak about aspects of the God or Goddess, this is what they are referring to. So if we look particularly at the Triple Goddess (Maiden, Mother, Crone), the thealogy there, I think, is that the Goddess is singular, but variously takes on the role of Maiden, Mother, and Crone (presumably Deity is not limited by time and space the way that we are, so it’s conceivable that She could be all three at once).

Christian Trinity: Hypostasis

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Image Credit

The Christian doctrine of the Trinity is usually expressed as “Three Persons in One Being.” This begs the question of what is meant by “Person” and “Being,” since in our common English usage we tend to conflate the two (that is, a human “being” and a “person” are generally understood as equivalent).

“Being” in the context tends to refer to “essence,” the essential nature of a thing. “Person” (hypostasis in Greek) means substance- literally “sub stance” -to stand under. It refers to an individual reality rather than an essence (see Christology Terms for more on this).

So in Christian theology you have God as one Being, but expressed in three separate realities, or Persons (Father, Son, Spirit). The Son is “begotten” of the Father, and the Spirit either proceeds from the Father (Orthodox) or from both the Father and the Son (Catholic, and at least some Protestants). Nobody seems to have a solid idea of what it means that the Holy Spirit “proceeds” from the Father (and possibly the Son).

The Son “begotten” is generally understood not to refer to Jesus’ human birth, but His eternal identity as God the Son. It is not a literal begetting; it means the Father caused Him to be. This is a real brain twister because Christian doctrine teaches that the Trinity is eternal, so it isn’t as though the Father was alone until He “begat” the Son. The Son always was. This may be a distinction from Déanic teaching.

Emanations

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Gnostic Emanations (Image Credit)

Now we turn to emanations, a concept extant in Neo-Platonism, Gnosticism, and Hasidic Jewish philosophy among others. To emanate is to “flow from.” The idea of emanation is not wholly separable from the concept of the Christian Trinity, as the Son and Spirit both “flow forth” from the Father; that is, they emanate from Him.

In Kabbalah, emanations are understood as “prolongation of a spiritual entity into a hypostasis that does not separate itself essentially from its source.” That, I think, means the same thing as “One Being (source), multiple Persons (emanations; substances).”

So basically an emanation is an extension of the Deity into a separate substance while the emanation retains its unified essence with the Deity.

The Filianic Scriptures speak of Dea laughing the world into being. Unlike a neat creator/creation dichotomy sometimes espoused in faiths like Christianity where “creationism” is the term used to refer to how the world came into existence, Déanism suggests a more panentheistic perspective wherein”creation” is an extension of Dea Herself; this is emanationism as opposed to creationism.

The Mother could be understood as an emanation from Absolute Deity (the Mysteria; the Ground of All Being), and the Daughter as an emanation from the Mother (or from both the Mother and the Mysteria). We humans and our fellow creatures (for lack of a better word) can also be understood to have emanated forth from the Mother through Her laughter. Of course, what makes us different from Anna in this regard is that we are entangled with kear and She is not. Everybody and everything is sharing the same Divine Essence, despite the fact that we are all different individuals and that we humans are entangled with kear.

Dea: Triad and Septad

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Created by Madria Erin (Image Credit)

On the subject of the Janati and the Deanic Trinity, ArchMadria Pamela has stated the following: “Janites are careful to never refer to the Janati as ‘aspects’ of Dea, because, again, that may be misleading. Just as the Trinity is Three Distinct Separate Beings and yet, are of one Essence…so too, the Janati are Distinct, Separate Beings and yet, are of one Essence.”

I would venture to assume that here ArchMadria Pamela is using the word “Being” to refer to hypostasis- Persons sharing the same Essence (I use “Essence” and “Being” interchangeably earlier in this post, hence why I make this clarification), although hopefully she corrects me if I’m wrong about that.

In contrast, the Chapel specifically does refer to the Janyati as “aspects” of Dea, stating: “the seven Janyati are aspects of God Herself. Just as the pure light of the sun is without color, but refracts into the seven colors of the rainbow when it passes through a drop of water, so the Supernal Light that is Dea refracts into Her Seven Powers, or ‘Goddesses’, as it touches the waters of manifestation.”

Before we latch on to this supposed distinction in thealogy too tightly, it is important to note that the Chapel also refers to the Janyati as “prolongations” of Dea (a prolongation is an emanation, as you will recall). This seems contradictory, however, an explanation they give for distinctions in views of the Divine Triad may be useful here:

“However, there are those (‘pure Déanists’) who cannot accept the Daughter as a separate Person…who will nonetheless agree that the Saving Function of the Daughter (the ‘Daughter Aspect’) is part of the Mother…

“Such Pure Déanists usually have no difficulty in attending Filianic ceremonies on this basis, seeing the Daughter Mythos as a metaphor rather than a Revelation. Indeed many of us take a position somewhere between the two extremes, without feeling the need to define that position in precise rational terms. We do not, after all, forget that in matters of the Spirit, reason itself can never leave the plane of metaphor. Only Pure Intellect can be precise, and the precision of Pure Intellect cannot, by its very nature, be formulated in words. The Tao that can be spoken is not the true Tao.

“Not being bound by the ‘literalism’ and ‘personalism’ that has characterised Western Trinitarianism, Aristasian Déanists have a somewhat more fluid view of both the Trinity and of Godhead. The statement of a Devotee of Sai Sushuri…that Sai Sushuri is the One Dea would not be considered heretical or even eccentric. Since each Janya is, in her highest essence, a ‘prolongation’ of Dea Herself, Dea can be worshipped not just through but as any of Her Great Janyati.”

(Sai Sushuri is another name for Lady Grace.)

Here the Daughter is referred to as an “Aspect” and the Janyati are referred to as “prolongations.” If I understand correctly, I do not think the Chapel means either of these as absolute distinctions. In response to a question I recently posted on the Déanic Conversations forum, Race Mochridhe mentioned that “one cannot develop a ‘logical’ thealogy if reality itself does not correspond to the impositions of human logic.” This is frustrating for those of us who would like to nail everything down neatly, but I think it’s probably the case that the nature of God Herself does in fact defy the rules of logic conceived by the human brain.

Dea Bless❤

Jacqueline

6 thoughts on “Dea: Singularity and Multiplicity”

  1. This is an erudite and very well thought out article. Our religion does allow a choice between understanding Dea as a Trinity of three distinct Persons, similar to Christianity or as a Triple Goddess where the Daughter is an aspect of the Mother, etc. I believe there is an older article on the CMG which states the same. The Janite Tradition, over time, has become more Trinitarian and the Janati are based on the Seven Powers as understood from a Female perspective of the Sophian Planetary Powers or the female planetary powers of Eurynome (the Titanesses) upon whom the Janati were originally based. While it is true that those who claim Christianity and Deanism to be monotheistic based upon the One Essence of Godhood, personally, I question the application of this definitian for Trinitarian or Septad systems. I am probably the only Deanist who does not define the Trinitarian system as being monotheistic. If one believes in the Triple Deity system whereby the Mother and the Daughter are merely aspects of the absolute and, by extension, the Janati are merely aspects of the Absolute, then that certainly is monotheism. But, when we believe the Godhood is made up of several Persons, while the Essence is One, can we really say are strictly monothestic?
    As one of my own bishops (who has a Phd) always says, Christianity has Pagan dna. I agree that it has both Pagan and Jewish roots. I have always wondered if its insistence in considering itself to be monotheistic was in order to help to preserve its ties to Judaism. Our logic is God given. If something defies logic, then, perhaps it is time to give definitionsi like monotheism a closer look. I wonder, if from the eyes of a true monotheist (non-trinitarian religion) if religions like Trinitarian Deanism and Christianity look like monotheistic religions. I dont think they do.
    The important thing to remember is that Deanists may understand Dea as either a Trinity or a Triple Goddess. Even if some of us dont consider ourselves to be strictly monotheistic, we do differ from the neo-Pagan understanding of Deity, but that isa subject for another time. Anyway, this is only my own opinion. Your article was interesting and very well done. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacqueline

      Thank you so much for your comment. It’s interesting because in the process of researching this post I learned that within the traditions of Judaism and Islam, Christianity tends not to be viewed as monotheistic, I think for the same reasons you don’t consider Trinitarian Deanism to be monotheistic. I originally was going to include a section in this post about that, but then I got thrown because I was coming across Jewish references to God’s Spirit/the Shekinah as being a hypostasis, and that seemed to collapse the whole concept (i.e. why would Christianity not be considered monotheistic if Jewish theology also believes that God has separate hypostases? I thought perhaps it was the Incarnation doctrine but wasn’t sure) so I decided I didn’t know enough about the topic to include it in the post. Personally I am not really sure what my own views on the matter of Trinitarian Deanism as opposed to the aspect view are but I am fascinated by the subject and hope to keep learning more.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Jacqueline, I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are with the thealogical discussions that you, Madrian Erin and others are having, in addition to an exciting Labyrinth Tradition that Sorella (Sister) Sophia is developing. Madria Erin and others are having meaningful talks about the nature of the snake and Irkalla, which are really incredible. You recent discussions are spot on. As soon-to-be ArchMadria Kathi mentioned to me, this all gives us great hope for the future of our religion.
    I would love to discuss all of this, further. I think that your generation of Deanists are going to continue to come up with some wonderful and meaningful thealogy that will add greater and greater depth to our understanding of both our Faith and our scriptures. I am so excited….you are all so wonderful… such a great blessing to our Faith. I kept thinking that you are the second generation of Deanists. But, really, you are the third. The first was our founders. Next, ArchMatrona Georgia, myself and our group are the second generation and we are the founders, so to speak, of the foundation of a more Westernized version of the Faith. You, Madria Erin, Rebekah and the others are the third generation, the future of our religion. This is why it is so exciting to see what you all are coming up with and how meaningful it is to all of you.
    Yes, exactly, the idea of the Shekinah seems to indicate two Persons, but not really when you consider that the Shekinah is considered to be the ‘Feminine side of God. I will ask Sorella Shoshana (Susie) to clarify this for me. To me, this always made God seem androgynous. I don’t know if that is the Jewish understanding or not. If this is the case, that the Jews consider God to be both Male and Female, then that is very different than the Christian and Deanic understanding of a Trinity of Three Persons.
    I was thinking that I would like to find a different word to describe Trinitarian belief…not monotheistic and not polytheistic, because neither truly apply.
    I should re-post the Apple Tree theory of a Christian theologian on the underlying Nature of the Trinity concept. That comes closest to best describing our understanding of the Trinity. I’ll be writing a Bits and Pieces, tomorrow and I’ll include the link.
    Again, this is all so exciting to us! Keep up the great work, all of you!!!!!
    Many blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jacqueline

      I think we are all very excited too! I am really impressed with the growth of the community on tumblr especially. It seems to me like every week or so I see another person saying they are interested in Deanism and are considering become Deanists themselves; it’s really remarkable to me.
      Yes, the way you describe the Shekinah makes more sense to me in terms of being strictly monotheistic, and that would certainly be very different than the views of both trinitarian Christianity or trinitarian Deanism.
      Thank you!

  3. **graphic warning: This otherwise excellent article, unfortunately, has a nude picture on its third and most important page:

    Having read the link in
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/allergicpagan/2014/11/13/the-secret-history-of-the-triple-goddess-part-1-triads-triplicities-and-trinities/

    “However, the Neopagan Triple Goddess is unique in that She is a trinity, or tri-unity, being three-in-one. There are in fact three ways that so-called “triple goddesses” (or “triple gods”) may appear in myth and iconography: triads, triplicities, and triunities (or trinities).”

    “Triads and triplicities are two ends of a spectrum which ranges from complete individuality to complete unity, respectively. Between these two poles is the “triunity”, or trinity, the three-in-one. (To avoid confusion with the Christian concept of trinity, I will use the term “triunity”.) A triunity refers to one being with three distinguishable “persons” or aspects. A triunity differs from a triad in that the whole of a triunity is greater than the sum of its parts, while it differs from a triplicity in that the identity of the whole (the triunity) does not subsume the identity of the parts. In other words, the unity of the whole could not be expressed in the absence of the individuality of the parts.”

    So this explains our Mother God as a triunity:
    “For the truth is simple and easy, and it is that the Divine Trinity has Three Forms, and yet They are One; and alone is God Our Mother, and there is no other deity but She. Blessed is She.”

    Sorella (Sister) Sophia

    https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/just-a-thought-apple-trees-and-the-trinity/
    Just a Thought: Apple Trees and the Trinity
    Introduction by ArchMadria Pamela

    The Trinity and the Apple Tree/Part I, the Canopy of Love
    https://deanic.com/2016/10/03/the-trinity-and-the-apple-treepart-i-the-canopy-of-love/

    The Trinity and the Apple Tree/Part II: The Trunk of Light
    https://deanic.com/2016/10/05/the-trinity-and-the-apple-treepart-ii-the-trunk-of-light/

    The Trinity and the Apple Tree Part III/The Roots of Life
    https://deanic.com/2016/10/06/the-trinity-and-the-apple-tree-part-iithe-roots-of-life/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jacqueline

      Thank you for this information!

      Relevant Articles:

      Is Trinitarianism True Monotheism? by ArchMadria Pamela
      https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/is-trinitarianism-true-monotheism-by-archmadria-pamela/

      Sun Symbol – still Point at the centre of manifestation
      https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/sun-symbol-still-point-at-the-centre-of-manifestation/

      Madrian Thoughts on manifestation and the cross symbol
      https://mydevotionstodea.wordpress.com/2016/12/31/madrian-thoughts-on-manifestation-and-the-cross-symbol/

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3 thoughts on “Dea: Singularity and Multiplicity by Jacqueline

  1. I think of creation as more of the result of Dea’s laughter. She was having fun and enjoying Herself and as a result, creation appeared. It’s like if we were having fun and something great came out of it or if we laughed causing other to laugh and find enjoyment too.

    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

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