Today marks the first day of the Nativity. Some of us Déanists on Tumblr have taken to calling the holiday Filiadi, which is literally “Daughter’s Day” in Latin (after the Janite usage of “Daughter’s Day,” although theirs is on 25 Astraea), or Filiadies, “Daughter’s Days,” for those of us who celebrate the holiday over a period of twelve days.
I photographed my altar last night after putting up my final, red candle to mark the completion of the Astraean Season.
My thealogy is not completely developed, but I definitely view this holiday as a celebration of Dea being with us. Dea as Mother is a comforting and loving, beautiful face to be sure, but the face She wears to us as the Maid is a bit different. Anna feels to me more like a loving friend, this is Dea come down to our level, so to speak. She is literally God with and within us.
Yesterday I found myself singing a song I learned at church as a young child, but I replaced Jesus’ name in the song with Anna’s so that the words became: “Anna is all the world to me/My life, my joy, my all/She is my strength from day to day/Without Her I would fall/When I am sad to Her I go/No other one can cheer me so/When I am sad She makes me glad/Oh She’s my friend.”
The simple, friendly picture the song paints touched me. Dea is a friend I have always with me, within me. The wonder of this holiday, at least to me right now, is that God is experiencing my life alongside me. It’s mind boggling.
I’ve been in therapy for a long time for depression and other mental illnesses, and I’ve been working for a while at trying to help myself sit with difficult emotions, to embrace everything that I’m feeling and not numb myself or push it away when it’s uncomfortable. I had something of an epiphany several weeks ago wherein I realized that in allowing myself to truly feel my feelings and be present with all my experiences, I am actually honouring Dea. Not just because She created me to be a feeling creature, but because She’s in me, because there’s a certain sense in which She is me, and when I cut myself off from my own self I am turning away from Dea. In not honouring my whole, true self, I am not honouring Her.
God knows the aches and the pain and the exhaustion I feel. She understands and affirms my tears. She is with me even as my depression makes it hard enough to be a person, never mind celebrate anything.
I am often prone to feeling so alone. I don’t think anything can replace human contact and connection, but knowing that Dea is with me in such a personal sense gives me a radically different perspective on my loneliness.
For me, today and the next eleven days are the Filiadies; they are the Daughter Days. They are the days when I will take the opportunity to be reminded that Dea as Daughter, Dea with us, Her Spirit, is ever in me, and I will never be alone or abandoned.
I wish everyone warm and peaceful holidays. Dea Bless!