The Chapel of our Mother God has produced a very clear and concise outline of what Filianism is, so rather than re-invent the wheel we refer our readers to What is Filianism at the Chapel.
However we should also like to add some thoughts specifically for Chelouranyans in order to define what Filianism actually is to us. The Chapel of Our Mother God is sometimes stated by non-Chelouranyans to be a Chelouranyan (or “Aristasian”) site. The truth is that while the Chapel has had quite a lot of Herthelani input, it is not actually a site representing the Herthelan perspective.
What it does mostly represent is orthodox, traditional Filianism and Déanism, as it has been defined and practiced in Telluria for over four decades, and since that is what most Chelouranyi follow, we have a great deal in common.
Therefore, while we are grateful for such a clear statement of the Filianic faith, we should like to add some remarks from an actually Herthelan perspective.
Filianism has sometimes been called “the faith of the Motherland”. More accurately, it is a faith of the Motherland. There are others which, like Filianism, would fall broadly under the heading of Déanic from a Tellurian point of view.
Déanism is a Tellurian term that is only necessary in Telluria, since any Herthelan religion is, in the broadest terms, Déanic. Patriarchal and semi-patriarchal religions, for obvious reasons, have never existed.
Filianism, on the other hand, is considered to be a “translation” (into Latin/English) of a term actually in use in the Motherland, meaning “the Daughter-Tradition”.
The Filianic Scriptures do in fact represent Motherland Scriptures. This is something that Tellurian Filianists have found difficulty with. For example “the position of men” in Filianism is certainly problematic, since the whole “economy” of Filianism fundamentally assumes a world in which men do not exist.
The Scriptures were first made manifest among daughters of the Motherland. They were also taken up at an early stage by Tellurian worshipers. These worshipers made some “adaptations” – partly in attempts to solve the “Telluria Problem” inherent in intemorphic Scripture, but also, and even more unfortunately, introducing certain “New Age” elements.
The Authorized Filianic Sutras (published in The Gospel of Our Mother God) represent Motherland teachings. Except in a few places where their implications are specifically intemorphic, they are of course no less valid for Tellurians. Truth is Truth, and the Sutras represent sacred Truth, as many people have recognized. At the same time they do have an overall intemorphic aisance which non-intemorph bellievers have always struggled with.
The Mythos, as it appears in the Gospel, is a very small part of a large corpus of Motherland sacred mythology. We believe it was providentially transmitted to Telluria as it provides a structure and “sacred narrative” for the worship of Dea in Telluria.
Much Motherland religion is not Filianic. The “state-religion” of our mother-nation Novarya is the Fire-temple Tradition. Now when we say things like that we are on somewhat difficult ground since the Fire Temple is not quite a “religion” in the same sense as a West Tellurian Christian denomination. It is considered to be the ritual support of the Nation, and the defense of the Temple Tradition was an important element in the founding of Novarya. Other traditions, like the Sucrishi, also exist in Novarya.
The Temple Tradition is impossible for Herthelani in Telluria as it involves lines of initiation going back millennia – not to mention the Fire Temple itself. The same goes for many forms of Herthelan “religious” tradition.
What is possible to us is a simple devotion to Dea. We do not have lines of initiation, therefore, by definition, we do not have priestesses – since the position of a priestess is a ritual function depending upon a line of initiation, and not simply a Protestant-style “ministry”.
This is a little unfortunate, but not really a serious problem. A simple devotion is entirely adequate and is accepted by our loving Mother.
We also have something else of inestimable value. The Chapel article speaks of the importance of Thamë or divine Harmony. What it does not expand upon – presumably because it is not relevant or practicable in the context of modern West Tellurian society – is that Thamë is a concept that exceeds the boundaries of what West Telluria terms “religion”, and is symptomatic of why we find the very term “religion” essentially inadequate.
Thamë is a way of life. In the Motherland it governs personal relations, politics, sport, theater and every other aspect of life. While one translation of Thamë is “Law”, it is not a set of life-governing rules like the Islamic shari’ah, it is more the simple harmony of being. It governs everyday life just as it governs the movements of the stars or the cycle of the seasons.
In Filianism this fundamental Harmony, or Thamë has its root in the Daughter (and through Her the Mother):
You shall command the movements of the waters, and the wind shall be Your servant. The seasons of the earth shall You control, and all the times and seasons in the lives of My creatures. Every soul on earth and in the heavens shall be given into Your care, and the highest stars of the firmament shall know You as their Sovereign.
The motto of our Protectorate of Chelouranya is another Scriptural statement of this Sacred Harmony: It is Love that holds the stars within their courses. Indeed “Chelouranya” itself is a name of one of the manifestations of Sai Thamë in her aspect as the Golden Order or Harmony of Being.
Filianism is, as the Chapel article states, a religion of Harmony, in Tellurian terms that is probably as close to the reality of the matter as one can get. But it would be more accurate to say that it is the (or rather one) religious aspect of an entire way of life governed by the Sacred Harmony.
And that really is the central principle of Chelouranya (hence the name) – a community and way of life based around the Sacred Harmony. This is something probably largely incomprehensible in modern West Telluria (and even in more traditional West Telluria). Japan is probably the nearest Tellurian equivalent to a Herthelan-style harmony-based culture, which is why Chelouranya has adopted Japanese as its second Tellurian language.
Outside people may see the use of Japanese as a completely unrelated eccentricity of ours but it is in fact a natural extension of our creation of a harmony-culture. We are not attempting to “become Japanese” or imitate Japanese culture, but to find Tellurian media for the expression and nurturing of our own culture.
The excellent Chapel article presents Filianism/Déanism as a “religion” (“religion” being very much a West Tellurian concept in itself). That is probably the best way for West Tellurians to understand it and probably all that they can/need to understand. However for Chelouranyans it is more than that – it is the center of a Thamelic (harmony-based) culture and way of life. It is a vital part of what makes it possible for us to live in the Way of the Motherland.
We have talked in other places about how disharmony or discord is, in principle (not just accidentally) the foundation of modern Telluria. It’s very political structure is based on permanent opposition and the party (i.e. “parted” or separate factions) system. It is considered axiomatic that any part of Telluria that does not use the oppositional/party system may legitimately be starved (by sanctions) and ultimately bombed into submission, although in fact no current Tellurian nation is so unsubmissive as not to have a party system at least in name.
The Herthelan political model, by contrast, is one of harmony. Any disagreements should be resolved as quietly and tactfully as possible, without public opposition: but in fact Herthelani are in agreement about all the fundamental principles of life. The function of Queen and Government is not to make new laws or a new order, but to maintain the one Golden Order. New laws when made are only passed to adapt the Golden Order or Divine Harmony to new circumstances without ever changing its essence.
The tradition and polity of the Motherland is rooted in the Eternal, and as such is diametrically opposite to the “revolutionary” ideology of modern Telluria (and its “right” is no less fundamentally revolutionary than its “left”), which is rooted in the flux and change of matter. Since the discord and opposition are at the very heart of the flux of matter (beginning with the discord of the elements) it is natural that a purely-material ideology will also be an ideology of discord and opposition.
Similar to its political model, the modern West Tellurian business model is competitive and the legal system adversarial, while in Sai Herthe both are based on a co-operative model.
Have we strayed from the question of “religion” here? No. That is the precise point. For Herthelani, the Divine Thamë is something that transcends such artificial (and purely West-Tellurian originated) categories as “religion”, “politics” and “ordinary life”.
Of course as a far-flung Protectorate we do not have government – though we owe allegience to the Novaryan crown and Nevcaeran Empire. But the life of our community is based on the Divine Harmony, and Déanism/Filianism forms the spiritual center of that.
While it touches on the fact that Filianism is a “Religion of Harmony”, the Chapel article does not speak of its place within an entire harmony-based culture and way of life. That is natural and proper since it would mean little to Tellurians and would probably be impracticable for them.
Theoretically at least, Filianism could perhaps function as a “religion” in the West Tellurian sense of the word – that is, as a particular “section” of a life that otherwise belongs to late-patriarchal discord-culture*. There have been attempts to make it do so at various times throughout its history**. Whether such attempts could be successful is something only time will tell. But that is not really what Chelouranyans are trying to do.
For us, as for the Motherland, “religion” and “life” are not separable the doctrine of Harmony and the culture of Harmony belong together and for us cannot be separated. For us the fact that we are not American or European but Herthelan is fundamental. We belong to a harmony-culture not a discord-culture. We follow the Divine Thamë, the Golden Law, because that is what we are a part of.
Ideas like separation of Church and State are meaningless in the Motherland, because we belong to one seamless, unified culture. The Golden Order or Thamë is not considered a “religious concept” or a “political concept” or a “scientific concept”. It is equivalent to all those things and more but the individual categorizations do not exist in the same way. It also transcends particular “faiths” or “denominations”. Thamë belongs no more (or less) to Filianism than to any other Motherland tradition.
However, Filianism/Déanism is the form of “religious” thamë that has been vouchsafed to us. It provides our vital link, both as a Protectorate and as individuals, to Dea. As such it is the greatest single gift we have received from our loving Mother.
* In the past there were debates among non-Herthelan Filianists as to whether, for example, one could really be a Filianist and also belong to (or even vote for) a political party. While this issue does not currently seem to trouble more recent outland Filyani, we would suggest that if Filanic culture begins to develop for them, such questions will become more clearly an issue, since Filianism is a religion of thamë and modern West Tellurian culture (especially since the Eclipse) is inherently athamë.
** There have also been attempts to hybridize Filianism with patriarchal religions, but that is really another question altogether, since by the time that has happened we are no longer talking about Filianism, even if the name is used.