The solar eclipse took place today, and so I decided to re-read ArchMadria Candra Sophia’s two part article on the spiritual implications of eclipses, which you can read here and here, and it got me thinking.
In my re-read of the Feminine Universe and consulting with other more Orthodox Deanists, I’ve been thinking a lot about the media I consume, the music I listen to, the way I dress, etc. Now, I try to dress in a more feminine manner most of the time, but from time to time I still opt for my favourite ripped jeans. Some Orthodox/Traditionalist Deanists would call this sloppy and decadent. I enjoy rock music. I enjoy video games with guns (nothing extremely gory or gruesome, and the violence is usually to protect the innocent or save the world, but still). Things, I’m sure, the Orthodox position is firmly against.
That being said, I’ve been trying to find a middle ground. I will never be the perfect Deanic priestess who strives to emulate immaculate femininity every day, and I cannot change my music preferences, nor would I throw out about 40% of my wardrobe and sell my video games for the sake of putting on a false, traditional, ultra-feminine persona.
And yet, I can see how some of these things affect my image sphere, how I see myself, and how I see the world. The idea that sloppiness is better than neatness, that violent conflict is a normal part of life, is influenced by some of the things I enjoy.
So I remembered a quote back from my Christian days: “Be in the world, but not of the world.” I guess I want to be sure my soul strives towards Heaven even if I, on occasion, look more like the unpolished modern maid criticized on some Orthodox websites. I will think critically about violence in video games, and I will limit my time with them. I will most certainly not let postmodern ideas, such as ‘morality doesn’t exist’, monarchy is inherently an evil concept and ‘every man is his own god’ get in to my mind, even if many of my peers hold such beliefs. And I will remain friends with people who have opinions I strongly disagree with such as the aforementioned ones, because amity and co-operation are important to me, and I do not believe everyone who holds those belief is inherently a bad person. In fact, they’re often wonderful, compassionate people.
I’m Madria Gwenevere- a contemplative priestess of a feminine religion. I hate modern art; I think femininity is key to healing our world; I world rather serve a compassionate queen than a corrupt ‘democratically elected’ politician any day; I can think of nothing in life I’d love more than to be a mother and homemaker; in Chelouranyan terms, I am a ‘blonde’; some people say I’m the most feminine woman they know.
But also? I’m Erin- a twenty one year old, modern young woman. Some of my best friends are punks and anarchists; my favourite band are a rock band; I love my Doc Martens and how they look with my leather jacket; I’m a video gamer; I’m a feminist; I love drag queens; I even slip up and cuss sometimes, would you believe?!
I’ll never be as feminine and traditional as some priestesses. But, maybe that doesn’t matter. And please note, this post isn’t me complaining about this aspect of Deanism. On the contrary, I like this aspect of Deanism. This may be the only religion or culture for feminine women that isn’t routed in the patriarchal idea that men are the ‘heads’ of women, or that women need men to govern them. I love that, and I’m glad I’ve been able to analyse some of the harmful things modern society has been teaching me since I was a child. My point is that I can’t help what I like and who I am, whether through modern/late patriarchal conditioning or just because I simply enjoy these things many Deanists would argue are harmful.
To drive this point home, here are two pictures of me from the last few months.
First one? I was on my way to represent Deanists in a conference for LGBT+ Mormons and allies (I was invited as an ex Mormon). Light blue, patterned dress. Perfectly curled hair. Light makeup. Beige cardigan that matches some of the accents on the dress. Obviously you can’t see my feet, but I’m wearing ballet flats.
Second picture? This was the adventure in the woods I posted about the other week. Baggy, plaid shirt. Jeans. No makeup. My mums old Doc Martens. Unstyled hair that ended up in a ponytail. I very obviously resemble the ‘unpolished, modern maid’ Miss Alice Lucy Trent references in one of the earlier chapters of TFU.
The point is, they’re both me. Me on different days, doing different things, and dressing to reflect what I was doing and where I was going. But, they’re still both representive of myself. And maybe that’s okay. Maybe I can be both.
Thank you for reading.