24 Flora/June 8
It is as two priestesses reaching together to Dea: the hestian mistress, she who is the spiritual head of the household and offers Sacrifice on behalf of her hestian members; the ekklesian priestess, she who is the spiritual head of her local temple and offers Sacrifice on behalf of all Ekklesia. One is channeled from the Earth (the plain bread and white wine/white grape juice); the other is channeled from Heaven (the Transfused Bread and Wine/ Juice. (A. M. Candra Sophia)
A question was recently asked over at the Deanic Ladies Community (see above menu) about the Rite of Sacrifice. This made me realize that there are some things that I need to explain more fully.
The Rite of Sacrifice, or RoS, which came to us from the Madrians, is not so much an offering of gifts to Our Lady, rather it is based upon the One Eternal Sacrifice of the Holy Daughter, whether you view that Sacrifice as Her Death, as in Filianism and Madrianism, or as Her Shattering, as in Janite thealogy. (Both are basically different ways of expressing the same fundamental thealogy.) It is a mini-version of the Great Liturgy, which Janites inherited through an hand-typed copy.
The Madrian RoS may be found in the Sacred Myths and Rites of the Madrians. Unfortunately, this book is out of print and so copies are rare, oftentimes expensive and hard to find. The Janite edition of the RoS is a slightly expanded version of the original Madrian with Janite influences added, such as the names of the Janati and certain prayers.
Though we revere these older Madrian rites along with our scriptures and our Madrian catechism of which the Filianic is a shorter version, our scriptures and our inherited rituals need to be understood within the context of their culture and time, just as other religious scriptures need to be viewed within the context of their culture and time. What might have been right 50 years ago, might not be relevant in the 20th century such as ideas about the eternal life of males and original sin. And so, some things have a “Janite stamp” to them.
(I have recently decided to include the original Madrian materials side by side with the Janite, where applicable, for both historical and critical purposes and out of respect for our Madrian fore-mothers in addition to convenience of our Madrian JOP member(s).)
It must be kept in mind that no scriptures are without flaw. Not even channeled ones. Divinely inspired…yes, most definitely. But, they are not infallible.
While scriptures may truly transmit Divine Cosmic Concepts, they contain small flaws. And this is due to, as our one of our dear Sister has pointed out to me, the fact that anything that is created by humans is flawed in some way. But the act of creating, no matter what we create, is done in unison with our Creatrix. This is why humans are often referred to as ‘co-creators’.
When we plant a garden or trees or paint a sunset or, yes, writing scriptures, we are co-creating with our Creatrix! But, as with everything, what we create is but an imperfect reflection of what our Creatrix creates. And so it is with the scriptures that have come down to us. There might be a few verses which we might interpret differently in the 21st century or others that we would re-phrase in modern times. But, on the whole, they are a glorious reflection of the Above.
And so it is with the rituals and the catechism that we have inherited. There might be small changes or additions that Janite have made, which reflect how the religion has evolved in the last almost 50 years. (But, there are very few. On the whole, the Janite edition of the Catechism is essentially Madrian.)
Getting to the main point of this post, while keeping in mind why Janites have made changes in the RoS, the liturgy and the catechism, what is the RoS really all about? What are we doing during this ritual? What is the meaning of the bread and the wine/grape juice?
The offering of the bread and wine during the RoS is not a sacrament (or mystery as the sacraments are called in Orthodox Christianity.) In the liturgy, the Transfused Bread and Wine together constitute a sacrament (Mystery). Why is this so?
To answer this, let us first take a look at what the Madrian Catechism has to say about Ekklesia and Initiation into Ekklesia. (Janites have a Rite of Consecration for adults and are working on one for infants and children):
84. What is Ekklesia?
Ekklesia is the body of all souls who are in communion with the Goddess.
85. Is Ekklesia of this world only?
No, Ekklesia exists on every plane of being.
86. Does Ekklesia include only human souls?
No, Ekklesia includes heras, geniae (Janati), angels and other souls, both incarnate and disincarnate.
87. What are the three ways by which a human soul may enter Ekklesia?
By Charisma, by Initiation, and by Offering.
88. What is the Charismatic entry?
Charismatic entry occurs when a soul, through her devotion, is received by Dea without any earthly Sacrament.
89. What is Initiation?
Initiation is the Sacrament by which Ekklesia receives a mature person.
90. What takes place at this Sacrament?
The initiate dies to the world of matter and is reborn into Ekklesia.
91. What is Offering?
Offering is the ritual by which an infant is offered to Dea and is received into the Ekklesia.
92. Is Offering sufficient for a whole lifetime?
No, the child should later receive her own Initiation.
93. What is the reason for Offering?
It allows the child to enjoy the spiritual benefits of being a member of Ekklesia, helps her to draw closer to Dea, and makes her a member of Her Earthly family from the beginning. (SMR)
So, the Madrians believed in Ekklesia and initiation into Ekklesia.
Moving on to the Sacraments:
94. What is a Sacrament?
A Sacrament is an act which takes place at once on Earth and in the Pleroma. It is an outward, visible sign of an inward, Divine Grace/Energy. *
95. What is the Pleroma?
The Pleroma is the realm of pure Being where alone an action can attain complete reality.
96. What is Communion?
Communion is the Sacrament through which initiates of Ekklesia nourish their spirits and souls by union with Dea. *
97. How often should a devotee take Communion? *
If possible, a devotee should take Communion regularly. She must take Communion at least on each Major Festival unless prevented by extreme difficulty or if a priestess is not in the area.
98. Who can celebrate Communion?
Only a validly ordained priestess can celebrate Communion. * (added validly).
99. What is a priestess?
A priestess is a maid chosen by Dea to serve Her earthly children.
100. How does a maid become a priestess?
Through the Initiation of Ordination. (Charisma is no longer accepted and was therefore, deleted… A. M. Candra Sophia)
101. Is the Initiation of a priestess a Sacrament?
The initiation of a priestess is a Sacrament.
102. What are the two duties of a priestess?
1. To transmit the Power of Dea through the Sacraments and other rituals.
2. To have care of the souls of Her children in devotional and other matters.
So, here we see that the Madrians had a valid priestesshood. Though no-one seems to know with certainty, the origins of the Madrian priestesshood, I have my own suspicions, but only, suspicions. If I am correct, this would be an origin for which I would have the highest of respect.
Now, we move on to the Sacrifice (Rite of Sacrifice) and the Cult Domestic or hestia-worship (home-worship).
103. What is the Sacrifice?
The Sacrifice is an act of devotion to Dea.
104. Is the Sacrifice a Sacrament?
The Sacrifice is not a Sacrament.
105. How often must a devotee make Sacrifice?
A devotee must make Sacrifice on the Full Moons. The devotee may also serve the Rite of Sacrifice on the Dark and 5th day Crescent Moons if they so desire. (Slightly edited. The Madrians served the Rite of Sacrifice on the New Moon, the Day of Artemis which is the 5th day after the New Moon based on the Mythos of Creation, Chapters 2 and 3. They also served the Rite on the major feast days. Janites observe the Crescent Daughter Moon on the third day after the Dark Moon.)
So, here we see that The Sacrifice (or the RoS) is not the same as the sacrament of communion. It is not a sacrament.
THE CULT DOMESTIC
106. What is the Cult Domestic?
The Cult Domestic is the whole religious life of a Madrian (Deanic) hestia centering upon a regular domestic Sacrifice.
107. Who shall celebrate the Sacrifice?
The spiritual head of household shall celebrate the Sacrifice.
108. Who is the spiritual head of the hestia?
Either the mother, or else the temporal matriarch, or any other maid who has made a solemn undertaking to act as spiritual head of her household.
109. Who shall celebrate if she is absent?
Either her eldest daughter, or any other maid whom she has chosen to act as her surrogate.
110. What is an hestia? (Originally, what is a Madrian household.)
A Madrian answer: A Madrian household is any group of Madrians who live together and all who are dear to them.
Janite Answer: An (hestia) or sacred hearth, is an home that has been blessed and consecrated to Dea.
111. Should the Cult Domestic replace the Communion of Ekklesia?
The Cult Domestic should never replace the Communion of Ekklesia unless there is no practicing priestess in the area.
So, from the Above, we can see that the Madrians had a priestesshood who celebrated a valid communion rite (The Great Liturgy) that only they could celebrate. They regarded it as a valid and real sacrament of the Madrian Ekklesia.
We also see that the Madrians had a female spiritual head of the household/hestia. She could not serve the communion rite as did the priestess, but she could stand in the place of the priestess in her own hestia. She could offer, not the Transfused Bread of the One Sacrifice of the Holy Daughter, but a symbol of that One Sacrifice similar to how a madrina (deaconess) may offer the entire liturgy, but until she is ordained as a priestess, she may only serve the symbol of the Sacrifice, not the actual communion rite.
The RoS it is not so much an offering of gifts like flowers, incense, milk, honey, fruits and flowers, but it is a mini liturgy; an actual participation, on the hestian level, in the One Sacrifice of the Holy Daughter. And so it should be served correctly, with respect and with bread and wine or bread and white grape juice.
Within the RoS, we offer a libation to the Holy Daughter, just did as the Daughters of Asherah in Jer. 44:17: 17 But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto her, as we have done, we, and our fathers, our kings, and our princes, in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem: for then had we plenty of victuals, and were well, and saw no evil.
And as Our Lady says to us in the Great Liturgy: Even as you have offered to Me bread in sacrifice, so I give to you the Bread of my Soul; and as you have poured out libations of wine to Me, so I pour out the Eternal Libation of My Eternal Spirit.
This is why every Janite priestess must serve the RoS and not the Great Liturgy on the Full Moons.
How beautiful, radiant and true is that the Sublime Sacrifice of the RoS, side by side with the Transfused Sacrifice of the Great Liturgy. This is so because the symbolic Sacrifice,the Sublime Sacrifice, is a reflection of the Transfused Sacrifice. Just as with everything else on this planet, the Sacrifice is an Earthly reflection of the Heavenly Communion.
It is as two priestesses reaching together to Dea: the hestian mistress, she who is the spiritual head of the household and offers Sacrifice on behalf of her hestian members; the ekklesian priestess, she who is the spiritual head of her local temple and offers Sacrifice of behalf of all Ekklesia. One is channeled from the Earth (the plain bread and white wine/white grape juice); the other is channeled from Heaven (the Transfused Bread and Wine/ Juice.
To be continued.
ArchMadria Candra Sophia