Candlemas/Lucidi/Trinities of Light

11 Brighid/Feb. 2

(This site is under major reconstruction. Please bear with us).

The pure snowdrop is the symbolic flower of Candlemas/Lucidi.

For Christians, today is Candlemas, which literally means candle mass during which candles are blessed for the upcoming year. For Deanic Christians, it is also Lucidi, or the Day of Light, a celebration of the Lights of the Divine Trinity.

On this day, all remnants of Christmas/Yule (Daughter’s Day) shall be put away including wreaths, all greenery and decorations.

 ancient Byzantine icon of the Presentation in the Temple.

The Christian Candlemas is a celebration of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Jewish Purification ritual of the Blessed Mary. And while many believe that Candlemas is the Christian version of Pagan Imbolc, not all believe that there is enough evidence to support that assumption.

Historically, this Christian Feast began in Jerusalem. According to some sources, Christians began Candlemas in Jerusalem as early as the fourth century and the lighting of candles began in the fifth century. Other sources say that Candlemas was observed by blessing candles since the 11th century. An early writing dating back to around 380 CE mentioned that a feast of the Presentation occurred in a church in Jerusalem. It was observed on February 14. The feast was observed on February 2 in regions where Christ’s birth was celebrated on December 25. (1)

 painting by Sulamith Wulfing.

Copyright: © by Petra Michel, CA & Aquamarin Verlag, Germany (allowed for non-commercial use with copyright).

Candlemas Crown

A little known Tradition here in the U.S. is fashioning a crown for the Candlemas Queen out of seven candles! How perfect, as in Deanism, Seven refers to the Janati or the Seven Living Rays or Emanations of Dea which take on angelic form. They are the gateways of Divine Virtue. This crown is not the same as the Crown of Lights for St. Lucia’s Day.

Make a Crown of Lights for the Candlemas Queen

Another observance is to light several taper candles (seven is best) which are shaped into a crown, called the Crown of Lights worn by the Candlemas Queen.  See the very end of this page for description:  “A Crown of Lights is prepared for the Mother and left by the altar. Traditionally, the Crown should be of candles or tapers, which are lit during the ritual.”  (2)

Fisheaters, a Traditional Catholic website, has a wonderful page on the scripture readings of the day as well as delicious recipes, rituals and poetry. (3)

Candlemas, for Deanic Christians (A) is also known as Lucidi, which  means Light Day or Day of Light. In additional to the traditional Christian meaning of this feast day, Deanic Christians also celebrate it as the Feast of the Light of the Trinity. We will examine these Lights from both a Deanic and a Deanic Christian point of view.

In Deanism, the religion of Our Mother God, Dea is celebrated as a Divine Feminine Trinity Who is of Three Lights:

The Dark Light. This is the Light of the Great or Dark Mother Who is Absolute Deity and from Whom emanates the Mother and the Father. She is known as the dark beyond the Light and the Light beyond the darkness because She is unknowable.

The Bright Light:

The Celestial/Heavenly Mother is known as the Supernal Sun, Whose Light became to bright for us to look upon once as we descended into incarnation. So Her Light is a Golden Light.

The Gentle Light: The Light of the Supernal Moon, the Holy Daughter, is Silver. She reflects the Light of Her Mother to us in a gentle way.

A Deanic tradition of three candles, dark purple (or black), gold/yellow and silver may be burned on this day in honor of the Divine Feminine Trinity.


For Deanic Christians, the Primordial/First Heavenly Trinity consists of the Absolute, the Father and the Mother as described by both those who have had Near Death Experiences and by early Gnostics. NDE’s experience this Primordial Trinity as a Trinity of Lights.

This Trinity of Lights is described as the Primary Light of the Absolute,  the Dark Light of the Mother and the Bright Light of the Heavenly Mother.  These Lights have described by those who have had NDE’s as:

Primary Light:

Colorless, A pulsating Presence or Luminosity, usually perceived as frighteningly awesome, a piercing Power, raw Essence, the Origin of All Origins. This is understood to be the Primary God Light (Absolute Deity). It fosters deep mystical knowingness (gnosis), and radical shifts in the sense of reality and life’s purpose.

Deanic Christians (and most gnostics) consider this Primary Light to be Absolute Deity, the One or Monas/Monad from Which emanates the True Father and the Celestial/Heavenly Mother. This One may be considered to be genderless, the Primary Father or the Primary Mother. Deanic Christians tend to see this One as the Primary or Great Mother known to Deanic Christians as Mysteria-Sige (may be pronounced as siege or sy-gee. Deanic Christians prefer the latter).

Dark Light: Pure black, often with velvety tinges of purple. Others have described it as more of a black/purple Light which shimmers. A shimmering dark/womb-like Light. [I have read of this and the following description in several books which were written by NDE’s including that written by Dr. Eben Alexander, a neuroscientist who experienced the Dark Light/Womb of Our Divine Mother, during his NDE experience.  See his book, Proof of Heaven, (3) I believed he referred to Her as the Core, if I remember correctly.)

This Dark Light of the Mother, known to Deanic Christians as Mari Sophia, is described as a shimmering, peaceful depth perceived as : “the Darkness that Knows”, a source of strength and knowing; sanctuary, the womb of creation. (Mari=Mar as in Mars-ee). 

It is said to gently reassure and heal. It leaves Her children with a sense of nurturing and support while at the same time, being linked to larger systems of learning and growth within the human family. 

Children have described being cradled in a womb-like darkness so purple-black that is shimmered, so deep that It knew all things, so peaceful, wonderful, bliss-filled and perfect that we adults would call it ‘heaven’, yet it was devoid of what was commonly termed, ‘light’. 

One NDE, Joe Ann Van Gelder, who experienced this Dark Light, is convinced that it (Dark Light) has something to do with a type of consciousness that interacts with Creation and created matter! Well, if that isn’t our understanding of not only Our Heavenly Mother, but of Divine Sophia in particular, I don’t know what is!!!!

Deanic Christians believe that it is from this Light that the Holy Daughter, know to us as Jana Sophia, emanates. (Jana=Yah-na).

 Bright Light: The Bright Light of the Father follows a range of yellow-gold-white hues. A brilliant radiance usually perceived as an almost blinding glow that emanates unconditional love, a warm, inviting intelligence, union, the activity of Truth. 

Deanic Christians believe that it is from this Light that the Divine/Cosmic Son, the Christ-Logos emanates.

It energizes and enlivens. It is known to trigger displays of latent talents and abilities to its experiencers. Overwhelmingly, those who have experienced the Father Light refer to is as all-compassionate, unconditional Love. It is a brilliance of a thousand suns and yet, does not harm the eye. (5)

And so,Deanic Christians might use white, golden and purple candles to represent the Light of the Primary Trinity, as well.

Rituals: In addition to the rituals recommended in the Fisheaters article, (scroll down to Symbols, Customs and Foods), we follow an old tradition of turning on all the lights (or lighting all the candles) in the home. I usually do this for a couple of hours on Lucidi/Candlemas evening during supper time and liturgy, in honor of the Lights of the Primordial Trinity. A candle in each window is also traditional.

The internet abounds with further ideas for rituals, customs, crafts and recipes. There are also several great books on ideas for Candlemas.

 Look closely at these chalices. How perfect for the double communion of Christ and Sophia for Deanic Christians! One has the engraving of the cross, the other has an engraving of what we know as the Fora!

Liturgy: Where this is a feast day which celebrates the Lights of the Trinity along with the Presentation of Jesus, a liturgy which offers the double Sophia/Christ communion may be celebrated, keeping in mind that red wine represents the Body and Blood of Jesus (not in a cannibalistic manner, it is said to represent the entire, Risen Jesus in Catholic Christianity) and white wine for the Spirit and Soul of the Holy Daughter, Jana Sophia.  (I will be working on a Deanic Christian liturgy in the near future which will have elements from both the Deanic and Christian liturgies.)

Though the world appears to be growing ever darker, on this day, we remember that the Divine Lights of the Godhead are Eternal.


May Our Lady bless you,

Blessed is She.

A. M. Pamela Lanides.


A) Deanic Christians: This term describes Goddess Christians who believe in a Divine Feminine Trinity of Great Mother/Absolute Deity, Mother and Daughter. It also describes a certain set of basic beliefs, a unique calendar, prayers and liturgy. This is sometimes known as the ‘Mother God side of religion where Dea, Our Divine Mother, has Her Own separate worship which is used in conjunction with the practice of Christianity in its various forms.

Deanic Christians tend to worship Sophia as their Form/Image of Dea and we understand Her according to Deanic Christian teachings.





5. All of the quotes re: the Primary Lights may be found in the Big Book of Near Death Experiences, the Ultimate Guide to What Happens When We Die by P.M.H. Atwater.

The Shared Mythos of the Shekinah and Sophia an Thoughts on Thunder, Perfect Mind.

(This site is under major reconstruction. Please bear with us).

As written for

I love the above image because in my own Tradition of Deanic Christianity, the Holy Mother is known, metaphorically, as the Supernal Sun. The Holy Daughter is the Supernal Moon Who reflects to us, the Bright Light of the Daughter. And of course, Sophia is understood to be the Holy Spirit. Our Celestial/Heavenly Mother is known as the Fiery Rose Heart. This painting reflects it all. Gold is the color of the Celestial Mother; silver is the color which represents the Holy Daughter.


The Shekinah and Holy Sophia are considered by some to be One and the same Divine Being/Person, while others recognize that these are two different Divine Feminine Persons. I like to think of them as each being Forms/Images of Dea (Our Divine Mother God).  

In these latter times, the perception of the Shekinah appears to be evolving. Many are coming to understand the Shekinah as being a Divine Being/Person in Her Own right. This Shekina, though, is not merely just as aspect of God, She is a Divine Being of Her Own Right. (4) This is a great article.

I always have taught that Sophia is God in Her Own right. Her Godhood is not dependent upon the Father, nor is She God because She is the Spouse of the Father, rather, She is God because that is Her very Nature, Her Eternal Being; just as we have human nature, human being. She is a Person of the Godhood.

Nor did She need Her Male Consort to save- Her, as we shall see, rather, She is a Saviouress. Our Soteria who works hand in hand with the Christ-Logos.

It must be remembered that there are many aspects of Sophia. In addition to being the Wisdom Goddess, in the earliest Gnostic texts, Sophia is Creatrix and sometimes, She is listed as Supreme.

As the Barbelo, She is the Supreme Mystery, the Mother of the All. As Aletheia, She is Truth. As Pistis, She is Faith.  She is also known as the Holy Spirit.Through Zoe, She is Life. She is the Mother of All Life.

 And so, though She may be the Wisdom Goddess, that is only one Aspect of Her.

I believe that She is the Christian Divine Mother God, Whom some Christians call, Dea. 

(As you read the following, please keep in mind that I have not studied the Kabbalah or the Zohar and so I only have a rudimentary knowledge of these things.)

I had a Jewish friend (mentioned in a previous post), Lieren Malka, who was a Reconstructionist Jew. She believed in the Shekina as Mother and Daughter just as many understand Sophia to be Mother and Daughter. Like the Sophia, this understanding of the Shekina as being Mother and Daughter is based upon the idea of Higher and Lower Shekinah, just as there is Higher and Lower Sophia.

In Gnostic circles, the Mother is considered to be the Barbelo (whom some Gnostic scholars consider to be Higher Sophia). while the Daughter is Lower Sophia.

In the Gnostic Text, On the Origin of the World, the Mother and Daughter are named: Pistis Sophia is the Mother of Zoe. In the Valentinian System, we have (what my spiritual group refers to as the Great Mother) Sige (may be pronounced Sy-gee or Siege), which means Silence. The Mother is Aletheia, which means Truth and the Daughter is Zoe, which means Life. (1).

I have noticed how many similarities there are between the Mythos/ Story of the Shekinah and that of Holy Sophia.

Lower/Daughter) Sophia, is the World Soul. The Shekinah is also the World Soul. 
 painting by Helena Nelson Reed: 

From the Universal Kabbalah Network: … the Shekinah is the World Soul. So, the Shekina, in addition to being the Soul of God, is also the Soul of the World. (2). Can there be more than one World Soul?

In some forms of Deanic (Goddess) Christianity, Mother Sophia is known as Rosa Coeli, Rose of Heaven. The Holy Daughter Sophia, as the World Soul is known as Rosa Mundi, Rose of the World.

In my own spiritual Tradition, Our Heavenly Mother, as Rosa Coeli, is Transcendent, like Our True Father, while the Holy Daughter, as Rosa Mundi, is Immanent like the Divine Son.

As we will see in the excerpt below, the Shekinah is the World Soul voluntarily, while according to Gnostic Christian Mythos, Sophia is the World Soul because She is trapped here because She erred and is Fallen and is in need of Her Male Consort to save Her.

But as Rose Horman Arthur  showed in her scholarly work, The Wisdom Goddess, Feminine Motifs in Eight Nag Hammadi Documents, (I believe this is available through Stanford University Library), Gnostic Christian authors took pre-Christian texts and clearly demoted Sophia. Her ‘Fall and entrapment’ was not in the pre-Christian equivalent texts. From what I understand, they took certain texts, re-wrote them, demoted Sophia in many, many areas and gave them a new title. According to Dr. Arthur, the ‘Fallen Sophia” was unknown in the original texts. 


Sophia and the Shekinah each suffer a Descent through darkness. We know, from Gnostic texts, that Sophia suffers a Descent down through ever-denser/darker realms, which causes Her Light to Scatter. The Shekinah also suffer a Descent through the realms which causes Her Soul to Shatter as we read in the following text:

Here again, the Shekinah plays a very special and multi-faceted role in the Kabbalistic teachings.  For, it is the Shekinah that is ascribed by Kabbalists to be the Middle Pillar of Balance that unites the opposites, just as the soul allows for the opposites of body and spirit to unite, so too does the Shekinah play this role for us.  Indeed, the Shekinah is the Soul of Man, what Kabbalists call the Neshamah, for She has given a portion of Herself in order for each human to come into being in this world. In giving of Herself to humans, in this state of physical density and isolation, the World Soul becomes shattered. This shattering can be metaphorically grasped in considering what might happen to a glass alembic or flask when too much pressure is put upon in the alchemical works.  Thus, the Shekinah represents the ultimate archetype of selfless sacrifice. All Her sacrifices have been for the benefit of creation so that humankind may experience this life in order to fulfill its destiny and purpose. Kabbalists, therefore, pay great respect and gratitude to the Shekinah for Her sacrifice and service by taking up the mantle or the quest to reunite the Shekinah with the Creator.

Through this, the Shekinah shares Her Soul with us while Sophia resides in us as the Divine Spark of Light.

Both Sophia and the Shekinah have often been referred to as the Holy Spirit. (3).

Both are said to be Higher/Mother and Lower/Daughter. The Mother is Her Transcendent Form, the Holy Daughter is the Immanent Form as the World Soul.

In Thunder, Perfect Mind,,

which some scholars believe was originally named in honor of the Barbelo, (High Sophia), depicts Her as the Immanent Saviouress who speaks, speaks back and forth about Her identity. (4)

For I am the first and the last.I am the honored one and the scorned one.I am the whore and the holy one.I am the wife and the virgin.I am <the mother> and the daughter.I am the members of my mother.I am the barren oneand many are her sons.I am she whose wedding is great,and I have not taken a husband.I am the midwife and she who does not bear.I am the solace of my labor pains.I am the bride and the bridegroom, etc.

On a personal level, I can understand Thunder on different levels. On one level, I see part of this poem as going back and forth between the Transcendent Mother (Barbelo-Sophia) and the Immanent Daughter (Eve-Sophia). The Immanent Daughter is within each of us. Whatever we go through, She goes through. There is nothing that we suffer which She does not suffer with us. There is no joy that we experience that She does not experience with us,

And so, as the Transcendent Mother, She is the honored one, but as the least of Her children, in whom dwells the Holy Daughter, She is the scorned one and so on.  Here is an article with similar views:

(By the way, this is awesome: Also recommended:

In Summary:

The Shekinah is associated with Creation.

Sophia is associated with Creation.

Shekinah is the World Soul.
Sophia is the World Soul. (Can there be more than one World Soul?)

The Shekina has often been referred to as the Holy Spirit. (3)
Sophia has been referred to as the Holy Spirit. (4)

As a result of the Descent into density and darkness, the Shekinah suffered and Her Soul is Shattered.
As a result of the Descent into density and darkness, Sophia suffered, and Her Light is Scattered.

The Shekinah is Higher/Lower or Mother and Daughter.
Sophia is Higher/Lower or Mother and Daughter.

The Shekinah shares a portion of Her Soul, with us.  Her soul is our soul. (Sacrifice).
Sophia shares a portion of Her Light with us. She resides in us as the Divine Spark. (Sacrifice).

The Shekina is the Bride of God. (5)
Sophia is the Bride of God.

For an interesting article on Sophia from an Esoteric Christian perspective, please see:

Let us Bless the Queen of Heaven,

Blessed is She.

Rev. Pamela Lanides


4) Wikipedia: “Thunder Perfect Mind (the title is, more accurately, The Thunder – Perfect Intellect) takes the form of an extended, riddling monologue, in which an immanent saviour speaks a series of paradoxical statements concerning the divine feminine nature. The original language of the poem was Greek, though only a Coptic version survives in the Nag Hammadi library; the manuscript resides in the Cairo Coptic museum.”

This is a great article: Shekhina | Encyclopedia Mythica

The Seven Virgins/Female Angels and the Tower Part II

26 Hestia/Jan. 20

In Part I, we discussed the Seven Virgins of Aseneth who are connected to a Tower in the early Christian text, the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth. (A) Part II examines the Seven Women around the Tower as found in the Shepherd of Hermas, (B) once considered a canonical text. (1 and 2).

Important to remember, as discussed in Part I, that the later part of the text may be a forgery: So, what was the motive of the later forgery to the Shepherd of Hermas?  In the first four visions Hermas encounters a female angel, whom he mistakes for the oracle of the Sibyl.  It is explained that this female angel represents the church.  In the ninth parable, it is explained that the female angel really was not a woman, but rather the Son of God.  This is an obvious gloss.  Whoever added this forged section, had a problem with female teachers in the church.  This actually was an issue of the second century church, and it was suppressed by the male majority.

Moving on to Part II:

While Aseneth must leave Her Seven Virgins behind in her Tower, thereby leaving behind her Pagan past, so that she may marry the Divine Joseph; the Shepherd of Hermas, in his vision, is told that the Seven Women (female angels) support the Tower and must be served.

(3[11]:3 The tower, which thou seest building, is myself, the Church, which was seen of thee both now and aforetime. Ask, therefore, what thou willest concerning the tower, and I will reveal it unto thee, that thou mayest rejoice with the saints.”

8[16]:2 She looked upon me, and smiled, and she saith to me, “Seest thou seven women round the tower?” “I see them, lady,” say I. “This tower is supported by them by commandment of the Lord.

8[16]:8 Whosoever therefore shall serve these women, and shall have strength to master their works, shall have his dwelling in the tower with the saints of God.”

While in Joseph and Aseneth, the Tower represents the Pagan priestesshood of Artemis, in early Christianity, Mary Magdalene has always been associated with a Tower. Magdal-eder means Tower of the Flock. (4)

Mary Magdalene is said to have been a Pagan high priestess. Later, She was to become the first Apostle to the Apostles. A spiritual leader of whom Peter was jealous. Some believe that she actually founded Her own Church. And while it is very possible that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were, indeed, married, others believe that their relationship was more spiritual.

The following article from Time Mag (warning: page has unwanted audio and a lot of popups), presents a different view of Mary Magdalene. One where she is a spiritual leader, a view held by many Gnostic Christians, as well. This flows well with the recent findings of the imagery of female priests (and Mary as a bishop) in the earliest known iconography of the Church, (see previous post), and other known factors of early female Christian clergy. .

And so, while in the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth, the Tower represents the Pagan priestesshood of Aseneth, while in the Shepherd of Hermas, the Tower represents the Church. In his visions, the Shepherd sees an Aged Lady, a female angel, who explains to him that She is the Church, which is represented by the Tower and that all the bricks of the Tower symbolize the faithful. (The Blessed Virgin Mary also typifies the Church and the Church as Bride).

At one point, the Aged Lady shows him the Seven Women of the Tower:

8[16]:2 She looked upon me, and smiled, and she saith to me, “Seest thou seven women round the tower?” “I see them, lady,” say I. “This tower is supported by them by commandment of the Lord.

8[16]:3 Hear now their employments. The first of them, the woman with the strong hands, is called Faith; through her are saved the elect of God.

8[16]:4 And the second, that is girded about and looketh like a man, is called Continence; she is the daughter of Faith. Whosoever then shall follow her, becometh happy in his life, for he shall refrain from all evil deeds, believing that, if he refrain from every evil desire, he shall inherit eternal life.”

8[16]:5 “And the others, lady, who be they?” “They are daughters one of the other. The name of the one is Simplicity, of the next, Knowledge, of the next, Guilelessness, of the next, Reverence, of the next, Love. When then thou shalt do all the works of their mother, thou canst live.”

8[16]:6 “I would fain know, lady,” I say, “what power each of them possesseth.” “Listen then,” saith she, “to the powers which they have.

8[16]:7 Their powers are mastered each by the other, and they follow each other, in the order in which they were born. From Faith is born Continence, from Continence Simplicity, from Simplicity Guilelessness, from Guilelessness Reverence, from Reverence Knowledge, from Knowledge Love. Their works then are pure and reverent and divine.

8[16]:8 Whosoever therefore shall serve these women, and shall have strength to master their works, shall have his dwelling in the tower with the saints of God.” (5)


Let us Bless the Queen of Heaven,

Blessed is She.

Rev. Pamela Lanides.

A) The Lost Gospel, Decoding the Ancient Text by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson:

B) The Shepherd of Hermas in an updated language form by Daniel Robinson:



Blessing the Home.

The Full Blessing Moon

Supermoon Rising

The Full Moon occurs shortly after midnight on 27 Hestia/Jan. 21. For those who have not, as yet, blessed their homes for the coming year, tonight and tomorrow are perfect times to do so!

The annual blessing of the homes is a practice that may also be found in Orthodox Christianity. Each year, during the month of January, our Russian priest, together with other members of the parish, would follow the altar boys into the homes of the each parishioner for the blessing of the home.

What followed was a beautiful, incense-filled ceremony as we chanted ancient prayers back and forth with the priest, witnessing the asperging (sprinkling) of each and every wall with holy water in the name of the Trinity.

The Deanic Christian system of home blessing is as follows:

Have on hand, holy water, blessed holy oil, a good quality incense and either a blessing wand or a fresh evergreen branch that has been found on the ground. (The branch should be returned to the Earth after the ceremony.)

Light home altar or home shrine candles.

Bless yourself with holy water, anoint your forehead with the oil and hold your hands over the incense and say a prayer in your own words before beginning.

Please note that the Sign of the Cross may be traced according to your own Tradition. The most common method amongst Goddess Christians is the trace the equi-distant cross as follows:

Touch forehead and say: in the Name of the Father; touch heart chakra and say: and of the Mother; touch right shoulder and say: and of the Son; touch left shoulder and say: and of the Daughter. Amen.

Those who do not include the Holy Daughter in their Tradition will end by touching the right shoulder while saying: and of; and then the left shoulder while saying: the Son. 

There are other ways to make a Deanic Christian sign of the cross as well, which will be discussed in a future article.

Please feel free to adapt the following ceremony according to your own needs or inclinations. This is a guideline to the most complete form of blessing. Others may prefer a more simplified ceremony.

If there are family/home members present, they may softly chant or sing prayers and/or hymns.

The Blessing Ceremony

Take up the bowl of holy water and either the blessing wand or evergreen branch.

In each and every room, beginning in the East, dip the wand/branch in the holy water and then sprinkle it three times on each wall, each window, each doorway and in each corner all the while saying, each time you sprinkle the three times: this home is blessed in the Name of the Father, and of the Mother, and of the Son and of the Daughter or whatever is the blessing formula for your own Tradition.

Go outside and perform the sprinkling on the outside doors.

Optional: Sprinkle in the four Cardinal Directions over your land.

This ends the Blessing of the House. For those who are so inclined and for whom the smoke of incense is not a problem, the ceremony continues with the consecration of the home.

Return inside and take up the incense, whether in a bowl with charcoal, a swinging censor or a good stick incense, being careful of any sparks, and perform the same ceremony as with the holy water. Take the incense and trace the sign of the cross in the air, in the direction of each wall, corner, window and doorway. (Or, towards each wall for the simpler form.) While doing so, say, this house is consecrated in the Name of the Father, and of the Mother, and of the Son, and of the Holy Daughter. 

Finally, for the long form of the ceremony, dip finger in holy oil and trace the sign of the cross above the outside and the inside of the main doorways of the home while saying, this house is anointed in the Name of the Father, and of the Mother, and of the Son, and of the Holy Daughter. Amen.

Earliest Christian Art Forms Depict Female Clergy.

Posted on and

While the idea of female clergy in early Christianity comes as no surprise to Goddess, Esoteric and Gnostic Christians, the following discovery is nothing short of stunning.

From the Wijngaards Institute for Catholic Research

Dear Linda

We have selected the following article from our printed newsletter ‘Communion’ for you.

Ally Kateusz PhD (pictured above) is a historian
with a particular interest in the roles of women in early
Christianity, and is Research Associate at the Wijngaards
Institute for Catholic Research

I have been working on several projects this year related to early Christian women clergy, and recently I realized I had missed something important. What I realized is that there does not appear to be any surviving Christian art up to at least the middle of the sixth century that depicts a Christian man at the altar in a real church without a woman also with him. There are, however, two artifacts that depict men and women flanking the altar in parallel, and these are the two very oldest surviving iconographic artifacts to depict people at the altar in a real church.
Both of these artifacts are sculptures usually dated to the decades around 430 CE. One is a large sarcophagus front, which depicts the sanctuary of the second Hagia Sophia in Constantinople, and the other is the Pola ivory reliquary box, which depicts the sanctuary of Old Saint Peter’s in Rome. Both sculptors portrayed a liturgical scene with men and women flanking the altar in parallel, with men on the left and women on the right.

I published my research about these two artifacts in the Spring 2017 Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, which won the March 2018 Feminae article of the month. Not only are these two the very oldest surviving artifacts to depict people at the altar in a real  church, they apparently survived only because they were buried. The ivory reliquary box was buried below an altar in Roman era church near modern Pola, Croatia, and the sarcophagus in a hypogeum adjacent the Theodosian walls in Istanbul. Both were excavated in the twentieth century. From this sample of two we can surmise that other similar artifacts must have existed, but none above ground survived, suggesting that thisgender parallel liturgy may have been censored later.

The idea that the gender parallel liturgy was censored is not far-fetched given the evidence of censorship of early liturgical manuscripts, which was even more pervasive than with literary manuscripts. According to Paul Bradshaw at the beginning of his magisterial The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship, almost no liturgical manuscripts, neither Christian nor Jewish, have survived from the first seven centuries CE. Instead, almost all of the oldest liturgical manuscripts date to the early eighth century, and are written on similar writing materials in similar scripts, an apparent attempt to legitimize the liturgical practices of that day by presenting them as from an older tradition.

The biggest revelation for me, however, came during dinner with Miriam Duignan, Wijngaards Institute Communications Director, who asked whether there was evidence in art of women clergy officiating without men. In fact, the very oldest surviving artifact to depict Christians of only one sex at the altar of a real church depicts only women. This scene is on an ivory pyx dated to the 500s, which today is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Most scholars agree it depicts the altar in the rotunda or basilica of the Anastasis Church in Jerusalem, also known as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, although other scholars suggest perhaps some other church in Palestine.

The round shape of the pyx evokes the famous rotunda church, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York titles it “Pyx with the Women at Christ’s Tomb,” suggesting this identification. Other art depicts the two Marys approaching the shrine over Christ’s tomb, which was inside the rotunda.  The pyx, however, does not depict the tomb. It depicts five women in what appears to be a liturgical procession to the altar table, a book set upon it, a lamp hanging above it, and a ciborium with twisted columns and curtains arching over it.The two women closest to the altar carry censers; the three others have raised arms.

A search of the Princeton Index of Christian Art indicates that a church mosaic in Qasr el Lebya that depicts a woman with a censer dated 539–540CE is the very oldest dated representation in art of a Christian with a censer. The ivory pyx, which cannot be dated more closely than the 500s, is the oldest to depict a Christian with a censer at an altar. In addition, it is by far the oldest to depict the liturgy in what was probably the Anastasis in Jerusalem – or for that matter, in any church in  Palestine.

We thus see early Christian artists portraying women in the very oldest surviving art that depicts anyone at the Christian altar. We see women in the liturgy both paralleled with men and without men. We see these women inside the sanctuaries of some of the most important orthodox basilicas in Christendom. To my knowledge these artifacts are older than any surviving art to depict a Christian man alone at an altar in a real church.

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Starting Anew

26 Hestia/Jan. 20

Our new About Page:

Deanic: of Dea, Our Divine Mother God.

Divina Reginae: Our Divine Queen.

The Reginites are a Deanic Christian Order ministering to all Deanic, Goddess, Sophian, Esoteric and Divine Family Christians.

Deanic Christianity, first founded by ArchMadra Pamela Lanides, is a Blended Path which combines an adapted form of the Deanic/Filianic system of worship of Our Divine Mother God alongside the Christian worship of the True Father and His Divine Son. And though we offer our own teachings and thealogy/theology, we are interdenominational.

Jewish devotees have also been known to adapt this system in honor of the Holy Shekinah.

We believe that it is vital for the soul to experience Dea (Our Divine Mother) as being God in Her Own Right and is therefore, important to understand that Her Godhood is not dependent upon the Father. In other words, She is not God because She is the Spouse of the Father, She is God or because that is Her Nature, Her very Being. She has God-Nature just as we have human nature.  She is Eternal. She is Our Divine Mother God.

We do not use the word, goddess in describing Our Divine Mother, because there is a difference between the nature of a goddess and the Nature of God. For this reason, we do not worship or honor Pagan goddesses.

It is very difficult to truly experience Dea as being God in Her Own right without Her Own separate, Feminine/feminine system of worship, otherwise, as time has consistently shown, the Divine Masculine quickly subsumes and overshadows the Divine Feminine. This is especially so after 2,000 years of a Male God-only religion which took over so much of the globe.

From the Deanic/Filianic religion [Mother/Daughter God religion (1)], we learn the importance of using Living Stream Images/Forms for Dea. Living Stream indicates a ‘goddess’ who has had an unbroken lineage of devotion  unto the present day. For those of the Mother God religion (as opposed to Deanic Christianity), these Living Stream Forms/Images include the Hindu Goddesses, Quan Yin, Tara, Amaterasu, and Mother Mary.

Christians have their own Forms/Images for Dea. While Reginites are devoted to Mother/Daughter Sophia as our Image/Form for Dea, other Christians are devoted to Dea as the Mother Spirit; the Holy Mother Spirit; the Heavenly Mother; the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Daughter and Mary Magdalene. These are our Images/Forms for the Divine Feminine. We also honor Eve and Norea as avatars of Holy Sophia. [Please note, we do not accept the mythology of the ‘Fallen’ Sophia, which was a later interpolation of the original Mythos. (A)]

The Deanic/Filianic system of worship was first developed in the 1970’s, by students at Oxford, as a Divine Feminine-only religion. It would later grow into the religious groups known as the Madrians [(of which there were several Orders, now defunct) and the present-day Filianists (1 & 2)].

Having taken inspiration from the study and practice of the Deanic religion for over eight years, ArchMadra Pamela, founder of Deanic Christianity, (beginning with the former Kyrians) and founder of the present-day Janite Order of Priestesses and Sisterhood 3), is pleased to present the Reginites as a teaching Order of Deanic Christianity.

For more information, please contact ArchMadra Pamela at

This site is currently under construction. Thank you for your patience.

May Our Lady bless you,

Blessed is She.

A) The Wisdom Goddess: Feminie Motifs in Eight Nag Hammadi Documents by Rose Harmon Arthur.