Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Goddess Sophia - 'Lady Wisdom' and Goddess of the occult

A bit of education for a change, considering how slack I've been!

I'll also have more on visualisation once I have my book of shadows back from my old house as I'm halfway from one place to the other to the other again.

Funnily enough, Sophia is not mentioned very often and sits on the fence between Christian and Pagan religions. Originally as a Gnostic goddess, the 'Lady of Divine Wisdom' takes her name from the Hebrew 'Hochma' or 'Wisdom.' In Greek, Sophia literally translates to 'Wisdom.' She appeared in 'The Wisdom of Solomon' by an Alexandrian Jew in approx 30BC, was present at creation and was God's bride... certainly not something which is well known as she is seen in the image below from the Sistine Chapel holding up God's arm and supporting his work. The Seal of Solomon itself is said to go back to the Bronze Age which is a part of Kabbalistic magickal tradition and has been used in Hermetics (alchemy), containing the Star of David.

The Seal of Solomon which contains a great deal of astrological and Hermetic symbols, including Ourobouros

She is venerated as the goddess of truth, wisdom and the occult mysteries... or apparently the occult mysteries according to Fiona Horne. She is depicted with a book in her left arm and a dove coming out of her heart. So how at the end of this can we connect her to the 'occult mysteries'? Is it because of her links to the book of Solomon which leads us to the Kabbalah and Hermetic traditions, or because she is so relatively unknown except for in Eastern Europe?

Another source leads us to some interesting information (via Northernway):
First, Sophia is developed from the context of modern life and real people, but in conversation with the historical and mythological. Second, the dark side is confronted through analysis of Sophia's "Other" faces, Lilith and Hecate, locating it as the source of individual power and knowledge. Third, it provides modern women with an image of female power that is not based solely on reproduction and mothering but on another aspect of the feminine archetype rarely discussed--the intelligence and cosmic power of the life force. Finally, it introduces the "path of crumbs" which encourages women to direct their own life through recognition of the guidance present in circumstances.

So perhaps she was another Goddess to be omitted from the majority of Western Christian tradition like Lillith? How and why she is linked to Hecate is unclear but certainly interesting.

Sophia and her three daughters: Faith, Hope and Love (other sources say they are 'Faith, Hope and Charity')

Mark Ryden's contemporary depiction in 'Sophia's Mercurial Waters'

The woman under God's arm is said to be Sophia (from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel)

Alex Grey's interpreration of Sophia

Literary sources:

The Encyclopedia of Spirits by Judika Illes
The Encyclopedia of Witches and Witchcraft by Rosemary Ellen Guiley

1 comment:

Wiccan Pope said...

I am Wiccan Pope of the Jehovah Disciple Church of Christ. Our Church Site is at Our Church Teachings Center around the Birth Mother Goddess Wisdom (Sophia) of Proverbs 8, Her Consort Jehovah the Lord Hunter God, and Their Son Yeshua Christ.