As I was researching this article, I found a Deanic doctrine within Gnostic teachings: The motive for the Sophia’s fall was defined according to the Anatolian school to have lain therein, that by Her desire to know what lay beyond the limits of the knowable, She had brought Herself into a state of ignorance and formlessness. Her suffering extends to the whole Pleroma.
The Myth of Sophia is often synonymous with the story of our souls.
In the above paragraph, we read about why we are here, ‘because we desired to know what lay beyond the limits of the knowable’ and by this, we brought ourselves into limitation, suffering and ignorance. Through this limitation and suffering, our souls will evolve until we desire nothing but Perfect Love. This is exactly what is taught in the longer version of the Madrian Creed.
The Holy Daughter suffered an excruciating Descent down through the Seven Realms. The Divine Sophia/Shekinah also suffered an excruciating Descent down through the Realms. The reason this caused Her immense suffering is because of the greater and greater density of each realm and the further and further away from the Pleroma She descended.
The Most Pure Holy Daughter suffered this Descent in order to remain with us, here in exile, reminiscent of the sacrifice of Quan Yin, who chose to remain behind until the last cry of humanity was heard. This is part of the Primary Sacrifice of the Holy Daughter within the JOP, that She sacrificed Her Place in the Pleroma in order to remain intimately bound with us, while we are here, in exile. She remains with us as the Holy Soul.
Some Patriarchal myths diminish the scope of this Holy Sacrifice by stating that this was a punishment or that She (Sophia) was ‘trapped’ here. (Similar to Persephone being trapped in the Underworld for the Winter.). Yet again, these misogynist notions are a continuation of the blaming of the female/Female for the ‘Fall of Humanity’ and the ‘fallen state of Creation’. These outmoded ideas are slowly falling by the wayside (no pun intended) in our modern Age.
(Here is another article concerning Her demotion: http://www.sophiaandthedragon.com/sophia/soul_of_world.html.)
But here is an example of Her voluntary sacrifice:
It is believed that in man’s fall to a denser, less perfect state of being in the physical, the Shekinah stayed with us as we separated from God or were exiled from the ‘Garden’. Thus, the Shekinah, once again, was voluntarily removed from God/En Sof in order for us to have our experience. She has always stayed with us, wherever we were exiled or isolated or shut out, the Shekinah was always there in exile and isolation with us. http://www.universalkabbalah.net/Shekinah
I just discovered that the Shekinah, like the Holy Daughter in the Deanic Faith, is known as the Moon Who reflects the Divine Light into the World. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shekhinah 🙂
What exactly do we mean by saying that Sophia/Shekinah is the World Soul? Some of a New Age perspective, will state that She is Gaia, others believe the Earth is Her Body. Some say She is Mother Earth.
The following is, what I think is the best definition of Sophia as the World Soul as written by an Episcopalian Priest:
As the living centre or Soul of all creatures […] She includes the manifoldness of living souls; She is all of humanity together in one, or the Soul of the World. She is ideal humanity, containing all individual living creatures or souls and uniting them through Herself […]. Her task is to mediate and unify the manifoldness of living creatures, who constitute the actual content of Her life and the absolute unity of God.
She contains all living creatures, She is the unity that binds them, and Her work in the world is to unify outwardly that which is already one in essence—in Her. (Episcopal Priest, Father Matthew Wright.) (1)
And so, She is the Soul of All.
Sophia herself is but a reflex of the “Mother of all living” and is therefore also called “Mother.” She is the formatrix of heaven and earth, for as much as mere matter can only receive form through the light which, coming down from above has interpenetrated the dark waters of the hylē; but she is also at the same time the spiritual principle of life in creation, or, as the world-soul the representative of all that is truly pneumatic in this lower world: her fates and experiences represent typically those of the pneumatic soul which has sunk down into chaos. (Rather, She shares with us, as is said about the Shekinah, everything that we experience.)
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 Humanity, 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.
From Russian religious thought we read: Sophia splintered Her Divine Light and placed one spark of it into each human being, thereby Herself becoming the Anima Mundi, the Soul of the World. Here, it is voluntary.
From the above descriptions of the Holy or World Soul, we do not see the New Age or neo-Pagan idea of our sister, the Earth as being Mother Goddess or the Body of Sophia. Rather, we see Sophia/Shekinah, as the Holy Soul, intimately intertwined with every single one of us, every single soul, like a giant mandala of souls that has One Still Centre Point.
After the suffering of Descent and Her voluntary exile here to remain with us, the Holy Daughter gave of Herself to us to the point where She, Herself was Shattered. Through the Shattering came the scattering of Her Divine Sparks, which now reside in the hidden chamber of our hearts, and a sharing of a Portion of Her Soul, with all of us. With Her children.
Sophia and humanity are so unified through Soul and through Spirit, that the tale of the Soul became the Tale of Sophia. She will never leave us