O, Sai Sushuri Grace, be with us.
Let us call upon the Holy Sophia, the supernal mother of our souls, and celestial bride of our spirits: Daughter of Infinite Light, born of enlightened love; merciful and compassionate, embodiment of perfect wisdom; begotten in Eternity, beyond Time and Space, With what words shall we praise Thee, or with what thoughts comprehend Thy majesty? Utterance must profane Thee; silence itself can bear witness to Thee. How shall we extoll Thee? In what shall we shadow forth Thy great glory among us? From the Collect of the Gnostic liturgy for Sept. 8th. (A)
Deanism teaches that Living Stream Goddesses may be used as Forms or Images for Dea. For Janites, though we are not Gnostic, the Divine Sophia is our Living Stream Form for Dea. Many regard Her as Mother, Daughter and Holy Soul. Others know Her as the Holy Spirit. Janites understand Her to be Mother, Daughter and Absolute Deity (the Monas).
As we know, the Divine Sophia was demoted from Her original position as Gnostic Christianity took hold. And, unfortunately, even in the most favorable of Gnostic texts, those texts which do not hold the Divine Sophia as fallen or trapped, Daughter Sophia is blamed for the Fall one way or the other. Syrian Gnosis is one of the few exceptions where there is no idea of a fallen or trapped Sophia.
Despite this, there are many correlations between the Mythos of Sophia and the Mythos as found in our scriptures. Today, we will begin where we left off in Part II, which was the Nativity story of the Three Princesses as found in Chapter II of the Mythos of the Divine Maid/Holy Daughter, verses 20-30.
From the Nativity Story, we move on to the Holy Daughter leaving the Light of Her Mother and taking on Fate (Chapter III, verses 10-22). Sophia does something similar. She must separate Herself from Her Mother so that She may begin Her Descent. She, also, must take on Fate. She, also, must be stripped of Her Glory.
As Caitlin Matthews so beautifully states in her book, Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom , Bride of God, “Sophia evicts Herself from the Fullness of Heaven (Pleroma) and wanders homeless across the world, only to lodge in the hearts of Her faithful children who still remember their Divine Mistress. She puts off Her Glory and covers Herself with a Veil”. (This is one of many reasons we veil during formal prayer, the RoS and the liturgy, because our Goddesses, the Celestial Mary and Sophia, are veiled. The veil is highly symbolic).
Interestingly enough, Chapter IV, in the Mythos of the Divine Maid contains a story which is highly reminiscent of the Temptation of Christ in the Desert. Like the Christ, the Holy Daughter remains faithful to Her mission. Similar to the Holy Daughter, we find that in various Sophian texts, Daughter Sophia goes through Her Own drama before Her Descent through the Seven Realms.
Before we begin the Descent of the Holy Daughter, I would like to quote something scholar Caitlin Matthews has so eloquently stated, something that I have often spoken of myself (not so eloquently) and something that has been felt by many women for generation upon generation. Again, from Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, Bride of God “ This account of the Fall cannot help but be read as patronizing by any woman. Many more extreme fulminations against the sin of Eve abound, all based squarely on biblical precedent. Western women, both Christian and Jewish, have lived in their shadow for many hundreds of years. Eve’s punishment for her desire for knowledge is to suffer in her sexuality by bearing children. Eve’s punishment for her desire for knowledge is to suffer in her sexuality by bearing children (I assume she means in great pain which is what the bible said). Sophia’s punishment for presuming to either create by Herself or to see Her origins is to bear a child that will trap her vital power in matter. By extension, all women still suffer in their sexuality as a result of this myth’s social influence. And, indeed, we have suffered in many other ways, too. Especially when we have been considered to be spiritually inferior.
So, to the Gnostics, the Father could create by Himself, but the Female could not.
There are several versions of what happens to Sophia. In On the Origin of the World, Sophia is Saviouress and Her Daughter breathes the Life-Spirit into Adam. But, in other Myths, She falls through the Seven Realms or Seven Density-Vibrations and becomes trapped as the World Soul.
However, if we look to the Mythos of the Kabbalistic Shekinah, keeping in mind that the Shekinah and Sophia are One, the Descent is voluntary, out of love for humanity. Likewise, the Syrian Gnostics, were said to have taught: There is here, as yet, no thought of a fall, properly so called, as in the Valentinian system. The power which has thus overflowed leftwards, makes a voluntary descent into the lower waters, confiding in its possession of the spark of true light. It is, moreover, evident that though mythologically distinguished from the humectatio luminis (Greek: ikmas phōtos, ἰκμὰς φωτός), the Sophia is yet, really nothing else but the light-spark coming from above, entering this lower material world, and becoming here the source of all formation, and of both the higher and the lower life. She swims over the waters, and sets their hitherto immoveable mass in motion, driving them into the abyss, and taking to herself a bodily form from the hylē. She compasses about, and is laden with material every kind of weight and substance, so that, but for the essential spark of light, she would be sunk and lost in the material. Bound to the body which she has assumed and weighed down thereby, she seeks in vain to make her escape from the lower waters, and hasten upwards to rejoin her heavenly mother. Not succeeding in this endeavour, she seeks to preserve, at least, her light-spark from being injured by the lower elements, raises herself by its power to the realm of the upper region, and these spreading out herself she forms out of her own bodily part, the dividing wall of the visible firmament, but still retains the aquatilis corporis typus. Finally seized with a longing for the higher light, she finds, at length, in herself, the power to raise herself even above the heaven of her own forming, and to fully lay aside her corporeity. The body thus abandoned is called “Woman from Woman.” (4)
We can see from this that not only did the Descent cause Her suffering, but, as with the Holy Daughter in the Deanic Scriptures, the Descent of Sophia was absolutely necessary for Creation.
Again, quoting Caitlin Matthews in Sophia, Bride of God, ” This image is one of Sophia, no longer the veiled bride awaiting Her bridegroom, but the glorious Virgin of Light Who descends willingly from Her place apart to partake of the drama of life’s restoration to the light.“
Sophia is the Mistress of the Ogdoad that is, the Seven Planetary Spheres and the Eighth realm of the fixed stars or the Seven Heavens and the region above them. The eighth region is considered to be superior to the Seven Realms. The mystical number seven, symbolic of the Sophian mysteries, are to be found in Her descent of the Seven Levels, Her Seven Pillars, Her Seven Sorrows, Her Seven Archangels Who came from Her Light, and Her Seven Female Aeons, not to mention the Seven Gifts and the Seven Spirits.
As with the Passion Mythos of the Holy Daughter, (Chapter V, verses 1-17). the Descent through the Seven vibratory-densities was excruciating to Daughter Sophia. We learn, from Tau Malachi: ” On a metaphysical level there is something more within this story, however, for the descent of the Bride (Sophia) into exile and bondage is her crucifixion upon the cross of the world; she goes down into the ignorance and darkness to gather holy sparks into herself, so that arising from the darkness she might carry those sparks in ascent with her. Thus, she is acting as the Savioress….” (3) (Here he is referring to the Divine Sparks of Sophia which reside in our souls).
ArchMadria Pamela Lanides
2 Sources: Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, the book of Proverbs and On the Origin of the World.