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Key to our misunderstanding of Sophia, is the misunderstanding of Gnostic creation myths, or mysteries (allegorical writings which contained coded understanding). I think much of this arises from our literalist education, what should be termed, indoctrination, which misses the point of Gnosticism, taking literally what is written, or attempting to read the code, instead of tuning the mind to the Universe and thus ‘knowing’. But even the word knowing is misunderstood – as it is often seen as arrogance: how can you know the universe? But actually what it means is understanding, which can only occur if a person makes a personal effort and takes responsibility for their own life. In this, empathy, or Sophia, is key.
The original Gnostics used stories (what were then termed myths or mysteries), writings you could say, to offer understanding. But key to this understanding was putting into practice the knowledge that they contained. You had to first live what you believed and then see and feel the results, by way of Karma: the universes teaching program, and inspiration – achieved by using thought in an altruistic way, for the benefit of the earth and all the species that live within it. Sophia means, understanding the universe – or to live with the universe as one.
Sophia is the feminine side of humanity – that which encompasses empathy. Look at our world today – where is the empathy, compassion, gentleness and consideration? It is no mystery though – as our world is governed by men who place women in a second class position and have no regard for the feminine – imagining that it is weakness and wishy-washy pandering to emotion. Nothing could be further from the truth.
It is commonly claimed that Sophia’s traits include: righteousness, wisdom, love, communication, knowledge, creativity, protection, the art of giving, and truth. A Sophia woman sees truth and tells it as it is; she has no fear of the truth. I think righteousness crept under the radar because of literalist Christianity (the sects that arose after the genocide and destruction of Gnostic Christians started by the Roman Emperor Constantine). Sophia is not about gender – it is the personification of attributes that should be present in both sexes. The portrayal of Sophia as a woman is literalist thinking rearing its ugly head again. It is a state of mind, not defined by gender – but how we think and live.
It is written that Sophia brings meaning to human experience with her gift of understanding ‘holistically’ (the bigger picture). Only when you stand back, gaining some emotional distance though, can you see that even the most traumatic experiences can be the birthplace of your most treasured strengths. It is only in times of great stress, when you feel at your weakest, that heroic feats are truly appreciated, but the appreciation of what we came through and where it has led us comes later with realisation, and after the dust has settled.
It is also said that Sophia was the mother of Faith, Hope, and Charity. They are Sofia’s gifts to us, gifts that can overcome the despair, confusion, and suffering that we think of as human life. Sophia reminds you that clear vision and understanding line the path that leads to the discovery of the meaning of your life. But I do not see it quite like that. Faith I would change for trust (trusting in the universal mind). Hope I would replace with positivity and optimism (knowing that the universal minds plan is intelligent) and charity I would swap for altruism – sharing. Many of the difficulties we come across when considering a different way of life – or in the exchange of the ideas with others, is that language is not understood universally: often a word can mean so many different things to different people – and is further scrambled by opinion and belief. If commonsense prevailed, we would all use empathetic thinking and have no opinion or belief – we would use universal thought, and we would see a common truth inherent in all things.
If we imagine a computer program – but one so vast – it is the program that governs this universe. The reality is – we are all plugged into this program – but we are either aware of it or unaware of it. We are either in harmony with it – or oblivious to it and in effect, being used by it.
Some people know Sophia as the Mother of All, or simply as Wisdom. Sophia was born of Silence according to Gnostic creation myths (according to present translations). She gave birth to both Male and Female who together created all the elements of our material world. For me, this is too simplistic and plays into the hands of those who would have us believe in duality – the idea that there is good and evil. I do not believe or recognise evil – I merely see levels of understanding. If we do nothing – not thinking for ourselves – but following superstition, dogma, his-story, propaganda – then we become opinionated (taking the beliefs of others) and are easily manipulated and controlled. Ignorance thrives in this scenario. Brutality and destruction follow – but it is not out of evil or dark forces, merely the refusal to consider and think for ourselves (a refusal to tune in). Faith is a tool used by those who want to control us.
To achieve understanding, wisdom – we must question and actively participate in our thoughts – thoughts that the universe transmits for our benefit. But if we close ourselves, then only negative thoughts will be heard by the one with a closed (opinionated) mind.
To truly think for ourselves we must entertain the idea of a universal pattern, an intelligence (nature), a design at work. We must seek the truth. We must embrace Sophia. One way is to read all the, so-called, holy books and let the truth, like panning for gold in a stream, reveal itself. We can sift through philosophy and listen.
Many believe that Plato, following his teacher, Socrates (and, it is likely, the older tradition of Pythagoras), understands philosophy as philo-sophia, or, literally, the love of Wisdom. This understanding of philosophia permeates Plato's dialogues, especially the Republic. In that work, the leaders of the proposed utopia are to be philosopher kings: rulers who love Sophia, wisdom. If only our world was governed in such a way, politically speaking. It would not need leaders though, the key is for each and every one of us to love, or seek Sophia. We do not need to be governed if we take responsibly for our lives.
Dictionaries and accepted modern thought, tell us that wisdom is a deep understanding and realizing of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to choose or act to consistently produce the optimum results with a minimum of time and energy. It is the ability to optimally (effectively and efficiently) apply perceptions and knowledge and so produce the desired results. Wisdom is also the comprehension of what is true or right coupled with optimum judgment as to action. Synonyms include: sagacity, discernment, or insight. Wisdom often requires control of one's emotional reactions (the "passions") so that one's principles, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions.
I believe that wisdom is available to us on-tap, so to speak. All we have to do is retune our minds to pick up a different station – and the DJ is the Universe itself. The dictionary definition implies judgment and efficient use of thought – rationale. The reality is that we make ourselves available to listen. We live using finer thoughts instead of emotion and all this is achieved if we embrace the use of empathy. Empathy is the first step towards Sophia.
Thank you very much for visiting my Etsy gallery - I hope to see you again soon.
By the way... the last photo is of me and my 9 month old son (now 16 months), Kaia, next to my rooftop studio:)