Sophia as Spiritual Mediatrix


In ancient times spiritual guidance was the province of women who mediated between the gods and humanity. Apollo’s temple at Delphi, which was superimposed on an earlier shrine of the Goddess Gaia, was always presided over by female oracles. The dove oracles at Dodona in northern Greece and the sibyls at Olympia, Tetrapolis, Athens, and many other sites were likewise women. Through means of snake venom or special herbs added to the fires on which the sacred cauldron burned, a priestess who had the gifts of divination and prophecy consulted the deity to answer questions and dispense wisdom to supplicants.
Access to sacred wisdom was projected onto priestesses because it was not understood that Sophia is available to all. Yet, through means which have not yet been proven to the satisfaction of the majority of the scientific community, (physicists Wolfgang Pauli, David Bohm, and Jean Emile Charon are among those who have come up with intriguing and widely accepted theories), every serious seeker has the ability to experience sacred energies directly and personally.
Sophia’s spiritual wisdom has always been experienced by small, and sometimes secret groups of seekers, spiritual guides, and mystics of every religion, including saints, gurus, yogis, and shamans. H. Corbin, author of Creative Imagination in the Sufism of Ibn Irabi quotes one of the disciples of the great Islam Mystic: “Our shaikh Ibn Arabi had the power to meet the spirit of any Prophet or Saint departed from this world, either by making him descend to the level of this world and contemplating him in an apparitional body similar to the sensible form of his person, or by making him appear in his dreams, or by unbinding himself from his material body to rise to meet the spirit.”
Ibn Arabi’s story is of particular interest because he is an example of a scholarly male who gained access to his Mediatrix through the guidance of three women: Yasmin of Marchena and Fatima of Cordova, his two Sufi mystic teachers, and Nizam Ayn al-Shams, a beautiful young woman who became his image of the Beloved, thus inspiring him in much the same way as Beatrice inspired Dante. Because he was open and willing to learn from these women, Ibn Arabi was gifted with a meaningful vision of Sophia, the Mediatrix who guided his soul’s transformation.
Similar claims about the mystical experiences of spirit persons are made in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism as well. St. Paul, St. John the Divine, Ste. Teresa, and Mother Julian of Norwich are examples from Christianity. Christianity’s ultimate Mediatrix, is, of course, Mary, Queen of the Universe who intercedes with Jesus on behalf of humanity. Examples of Jewish mystics who experienced Sophia’s feminine way of communicating wisdom are Rabbi Levi ben Haytha, Isaac Luria, Rabbi Abraham Berukhim, and Rabbi Joseph Karo. The Dalai Lama of Buddhism and the Hindu guru Sai Baba are current examples from Eastern religions.
If our Mediatrix is not bringing spiritual meaning to us it is because our egos will not cooperate. A fearful ego cannot think freely or creatively. The more fragile and frightened it is, the more fiercely it clings to habit and tradition, for to a death-obsessed ego, stepping beyond the safety promised by orthodoxy feels like a death sentence. Ironically, as innumerable spirit persons have shown, it is, in fact, the way to new spiritual life.

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0 Responses

  1. divine…..very good post…..
    feminine means nature of soul….right brain…..woman has a
    natural inclination to remain in it… access to soul and through
    prayers to spirit capabilities…was much easier… even great
    enlightened master were basically feminine in nature…..
    feminine is a character ….to name we can say Sophia….Indian
    goddess Saraswati……a male and female body has option to
    choose to work as left handed or right handed person… a
    person choosing right brain….creative or emotional intelligence
    still use left brain….the logical intelligence or robotics of body…
    and reverse for left brain… focus of right brain is soul and focus
    of left brain is body….
    enlightenment is birth of god…so one has to be feminine in nature
    oracle or spiritual guide has to be feminine in nature…..outer body
    does not matter much…..
    in modern times in the name of feminism movements….instead
    remaining feminine character and progressing the
    women has opted for logical intelligence so shift occurred from
    soul to body…body is in time dimension….hence most of the time
    you see women with masculine character… man with masculine
    character living with woman with masculine character….no way..
    harmony…..but we are learning….
    love all….

  2. Thank you, Ram0singhal. You always understand where I’m coming from and your comments always contain so much to think about.
    My aim is to bring more awareness of, and reverence for, the long-neglected feminine principle in a world that has become obsessive in its orientation to the masculine principle. I see the solution to so many of our current problems to be the ability to live from our fullest selves, so that both sides, feminine and masculine, are fully empowered and live in conscious, balanced partnership within and without. I am very heartened by the progress I see around me, especially in the younger generation. So many more men and women are embracing their feminine sides. We are, indeed, learning…

  3. divine…..feminine means totality…..masculine means perfection….best will be totality inside…..and perfection outside……or worship of work… neutral driver…..the soul……..and natural…….the car…….the body…..
    ……creativity is nature of emotional intelligence……soul….right brain….
    a artist opens with creativity of right brain….work with spiritual dimension of silence… gets popular… pictures the success …..ego builds up…left brain ….logical intelligence …..becomes dominant…so to surpass left brain one takes help of intoxication…..that we see most of the time with music and artist and creative people….now more eccentric habits…dressing…
    media likes this….it goes on……most of the time… the name of art and music …….more noise……less silence…….loses timelessness..
    fine music or art is prayers of god……some time you come across if you are
    lucky… like Taj Mahal……worship of work…saga of creative enlightenment….even after 400 years….beyond time…..
    love all…
    p.s……please visit my other blog ….that is like a photo feature…. thanks..

    1. Ram0Singhal,
      The psyche is so fascinating, and it’s such a challenge to try to clarify its differing elements. Your use of metaphors is very helpful.
      Your other blog is beautiful. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  4. Jeanie,
    A subject [oracles, divination] dear to my heart.
    It seems to me that Sophia, as Sacred Wisdom, is an archetype [by which I would stress “a living presence immortal in nature”] of voluntary ego-death that makes accessible the great mysteries and secrets forever out of the grasp of the ego-dominated self. To me, it implies a surrender to the Living Whole that can only be attained by collapsing the subject-object duality of our conditioned upbringing.
    Indeed, I can’t see how she can be held separate from the alchemical transmutation brought about by the union of opposites with which you are so familiar. The Philosopher’s Stone, the catalytic agent of metamorphosis, the Opener of Every Doorway of Secrets…..
    As one ancient worthy said, “It does not come in through your eyes or ears–it pours out of your breast to cover heaven and earth.”
    All My Best,

  5. William,
    Very well said. I think the problem for most earnest seekers is to discover how to collapse, or transcend the ego’s usual subject-object duality, or, said another way, how to unite the opposites. You and I write and teach about these things, but eventually language fails and experience has to take over. To say, “follow your passion,” or “seek Truth,” or “step outside the box,” or “dare to be true to yourself,” or “listen to your inner self,” or even, “persist in a meaningful spiritual practice,” doesn’t tell the whole story. As you’ve said before, there usually needs to be a crisis of some sort that profoundly shakes us up at a deep level and shifts our focus onto the inner world, and that’s not anything any ego would choose for itself. It just has to happen. I think it also has to do with Love — the profound desire for intimacy with Otherness — and an unwillingness to settle for anything less.
    Lest someone misunderstand, another point worth making here that you make so beautifully in The Toltec I Ching is that this is not about gender, of course, but about an inner union of opposites: integrating our own masculine and feminine sides. The human tendency to associate mind, spirit, and consciousness with “the masculine,” and body, soul, and the unconscious with “the feminine” is a handy classification system that makes us more aware of our dualistic conditioning, but to limit spiritual mediation to females would be no more valid than to limit consciousness to males!
    Your ever-trying-to-transcend friend,

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