Sophia, the Wisdom of God, has always been acknowledged in sacred writings. In the Septuagint Old Testament, the oldest translation of the Hebrew Bible, she is a central figure in six of the seven wisdom books: The Wisdom of Solomon, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, and Ecclesiasticus. Although Sophia’s mystical path to inner knowing has not been shared with the multitudes for the past 2,000 years, today it is returning to our awareness.
In 1987 Jean Houston wrote in The Search for the Beloved, “Denied and repressed for thousands of years, the goddess archetype returns at a time when the breakdown of the old story leaves us desperate for love, for security for protection, for meaning. It leaves us yearning for a nurturing and cultivation of our whole being, that we might be adequate stewards of the planetary culture.”
This is such a time in our world. The old story about how humans are in charge of the earth and should be free to use our planet’s resources any way we wish has broken down. Our oceans and waterways are increasingly polluted. The vortex of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean containing plastic, chemical sludge, wood pulp, baby bottles, toothbrushes, etc. now covers 1.6 million square kilometers. Our air is polluted by smoke and automobile exhaust fumes. Deforestation of the tropical rainforest is causing an alarming rise in malaria and destroying the habitats of endangered animals. Our land has been so poisoned by pesticides that much of the food we eat is toxic and around 9 million people die every year of hunger and hunger related issues. Climate change melts the polar ice caps and water levels rise. And we can no longer trust our political leaders to protect our planet or keep us safe.
We’ve never needed Sophia’s wisdom more. Yet, the traditional institutions of society — religion, government, business, education, and family — still resist updating their stories to fit the realities of contemporary life. The only way left to us is to find Sophia’s wisdom for ourselves. How do we do that? With practices that teach us to be more aware of our inner lives and more responsible in our outer actions. We can search our own souls. Root out our deepest, most feared shadows. Stand up for our truths and speak them to those in power. Seek healthy connections with others, and do all this with forgiveness, compassion, and love.
As those who have pursued her wisdom can tell you, Sophia’s inner way is riddled with mystery and paradox. For example, each seeker, whether supported by a group or not, travels alone, yet increasingly experiences not separation, but reconciliation: between conscious and unconscious, self and other, mind and body, masculine and feminine, God the Father and God the Mother. Ultimately Sophia’s Way leads to union with everyone and everything, including the Mystery. Why? Because the essence of the sacred feminine is connection and relationship.
Here’s another paradox: As you move into your own unknown territory, the more lost you get the more found you feel. The inner path leads to a joyful reunion with the lovely sense of wonder, mystery, and meaning most of us had as children and lost as adults. This is a most extraordinary gift, especially during the second half of life, for against all expectations we find that while we were gradually losing our youth and physical power we were gaining something far more precious and lasting: the ability to live from our authentic Self. Why? Because to discover the sacred feminine is to discover the neglected and forgotten aspects of the Self.
A third paradox: As you grow more introspective on the inward spiritual journey, your perspective on life grows more expansive. This speaks to the common misconception that taking oneself seriously through self-study is somehow selfish, self-indulgent, or self-centered. In fact, the contrary is true: The better you know and love yourself, the more you feel and express love for others. Why? Because the sacred feminine’s form of love is not a mental ideal but a physical and emotional reality.
My latest discovery is that the more reverence you acquire for your internal, metaphysical universe, the more you experience the sacredness of the one outside you. Why? Because Sophia is the sacred essence of life, both within and without.
The final paradox is that while we have to discover these truths for ourselves, we can claim absolutely no credit for them. As the Right Reverend Larry Maze says in Issue 17 of The Rose, in an article titled “Jung and the Inner Mystic,” “…Wisdom that is truly Wisdom has always been Wisdom and will always be Wisdom…Wisdom is the stuff of being consciously alive in the world. Indeed, Wisdom is the universe being alive with meaning.”
Where is Sophia’s wisdom today? In you and me. We need to find it and use it. How do you do that?
Credit: Alex Alvarez https://www.artstation.com/artwork/nYzX
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications.com. Her new book, The Soul’s Twins, is now available at Schiffer, Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit and wherever books are sold. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.