Where Is Sophia’s Way of Wisdom Today?


Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, at the Celcus Library at Ephesus, Turkey

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 KoboBarnes 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.

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6 Responses

  1. Truly beautiful Jeanie, thank you … each word resonates with me. I feel the expansion in my blood corpuscles as I read it. I’m thinking of your last zoom with Skip Conover where you said about being the verb of Love and this is what I’m trying to do and be – certainly aiming for. Thank you again. With Love, Susan.

    1. Thank you, dear Susan. And thank you for sitting in on my conversation with Skip. It was such a pleasure to see you. In case you or anyone reading this is interested, it’s on YouTube at this address: https://youtu.be/SHJDGMxvL8E For those who don’t know, it’s mostly about The Partnership Profile in my new book, The Soul’s Twins.

      I love it that you remember my observation that love is a verb. Yes, that’s what I’m trying to do and be too. Maybe that should be the topic for my next post! Love, Jeanie

  2. Wonderful! Thank you for Sophia’s paradoxes. The only choice is to find Sophia for ourselves and within ourselves and through all of life, so moving inward and outward at the same time. It feels like the collective spiritual and political institutions have failed us, and what’s happened with covid and environmental degradation and the distribution of wealth causing many to starve while a few grab all they can are three of many examples. I feel the power of the collective and yet we’re on our own in this stay at home time. So Sophia brings us together in a time of separation.

    I might feel less sense of separation if I lived with humans instead of dogs and didn’t struggle with hearing. Zoom is an exhausting friends, but I use it to attend a mythology class, a writing group, and to talk to my dream therapist. I see the world connections possible via Zoom since group members who moved away are now able to participate in mythology classes again. So much paradox and for me a longing to weep for hours for my country and the world–and the need to shake myself free of feelings and send postcards to voters in GA with an organization called Reclaim Our Vote. The cards went out in the mail yesterday. Today may be a good day to weep. Blessings to you and your family. All Praise to Sophia!

  3. Yes, Sophia brings us together in a time of separation. Another paradox. Zoom, and the internet in general, have been especially helpful in bringing us together in ways that those who suffered through the 1918 pandemic could never have imagined. Imagine having to harness the horse, hitch it to the buggy, and ride to town to buy holiday gifts and share a family dinner with Grandma and Grandpa. Now we just sit in front of computers, order gifts, and share holiday gatherings on Zoom! All without getting out of our chairs.

    I trust that Sophia’s wisdom will continue to bring us more new ways to fill our need for love, security, protection, and meaning as we move toward becoming more adequate stewards of planetary culture. All Praise to Sophia! And blessing to you and your family.

  4. I want to know more of Sophia’s wisdom. Will you be doing anything to lead us to and through the wisdom? It would be nice to connect with a group to discuss this wisdom and how we can bring it into the new year.

    1. Hello Beth. Thank you so much for writing.

      Essentially, Sophia’s wisdom is found by doing inner work that helps you understand yourself better. The more self-knowledge you acquire, including knowledge of your shadow side, (which everyone has, and which blocks us from deeper awareness), the wiser and more psychologically and spiritually fulfilled you feel.

      My primary practices have been working on my dreams and studying books about Jungian psychology. All four of my books deal with the same issue: how to discover and empower your true self, especially your feminine side. Dream Theatres of the Soul: Empowering the Feminine through Jungian Dreamwork is written to help people understand how to work with their dreams. But you might want to start with The Bridge to Wholeness first, as it lays a good foundation for one who wants to explore their inner universe. Both of books are ebook form now, and both contain bibliographies of other books you might want to read.

      I also have several articles about Sophia in this blog. If you google Sophia, Jean Raffa, Matrignosis, you’ll come up with a list of posts from my blog that are about Sophia’s Way. You can also search for titles containing Sophia at the top of my blog’s home page.

      My third book Healing the Sacred Divide, furthers my inner work with my spiritual development, and my newest, just released on Nov. 17, is called The Soul’s Twins: Emancipate Your Feminine and Masculine Archetypes.It has an interesting self-assessment called The Partnership Profile that might help you find out a lot more about yourself. It’s very accessible to people who haven’t studied much psychology before.

      I understand your wish to work with a group. It can be of enormous help. I plan to offer some online classes in the new year and am in the process of creating them now. If you’d like to know about them, please sign up for my newsletter as that’s where I’ll be sharing all that information when I’m ready. You can sign up at the bottom of this page. 🙂

      Thank you so much for writing. I’d love to be of further help to you and look forward to the possibility of working with you in a class or two next year.

      Sending you love, light, and holiday blessings, Jeanie

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