Have you ever wondered about that gorgeous woman in Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel—the one that God has his arm wrapped around while his other arm extends to touch the hand of Adam?
Some art historians believe the petite blonde was Jehovah’s grandmother, the Goddess Sophia. In the Judeo-Christian tradition the goddess Sophia is the beginning, the source of wisdom, and keeper of the knowledge of all that is righteous and just. With her sound wisdom and guidance, rulers lead their kingdoms to prosper. In the darkness and ignorance that thrive in her absence, the proverbial wasteland eats away at the soul and nations perish.
Known as the Mother of All or simply as Wisdom, Sophia was born of Silence according to Gnostic creation myths. She gave birth to both Male and Female who together created all the elements of our material world.
Female then gave birth to Jehovah in all his emanations. But she also gave birth to Ildabaoth who was known as the Son of Darkness. When humans were created, Sophia loved them all dearly.
Unfortunately, her affection for humans sparked jealousy in both Ildabaoth and Jehovah. Hoping to keep humans weak and powerless, the brothers forbade humans to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Female then sent her spirit in the form of the serpent to teach the humans to disobey the envious gods.
Sophia so desperately loved humans that she decided she would live among them. To her dismay they mostly ignored her. She tried speaking to them. When they turned a deaf ear, she screamed from the tops of the highest walls. Still she was not heard.
In her anguish at being so neglected, she left humans with one last thought: You have denied and ignored me, so will I do when calamity strikes and you call for my help. Only those who earnestly search for me and love me will merit my love and assistance.
There are those who believe that Sophia, so desperate in her desire to relate, later returned to humans in another attempt to bond with them. Sophia is often symbolized by the Dove of Aphrodite, which later became the dove representing the Holy Spirit.
The dove appeared to the Virgin Mary in the form of the Virgin of Light, entered her and conceived Jesus. In this sense, Sophia attempted again, in to form of a man, to be united with the mortals she so loved.
Sophia’s traits include: righteous, wise, loving, communicative, knowledgeable, creative, protective, giving, and truthful.
A Sophia woman sees it and tells it as it is; she has no fear of the truth.
She brings meaning to human experience with her gift of understanding “the bigger picture”. Only when you stand back, gaining some emotional distance, 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 that heroic feats are truly appreciated.
Sophia was also the mother of Faith, Hope, and Charity. They are Sofia’s gifts to us, gifts that can overcome the despair, confusion, and suffering that frame human life. Sophia reminds you that clear vision and understanding line the path that leads to the discovery of the meaning of your life.
Sophia - Exile and Return
A 231 page dissertation by Kathleen Granville Damiani
"I believe that the power of authentic questions about the meaning and purpose of life can radically transform an individual's life and that of society by disturbing the inertia of the status quo"
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