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The Heart of Sophian Gnosticism
Posted: Wed Jun 02, 2004 11:22 am
In Sophian Gnosticism we speak of God the Mother as much as God the Father, and of the Daughter of God as much as the Son of God - there is Yeshua Messiah (Bridegroom) and Kallah Messiah (Anointed Bride). At the heart of Sophian Gnosticism the essential message is this: there is a dynamic interplay and balance between the Divine Masculine and Divine Feminine in creation, and there must be a dynamic interplay and balance of the masculine and feminine within us and among us in the process of self-realization (enlightement and liberation).
This is reflected by one teaching on the Star of David or Hexagram in the tradition, which speaks of the Pleroma (fullness) of the Human One as the image and likeness of Divine Being. This symbol is composed of two interlacing triangles. According to this teaching, the points of one triangle (the upward pinting one) represent the Boy, the Man and the Old Man, and the points of the other triangle (the downward pointing one) represent the Maid, Mother and Crone. In the center of the Hexagram is a Solar symbol (Circle with a Point in it), representing the union of the masculine and feminine, and the Hexagram is encircled by the Uroboros - symbol of the uinon of Being and Becoming, and of Sophia-Wisdom. This is the Pleroma of the Human One, the Spiritual Sun, who is both male and female; hence the Androgynous One: self-generating and self-begetting. Of course, only the mystical union of male and female brings about such a state of perfection; hence the Mystery of the Bridal Chamber in Gnosticism.
The Sacred Feminine only now is being restored to its rightful place after thousands of years of being displaced and oppressed, along with womanhood. Considering the plight of the world today, whether world politics, religious fundamentalism, the environment or consumerism - quite clearly there is a sever disbalance and a need to restore a balance between the Sacred Masculine and Feminine.
Throughout its history Sophian Gnosticism has spoken about the Aeon of the Holy Bride and Mother Spirit, and has awaited the time to carry out its sacred trust of proclaiming the Gnosis of the Holy Bride and serving to herald and usher in this Age of the Holy Spirit. Quite clearly, the Mother and the Bride are set in motion - a process of re-revelation of the Divine Feminine or Goddess is under way. In this Sophians rejoice, and in this Sophians participate - it is a key part of our own tradition.
There is much to be discussed and explored of the mysteries of the Divine Feminine, and it is certainly a subject or area of study and contemplation in and of itself. Thus, I have added this section to our forum so that we can discuss and explore teachings and principles of the Sacred Feminine, and in so doing enter into deeper Gnosis of Sophia - the Goddess of Wisdom we adore.
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 4:32 pm
Can you recommend any sources regarding Sophianic Gnosticism specifically? Is Sophianic Gnosticism the same as Christian gnosticism, or does it hold more in common with Hermetic or alchemical thought?
Beautiful article. I've never heard of Kallah Messiah before.
Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 12:19 pm
To answer your question in general:
The term Christian Gnosticism, in general, indicates all mystical and Gnostic currents within early Christianity. This includes all mystery schools based upon the inner or secret teachings of Yeshua.
The lineage of Sophian Gnosticism is an oral Tradition that traces itself back to Mary Magdalene herself...The Sophian schools of Gnostic thought would place Mary Magdalene as a co-equal along side Lord Yeshua as Divine Consorts. Hence a co-preacher of the enlightenment teachings passed on in secret from one generation to another. In this sense yes, the Sophian Tradition is considered a form of Christian Gnosticism, however there are other Schools of Christian Gnosticism as well....
Perhaps you might like to purchase Tau Malachi's current book called, "Living Gnosis: A Practical Guide to Gnostic Christianity". He offers insight into the Sophian Tradtion as well practical teachings on Christian Gnosticism that you may find helpful....
Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2005 2:25 pm
I would second Christopher's recommendation of Tau Malachi's new book. I just got a copy and I think it's wonderful. At the same time, you may want to start by reading through the sections of this website on Christian Gnosticism, the Gospel of Thomas, the Secret Gospel of Mary and the section on study & practices. That was where I started and I was really impressed with the quality of teaching I found. It convinced me that I wanted to look more deeply.
Peace & Blessings,
Posted: Sun Nov 20, 2005 12:53 pm
Thank you both for the referal!
I just picked up the book yesterday; and I'm about half-way through!
The Heart of Sophian Gnosticism
Posted: Sun May 07, 2006 9:56 pm
Tau Malachi's description of the heart of sophian gnosticism is wonderfully refreshing to one like myself, just arriving to Sophian Gnosticism from the inner Orthodox tradition of the church, where everything always rings masculine. Wonderful.
Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 8:19 pm
Your message reminded me of my own initial reaction upon first reading Tau Malachi's book, "The Gnostic Gospel of St.Thomas". What a sense of relief and great joy I felt! Certainly an answer to heart-felt prayers!
So welcome, and I would encourage you to jump in and ask all the questions that are sure to arise as you look further and deeper into this wonderful wisdom tradition. The Forum is so effective in linking all of us, from every corner of the planet, providing a great opportunity for cross-fertilisation of understandings and ideas from across an incredibly diverse range of fellow Sophians. There is certainly no reason to feel isolated, not even on my "big island."
Reply on gender liberation
Posted: Mon May 08, 2006 9:10 pm
Thank-you very much Susan. Your note really encouraged me. I'm not sure how extensive your study is of the Sophian Tradition but it would be very good to clarify something important to me. Is the following a correct interpretation of the cosmic mystery of masculine and feminine: The two divine principles - masculine(Logos) and feminine(Sophia) - are equally powerful in themselves. They come together in complete equanimity to create a synergistic energy more powerful than either of them on their own. Sophia is not submissive to Logos, and vice versa. They are both Christ.
I'm hoping this is basically correct because the world needs a religion that absolutely stresses the equanimity of genders.
In truth, Leslie.
Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 8:03 am
Yes, this is a good contemplation of Logos and Sophia, Leslie. I would propose in addition to this is that their "coming together" is more a revelation of their inseparability, rather than a separation. Also, these are principles discussing the display of the Divine, which makes their discussion as "male" and "female" as metaphorical in many contemplations. In each human being, male and female is manifest as both these principles in each individual. We are each a display of the Logos and the Sophia. There are several ways to contemplate this.
One way is to contemplate "Word" and "Wisdom", Logos and Sophia respectively, as their function within language, then extend this metaphor to each of us as a Word expressed by Goddes/God. If we want to contemplate gender, one approach might be to consider qualities of gender as they play out in the material plane and what the essence of these qualities might be spiritually. As above, so below, as below, so above, the hermetic axiom states.
So perhaps disbalances in gender and in our society are connected to an inability to accept and integrate aspects of these faculties within each of us.
Love and Peace Be with Us!
Logos and Sophia
Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 9:01 am
Thank-you very much Phillip!
What an excellent reply. This is a spiritual hurdle I need to work through and your statement helped greatly.
Posted: Tue May 09, 2006 12:23 pm
The Christos: Logos-Sophia
In the beginning was Sophia-Logos, and Sophia-Logos was with God, and Sophia Logos was God. He-She was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Sophia-Logos, and without Sophia-Logos not one thing came into being. What has come into being in Sophia-Logos was Zoe, and Zoe was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
(A Sophian Gnostic interpretive translation of the Gospel of St. John 1:1-5)
Your point Brother Phillip is right on the mark, for everywhere the word Logos appears in the scriptures we may read Sophia, and everywhere Sophia appears, we may read Logos – they are, in truth, inseparable from one another: the Christos, Sophia-Logos.
This is the very essence of the Sophian Gospel: that Logos and Sophia are coequal, and are inseparable from one another; they are twin aspects of the Christos. Thus we speak of Christ the Logos and Christ the Sophia – the Anointed One (Christ).
If we look into Genesis a great mystery is spoken, for the first Human One (“Adam”) is both male (Adam) and female (Eve) – the Supernal Human Being is androgynous. In the process of involution, however, Adam and Eve are drawn from within one another, and the Human One of Light becomes two, the Man and Woman. Quite naturally, in the process of evolution, the male and female shall realize their union in the Human One of Light – the Anointed One (Christ or Messiah). Thus the Master has said, “In heaven no one will be given or taken in marriage, but you will be like the angels of God,” which is to say androgynous.
Adam names all creatures – Logos; Eve is the Mother of Life – Sophia; the Human One before “Adam” and “Eve” is the divine potential of the Christos. In the Risen Christ this divine potential is actualized and realized; hence the title the “Second Adam.”
Quite naturally, this implies the union of the Groom and Bride in hieros gamos, the mystery of the Bridal Chamber; for apart from the Holy Bride the Groom cannot be the Second Adam – the Supernal Human Being.
Of course, this Human One of Light (Christ) is within each and every one of us, for the divine spark (Yechidah) in us is the Christos, which becomes life-force (Hayyah) and the divine nature (Neshamah), our Supernal Soul of Light – in the inmost part of our soul we exist in an innate unity with God and Godhead, and we transcend “male” and “female.” Yet the potential of male and female is in the Divine and is in us, as we see with interplay of male and female in creation and in the generation of our spirit or intelligence (Ruach) and vital soul (Nefesh), which manifest as male or female in incarnation.
This is the mystery being revealed in the Sophian Gospel when it speaks of Lord Yeshua and Lady Mary as “soul mates,” and when it speaks of the Groom (Yeshua) and Bride (Mary) as coequal – each representing the fullness of the Human One of Light, perfect and complete in him or herself. They are the image of enlightened manhood and enlightened womanhood – the image of enlightened being: Christos.
Shall we speak of the most subtle and sublime level of the mystery? Sophia is the spaciousness of the mind and Logos is the self-generating capacity, the radiance of the mind – their union is the radiant display of all that appears, Christos. Sophia-Logos-Christos is the Nature of Mind: Pure Radiant Awareness.
Our entire experience – this entire magical display, whether in waking consciousness, sleep and dream, or death and the afterlife, is the radiant display of mind. All is Mind; All Mind is One. The actual recognition and realization of this is the dawn of Divine Illumination: Christ Consciousness.
This self-realization in Christ is equally possible for women and men alike, and from a Sophian perspective it is embodied by both Lord Yeshua and Lady Mary equally, the two personify Christ the Logos and Christ the Sophia in our gospel.
Many of the powerful voices advocating for Mary Magdalene today speak of her as a holy woman because she was among the inmost disciples of Yeshua and was his wife, giving birth to his children – in other words, they paint her in the image of the Virgin Mary as in orthodoxy, “holy” only because gives birth to children. However, in the Sophia Gospel she is the inmost disciple of Yeshua, and is his wife and consort, and she is coequal and co-preacher of the gospel with him – a spiritual master in her own right. In the Sophian Gospel she is an embodiment of Christ the Sophia and is a Christed or enlightened woman.
Ironically, painting Magdalene in the image of the Virgin Mary – holy because she had babies, is not far from the old orthodox propaganda painting her as a literal prostitute. Just the same, the spiritual and metaphysical truth of the Holy Bride, Christ the Sophia, is obscured and womanhood is still regulated to a submissive role under the dominion of patriarchy. That’s hardly a meta-story useful to the twenty-first century and our labor towards the coequality of women and men – all humanity.
Of course, the point among Sophian Gnostics is not so much the historical dimension, but the spiritual truth of coequality of the feminine and masculine in the Divine and the coequality of women and men in enlightenment – in the Human One of Light, the Christos.
Let us pray for the healing of the grievous wound in the Body of Christ where the Divine and Sacred Feminine was removed from the Holy Church; let us labor passionately for the return of Sophia from her long exile! Amen.
Blessings & shalom!
Posted: Wed May 10, 2006 8:16 am
Thank-you very much Tau Malachi.
The Sophian Gnostic interpretation of John 1:1-5 is beautiful.
This questionable idea of being "Holy" because of giving birth to children, absolutely does not make sense, because, obviously, any sort of woman is capable of giving birth to children, even the crudest of atheists. It is crucial, to myself, your emphasis on the cosmic equality of Sophia and Logos, and the embodied equality of Lord Yeshua and Lady Mary. Where Mary Magdalene is " a spiritual master in her own right." Excellent!
Posted: Sun May 28, 2006 6:52 pm
Thank-you Tau Malachi, for expressing so beautifully what I have been feeling for quite some time in regards to several of the recent writings on Mary Magdalene.
The current focus on her being the mother of Christ's child does seem, as you say, to paint her no differently than the Virgin Mary of Orthodox Christianity. It is equating her divinity and spiritual status with the seed of her womb. In my estimation this is a sad and unfortunate denigration of her true status.
For me she is a role model, not because she had the child of a great spiritual master, but because she was a spiritual master herself, coequal with Yeshua, and as much a part of spreading the world transforming message of the Kingdom as He. As the mother of a teenage daughter, this is the kind of woman that I want to hold up as the perfect image of the divine potential in us all. This is the image of the feminine divine that I have so long sought and desired to share with her.
Thank-you for your wonderful insights.