The Descent of Sophia: The Bride's Exile & Bondage

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Tau Malachi
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The Descent of Sophia: The Bride's Exile & Bondage

#1 Postby Tau Malachi » Mon Mar 20, 2006 1:23 pm

In answer to a question:

Many individuals who are unfamiliar with the larger oral tradition of Sophian Gnosticism and its mystical and symbolic language find themselves perplexed by the inclusion of legends that speak of St. Mary Magdalene as a “prostitute” in her early life story. Generally speaking, they are unaware that this is only one of three stories told about her early life and that it is consciously crafted to reflect classical aspects of Gnostic thought regarding the soul and the world. Along with the thread of legends that speaks of Mary Magdalene exiled in Babylon and forced into “prostitution,” there is also a thread that speaks of her as “Mary of Bethany,” and another thread that speaks of her as the “Queen of Sheba,” neither of which speak of her as a prostitute. Given the inclusion of other legends of her early life story in the oral tradition it becomes obvious that Sophians do not intend anything literal or historical in their stories about St. Mary Magdalene, but rather have woven together various threads in a meta-story that is meant to convey spiritual and metaphysical truths discerned in the Gnostic experience of the Holy Bride. This is certainly true of the story of Magdalene exiled in Babylon and the legends of her being a prostitute. In fact, this thread of Sophian legends follows the classical Gnostic pattern of the fall and redemption of Sophia and reflects the involution and evolution of souls through the Great Matrix of Creation, akin to what appears in the ancient Gnostic Gospel that has come to be entitled the “Pistis Sophia” (Faith-Wisdom).

In the Pistis Sophia we are told the story of Pistis being tricked by the demiurge. Essentially, the demiurge and archons become jealous of her Light-power and her adoration of the True Light, the Most High. Therefore they devise a deception and the demiurge creates a false glittering light that shines below in the realms of matter, darkness and chaos, hoping Pistis might be tricked into descending into their dominion where they might despoil her and bind her. Pistis is deceived by this ploy, and mistaking this false light below for the True Light above, she descends to join with the lesser light. When she descends the demiurge and archons steal her Light-power and bind her to their dominion. Through cycles of repentance (reintegration) she invokes her Divine Consort, the Christ, to deliver her from her bondage and she is restored to her former glory. In union with her Divine Consort she ascends to even greater glory. On account of her, the Light of Christ enters into the realms, worlds and universes of sentient existence, and in her union and ascent with her Consort the Entirety is illumined and drawn up in the ascension.

The legends of St. Mary Magdalene’s birth into a materialistic family, her being driven into a potential marriage against her soul’s inclination, her rape, her being sold into slavery and turned out as a prostitute, directly parallels this cosmic story of the fall of Pistis Sophia, but rather than being placed in a cosmological context, it is placed into the context of a human drama, the human experience. Of course, this story of the Holy Bride is the story of the Soul of the World bound to cosmic ignorance, and it is the story of each and every one of us, our own soul’s exile and bondage in materialism.

We are all born into the bestial or material humanity, and we are all shaped by our experience of family, society and culture, our environment and education, and various life experiences that arise as we pass from youth to adulthood. Regardless of how luminous and evolved our soul-being might be, the current here drives us towards materialism, and generally speaking, more or less, we all become bound up in the Archonic society – the unenlightened society. It is akin to being compelled into a marriage our soul does not desire, or to being raped, sold into slavery and turned out as a prostitute – merely consider our bondage to a work life, often engaged in work we do not particularly enjoy, to support all of the stuff and things as are told represent “happiness” and “success” in our consumerist society and culture. In the midst of all of this, consider the effects on our environment and our humanity, and the sever retardation of our spirituality and the soul’s progress towards Divine Illumination. In effect, our soul experiences exile and bondage, akin to the story of the Holy Bride in Babylon.

Of course, these terms are also meant to apply directly to the oppression of women and womanhood, and to the denial of the Divine and Sacred Feminine in the patriarchal religion and culture. While conditions for women, in general, may have improved somewhat in Western societies and cultures, they remain far from ideal in terms of a true and full coequality – the noble ideal is present among us, but the actualization of that ideal is, at best, only partial as yet. If we look into the so-called “Third World,” the plight of women and womanhood is a vision of great sorrow and suffering, very difficult to look and see. Is not this continued oppression of women and womanhood, in essence, the ongoing rape, bondage and prostitution of the feminine soul? Such is the plight of women throughout the world under the dominion of the patriarchal and Archonic society, and these words are used to express the experience actual sorrow and suffering that women endure in the present ignorance that dominates this world.

Indeed! The myth of the Holy Bride’s exile and bondage in the Sophian Gospel is well crafted and very conscious in its intention – it meant to point to the sever ignorance dominating humankind as yet, and it meant to speak of the present world as a Shadow Land, a dim reflection of the Real or Ideal (the Pleroma of Light).

Of course, the tale of the Bride’s exile and bondage is only part of her larger life’s story, for in the midst of her bondage she remembers the dreams and visions of her youth, the desire of her holy soul and the Divine Light that is in her – she awakens and is delivered from her bondage to the ignorance. As much as expressing the Vision of Sorrow (the soul’s bondage) her story also expresses the Vision of Hope (the potential of the soul’s enlightenment and liberation). Through the story of the Bride’s descent into extreme circumstances of negativity and darkness and her awakening in the midst of it, we are told that regardless of the extent to which we might fall into negativity and darkness there is always the possibility of our soul’s awakening and our reintegration to the Divine Light. In her story is the promise of our eventual enlightenment and liberation.

On a metaphysical level there is something more within this story, however, for the descent of the Bride into exile and bondage is her crucifixion upon the cross of the world; she goes down into the ignorance and darkness to gather holy sparks into herself, so that arising from the darkness she might carry those sparks in ascent with her. Thus, she is acting as the Savioress and plays a critical role with Lord Yeshua in the redemption process. Through her experience, on a spiritual level, she becomes the Soul of the World, and joining herself to Lord Yeshua as the Holy Bride, she joins the Soul of the World to him. This is reflected in her anointing Lord Yeshua as the priest-king for sacrifice before the crucifixion and resurrection, which makes his body the talisman of the world (specifically the negative karma of the world). It is as though she enacts a crucifixion and descent into the underworld ahead of him, and that her great gesture is made complete in him – the two enacting the rite of ransom together.

As we listen and hear the Sophian teachings we must remember that when the teachings speak of the “Holy Bride” they are speaking of a Divine Presence and Power embodied in St. Mary of Magdal – the Holy Bride is Sophia. Though embodied in St. Mary Magdalene, yet Sophia transcends the person of Lady Mary, for the Divine Sophia embodied in Lady Mary is within everyone and everything. Thus, in the person of Lady Mary the teachings are speaking both of a holy woman and of a cosmic figure (Christ the Sophia) and though the stories are cast into context of the human experience, there is also a cosmological context in the Sophian legends of Magdalene.

Within and behind the story of the Bride’s exile and bondage in Babylon, for example, there are also teachings of Sophia as both “Virgin” and “Whore,” akin to the Woman of Light and Whore of Babylon in the Book of the Apocalypse. Essentially, Sophia is the underlying nature of all that appears, whether apparently “good” or “evil,” and she gives herself to one and all just the same. In her essence and nature she is unchanged, remaining ever pure in herself, so she is called “the Virgin.” Yet, she assumes all forms in the Great Matrix of Creation, both the Light and the Darkness, therefore she is also called “the Whore.” This reflects the enigmatic and mysterious quality of the Divine and Sacred Feminine, which is both transcendent and immanent. (It reflects the plight of Divine Wisdom in this world – as we see in all of the evil that has been committed in the name of “God” and “Holy Scriptures.”)

Thus there are many levels of spiritual and metaphysical teachings within and behind the Sophian legends of St. Mary Magdalene as a “prostitute” in her early life.

While modern researches appears to show that the Magdalene was not historically or literally a prostitute, one must also bear in mind that many threads of the Sophian oral tradition are not modern. Thus, often, some of the older threads of legends take old common beliefs and transform them, using them to tell a different story, one filled with Gnostic teachings and relating Gnostic views. This is certainly true of the story of the Magdalene as a “prostitute” – Sophians transformed it into a metaphor of the soul’s bondage to the dominion of the demiurge and Archonic society, and have used it as a vehicle to speak mysteries of Sophia’s descent and ascent as it occurs in classical Gnosticism.

May the Holy Bride be received among us; may the Shekinah of Messiah rest upon us – Amen.

Blessing & shalom!
Tau Malachi
Sophia Fellowship
Ecclesia Pistis Sophia

Marion
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New perspective on Pistis Sophia

#2 Postby Marion » Mon Apr 10, 2006 11:11 pm

Shalom!

In the story of pistis Sophia, she descends, seeking the true light, and then ascends into the pleroma of light to unite with her consort, and it is said, this is how the true light got into sentient beings. I am wondering, could her story be contemplated much like
Some of our legends portray Judas? Like how it is said, in one line of legends that Judas was actually Jesus’ closest disciple and that the Master instructed him to do what he did. So, was the entire point to her descent was the imbuing sentient existence with light? Much like it is said that the entire point to Judas’s betraying of Jesus was so that the theurgic act of the crucifixion could take place, in order that sentient existence might be uplifted, and a sanctuary of grace in the Risen One. If this is so then could we see this in the story of Magdalene as well, on the basis that the story of Pistis Sophia and Magdalene follow the same pattern?

Blessings,
Marion

Elder Gideon
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The Greatest Leap of Gnosis

#3 Postby Elder Gideon » Wed Apr 12, 2006 11:02 am

Shalom Marion!

A rich angle of insight you bring to the Bride! Ascribing a parallel in her critical role in the revelation of the Living Yeshua with that of Judas goes all kinds of places. Without either of these characters, the best news--the Gospel of the Risen Savior--would never have manifested.

It is curious, how both Magdalene and Judas are disparaged by orthodoxy; she, the "prostitute" and he the "betrayer". Such perspectives, however, are pronounced from under the Law, yet ignorant of the Light within and behind the actions of such characters. For the very existence of the Gospel of Mary from the Nag Hammadi Library, like recent translation of the Gospel of Judas, open up stunningly alternative perspectives of the intimate roles these two characters literally served in the revelation of the Risen Savior.

When we learn in cannonical epistles like the one to the Hebrews 4 that
since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.

Did Yeshua Messiah the man ever know rape, hatred, slavery and even blood guilt? Yet this is the experience of millions of human beings across thousands of years on every continent. Who can say they knew this anguish AND its release in the Pleroma of light? Praise and thanksgiving to Our Lady in Red, the Holy Bride! Hallukallah! She alone, the Priestess Queen, is qualified as the World Soul to anoint the Priest King for the sacrifice and descent. The story of Her crucifixion in Babylon makes possible Lord Yeshua's ability to descend into humanity's every anguish and temptation and release its sparks in ascent.

The Gnostic path begins where the orthdoxy ends, taking the path as liberation. The best news, the Gnostic Gospel, is not a salvation to acquire from outside ourselves, but a salvation to release from within ourselves. Rather than an atonement for sin appeasing an angry god, another more essential perspective of the Passion and Resurrection Tau Malachi has been sharing points to the natural liberation of our inmost being which Yeshua uniquely demonstrated.

The Gospel is exactly this: We are already free, we are already light. What better news could there be? How could this be revealed without Yeshua's public death? The Gospel of Judas is pointing precisely to this reversal. This revelation of the man Yeshua "clothing" the Light required one key disciple who knew the light of the Savior so intimately that the disciple could act in complete alignment with the divine intention. How stunning! Which of us, so intimate with the light within ourselves and our master, could fulfill such a task? Is this the greatest leap of faith ever recorded or is it rather the greatest leap of gnosis? Is such a task enacted under Law or Pure Grace?

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Amen and amen!

Brothersmiley


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