Along with the Mary Magdalene, I have most especially been drawn to portray Wisdom, which in Greek is Sophia. The legendary figure is ancient in the history of many cultures, not to be mistaken with Gaia or Earth Goddesses, but indeed as the consort of God, sometimes referred to as Hokmah in Judaic literature, or the Shekinnah in Kaballah literature.
My thoughts—how the Wisdom Sophia painting came to be
We have a sense of inherent beauty in the world in spite of all the chaos and ugliness – that has been called Sophia.
We have a sense of goodness in the world despite all the hatred and badness – that has been called Sophia.
We have a sense that some things are true, that there is truth despite all the sham and lies and falseness – that has been called Sophia.
There is a sense of light, of harmony, balance and rhythm against the darkness of chaos, despair, suffering and negativity. Sometimes this has been called The Way, and it is felt to be a feminine energy. This is Sophia.
She has been seen as an emanation of God, a partner, the consort or co-creator with God. She is not of the past. She is not Gaia, Earth Goddess, or Hecate the Crone.
She is the premonition of the future. She comes from the future, a prescience of what is to come, a future birth of creation, a unity, into a cosmos of Love. (See pg. 44, The Soul of the World, Robert Sardello).
She is seen as a sense of what is coming to be…Sophia myths are not archeological, looking backwards, nor timelessly eternal, a static given, but rather eternally teleological…from a real and substantial time current of soul coming to us from what can be…the possibility of everything in harmony. Every part of the world would function as part of the whole; it would not exactly be Paradise, for constant effort of reason, imagination, and memory (are) required…nothing works in isolation. (ibid.)
In short, there has always been a sense of a gentle, feminine reflection of something even greater, something of unity, beyond what we see and sense in our earthly form.
This canvas shows Sophia with her crown of 12 stars, sometimes interrupted as the 12 tribes of Israel, but actually representing the 12 signs of the Zodiac. Wisdom Sophia unites the heavens, the earth, and the underworld in one whole. A Gnostic legend speaks of Sophia as the consort of God who fell so in love with earth that she cast herself down and was caught in chaos of the underworld.
When we perform acts of beauty or love or truth, we are redeeming the sparks of Sophia or the Shekhinah which have fallen to earth and are waiting for us to redeem her.
She informs me in the Silence.
I think a lot of people are afraid of Silence. Afraid of nihilism. Afraid they will get lost there and nothing will “happen” in their lives. In fact, my experience is just the opposite. Through the Silence come gentle currents of aliveness, forms come into being.
Hildegard of Bingen, 22th century abbess and Christian mystic, revered Sophia and described her as the “encompassing energy of God.” She spoke of Sophia of 3 wings, “One wing soars in heaven, one wing sweeps the earth, and the third flies all around us.”
You may feel these living currents in the Silence. And then you walk forwards.
I will have more to say on Sophia as I continue to work on her.