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                                     By Terry J. McCombs
           NAME: SOPHIA  which is the  Greek verson of Her name, other  names and
           titles are Hohkma (Hebrew), Sapienta (Latin), Mother-Of-All (Gnostic),
           Holy  Spirit  (very early  Christians),Wisdom  (what  the other  names
           SYMBOLS: A cup, the cresent moon, a dove, a tree.
           USUAL IMAGE: A red winged woman, crowned with seven stars, at Her feet
           lies  the World,  She carrys  a golden  cup. She  is also  often shown
           wareing a red gown, and pregnant.
           HOLY DAYS: November 28th is the Day of Sophia.
           HOLY BOOKS:  The  Trattato Gnostico.    The Clementine  Homilies.  The
           Gospel According to Mary.
           PLACES OF WORSHIP: Temples, but also places of learning.
           RELATIVES: Yahway  (ex-husband), Adam, Eve, Lilith, angels (children),
           Jesus Christ (step-son).
           SYNODIETIES:Isis  (Egyptian),  Juno   (Roman),  Hera  (Greek),  Frigga
           (Norse) Spider Grandmother (Native  American), Inanna (Sumerian), Tara
           (Tibetan) Yemaya (African-Caribbean), Amaterasu  (Japanese), Pachamama
           (Incan),  Estsanatlehi  }Changing  Woman{  (Navajo and  Apache),  Danu
           DETAILS:  Sophia, or Hohkma or  Sapienta etc... is  the primary female
           figure of Judeo-Christianity, She was once very important, but because
           of  the efforts of men who had a  very serious problem with the female
           force in nature  and themselfs  She has  all but  been exsponged  from
           modern Bibles. She was the veiled holy spirit of wisdom, pregnant with
           knowledge  and inviting us  to drink deeply  from Her cup.  Old Jewish
           literature tells of  Her role  as God's co-creator,  "She reaches  out
           from one end of the earth to  the other with full strength and  orders
           all  things well...Herself  unchanging,  she makes  all things  anew."
           without  Her God is  powerless. She  shares God's  throne, and  is his
           creative  breath. The  Shakers recognized  her in  the rhyme:  "Wisdom
           holds the Mother's seat, and is the Father's helper-meet."
            Yes, it's time that Mrs God got Her due!
                                     Gnostics and sophia
             Gnosticism (Gnost = knowledge) was one of the very earlyist forms of
           Christianty  being some what older then what became the Roman Catholic
           Church, and  one of it's  chief rivals  during the first  part of  the
           first millennium.  They sought communion with Sige (Silence) who dwelt
           at the  beginning of all  things and gave  birth to Sophia  (Wisdom or
           Knowledge), The Gnostic Great  Mother, who was both spouse  and mother
           of  God. (Hey!  it's  how they  thought  back then,  read  your Joseph
               What became the orthodox church especially hated the Gnosticfemin-
           ine imagery. Followers of Paul denounced the Gnostics as  the spawn of
           Satan and ravening wolves in human form, and both devil worshipers AND
           atheists, and  other insults Christians used  against other Christians
           of a diffrent  type in those times, and for  that matter today against
           other religions that they don't like today.
               Starting mainly  in the 4th and going  through the 8th the Paulist
           church persecuted any Gnostic minorities that they could find, killing
           them in the thousands.
             Church fathers of the Paulist type were very upset and angry by the
           Gnostics admiting  women to ecclesiastical rank.   Tertullian reported
           with horror  that  "All  initiates,  men and  women  alike...might  be
           elected to  serve as priest, bishop, or prophet. Beyone that the women
           teach,  engage  in discussion;  they  exorcise; they  cure.  They even
           baptize and in all way have equally, they pray equally -- even Pagans,
           if any happen to come...They also share the kiss of peace with all who
               Some sects of Gnosticism even went sofar as to say that there were
           twelve  female apostles lead by  the beloved of  Jesus Mary Magdalene,
           and that while  Jesus was the real God made  flesh, Mary Magdalene was
           the real Goddess also made flesh, most of their  gospels pertaining to
           this were distroyed by the eary Paulist, though some have survived. 
               In return  for what the other Christians had to say about them the
           Gnostics said  that the God of  the Roman church was not  the real God
           but was a devilish
           demiurge who only wanted to entrap human souls in lies,  illusion, and
               But what  about some  of these  differences that  are to  be found
           between the
           Gnostics who  had a Yahway  AND Sophia, and  the Paulist who  had only
           Jehovah and Jesus?   Lets take a  short look at the Gnostic  verson of
           the Garden of Eden myth next.
               The  Gnostics said that Sophia was born from the primordial female
           power Sige (Silence).  And that  she }Sophia{ was  God's mother,  "the
           great revered Virgin in whom the Father was concealed from  the begin-
           ing before He had created anything.
               Sophia gave birth to  a male spirit, Christ, (who only  much later
           came to earth in human  form) and a female spirit Achamoth  (who later
           came to earth as Mary Magdalene). These two gave birth to the elements
           and the terrestrial world, then brought forth a new god named Jehovah,
           Son of Darkness, along  with five planetary spirits later  regarded as
           emanations of Jehovah: Iao, Sabaoth, Adonai,  Eloi, annd Uraeus. These
           spirits produced archangels, angels, and finally men and women.
               Jehovah  forbade men to eat the fruit of knowledge, but his mother
           Achamoth sent her own spirit to earth in the form of the serpent Ophis
           to teach  menkind to  disobey the  jealous god.  The serpent  was also
           called Christ, who taught  Adam to eat the fruit of  knowledge despite
           Jehovah's prohibition.
               Sophia sent Christ again to earth in the shapeof one of Her totems
           the dove, to enter the man Jesus at his baptism in Jordan. After Jesus
           died,Christ  left  his body  and returned  to  heaven to  help collect
               But notall of Sophia was taken out ofthe final verson of the Bible
           by  the Paulist, some  was able to slip  past ie from  the 8th and 9th
           chapters  Proverbs  we see  the  early conflict  between  followers of
           Sophia and those of God. Maybe the divorse was going on at this time?:
               Doth  not Sophia cry? and  understanding  put forth her voice? She
           standeth in the top of high places, by way in the places of the paths.
           She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in of
           the doors. Unto  you, O men, I  call; and my voice  is to the sons  of
           man. O  ye simple,  understand Sophia:  and , ye  fools, be  ye of  an
           understanding heart.   Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and
           the opening of my lips shall be right things...  for  Sophia is better
           then rubies; and  all the things  that may  be desired are  not to  be
           compaired to Her. I Sophia dwell with prudence, and  find out knowlege
           of witty inventions... Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom; I am  under-
           standing;  I  have strength.  By me  kings  reign, and  princes decree
           justice. By  me princes rule, and  and nobles, even all  judges of the
           earth. I  love them that love  me; and those that seek  me early shall
           find me...  I lead the  way into righteousness,  jin the midst  of the
           paths of  judgment: that I  may cause  those that love  me to  inherit
           substance;  and I will fill their treasures... Blessed is the man that
           heareth me,  watching daily at  my gates, waiting  at the posts  of my
           doors.  For whoso  findeth  me findeth  life...  But he  that  sinneth
           against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.
           Then we get:
               Sophia hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her sevenpillars:
           she hath killed  her beasts: she hath mingled her  wine: she hath also
           furnished her table.   She  hath sent forth  her maindens: she  crieth
           upon the highest places of the city.  Whoso is simple, let him turn in
           hither; as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come,
           eat of  my bread, and drink  of the wine which  I have mingled...(but)
           the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the kknowledge of
           the holy  is understanding.   For by me  (God) thy days  shall be mul-
           tiplied, and  the years  fo thy life  shall be increased...  a foolish
           woman  is clamorous:  she  is simple,  and  knoweth nothing.  For  she
           sitteth at the  door of her house, on a seat  in the high place of the
           city, (temples)  to call passengers who go right on their ways:  whoso
           is simple, let him turn in hither... But he knoweth not that  the dead
           are there; and her guests are in the depths of hell.
               Sounds like thenasty sort of thing that goes on in a lot of divor-
           ces to me.  Or at least a heated PR battle.
             Lets say that the campaign to bring Sophia (or Sapienta or Hohkma or
           Goddess which ever) is a success, what are some of the effects that it
           might have?  I mean other then the religious aspects, I mean also  the
           political or  more mundane aspects,  because as it is  now while women
           make up  the majority  of those  that DO anything  in the  churchs the
           power is in the hands of men, well, with Sophia back thinks would have
           to  loosen up more then a little bit,  so what are some of the changes
           that could take place?......:
               Sure theyhave nuns, but that does not count because even they have
           to have a Priest that is over  them (I think I'm really not sure about
           the details).   So with the  return of  Sophia we could  see also  the
           Catholic  Priestess who would have  her very on  sacraments and every-
           thing (see following message)  and to be  sure they could also  become
           bishops  and cardinals I understand that such things were quite common
           way back when.
               And Pope? There was Pope Joan, but she had to be in disguise to do
           and all that Pope stuff did not start till well after the last of the
           Sophiaist had been offed.
               But I know the perfect compromise, there is a lotof controveray in
           the  Roman Catholic  church right  now between  people who  think that
           Priest  should be able  to marry, and  those that think  things should
           stay just as  they are.   But if you let  Priest marry who  knows what
           would happen! after all nobody can understand anybody elses choices in
           books or mates, and if  your Catholic would would you do if Father Dan
           showed  up one  day married  to a  Yahway's Witness  or a  nice Jewish
           girl?!  you know  what gosips church  people can  be, well  here's the
           solution, let them  get married,  but only to  Priestesses, sure  that
           cuts down the feld a lot but hey! that's tough, it comes with the
             Now here's a group that needs some work, ever seen some of the more
           hard-core  groups with  the  men in  their  Penta-Pimp suits  and  the
           poofyed up  hair-dos and their drab mousey wifes who never seem to say
           anything? (not to  try and get anybody  mad or upset, but  if I do...I
           try) I think there is  more then room for a little loosening  up to be
           done there, and in the more avereage protestant churchs too.
               Along with the minister  have a wominister, yeah that  would work,
           maybe haveing another  power would help cut down on  the power triping
           that  often  takes place.  And just  think, one  more person  to gosip
               Sorry,  I really  don't know  enough about  Judaism to  talk about
           changes that might take place with the return of a Goddess figure, but
           I'm sure it would have to mean something...right?
                                  All Judeo-Christianity
               One thing that is to be found in all Christian religious groups is
           the male-force verson of the leader, no matter if he  is called Priest
           minister or what, who is let's face it more matter  how you might like
           to not look at it,  is for the most part a political  figure, somebody
           in charge, so that you have a lot of religion but very, very little if
           any real spirituality.
               Perhaps that could be fixed with the return of Sophia because with
           the return of a Female eleament to a religion you open up the  door to
           the  possibility of the Christian Shaman, something that the world has
           yet  to see,  this person could  be ether  male or  female and..well I
           think this needs it's own message.
               Even if you are  not Catholic yourself I am  sure that you are  at
           least  somewhat  familiar with  each of  the  seven sacraments  that a
           priest can perform as part of his office. Just for the record they are
           listed below.
           The seven sacraments  that a priest  of the Roman Catholic  church can
           preform are:
           1. Baptism  2. Communion  (eucharist) 3. Confirmation  4. Marriage  5.
           Priesthood 6. Sacrament of  the Sick (formerly known as  'last rites')
           7. Reconciliation (confession)
             Now, what would be the case if a campaign to return Sophia to Judeo-
           Christianity were to succeed? There would  be no need to take anything
           away from the priests, or even for them to share  the seven sacraments
           for that  matter, I think that  the priestess would have  plenty to do
           with the seven sacraments of the Priestesshood:
           1. Pre-Baptism (sacred midwifery) To atend in a number of ways to the
           spiritual  and physical needs  of pregnant women,  blessing the child,
           doing some rite at the birth etc...
           2. Blessing the  Cup. Rite by which  a cup of milk or  water is imbued
           with the essence of Sophia.
           3. Bake  the Love in. Rite in which an  entire meal is imbued with the
           essence of Sophia.
           4.  Match-Making. Something that is badly needed before the Priest can
           do  the marriage bit. a number of  ways in which the compatablility is
           tested  between  two people,  also the  aiding  of finding  a suitable
           match. ("Nu! have I got a girl for you!")
           5. Nag. Sort of  like confession, only while one is told to the priest
           this one is told to you by the priestess, sort of like naging...but in
           a  good way,  a way of  pointing out  where some  improvement could be
           made,  all  under the  influence  of Sophia  and  not the  good Mother
           herself  `nach. Mayby  it  could start  out  by the  Priestess  saying
           something like "Watch it buster, for you have sined" or something like
           6. Tidy-Up. Rite to "clean-up" the spiritual "being" of the person in
           question, sort of like all that aura cleaning that the New Agers do.
           7. Make-Over. Training that lets the Priestess note changes that would
           be helpfull if they were made in an individual, sort of like that Hail
           Mary thing, only the Priestess  would asign things of a more  tangible
           form. Like give me one week with no beer drinking, or such like.
           The White Goddess.  Robert Graves.
           Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity. (2 vols.)  Francis Legge.
           The Gnostic Religion.  Hans Jonas.
           Venus in Sackcloth.  Marjorie Malvern.
           Myths to Live By.  Joseph Campbell.
           The Gnostic Gospels.  Elaine Pagels.
           When God Was a Woman.  Merlin Stone.
           The Lady Was a Bishop.  Joan Morris.
           Spiral Dance. Starhawk.
           The Book of Goddesses and Heroines. Patricia Monagham.
           The Goddesses and the Tree. Ellen Cannon Reed.
           Urban Shaman. Serge Kahili King.
           Growing the Tree Within. William Gray.
           The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets. Barbara G. Walker.
               Many of these booksare to be found at the libary. . And there is a
           new one out called Sophia the Black Goddess I believe  butI'm not sure
           and I don't know the authors name.....sorry.

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