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I was sent out from the power and have come to you who study me and am found by you who seek me. Look at me, you who study me, and you who hear, hear me. You waiting for me, take me into yourselves. Don’t banish me from your vision. Don’t let hatred enter your voice against me or let anger enter your hearing. In no place, in no time, be unknowing of me. Be alert. Don’t be ignorant of me. I am the first and the last. I am the honored and scorned. I am the whore and holy. I am the wife and the virgin. I am the mother and daughter. I am the members of my mother and the barren one with many sons. I have had a grand wedding and have not found a husband.
Sophia, Apocryphon "The Thunder, Perfect Mind".

Sophia is the Lesser Aeon of Wisdom that had created the Demiurge Yaldabaoth and the Fallen Angel Satanael. She is also the Undersecretary of Heaven from being forgiven by God for creating the Demiurge along with being a personification of wisdom. She is a major part of Gnosticism.

Overview

Sophia assisted in the creation of the material world, when it creates mortal humans she grants them souls and grants them the secret knowledge of the true spiritual universe so they can be freed of Yaldabaoth's influence. Her full name is "Pistis Sophia", indicating that she is not only the personification of wisdom, but also the faith that moves the hearts of humans and has helped them throughout history, performing miracles, healings, saving people and much more.

All aeons are androgynous, that is, they have a male and a female counterpart, in Gnosticism the female counterpart of Jesus Christ was Sophia, and vice versa. In fact, the two are twin, together they form the dual power, the masculine and the feminine, the positive spirit and the negative spirit. The Gnostics claim that she is the syzygy of Jesus (the Bride of Christ) and the Holy Spirit of the Trinity, although such a position also seems to belong to Barbelo. It is also argued that she is the mother of Zoe, whom she sent to enter Adam's body, and when God (or the Demiurge) took Adam's rib, that's when Zoe assumed a human female form.

Appearance

Sophia is a high-level spiritual being and therefore lacks a physical form, needing to use mortal forms in the human realm. Its true form is indescribable, usually being described as a very intense blue light capable of burning the eyes of anyone looking at it.

In Gnosticism, although not explicitly stated, it is clear that good is represented with beauty, while evil is represented with ugliness. Yaldabaoth and her archons are always represented as chimera-like figures, while Sophia is always glorified for her beauty, often being depicted nude.

In her human form, Sophia is a tall dark-skinned woman with waist-length blonde hair who has several bangs down her face, two bangs come down at the sides running all the way down that also frames her face and hazel eyes that sometimes change to blue. She usually appears to be sleepy whenever she makes an appearance, but under special situations, she has a serious face that she puts on.

In her second form, Sophia appears as a 12-year-old fair-skinned girl with blonde hair that reaches down to her legs, she has sea-blue eyes. She wears a black and white dress, giving her a cute look. Her voice is described by Gabriel as being very cute. Despite her small size, she has a powerful aura, being much more powerful and bright than the Seven Archangels.

Personality

Sophia is a very kind and compassionate, optimist, especially to her family and people close to her. While presenting an image of apathy towards others, she dislikes cruelty, especially towards the innocent. To put it in simpler terms, Sophia is shown to be very humble and polite, as well as a loving mother and a dedicated leader.

She possesses a huge amount of regret due to what she did with Yaldabaoth, wishing she could go back stop her past self from banishing that demiurge due to embarrassment and shame. During her time on Earth, she developed loving feelings for the Absolute. However, some believe that she already had feelings for God even before her fall.

Powers and Abilities

History

The Universe began with an original, unknowable God, referred to as the Parent or Bythos, or as the Monad by Monoimus. From this initial unitary beginning, the One spontaneously emanated further Aeons, being pairs of progressively 'lesser' beings in sequence. Together with the source from which they emanate they form the Pleroma, or fullness, of God, and thus should not be seen as distinct from the divine, but symbolic abstractions of the divine nature. The transition from the immaterial to the material, from the noumenal to the sensible, is brought about by a flaw, or a passion, or a sin, in one of the Aeons.

Sophia is the one who brings about this instability in the Pleroma, in turn bringing about the creation of materiality. The crisis occurs as a result of Sophia trying to emanate without a partner. After cataclysmically falling from the Heaven, Sophia's fear and anguish of losing her life (just as she lost the light of the One) causes confusion and longing to return to it. Because of these longings, matter  and soul accidentally come into existence. The creation of the Demiurge, known as Yaldabaoth, "Son of Khaos", is also a mistake made during this exile. The Demiurge proceeds to create the physical world in which we live, ignorant of Sophia, who nevertheless manages to infuse some spiritual spark or pneuma into his creation.

Jesus Christ is sent from the Godhead in order to bring Sophia back into Heaven. Christ enables her to again see the light, bringing her knowledge of the spirit. Christ is then sent to earth in the form of the man Jesus to give men the knowledge needed to rescue themselves from the physical world and return to the spiritual world.

A dwelling-place was assigned by the Gnostics to the Sophia, and her relation to the upper world defined as well as to the seven planetary powers which were placed under her. The seven planetary spheres or heavens were for the ancients the highest regions of the created universe. They were thought of as seven circles rising one above another, and dominated by the seven Archons. These constituted the (Gnostic) Hebdomad. Above the highest of them, and over-vaulting it, was the Ogdoad, the sphere of immutability, which was nigh to the spiritual world.

These seven pillars being interpreted as the planetary heavens, the habitation of the Sophia herself was placed above the Hebdomad in the Ogdoad.

This meant that Sophia has her dwelling-place "on the heights" above the created universe, in the place of the midst, between the upper and lower world, between Heaven and Earth. She sits at "the gates of the mighty," i.e. at the approaches to the realms of the seven Archons, and at the "entrances" to the upper realm of light her praise is sung. Sophia is therefore the highest ruler over the visible universe, and at the same time the mediatrix between the upper and the lower realms. She shapes this mundane universe after the heavenly prototypes, and forms the seven star-circles with their Archons under whose dominion are placed, according to the astrological conceptions of antiquity, the fates of all earthly things, and more especially of man. She is "the mother" or "the mother of the living."

In reconciling the doctrine of the pneumatic nature of the Sophia with the dwelling-place assigned her, in the kingdom of the midst, and so outside the upper realm of light, there was envisioned a descent of Sophia from her heavenly home, Heaven, into the void beneath it. The concept was that of a seizure or robbery of light, or of an outburst and diffusion of light-dew into the kenōma, occasioned by a vivifying movement in the upper world. But in as much as the light brought down into the darkness of this lower world was thought of and described as involved in suffering, this suffering must be regarded as a punishment.

Alienated through their own fault from their heavenly home, souls have sunk down into this lower world without utterly losing the remembrance of their former state, and filled with longing for their lost inheritance, these fallen souls are still striving upwards. In this way the mythos of the fall of Sophia can be regarded as having a typical significance. The fate of the "mother" was regarded as the prototype of what is repeated in the history of all individual souls, which, being of a heavenly pneumatic origin, have fallen from the upper world of light their home, and come under the sway of evil powers, from whom they must endure a long series of sufferings until a return into the upper world be once more vouchsafed them.

But whereas fallen souls still retain a remembrance of their lost home. It was taught that the souls of the Pneumatici, having lost the remembrance of their heavenly derivation, required to become once more partakers of Gnosis, or knowledge of their own pneumatic essence, in order to make a return to the realm of light. In the impartation of this Gnosis consists the redemption brought and vouchsafed by Christ to pneumatic souls. But the various fortunes of such souls were wont to be contemplated in those of Sophia, and so it was taught that the Sophia also needed the redemption wrought by Christ, by whom she is delivered from her agnoia and her pathe, and will, at the end of the world's development, be again brought back to her long lost home, the Upper Pleroma, into which this mother will find an entrance along with all pneumatic souls her children, and there, in the heavenly bridal chamber, celebrate the marriage feast of eternity.

Myths and Legends

Valentinianism

Valentinus assumed, as the beginning of all things, the Primal Being or Bythos, who after ages of silence and contemplation, gave rise to other beings by a process of emanation. The first series of beings, the Aeons, were thirty in number, representing fifteen syzygies or pairs sexually complementary. One common form is outlined below: the positive or negative depiction of materiality thus resides a great deal on mythic depictions of Sophia's actions. She is occasionally referred to by the Hebrew equivalent of Achamoth.

In Gnosticism, the Gospel story of Jesus is itself allegorical: it is the Outer Mystery, used as an introduction to Gnosis, rather than it being literally true in a historical context. For the Gnostics, the drama of the redemption of the Sophia through Christ or the Logos is the central drama of the universe. The Sophia resides in all humans as the Divine Spark.

She is considered to be the central idea in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Platonism, Gnosticism, and Christian theology. Sophia is a major theme, along with Knowledge , among many of the early Christian knowledge-theologies grouped by the heresiologist Irenaeus as gnostikos, "learned". Gnosticism is a 17th-century term expanding the definition of Irenaeus' groups to include other syncretic and mystery religions.

In Gnosticism, Sophia is a feminine figure, analogous to the human soul but also simultaneously one of the feminine aspects of God. Gnostics held that she was the syzygy of Jesus, and Holy Spirit of the Trinity. She is occasionally referred to by the Hebrew equivalent of Achamōth and as Prunikos. In the Nag Hammadi texts, Sophia is the lowest Aeon, or anthropic expression of the emanation of the light of God. She is considered to have fallen from grace in some way, in so doing creating or helping to create the material world.

Originally carrying a meaning of "cleverness, skill", the later meaning of the term, close to the meaning of Phronesis ("wisdom, intelligence"), was significantly shaped by the term philosophy ("love of wisdom") as used by Plato.

In the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, the feminine personification of divine wisdom as Holy Wisdom can refer either to Jesus Christ the Word of God (as in the dedication of the church of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople) or to the Holy Spirit.

References to Sophia in Koine Greek translations of the Hebrew Bible translate to the Hebrew term Chokhmah.

Book of Proverbs

Jewish Alexandrine religious philosophy was much occupied with the concept of the Divine Sophia, as the revelation of God's inward thought, and assigned to her not only the formation and ordering of the natural universe but also the communication of knowledge to mankind. In Proverbs 8 Wisdom is described as God's Counsellor and Workmistress, who dwelt beside Him before the Creation of the world and sported continually before Him.

Syrian Gnosis

The Sophia mythos has in the various Gnostic systems undergone great variety of treatment. The oldest, the Syrian Gnosis, referred to the Sophia the formation of the lower world and the production of its rulers the Archons; and along with this they also ascribed to her the preservation and propagation of the spiritual seed.

Formation of the lower world

As described by Irenaeus, the great Mother-principle of the universe appears as the first woman, the Holy Spirit moving over the waters, and is also called the mother of all living. Under her are the four material elements—water, darkness, abyss, and chaos. With her, combine themselves into two supreme masculine lights, the first and the second man, the Father and the Son, the latter being also designated as the Father's ennoia. From their union proceeds the third imperishable light, the third man, Christ. But unable to support the abounding fullness of this light, the mother in giving birth to Christ, suffers a portion of this light to overflow on the left side. While, then, Christ as dexios (He of the right hand) mounts upward with his mother into the imperishable Aeon, that other light which has overflowed on the left hand, sinks down into the lower world, and there produces matter. And this is the Sophia, called also Aristera (she of the left hand), Prouneikos and the male-female.

There is here, as yet, no thought of a fall, properly so called, as in the Valentinian system. The power which has thus overflowed leftwards, makes a voluntary descent into the lower waters, confiding in its possession of the spark of true light. It is, moreover, evident that though mythologically distinguished from the humectatio luminis, the Sophia is yet, really nothing else but the light-spark coming from above, entering this lower material world, and becoming here the source of all formation, and of both the higher and the lower life. She swims over the waters, and sets their hitherto immoveable mass in motion, driving them into the abyss, and taking to herself a bodily form from the hylē. She compasses about, and is laden with material every kind of weight and substance, so that, but for the essential spark of light, she would be sunk and lost in the material. Bound to the body which she has assumed and weighed down thereby, she seeks in vain to make her escape from the lower waters, and hasten upwards to rejoin her heavenly mother. Not succeeding in this endeavour, she seeks to preserve, at least, her light-spark from being injured by the lower elements, raises herself by its power to the realm of the upper region, and there spreading herself out she forms out of her own bodily part, the dividing wall of the visible firmament, but still retains the aquatilis corporis typus. Finally seized with a longing for the higher light, she finds, at length, in herself, the power to raise herself even above the heaven of her own forming, and to fully lay aside her corporeity. The body thus abandoned is called "Woman from Woman."

Creation and redemption

The narrative proceeds to tell of the formation of the seven Archons by Sophia herself, of the creation of man, which "the mother" uses as a mean to deprive the Archons of their share of light, of the perpetual conflict on his mother's part with the self-exalting efforts of the Archons, and of her continuous striving to recover again and again the light-spark hidden in human nature, till, at length, Christ comes to her assistance and in answer to her prayers, proceeds to draw all the sparks of light to Himself, unites Himself with the Sophia as the bridegroom with the bride, descends on Jesus who has been prepared, as a pure vessel for His reception, by Sophia, and leaves him again before the crucifixion, ascending with Sophia into the world or Aeon which will never pass away.

As World Soul

In this system the original cosmogonic significance of the Sophia still stands in the foreground. The antithesis of Christus and Sophia, as He of the right (ho dexios) and She of the Left (hē aristera), as male and female, is but a repetition of the first Cosmogonic Antithesis in another form. The Sophia herself is but a reflex of the "Mother of all living" and is therefore also called "Mother." She is the formatrix of heaven and earth, for as much as mere matter can only receive form through the light which, coming down from above has interpenetrated the dark waters of the hylē; but she is also at the same time the spiritual principle of life in creation, or, as the world-soul the representative of all that is truly pneumatic in this lower world: her fates and experiences represent typically those of the pneumatic soul which has sunk down into chaos.

Quotes

I am Wisdom, He is the Word. It's not a very fun dialogue you know?
Sophia.
So... I don't hate you, my son. But please don't get in my way. What you broke, I fixed it. Those you hurt, I healed. But it looks like you still don't get it.
Sophia to Yaldabaoth.
I created the diadem a long time ago, back when the garden of earthly paradise is still hidden on Earth under the grace of God. It was supposed to be a gift to him but I never had to chance to before... Nonetheless, the diadem still retains its original purpose as the key to the akashic records. I made sure of it.
Sophia.
And when the mother recognized that the garment of darkness was imperfect, then she knew that her consort had not agreed with her. She repented with much weeping. And the whole pleroma heard the prayer of her repentance, and they praised on her behalf the invisible, virginal Spirit. And he consented; and when the invisible Spirit had consented, the holy Spirit poured over her from their whole pleroma. For it was not her consort who came to her, but he came to her through the pleroma in order that he might correct her deficiency. And she was taken up not to her own aeon but above her son, that she might be in the ninth until she has corrected her deficiency.
Jesus Christ to John.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Sophia admits that she feels a tremendous passion for God.
  • Sophia emanating Yaldabaoth without her consort is literally interpreted as a metaphor for masturbation - she creates Yaldabaoth by having sex alone rather than with her consort (sometimes interpreted as Jesus or Theletos).
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