The Sophia in Art and Life
There is so much to say about the Sophia, that I hardly know where to start. Years ago, I delved into learning about the Goddess. I wanted to know everything about her, from the carvings of the Neolithic goddess, the Venuses, Gaia, the Shekina, and all the goddesses of Hinduism. The richness of all Goddess cultures has worlds to teach those of us who grew up inside sterile patriarchal structures. And yet, to have the benefit of a perspective inside modern Western culture, I feel blessed.
There has been much written about the Goddess and I will write more in days to come, but today, it is the Sophia. The long-ulcerated-about decision of basing my work on her name, image, and story, found a resting place just this Spring and has continued to flesh out over months that have followed.
My Jewish mentor, John, and I have long talked about a female-based creation story, the Midrash, and discussions around what that might have looked like. The Sophia and Shekina both come from that tradition. Sophia, according to some legends, was the twin sister to Jesus in the premortal realm. She did everything with him and under the direction of the Father. One day, for some reason, she had the audacity to make a decision on her own. And as a result, she was cast out of the heavens. Out of her body, the earth was created.
This legend is a perfect analogy of how both the female body and female have been and continue to be a threat to men. When I first understood this and all of my trauma around this topic, I felt angry. I felt angry for having been made small because of the weakness of boys and men. I felt angry for having been told to make my skirts longer and cover my body in order to NOT be a temptation. I felt angry for never having the last "say"; that I ever needed permission to speak and not paraphrased afterward by a man.
I was a smart girl. I saw and felt so much. I knew there was something awry, but never had words for it until I studied feminism in its many forms. The Sophia is not simply feminism, but eco-feminism-in action. Her body was cast out. Like so many of our female bodies, it was not welcome there anymore. But in that act of being discarded, she created something amazing-the Earth that we live on. And her feminine divine wisdom is embodied in it.
We are part of that Earth. We are made of her substances, our bodies formed in the womb of our mothers using the miracle, magic, and translation of nutrients, calories and energy into life itself. To cast out the female body and disregard her is the greatest sin of our modern culture. The intuition, innate love, and desire a woman's body encases should be one that all seek after.
And that...that is why Sophia Speaks was created. For us to cast off the epigenetic-deep patriarchal structure and come in contact with our own deep feminine intuition (men included and needed) we must respect and revere what is truly holy. That, what is holy, is not "out there". She is inside us all. Please join us in welcoming what emerges as we do the work of opening our hearts and minds, enduring and learning from the shadows, and embracing what is truly real.
The piece of artwork above was created by Alise Sheehan, an artist in San Diego California. The piece has been aptly named "Sophia" and resides in my home in Indiana. I awake to her daily, the crown of her head to the earth, reminding me that I have all that I need in my relationship with the Earth herself and her inhabitants. Please find Alise on Instagram and Facebook. Her gift has blessed me and many more.