Thursday, 18 February 2021

Jacob Boehme on the love of Sophia (Wisdom) 1

Sophia (σοφία, Greek for "wisdom") is a central idea in Hellenistic philosophy and religion, Platonism, Gnosticism, Orthodox Christianity, Esoteric Christianity, as well as Christian mysticism. Sophiology is a philosophical concept regarding wisdom, as well as a theological concept regarding the wisdom of the biblical God. Sophia is honored as a goddess of wisdom by Gnostics, as well as by some Neopagan, New Age, and feminist-inspired Goddess spirituality groups. In Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christianity, Sophia, or rather Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), is an expression of understanding for the second person of the Holy Trinity, (as in the dedication of the church of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul) as well as in the Old Testament, as seen in the Book of Proverbs 9:1, but not an angel or goddess.

Blavatsky has written about Sophia in her gnostic commentaries, such as her Notes on the Pisits Sophia and is part of her mystical explanation of the Sacred Four, or Arba-Il, of which a brief outline as follows :

India

Babylon

Ophite

Christian

1 - Brahma

Anu

Sige

Father

2 -Vishnu

Bel

Ennoia

Son

3 - Siva

Hoa

Bythos

Holy Ghost

4 - Nari

Mylitta

Sophia

Mary

 Anna Kingsford gives a good theosophical description of Sophia : She is not matter ; but is the potential essence of Matter. She is not Space ; but is the within of space, its fourth and original dimension, that from which all proceed, the containing element of Deity, and of which space is the manifestation. As original Substance, the substance of all others substances, She underlies that whereof all things are made ; and, like life and mind, is interior, mystical, spiritual, and discernible only when manifested in operation. In the Unmanifest, She is the Great Deep, or Ocean, of Infinitude, the Principium or Archë, the heavenly Sophia, or Wisdom, Who encircles and embraces all things ; of Whom are dimension and form and appearance ; Whose veil is the astral fluid, and Who is, Herself, the substance of all souls. (The Perfect Way, Lecture 1, Part 1, 34)

The Gnostic Sophia reappears in a different form in Christian Mysticism, and one of the more compelling portrayals is from Christian Theosophist Jakob Böhme in a text called The  Gates  of  the  Paradisical  Garden  of  Roses, from his essay True Repentance, part of six texts grouped under the title The Way to Christ (1624), which forms a good introduction to his writings.

The  Gates  of  the  Paradisical  Garden  of  Roses

 This is understood by none but the Children of Christ, who have known it by Experience.

WHEN Christ the Corner-stone stirreth himself in the extinguished Image of Man, in his hearty Conversion and Repentance, then Virgin Sophia appeareth in the Stirring of the Spirit of Christ in the extinguished Image, in her Virgin's Attire before the Soul; at which the Soul is so amazed and astonished in its Uncleanness, that all its Sins immediately awake in it, and it trembleth before her; for then the Judgement passeth upon the Sins of the Soul, so that it even goeth back in its Unworthiness, being ashamed in the Presence of its fair Love, and entereth into itself, feeling and acknowledging itself utterly unworthy to receive such a Jewel.  This is understood by those who are of our Tribe, and have tasted of this Heavenly Gift, and by none else.  But the noble Sophia draweth near in the Essence of the Soul, and kisseth it in friendly Manner, and tinctureth its dark Fire with her Rays of Love, and shineth through it with her bright and powerful Influence.  Penetrated with the strong Sense and Feeling of which, the Soul skippeth in its Body for great Joy, and in the Strength of this Virgin Love exulteth, and praiseth the great God for his blessed Gift of Grace.

I will set down here a short Description how it is when the Bride thus embraceth the Bridegroom, for the Consideration of the Reader, who perhaps hath not yet been in this Wedding-Chamber.  It may be that he will be desirous to follow us, and to enter into the Inner Choir, where the Soul joineth Hands and danceth with Sophia, or the Divine Wisdom.

1-When that which is mentioned above cometh to pass, the Soul rejoiceth in its Body, and saith,

PRAISE, Thanksgiving, Strength, Honour, and Glory, be to thee, O great God, in thy Power and Sweetness, for that thou hast redeemed me from the Anguish of the fiery Driver.  O thou fair Love!  My Heart embraceth thee; where hast thou been so long?  I thought I was in Hell in the Anger of God.   O Gracious Love!  Abide with me, I beseech thee, and be my Joy and Comfort.  Lead me in the right Way.  I give myself up into thy Love.   I am dark before thee, do thou enlighten me.  O noble Love, give me thy sweet Pearl; put it I pray thee into me.

O great God in Christ Jesus, I praise and magnify thee now in thy Truth, in thy great Power and Glory, for that thou hast forgiven me my Sins, and filled me with thy Strength.  I shout for Joy before thee in my new Life, and extol thee in thy Firmament of Heaven, which none can open but thy Spirit in thy Mercy.  My Bones rejoice in thy Strength, and my Heart delighteth itself in thy Love.  Thanks be to thee forever, for that thou has delivered me out of Hell, and turned Death into Life in me.   O sweet Love!  Let me not depart from thee again.  Grant me thy Garland of Pearl, and abide in me.  O be my own proper Possession, that I may rejoice in thee forever.

Upon this, the Virgin Sophia saith to the Soul,

MY nobel Bridegroom, my Strength and Power, thou art a thousand Times welcome.  Why hast thou forgotten me so long, that I have been constrained in great Grief to stand without the Door and knock?   Have I not always called thee and entreated thee?  But thou hast turned away thy Countenance from Me, and thine Ears have declined my Intreaties.   Thou couldst not see my Light, for thou didst walk in the Valley of Darkness.  I was very near thee, and intreated thee continually, but thy Sinfulness held thee Captive in Death, so that thou knewest me not.  I came to thee in great Humility, and called thee, but thou wert rich in the Power of the Anger of God, and didst not regard my Humility and Lowliness.   Thou hast taken the Devil to be thy Paramour, who hath defiled thee thus, and built up his Fort of Prey in thee, and turned thee quite away from my Love and Faith into his hypocritical Kingdom of Falsehood; wherein thou hast committed much Sin and Wickedness, and torn thy Will off from my Love.  Thou hast broken the Bond of Wedlock, and set thy Love and Affection upon a Stranger, and suffered me thy Bride, whom God did give thee, to stand alone in the extinguished Substance, without the Power of thy fiery Strength.  I could not be joyful without thy fiery Strength, for thou art my Husband; my shining Brightness is made manifest by thee.  Thou canst manifest my hidden Wonders in thy fiery Life, and bring them into Majesty; and yet without me thou art but a dark House, wherein is nothing but Anguish, Misery, and horrible Torment.

O noble Bridegroom, stand still with thy Countenance towards Me, and give me thy Rays of Fire.  Bring thy Desire into me, and enkindle me thereby, and then I will bring the Rays of my Love, from my Meekness into thy fiery Essence, and be united with thee forever.

O my Bridegroom, how well am I, now that I am in Union with thee!  O kiss me with thy Desire in thy Strength and Power, and then I will shew thee all my Beauty, and will rejoice and solace Myself with thy sweet Love and shining Brightness in thy fiery Life.  All the holy Angels rejoice with us, to see us united again.  My dear Love, I now entreat thee to abide in my Faith, and do not turn thy Face away from me any more.  Work thou thy Wonders in my Love, for which Purpose God hath created thee and brought thee into Being.

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