The Exile and Redemption of Sophia

In most Gnostic traditions, the purpose of the divine incarnation of the Logos is not salvation of the world. Rather, it is the redemption of Sophia, who is fallen and exiled in the world. Essentially, divine wisdom is the true nature of consciousness, which is the foundation of creatures and creation, and she is bound within creatures and creation to the dominion of the demiurgos and arckons—hence in bondage to cosmic ignorance. Thus, through the incarnation, Logos enters into the world to awaken and redeem Sophia. She is the soul of the world and the soul of all creatures. Therefore, in her redemption the world and all creatures are redeemed.

In the Sophian tradition, the story of St. Mary ...gdalene reflects this common theme of Gnosticism, and her life story is an allegory of the soul that becomes obscured and lost in the material world, held in bondage by spiritual forces of cosmic igno;.ince. It has become popular in -.íodern scholarship to denounce the idea of Mary Magdalene having ever been a prostitute and, in some cases, to project on her an ideal image of modern feminism. However, even to this day Palestine and the Middle East are not exactly a place of coequality between men and women, and the deeper esoteric and metaphysical implications within the divine personification of Sophia are lost in the midst of much of the modern academic speculation.

The oral tradition of Mary Magdalene as told among Sophians is meant to portray both the plight of the sou! and the plight of womanhood in the world, and to reflect something about the enlightenment experience as it comes to pass within individuals, it is also meant to suggest the complete coeauality of men and women in Spirit and the necessity of coequaiity and dynamic interaction between men and women for the full generation of supernal or Messianic consciousness in humanity.

Following the Gnostic theme of the incarnation of Logos for the re-dempton of Sophia, there is a distinct contrast between the early life stories of Yeshua and Mary. While both are spiritual prodigies as children, one is born to spiritual parents and encour .ged in the spiritual life, and thus remains primarily otherworldly. The other, however, is born to materialistic parents, is pushed into the materialistic life, and thus becomes this-worldly. Yeshua's story is ideal, whi'e Magdalene's story is, in a certain sense, more typical of souls incarnate in the world. What is reflected between the two stories is the innate goodness and sou! of light within each person, which, given the right circumstances and conditions, can swiftly come to the forefront and shine from within us. Most of us arc not born into ideal circumstances or encouraged : d spir:rual life and practice from our early youth. Rather by our upbringing, environment, and education, we are driven towards materialism and the way of unenlightened society. Thus, the story of St. Mary Magdalene is our story, and she is the primary symbol of spiritual hope for enlightenment and liberation among Sjphians, regardless of how immersed in darkness and the world we may have become.

As the story is told, Mary Magdalene was born :nto a relatively wealthy family and was "privileged." Neither her mother nor her father was spiritual. Her mother enjoyed the "finer things of life," and her father was a trader and businessman. It is said that Mary was an ^:quisite child of an almost angelic beauty, which only increased as she grew and matured towards womanhood, such that she turned the heads or men and woman alike. Because of her beauty, charm, and in-tel'.gence, she attracted attention wherever she went and was able to acquire most everything she desired svith little effort. As a young g 1, she dreamed luminous dreams and had visions, the spirits of prophets and angels spoke with her, and she had an uncanny understanding o spiritual things. Yet, she was discouraged from these things and void they were worthless. As she grew older in years, she would not speak of them because no one wished to hear of such things, and she feared being branded a witch and blasphemer. The faithful around her had no faith, and the faithless had no interest in the Spirit. Thus, her h ily soul found no root in her life, and inwardly she was torn between the Spirit and the world. Among her dreams were dreams of her beloved. Yet life carried her away front her beloved, and with the passage ol time, she was more and more of the world.

!n those days, a beautiful daughter was a boon to a father, for treaties and business deals were often sealed by giving one's daughter in marriage. Thus, through a beautiful daughter, a businessman stood to make a great deal of money, and this was the intention of Magdalene's father. There was a wealthy Jewish trader living in Babylon to whom he promised his daughter in marriage, so that the two families might be linked together and he might prosper from the association. So, when she came of age, though yet very young, he sent Mary with her handmaid on a caravan bound to the great city of Babylon.

As the story goes, along the way, the caravan was set upon by robbers and overtaken. They pillaged the caravan, murdering the men and racing the women. Mary and her handmaid were raped and taken hostage. She was sold into slavery in Babylon and turned out as a prostitute. Mary fell into the depths of darkness in her bondage ar.d became a broken woman, inwardly tormented by dark spirits.

Because of her incredible beauty, she soon came to the attention of wealthy men in Babylon. It was not long before one of them bought her freedom, hoping for her love. Because of her plight she could not return home, and beneath her outward appearance of beauty and charm, she loathed men. She did not love the man who bought her freedom ami would not live with him. She was filled with rage, hatred, and darkness, and thus played upon the greed and lust of men, becoming a mistress to wealthy and powerful men of Babylon. She herself became wealthy and powerful through the men of her associations, and in due time, she gave way to the hatred inside of her and sought vengeance against the man who had formerly owned her and made her a prostitute. She conspired to have him killed when he was killed, it was no comfort to her. The emptiness and darkness in her only increased, and seemingly consumed her completely.

In the midst of her great darkness, when there seemed to be no hope, here and there luminous dreams began to appear, and a spark of light returned in her. At first, it only served to increase her torment. It came upon her as judgment and she mourned her life deeply. Mary began to remember the dreams of her beloved. Yearning for the sanctuary' of her • 'oved began to dawn in her, so she began to call upon the name of the Lord and to pray for deliverance from her bondage and darkness. She quit her associations with men in Babylon and turned inward, seeking the Spirit and light. She began giving charity to the poor in Babylon and purchased the freedom of many slaves. She wrestled constantly with un-clcan and evil spirits that plagued her, yet continued in her n-nvers, invocations and good works. God heard her prayers and sent a holy man to herr some say it was the angel of John the Baptist. Mary's mind and heart were opened to the holy man who came to her and she received him. He told her that her father had died and that the Spirit of the Lord called he' to return from her exile to the Holy Land. Ha.said, "In dreams and visions, the Spirit of the Lord speaks to you and has shown you the path of your soul. Now the Lord calls you to follow your dreams that you might pass from darkness into the light. Return to the land of your birth and seek out the Anointed One, for he will receive you and deliver you and heal your wounds." Thus, Mary made arrangements to set out the very next day with a caravan going to the Holy Land.

In the tradition it is said that this holy man came to Mary on the day of Yeshua's baptism, when the Christ Spirit descended upon him. It is also said that Yeshua was out in the wilderness being tempted by Satan while Mary was traveling through the desert towards the Holy Land. On the day she entered into the Holy Land, it is said that Yeshua per formed his first wonder-working act, changing water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana. Thus, the great mystery of the Gospel was already transpiring between them before they ever met in the worid.

Although the light-presence was awakening in Mary, the journey to the land of her birth was nofan easy one. The dark spirits that were with her tormented her and sought to prevent her return to the Holy Land. Seven powerful demons plagued her and in every way they attempted to stop her. Yet she did not give into them, but in silence endured the suffering they inflicted upon her heart and mind. Inwardly, she cleaved to her beloved and to the Spirit of Yahweh and was empowered against the darkness.

When she entered into the Holy Land, straight away she sought out the Anointed and found him preaching to a crowd of people surrounding him. She hid herself in the back of the crowd and listened to him. His voice was like a cool breeze flowing over her, soothing and giving her comfort- yet at the same time, his words were like a burning fire poured out upon her. While the Anointed was speaking, at one point he glanced at her, caught her gaze, and something passed between them. She was thunderstruck; an energy and vibration filled her whole body. Her sight opened and she saw his true form as light and fire and truth, and a love such as she had never known welled up in her. In that moment she knew the Anointed and she remembered the soul of light that was in her. When the Lord finished giving teachings, he sent two disciples to bring Mary to him and went out to wait for them at the edge of the wilderness near tl Jordan River There, Yeshua and Mary met for the first time in the world. Putting his hands on her, he exorcised seven demons from her. Then he gave charge to two of his disciples to baptize her. When she was baptized, he received her. He said to her, "You are my bride.'' But she said to him, "How can that be, my lord, you do not know what kind of woman I am. You are a holy man, but I am unclean. I cannot be your bride.' He said to her. "Mary, the woman of whom you are speaking is dead. Yesterday no longer exists and tomorrow has not yet come, but this day you are alive in the Spirit, and like the Spirit you are light and fire, ever pure and virgin as I am." When Yeshua said this, he took her hand and led her out into the wilderness. He gave her teachings and initiated her in secret. When he returned to his disciples with Mary, he announced they would be married and gave instructions for the preparation of a wedding feast. Three days later the wedding took place and they became Bride and Bridegroom—one in body and in soul. A.ccorcing to the Sophian Gospel, from that holy day onward, she was his inmost disciple and Kallah Messiah.5

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Responses

  • tolman
    Why is wisdon sophia in exile?
    1 year ago

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