Sophia, Greek goddess of wisdom, sought after, prayed for, fought over but never fully attained by the ‘lovers of wisdom’ the philo sophers. In ancient Greece, the goddess was the personification of wisdom.
|The Goddess Sophia|
Wisdom is the central theme of many books in the Old Testament as well as many apocryphal texts. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, mystical theology describes sophia as the ‘divine logos‘ (word), incarnate in Jesus Christ, often symbolised in the icons of the Church.
|Hagia Sophia, Istanbul|
The Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) Church in today’s Istanbul was the religious center of the Eastern Church for close to one thousand years. The ‘virgin spirit,’ the goddess Sophia was ‘idolized’ by a break-away Lutheran group (Harmonists) led by Johann George Rapp which left Europe and settled in the USA in the early 1800s.
|Sophia, Harmony Pennsylvania|
In Greece, the virgin goddess Athena was another goddess of wisdom but also the goddess of justice, warfare, skill and mathematics. Metis of the Titan generation of Greek gods was a goddess of wisdom, deep thought and magical cunning.
|Persian Goddess, Anahita|
In Rome, Athena was known as Minerva. Anahita in Old Persian, was the goddess of fertility, healing and wisdom.
But wisdom deities were not always female. In ancient Egypt, Saa (Sia) was the god of perception. Enki, a Sumerian deity was the god who saved the world from the great flood and was responsible for the many languages on the planet. He was the god of mischief, water, intelligence and creation.
Mimir, a Norse deity, god of knowledge and wisdom, was beheaded and his head was taken by Odin who used it to recite secret knowledge and counsel to him. Woden a ‘hybrid’ god, likely one made from many different fellow deities was, in northern Europe, known for fury, ecstasy and inspiration. In a way, his counterpart Greek god was Dionysus (Bacchus in Rome), god of the grape harvest, wine-making and wine but also the god of ritual madness and ecstasy.
The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual (cult?) of Greece and Rome whose initiates entered trances (see post: Altered States of Consciousness) through dance, music, intoxicants (such as wine) to reach a mystical, transcendental state (of wisdom?).
’Sophia‘ by whatever name, has been searched for by the religious, by the mystic and by the curious through trance and through intoxication for thousands of years.
*Sophia: subject of research for the novel The Tao of the Thirteenth God – Amazon Kindle