As a shamanic practitioner grounded in indigenous Native American spirituality, I don’t typically align with deity metaphors. So it is curious and unusual for me to be feeling the need for more discussion about goddess energies. And yet, in the shamanic paradigm there is a reverence for MotherEarth, which could itself be considered a goddess energy.
Drawing from the Goddess Oracle deck for some insight on whether a goddess energy is welcoming all of us into the new year, one card pushes itself forward in answer. It is Sophia, goddess of Wisdom.
Sophia is considered a goddess in many guises, revered in the ancient middle east, and in the more mystical teachings of the ostensibly “monotheistic” religions. There is even a famous shrine to her in Istanbul – the nearly 1500 year old Hagia Sophia is called one of the seven wonders of the world – originally built as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral, then becoming Roman Catholic, then a mosque, and now it houses a museum.
The Greeks immortalized Sophia with the word we all know today as philo-sophia, or philosophy, which literally means friend of Sophia, or friend of wisdom. This fits with earlier pagan ideas of the goddess, and with the idea in various shamanic cultures of the EarthMother, Pachamama or Mother Earth.
Given that most languages other than English classify various words as either male or female, Wisdom was originally viewed as female, until misogynistic cultures and church leaders decided to transform Sophia into Logos. Don’t think that having gender concepts embedded in mundane vocabulary doesn’t make a difference in how we relate to the world around us, even on a subconscious level, and even for those of us who only speak English!
What this shift in gender priority did was vitally important and has formed the world we live in now. The shift from sophia to logos subordinated the role of bodily-felt, emotional and experiential wisdom in favor of prioritizing verbal, intellectual logic and the written word. Thus was erased the feminine virtues of wisdom, co-opting them instead as an attribute for their Christ incarnate.
It has been said that the world suffers from not just a loss of wisdom, but also from a loss of the valuing of the sacredness of MotherEarth. And so it seems an important sign for us today that the goddess Sophia comes forward to remind us about true spiritual wisdom.
Sophia’s message to all of us today is this – it is time to connect with your own internal, subjective, experiential wisdom, and that will best be found in stillness and introspection. In other words, Sophia will come to you in meditation, if you are listening for her.
The Goddess Oracle book suggests an interactive kind of meditation in which you prepare you consciousness to seek and receive your inner Sophia. When you are completely relaxed, begin to visualize where this Sophia lives in your own inner world – ask to be shown, and accept the first landscape that comes to mind, whatever it is.
The “image” might even present itself as an emotional feeling such as lovingkindness, or as a bodily felt sensation such as warmth or tingling somewhere. Spend some time getting familiar with this imagery by using all your senses – what does is look like, what can you touch and how does it feel, are there smells, what do you hear, etc.
Then ask Sophia to show herself to you. Again take the first image that appears – it might be different from the drawings you’ve seen. Be respectful and give your thanks for her responding to you. Have a conversation, but don’t argue. Ask questions, and say thank you after every answer.
If you develop your relationship with your inner Sophia through the new year, she will guide you well.