Welcome to the Sophia Project
Central pillar, main entrance, Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
My arms I lifted up to the Most High,
even to the grace of the Lord;
because He had cast off my bonds from me;
and my Helper had lifted me up to His grace
and to His salvation;
and I put off darkness and clothed myself with light, and my soul acquired a body free from sorrow or affliction or pains.
– 21st Ode to Solomon
Our Lady, Chartres Cathedral.
Stained glass that survived from the original construction
in the early 12th century.
Welcome to this portal into the mysteries of Sophia. May we be open vessels to remember the treasure that she has given us.
The Story of Sophia spans many eras, many cultures, many religious movements. From the Jewish mystics of Shekinah, the Taoist lovers of The Mysterious Female, to the Persian, Jewish, Ismaelian, and early Christian gnostics, this figure of struggle and light has taken on many forms. She weaves through the Old Testament books of Wisdom and Solomon, is hinted at in some New Testament, and she makes a profound appearance in many of the recently recovered books of gnosis in the Nag Hammadi Library.
Thomas Acquinas was struck hard by her message. “This is Wisdom, namely the Queen of the South, who is said to have come from the east, like unto the Morning Rising…” (quoted from Aurora Consurgens, von Franz, 2000).
This website is a canvas in which I, Dan Craig Morse, am working with the light and shadows of a mystery tale. For much of my adult life, I have been tracking the mostly forgotten story of an enigmatic figure known as Sophia where I have traversed through the swamps of my own unconsciousness, periodically catching vistas of a new world of immense joy.
This story weaves through pages of early Christian manuscripts and dips into modern tales of strange alien beings. The Sophia Project tracks a story of tragedy and beauty, suffering and ecstasy. It speaks of ancient times, when great emanations of light and brilliant beings filled the heavens. This is also an investigation into our current age of transition where the Mythos of Sophia is like a guiding cairn that beckons us onward across rocky uncharted territory.
Dearly beloved! I have called you so often
and you have not heard me,
I have shown myself to you so often
and you have not seen me.
– The voice of Sophia from “Book of Theophanies”, by Ibn ‘Arabi
quoted in Alone with the Alone by Henry Corbin, (1997).
On one hand, The Sophia Project has been a journey I’ve been on for most of my life, though I finally gave it a name back in 1978 when I was 18. At that time, I was becoming more and more aware of how my inner knowing, unfettered as long as childhood innocence prevailed, was becoming increasingly clouded with the onset of adulthood. The Sophia Project was my commitment to not lose this, and even more, to stay true to the course of my inner-sense.
But this is not just my project, as I eventually came to understand it. Indeed, I stumbled onto a phenomenal story that features this figure Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom. Specifically, it was through the pages of the less known and even less understood Gnostic texts where this enigmatic Sophia not only grabbed my attention, she jolted me to my core.
It is within the pages of this website that I hope to inspire others with many themes, songs, and poems that relate to this creation story of Sophia, but to recognize that this story is like a doorway into some phenomenal mysteries, of who we are, where we came from and where we are destined to return to.
Sophia and the early French Gothic Cathedrals
In 2009, I visited Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and stumbled on some images that I believe may refer to the Gnostic mysteries of Sophia. As I will investigate, designs of the earliest “gothic” cathedrals in France may have been inspired by documents recovered by the earliest Knights Templars upon their return from Jerusalem in the 12th century.
In this image, this woman sits on the Throne of Wisdom located about chest high on the central pillar in the central entrance to Notre Dame. Who is this woman? Indeed, who is “Our Lady” referring to? Tradition holds that, of course, she is Mother Mary, yet there is no reference to the Mother of Our Lord on this hugely significant pillar. Above her are what could be seen as the philosophers looking down in contemplation in their attempts to interpret the mystery figure below, and then there is Christ, standing above the serpent’s gate.
This seated woman holds an open book where, like in the Bible, there is no overt mention of the figure Sophia, yet St. Paul hints at her presence in his writing. She also holds the closed book, where esoteric writing is complex, profound and more difficult to grasp, such as The Books of IEOU, and the largest and perhaps most significant of the early gnostic texts, Pistis Sophia, which was lost to humanity for 1700 years. Or was it? Images like the one above, as well as the image to it’s upper right, called Synagoga, suggest that the designers of this 12th century Christian temple may have been more aware of this Gnostic version of Sophia than has been assumed.
Indeed, hidden in these lost pages of pre-Roman Christianity is the story of a Goddess of Divine Light, who became entrapped into matter by a serpentine Archon, until she was rescued by the Christ. According to the tale, Sophia now sits in the 8th heaven, awaiting for her full return into the Heavenly Realm (Pleroma) with the awakening and return of her Divine Sparks.
The Divine Sparks of Sophia is perhaps the quintessential mystery of Sophianic literature. But what is this referring to? Might these be the scattered sparks of the Shekinah in the Jewish parallel to the gnostic literature, the Kabbalah? And where are these sparks?
Come, join me on this investigation and may we find great treasures!