THE SONG OF SONGS
A Sophianic Interpretation
by Dan Craig-Morse ©2012
Mural from The Song of Songs behind the main alter at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church, San Francisco, CA
(Though the above painting is intended to depict St. Gregory of Nyssa’s view of The Song of Songs as metaphor for Christ’s marriage to The Church (represented by the Shulamite in her wedding dress), the following review utilizes a pre-Roman orthodox, gnostic interpretation of this Song of Solomon, where the Higher Wisdom is watching over “The Light of Light’s” rescue of Sophia, the fallen Wisdom.)
Found deep within the dense histories and theologies of the Old Testament lies a highly erotic poem, The Song of Songs. Expressions of endearment abound between lovers in this ancient composition that is considered one of the greatest love songs ever written. There has been a long history of interpretations as to what this romantic though often confusing verse means, ranging from a literal love poem between God’s love of his people to a symbol of Christ’s marriage to the Church. (footnote 1) What we do know, however, is that for centuries, this obscure, even other worldly poem, has played a good game of hard-to-get with our understanding.
What follows is one layman’s contribution to a collective effort to help unlock the unusual flavors, scents and images of beauty that comprise this superlative love song. First I will assess the basic meaning of this canticle with the help of a gnostic, sophianic lens and then review the entire Song of Songs with periodic commentary to help clarify the meaning, of who is talking, to whom, about what.
The Song of Solomon (also called hereafter, The Song) is considered to be one of the seven sapiential or Wisdom books (sapientia is Latin for wisdom) of the Old Testament, which includes Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Book of Wisdom and Sirach. Indeed, the main female character who is identified only once in the verse as the Shulamite, bares a striking resemblance to the figure of Wisdom personified in Proverbs, the Psalms and The Book of Wisdom. Though the term “wisdom” is typically equated with attributes or qualities associated with knowledge, Wisdom is also described as a personified female character who is has been present from the beginning of creation. “The Lord created me the first of his works, before all else that he made.” (Proverbs 8:22) However, aside from the many vague and fleeting references to this Wisdom figure (footnote 2) little seems to be known about her and what her role in creation actually was.
The Gnostic Creation Story
It was not until the advent of a new dispensation of wisdom literature, known as “gnostic” in the first few centuries AD, did there appear a vast new library of cosmology, theology, and psycho-spirituality associated with a wisdom figure, referred to in the Greek, as Sophia. The Gnostics, particularly the Syrian Egyptian gnostics, presented a complex cosmology of an original Unknowable, Ineffable Godhead, from which arose a great Emanation. It is this Emanation, a burst of creation-filling Light that is equated with Wisdom, a higher form of Sophia, known in later Christian traditions as The Holy Spirit.
In the creation stories of these Gnostics texts, this original Woman of Light had a younger counterpart known as Pistis Sophia, or simply, Sophia. Sophia undergoes a distinct drama where she seeks to unite with the Unknowable Source God. Her passion ends in utter failure and she falls from heaven in pursuit of a false light which is a luring guise of a lower God figure known as an Archon or Demiurge who then steals Sophia’s divine light essence, trapping her into matter. In some of the gnostic texts, especially the Pistis Sophia, there are long sections devoted to Sophia’s plight of being lost and trapped in the lower world where she pleads with her rescuing lover to save her from her agony.
The thesis of the following sophianic interpretation is that this constellation of figures, including an angelic savior lover, The Woman of Light, the fallen Sophia as well as Solomon himself, comprise the main characters in The Song of Songs. By referencing a gnostic and early Christian set of characters in an analysis of the Song is problematical because clearly the text refers to a pre-Christian and pre-gnostic Jewish cosmology of Wisdom that obviously did not include reference to an angelic male figure called Christ, a figure who appears historically at a much later date. But still there is a celestial male lover figure whose identity remains elusive. Furthermore, there is general confusion of who is talking in the poem, who is this male lover of the Shulamite, who is the “black but comely” girl herself, and whether Solomon is the main male character, all resulting in much confusion regarding the understanding of the Song.
However, I believe that the gnostic literature can provide a context to find a pattern of specific identities that can shed valuable light on the meaning of this poem. In the Gnostic scriptures, we find a rich body of elaborate cosmologies that were rooted in ancient history, claiming to date back to the time of Adam, Eve and their offspring, Seth. (The Gospel of the Egyptians, for example, is claimed to have been written by the hand of Seth himself.) In this gnostic literature, the Messianic figure of Christ is originally associated with a higher arch angelic being who descended to earth, it is written, specifically to rescue the fallen Sophia. Here is a broad sweep of timeless creation story, through many aeons, involving the creation of the non-physical heavens (Pleroma), the creation of the material world and finally man himself (man denoting humanity). Hence, an historical Jesus does not need to factor in as a character in this Song, as many Christian interpretations will promote. Rather, I will draw from a reference that is made in the gnostic texts to this arch angelic grand lover, called in the Pistis Sophia, The Light of Lights. One could also find a correlation between this Light of Lights and the Greek-Biblical concept of the Logos, the masculine expression of God.
The Woman of Zion, fallen Sophia and The Light of Lights
It is this creation mythology that I am presenting as a main template with which we can understand The Song of Songs. There is the higher Woman of the Light World, or a Woman of Zion who shares ecstatic love with her consort. Likewise, this angelic Light Lover reflects back to the Woman of Zion her own divine beauty, associated with the dove of the Holy Spirit. “Look! You are beautiful, O girl companion of mine. Look! You are beautiful. Your eyes are [those of] doves.” (1:15)
Then there is the fallen Wisdom figure we will call the lower Sophia who cowers in shame and cries out to be held by her distant lover, her savior, her Light of Lights. “A black girl I am, but comely… Do not…look at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has caught sight of me.” (1:15) “The watchmen (or Archons) who were going around in the city found me, ‘The one whom my soul has loved have YOU men seen?’ 4 Hardly had I passed on from them until I found the one whom my soul has loved. I grabbed hold of him, and I would not let go of him, until I had brought him into my mother’s house and into the interior room of her that had been pregnant with me” (2:3-4) Here the Shulamite is in fear of her captors and yet clings to her rescuer who brings her back to unite with her higher self, The Woman of Zion. In response to her calls, The Lord of Light moves from the world of Light into the world of matter for her rescue. The sophianic Shulamite sees him, saying “Look! This one is standing behind our wall, gazing through the windows, glancing through the lattices.” Upon meeting, The savior figure says to her, “Rise up, come, O girl companion of mine, my beautiful one, and come away. O my dove in the retreats of the crag, in the concealed place of the steep way, show me your form, let me hear your voice, for your voice is pleasurable and your form is comely.” (2:13-14) Then, Sophia/Shulamite who is raised to reunite with her higher aspect, The Woman of Zion, is found safe on the mountains of myrrh, the heavenly Pleroma of the gnostic cosmology, where she is once again united with her loved one. (footnote 3)
The Song of Solomon is another character which brings a fabulous dynamic which, I believe is uniquely eloquent as it relates to the wisdom literature of Solomon. Indeed, Solomon may well be the great purveyor of Sophianic mystery teachings and it is thought that he himself had become united with the inner spark of Sophia resulting in an activation of his greater Light Being.
Midway through The Song, Solomon himself enters the poem, whereby he becomes the new focus of the Woman of Zion’s affections as the rescued Sophia now turns her sights on helping to woo fallen man back to his true potential.
Solomon is a symbol for three aspects that represent the lessons for ourselves, the mortals who are also trapped and matter bound. Firstly, Solomon is a King who has helped to build a somewhat cumbersome religious system that can only approximate direct mystical experience, which is referenced in The Song with the image of the tabernacle. “What is this thing that is coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, being perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, even with every sort of scent powder of a trader? ‘Look! It is his couch, the one belonging to Solomon. (3:6-7)
But then, secondly, we read of the Solomon “with the wreath that his mother wove for him on the day of his marriage and on the day of the rejoicing of his heart.” (3:11) The wreath is a symbol for the activation of our higher light body as depicted in the Gnostic literature, such as in The Pistis Sophia where Sophia has a wreath of light placed on her head which then protects her from persecution of the lower gods, a wreath delivered by her savior lover, but connected with her higher attribute of the Holy Spirit. In the early Gothic cathedrals such as Chartres and Notre Dame, there are some of the earliest depictions of the Coronation of the Virgin, where a Christian theology is harkening back to an original Gnostic teaching of the placing of a crown upon the head of the Sophianic figure. Through Solomon, Sophia sings of this wreath of Light in the first Ode of Solomon.
- The Lord is on my head like a crown, and I shall never be without Him.
- Plaited for me is the crown of truth, and it caused Your branches to blossom in me.
- For it is not like a parched crown that blossoms not;
- For You live upon my head, and have blossomed upon me.
- Your fruits are full and complete; they are full of Your salvation….
Thirdly, Solomon is in the state of disconnection from the non material heavenly realms and is unable to connect with his divine consort, the inner spark of Wisdom. Solomon has lost his light-vesture, his garment of light, a prominent theme in the gnostic literature, and is bound in material form. ‘I have put off my robe. How can I put it back on?’ (5:3) This is the condition we the readers find ourselves within, and the whole Song is oriented towards aligning the focus of our hearts towards the task of embodying the higher reality.
Truly, I say to you, you are a person of light who has come from the light, and if you remember yourself you will know where your home is. – Mary Magdalene, The Gospel of Mary
The Woman of Zion describes trying to find this lost mortal Solomon but he is not present, being ignorant of the higher realms. “I opened, even I, to my dear one, but my dear one himself had turned away, he had passed along. My very soul had gone out [of me] when he spoke. I sought him, but I did not find him. I called him, but he did not answer me.” (5:6)
At one point, the mortal Solomon cries out to the exalted Shulamite, the Woman of Light, “Come back, come back, O Shu´lam·mite! Come back, come back, that we may behold you!” (6:13) Then Solomon says to the chorus of Daughters, “What do YOU people behold in the Shulamite?” The Daughters say back an obscure but poignant line. “Something like the dance of two camps!” (6:13).
Something like the dance of two camps
This phrase points to a central theme of this enigmatic Song. One wonders if the Daughters are conjuring up the closest analogy they can think of to describe something that is quite difficult to grasp. The dance of two camps. There is the Higher divine reality and there is the lower material reality. Throughout the poem there is a dance between these two worlds, the lost world and the Light world, between the Maiden of Light and the human who seeks to return to an original proximity to this Maiden within the heavens. In some parts we hear the rescued Sophia portray the intimate details of her love for the Higher Light of Lights while at other parts, we hear her calling out for her loved one to meet her. As well, in one section, the ascended Solomon is donning his wreath of Light and in another, he too, like Sophia, is lost, calling out to his hard-to-find higher consort.
Within this configuration of “two camps”, there are four relationships in which these expressions of endearment occur. 1) Between the Woman of Zion and The Light of Lights and, later between her and the Higher Solomon, 2) between the fallen Woman of Zion, Sophia and the Light of Lights, 3) between The Woman of Zion and the matter bound mortal Solomon and 4) between the fallen Sophia and the mortal Solomon.
The Higher Woman of Zion < > The Light of Lights and
The Ascended Solomon
The fallen Sophia < > Solomon as Mortal Man
The Song helps us to navigate the chasm between the two camps. There is the Maiden of Light who sits within her bridal chamber. But then there is the fallen Sophianic woman, who is sought after by the rescuing Lord of Lights. “Rise up, come, O girl companion of mine, my beautiful one, and come away. O my dove in the retreats of the crag, in the concealed place of the steep way, show me your form, let me hear your voice, for your voice is pleasurable and your form is comely.” (2:13-14) There is the Solomon wearing the wreath of Light and there is also the Solomon who is mortal, who has forgotten that a divine Higher Light Being even exists. As these songs of love shift between these various players on their various levels of spiritual development, lessons are accrued according to the tension and ease that unfold within these relationships.
The Daughters of Jerusalem
The Woman of Zion is instructing a group of woman she refers to as The Daughters of Jerusalem, or at times, the Daughters of Zion. These daughters, I believe, refer to the myriad scintillai, or the scattered sparks that Sophia secretly planted in man at the time of our physical creation with the promise that it could one day bring liberation. These daughters also represent mortal lovers who are being wooed by mortal men and are being instructed by The Woman of Zion to not abandon their own higher potential under the lure of mortal courtship. This lesson, I believe, is delivered to the chorus of Daughters in a repeated refrain. “I have put YOU under oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the female gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that YOU try not to awaken or arouse love [in me] until it feels inclined.” Do not force the your hand of love until the very subtle but enormously powerful indwelling light (the Kabbala’s Shekinah) moves towards its own inclinations of Love for the Divine Man.
The Daughters are being instructed to recognize the true nature of their mortal lovers, the one who is a Light being, the Kabbalist’s archetypal man, Adam Kadmon. In chapter 5:9, the Daughters say, “O you most beautiful one among women? How is your dear one more than any other dear one…?” The Woman of Zion then goes into an elaborate description of The Ascended Man, “His head is gold, refined gold.” (5:11), an image that parallels the top sephiroth called Keter or The Crown in the Kabbalist’s model of divine man.
Albero della Cabbala, Davide Tonato, 1985. A model of the ascended man in Medievel Kabbalah. According to preeminent Kabbalist scholar, Gershom Sholem, the Kabbalah is cut from the same cloth as Gnosticism.
The Woman of Zion speaks to US, the reader.
In the end of this Song, the Woman of Light herself addresses those with ears to hear. “O you who are dwelling in the gardens (inner sanctuaries within the lower world, possibly referring to a meditative state), the partners (our higher selves) are paying attention to your voice. Let me hear it. Run away, my dear one, and make yourself like a gazelle or like a young one of the stags upon the mountains of spices.” (8:13-14) Sophia is calling on all humans, female gazelles and the male stags, to not hesitate and to swiftly move our inner selves onto the mountains of spices, the world of Light. (footnote 4)
Analysis of the text of The Song of Solomon
I will be using the New World Translation of the Bible, which according to the scholar Dr. Hurtak, (footnote 5) is closest to the original Greek and Hebrew. At the beginning of a section, I am identifying who is talking to whom until a change is identified. Following are the initials used to identify who is speaking to whom. For example “WZ to LL” would mean The Woman of Zion is talking to the Light of Lights.
Key to the characters:
WZ: The Woman of Zion, The Virgin of Light, associated with The Holy Spirit, Ruach Ha Koidesh. This figure is also equated with the completion of the fall and redemption story of Sophia, with the final collection of her Sparks of Light, the Tikkun. .
SOP: fallen Woman of Zion who is Sophia, Achemoth, Pistis Sophia, Shulamite, the one who cries to be rescued. Wisdom in exile. Sophia and the Woman of Zion are two aspects of a greater Holy Spirit. (see footnote 3)
LL: The Light of Lights, the Higher Being of Light, the object of The Woman of Zion’s love in the first section of The Song of Songs. He is also associated with the gnostic “Nous”, or Logos, or offspring of the Unknown God and the Holy Spirit. Christus is one New Testament identification.
DJ: The Daughters of Jerusalem, Students of The Woman of Zion. Possibly consorts to King Solomon. These comprise a sort of Greek chorus where the lessons of The Woman of Zion are echoed. They are also the lovers of mortal man who are helping to understand “the dance of two camps.” Analogous to the scintellai, the scattered sparks latent within the human form.
SOL: Solomon; King, awakened mortal, and one who is lost in the material world. As with The Woman of Zion, there is the higher Solomon, the one who received the wreath of Light from “his mother” the Holy Spirit, denoted as hSOL (higher Solomon) and the lower, mortal, King who has become detached from his higher Light self, denoted as mSOL (mortal Solomon).
The Shunamite relating the Glories of King Solomon to her Maidens, by Albert Joseph Moore, 1864. The Daughters of Zion receiving the teachings of the Shulamite Woman of Zion. The Daughters also serve as a sort of Greek chorus used to highlight the unfolding themes within The Song.
The Song of Solomon
(The Woman of Zion first describes her place of having been rescued by her arch angelic lover, The Light of Lights where she is amidst the Pleroma, the heavenly realm.)
1 The superlative song, which is Sol´o·mon’s:
(WZ to herself about LL or Woman of Zion to The Lord of Lights) 2 “May he kiss me with the kisses of his mouth, (denoting the process of being initiated into the Light.)
(WZ to LL): for your expressions of endearment are better than wine.
3 For fragrance your oils are good. Like an oil that is poured out is your name. That is why maidens themselves have loved you. 4 Draw me with you; let us run. The king (The Unknown Godhead, the Ineffable) has brought me into his interior rooms! (Into His House of Many Mansions.) Do let us be joyful and rejoice in you. Do let us mention your expressions of endearment more than wine. Deservedly they have loved you. (The Woman of Zion is speaking of her own love for her divine consort the Light of Lights as well as the love of the Daughters.)
(Now The Woman of Zion is speaking from her experience as the fallen Sophia.)
(SOP to DJ) 5 “A black girl I am, but comely, O YOU daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of Kedar, [yet] like the tent cloths of Solomon. 6 Do not YOU look at me because I am swarthy, because the sun has caught sight of me (having been scorched by the sun of the lower world, within the mortal mimic of the heavenly world; religious institutions). The sons of my own mother (referring to the other Aeons, her “brothers and sisters” of the Pleroma whom Sophia abandoned (footnote 6)) they grew angry with me; they appointed me the keeper of the vineyards (her corner of the Pleroma), [although] my vineyard, one that was mine, I did not keep.
(SOP to LL) 7 “Do tell me, O you whom my soul has loved, where you do shepherding, where you make the flock lie down at midday (His main territory, the Higher World). Just why should I become like a woman wrapped in mourning among the droves of your partners?” (A woman void of her light spark, seen like any other earthly woman.)
(LL to SOP) 8 “If you do not know for yourself, O you most beautiful one among women, go out yourself in the footprints of the flock and pasture your kids of the goats alongside the tabernacles of the shepherds.” (Oh fallen Sophia, remember who you really are.)
9 “To a mare of mine in the chariots of Pharaoh I have likened you, O girl companion of mine. 10 Your cheeks are comely among the hair braids, your neck in a string of beads. 11 Circlets of gold we shall make for you, along with studs of silver.” (According to Dr. Hurtak, this is a cosmological celestial reference. Also, his own lecture on The Song of Solomon gives references to parts of the body within The Song correspond to chakras or spiritual centers within the body.)
(Now The Woman of Zion speaks from he exalted place.)
(WZ to DJ) 12 “As long as the king is at his round table my own spikenard has given out its fragrance. 13 As a bag of myrrh my dear one is to me; between my breasts he will spend the night. 14 As a cluster of henna my dear one is to me, among the vineyards of Engedi.”
(LL to WZ) 15 “Look! You are beautiful, O girl companion of mine. Look! You are beautiful. Your eyes are [those of] doves.” (The dove is a symbol for the Higher Woman of Light, the Holy Spirit which is a prominent gnostic theme of second principle emanating from the first principle of the original source God.)
16 “Look! You are beautiful, my dear one, also pleasant. Our divan also is one of foliage. The beams of our grand house are cedars, our rafters juniper trees. (The palace of Light is deep within matter. see The Mysterious Story of X7, Exploring the Spiritual Nature of Matter.)
Song of Solomon Chapter 2
(The fallen Sophia speaks of her condition in the lower world.)
(SOP to LL) 1 “A mere saffron of the coastal plain I am, a lily of the low plains.” (A jewel in the the lotus rooted in the dark mud of materiality.)
(LL to himself): 2 “Like a lily among thorny weeds, so is my girl companion among the daughters.”
(The exalted or rescued Sophia as The Woman of Zion speaks.)
(WZ to DJ) 3 “Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my dear one among the sons (referring to the other Lords of Light, the B’nai Or). His shade I have passionately desired, and there I have sat down, and his fruit has been sweet to my palate. 4 He brought me into the house of wine, and his banner over me was love. 5 Do YOU people refresh me with cakes of raisins, sustain me with apples; for I am lovesick. (the sweets of this world are cheap imitations of divine love.) 6 His left hand is under my head; and his right hand—it embraces me.
(WZ to DJ) 7 I have put YOU under oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the female gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that YOU try not to awaken or arouse love [in me] until it feels inclined. (Important theme: Do not artificially force the internal inspirational link with the divine spirit with your own intention but let it awaken or arouse love when IT, i.e. the inner light, feels inclined, or moves on its own accord. To do this requires extreme conscious serenity. Do not push for mortal love prior to the activation of a union with one’s higher self. Let the anima, (footnote 7) or the inner woman pursue her own lover as she is inclined and do not try to court her with more banal enticements, addictions, etc.)
(The fallen Sophia speaks.)
(SOP describing LL to DJ) 8 “The sound of my dear one! Look! This one is coming, climbing upon the mountains, leaping upon the hills. 9 My dear one is resembling a gazelle or the young of the stags. Look! This one is standing behind our wall, gazing through the windows, glancing through the lattices. (She is describing the approach of the Lord of Light who came for her rescue, descending into the framework of material reality.)
(SOP to DJ quoting LL) 10 My dear one has answered and said to me, ‘Rise up, you girl companion of mine, my beautiful one, and come away. 11 For, look! the rainy season itself has passed, the downpour itself is over, it has gone its way. 12 Blossoms themselves have appeared in the land, the very time of vine trimming has arrived, and the voice of the turtledove itself has been heard in our land. 13 As for the fig tree, it has gained a mature color for its early figs; and the vines are abloom, they have given [their] fragrance. (The time of your imprisonment is passed.) Rise up, come, O girl companion of mine, my beautiful one, and come away. 14 O my dove in the retreats of the crag, in the concealed place of the steep way, show me your form, let me hear your voice, for your voice is pleasurable and your form is comely.’” (Oh Wisdom in exile, now you can step out of your fallen state for you are once again filled with Light.)
15 “Do YOU people grab hold of the foxes for us, the little foxes that are making spoil of the vineyards, as our vineyards are abloom.” (Will you Daughters of Jerusalem help to keep the Archons and Self Serving Ego Gods at bay, to help protect the treasure of the inner Light?)
(SOP to DJ) 16 “My dear one is mine and I am his. He is shepherding among the lilies. 17 Until the day breathes and the shadows have fled, turn around, O my dear one; be like the gazelle or like the young of the stags upon the mountains of separation. (This is a major thematic call to the reader who has ears to hear.)
Song of Solomon Chapter 3
(SOP to DJ describing what it was like when she was in a fallen state) 1 “On my bed during the nights I have sought the one whom my soul has loved. I sought him, but I did not find him. 2 Let me rise up, please, and go round about in the city; in the streets and in the public squares let me seek the one whom my soul has loved. I sought him, but I did not find him.
3 The watchmen (Archonic guardians of lower world) who were going around in the city found me, ‘The one whom my soul has loved have YOU men seen?’
4 Hardly had I passed on from them until I found the one whom my soul has loved. I grabbed hold of him, and I would not let go of him, until I had brought him into my mother’s house (a return to the Higher Sophia, the Holy Spirit) and into the interior room (Pleroma) of her that had been pregnant with me.
(WZ to DJ) 5 I have put YOU under oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, by the female gazelles or by the hinds of the field, that YOU try not to awaken or arouse love until it feels inclined.” (Again the major theme of being careful to navigate the terrain of love in the higher and lower worlds.)
(Enter Solomon and the domain of the human struggle as observed by the Woman of Zion.)
(WZ to DJ) 6 “What is this thing that is coming up from the wilderness like columns of smoke, (Church tabernacle with alter) being perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, even with every sort of scent powder of a trader?” (Religious mimics of heavenly essence.)
7 “Look! It is his couch (Throne where the King sits in despondency) , the one belonging to Sol´o·mon. Sixty mighty men are all around it, from the mighty men of Israel, 8 all of them in possession of a sword, being taught in warfare, each one with his sword upon his thigh because of dread during the nights.” (referring to the fear based strategy of violence to survive in a fallen world).
9 “It is the litter that King Sol´o·mon has made for himself from the trees of Leb´a·non. 10 Its pillars he has made of silver, its supports of gold. Its seat is of wool dyed reddish purple, its interior being fitted out lovingly by the daughters of Jerusalem.” (A material mimic of the High Throne of God.)
11 “Go out and look, O YOU daughters of Zion, on King Sol´o·mon with the wreath that his mother wove for him on the day of his marriage and on the day of the rejoicing of his heart.” (The wreath refers to the descent of the rescuing Light, as described in Pistis Sophia where Christ places the “light-wreath”, the “True Crown” on her head, which at that point provides her with supreme protection from her tormentors. This is essentially referring to the activation of the Light Body, and denotes ascension.)
Song of Solomon Chapter 4
The Song of Songs, by Domenico Morelli (1826 – 1901)
(Here is a big change in the dialogue, where the Lord of Lights is no longer saying the expressions of endearment, but rather it is Solomon. He is connected with his higher self, his Divine Light Body and he now courts the Woman of Zion, this inner divine spark, which he calls his sister, his bride, as opposed to his mortal lover.)
(hSOL to WZ) 1 “Look! You are beautiful, O girl companion of mine. Look! You are beautiful. Your eyes are [those of] doves, behind your veil. Your hair is like a drove of goats that have hopped down from the mountainous region of Gilead. 2 Your teeth are like a drove of freshly shorn [ewes] that have gone up from the washing, all of which are bearing twins, with none among them having lost its young ones. 3 Your lips are just like a scarlet thread, and your speaking is agreeable. Like a segment of pomegranate are your temples behind your veil. 4 Your neck is like the tower of David, built in courses of stone, upon which are hung a thousand shields, all the circular shields of the mighty men. 5 Your two breasts are like two young ones, the twins of a female gazelle, that are feeding among the lilies.” (Solomon has been struck by the beauty of this Higher Woman of Zion.)
6 “Until the day breathes and the shadows have fled, I shall go my way to the mountain of myrrh and to the hill of frankincense.” (“Until the day of liberation, I will seek to climb the mountain, to increase my prayers for the Light.”)
7 “You are altogether beautiful, O girl companion of mine, and there is no defect in you. 8 With me from Leb´a·non, O bride, with me from Leb´a·non may you come. May you descend from the top of Anti-Leb´a·non, from the top of Se´nir, even Her´mon, from the lairs of lions, from the mountains of leopards. 9 You have made my heart beat, O my sister, [my] bride, you have made my heart beat by one of your eyes, by one pendant of your necklace. 10 How beautiful your expressions of endearment are, O my sister, my bride! How much better your expressions of endearment are than wine and the fragrance of your oils than all sorts of perfume! 11 With comb honey your lips keep dripping, O [my] bride. Honey and milk are under your tongue, and the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. 12 A garden barred in is my sister, [my] bride, a garden barred in, a spring sealed up. 13 Your skin is a paradise of pomegranates, with the choicest fruits, henna plants along with spikenard plants; 14 spikenard and saffron, cane and cinnamon, along with all sorts of trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, along with all the finest perfumes; 15 [and] a spring of gardens, a well of fresh water, and trickling streams from Lebanon. 16 Awake, O north wind, and come in, O south wind. Breathe upon my garden. Let its perfumes trickle.”
(Solomon is indeed courting his higher Divine essence, his divine spark. This is his prayer and he is being filled with the grace of Divine Light, much like Thomas Acquinas experienced in his dying days, as well as the 12th century Sufi mystic, Ibn ‘Arabi.)
(WZ to hSOL) “Let my dear one come into his garden and eat its choicest fruits.” (Let him enter into his innermost self to activate the divine spark.)
Song of Solomon Chapter 5
(hSOL to WZ) 1 “I have come into my garden, O my sister, [my] bride. I have plucked my myrrh along with my spice. I have eaten my honeycomb along with my honey; I have drunk my wine along with my milk.” (Solomon has activated his innermost Light.)
“Eat, O companions! (my fellow Light Lovers) Drink and become drunk with expressions of endearment!”
(Now Solomon is talking from a place of disconnection from his divine self.)
(mSOL to WZ) 2 “I am asleep, but my heart is awake. (Solomon is not yet fully realized/ascended) There is the sound of my dear one knocking!”
“Open to me, O my sister, my girl companion, my dove, my blameless one! For my head is filled with dew, the locks of my hair with the drops of the night.”
3 “‘I have put off my robe. How can I put it back on? (I have taken off my robe of Light, how can I put it back on?) I have washed my feet. How can I soil them?’ (I have stepped out of the world of Light and seek to return?)
(Now the lower Sophia is describing her desire to meet with the ascended Solomon only to be passed over by a distracted mortal man.)
(SOP to DJ) 4 My dear one himself pulled back his hand from the hole [of the door], and my inward parts themselves became boisterous within me. 5 I got up, even I, to open to my dear one, and my own hands dripped with myrrh and my fingers with liquid myrrh, upon the hollows of the lock. 6 I opened, even I, to my dear one, but my dear one himself had turned away, he had passed along. (Mortal Man becomes distracted.) My very soul had gone out [of me] when he spoke. I sought him, but I did not find him. I called him, but he did not answer me. 7 The watchmen (archons, guardians of the imprisoned world) that were going about in the city found me. They struck me, they wounded me. The watchmen of the walls lifted my wide wrap off me. (They took off her mantle of Light).
(The Woman of Zion now speaks.)
(WZ to DJ) 8 “I have put YOU under oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, that, if YOU find my dear one, YOU should tell him that I am lovesick.” (She is waiting for Mortal Man to meet the internal divine spark of the fallen Sohpia, to be in such as state of prayer that The Woman of Zion can appear to him.)
(DJ to WZ) 9 “How is your dear one more than any other dear one, O you most beautiful one among women? How is your dear one more than any other dear one, that you have put us under such an oath as this?” (Why are you telling us that we have to wait for the divine archetypal man, that this particular awakened body of light is the one to wait for? Why can’t we pursue our own carnal love?)
(WZ to DJ) 10 “My dear one is dazzling and ruddy, the most conspicuous of ten thousand. 11 His head is gold, refined gold. The locks of his hair are date clusters. His black [hair] is like the raven. 12 His eyes are like doves by the channels of water, which are bathing themselves in milk, sitting within the rims. 13 His cheeks are like a garden bed of spice, towers of scented herbs. His lips are lilies, dripping with liquid myrrh. 14 His hands are cylinders of gold, filled with chrys´o·lite. His abdomen is an ivory plate covered with sapphires. 15 His legs are pillars of marble based on socket pedestals of refined gold. His appearance is like Leb´a·non, choice like the cedars. 16 His palate is sheer sweetness, and everything about him is altogether desirable. This is my dear one, and this is my boy companion, O daughters of Jerusalem.” (She is describing the form of the Archetypal Man, the Adam Kadmon, the divine form of mortal man as represented by the awakened Solomon.)
Song of Solomon Chapter 6
(DJ to WZ) 1 “Where has your dear one gone, O most beautiful one among women? Where has your dear one turned, that we may seek him with you?” (The Daughters are becoming more curious about this Higher divine human form.)
(WZ to DJ about hSOL) 2 “My own dear one has gone down to his garden, to the garden beds of spice plants, to shepherd among the gardens, and to pick lilies. 3 I am my dear one’s, and my dear one is mine. He is shepherding among the lilies.”
(Now the higher Solomon addresses the higher Woman of Zion.)
(hSOL to WZ) 4 “You are beautiful, O girl companion of mine, like Pleasant City, comely like Jerusalem, awesome as companies gathered around banners. 5 Turn your eyes away from in front of me, for they themselves have alarmed me. Your hair is like a drove of goats that have hopped down from Gil´e·ad. 6 Your teeth are like a drove of ewes that have come up from the washing, all of which are bearing twins, none among them having lost its young ones. 7 Like a segment of pomegranate are your temples behind your veil. 8 There may be sixty queens and eighty concubines and maidens without number. 9 One there is who is my dove, my blameless one. One there is who belongs to her mother. (Lower Sophia belongs to the Higher Sophia.) She is the pure one of the one giving birth to her. The daughters have seen her, and they proceeded to pronounce her happy; queens and concubines, and they proceeded to praise her, 10 ‘Who is this woman that is looking down like the dawn, beautiful like the full moon, pure like the glowing sun, awesome as companies gathered around banners?’” (Talking about the Risen maiden of Light, after having been rescued.)
11 “To the garden of nut trees I had gone down (small sanctuaries build up within the lower world), to see the buds in the torrent valley, to see whether the vine had sprouted, whether the pomegranate trees had blossomed (to try to come into contact with the higher world). 12 Before I knew it, my own soul had put me at the chariots of my willing people.” (I was drawn into the earthly realm of my Kingdom.)
(Now Solomon in his lower mortal form calls out to the Woman of Zion.)
(mSOL to WZ) 13 “Come back, come back, O Shu´lam·mite! Come back, come back, that we may behold you!” (Solomon falls for the lure of the temptations of the lower world, and the inner divine light escapes him.)
(mSOL to DJ) “What do YOU people behold in the Shu´lam·mite?” (Solomon speaks to the chorus, ‘How do you make sense of all this? What is the meaning of this elusive Sophia?’)
(DJ to mSOL) “Something like the dance of two camps!” (This is the key theme, the four-fold relationship between The Higher Woman of Zion who has fallen and the mortal man who is able to come into alignment with his Higher Divine self and enter the Bridal Chamber with the rescued Sophia.)
Song of Solomon Chapter 7
(Solomon now is in his awakened, divine Light body form.)
(hSOL to WZ) 1 “How beautiful your steps have become in [your] sandals, O willing daughter! The curvings of your thighs are like ornaments, the work of an artisan’s hands. 2 Your navel roll is a round bowl. Let not the mixed wine be lacking [from it]. Your belly is a heap of wheat, fenced about with lilies. 3 Your two breasts are like two young ones, the twins of a female gazelle. 4 Your neck is like an ivory tower. Your eyes are like the pools in Hesh´bon, by the gate of Bath-rab´bim. Your nose is like the tower of Leb´a·non, which is looking out toward Damascus. 5 Your head upon you is like Car´mel, and the tresses of your head are like wool dyed reddish purple. The king is held bound by the flowings. 6 How beautiful you are, and how pleasant you are, O beloved girl, among exquisite delights! 7 This stature of yours does resemble a palm tree, and your breasts, date clusters. 8 I have said, ‘I shall go up on the palm tree, that I may take hold of its fruit stalks of dates.’ And, please, may your breasts become like clusters of the vine, and the fragrance of your nose like apples, 9 and your palate like the best wine that is going with a slickness for my dear one, softly flowing over the lips of sleeping ones.”
(WZ to DJ about hSOL) 10 “I am my dear one’s, and toward me is his craving. 11 Do come, O my dear one, let us go forth to the field; do let us lodge among the henna plants. 12 Do let us rise early and go to the vineyards, that we may see whether the vine has sprouted, the blossom has burst open, the pomegranate trees have bloomed. There I shall give my expressions of endearment to you. 13 The mandrakes themselves have given [their] fragrance, and by our entranceways there are all sorts of the choicest fruits. The new ones as well as the old, O my dear one, I have treasured up for you.
Song of Solomon Chapter 8
(WZ to hSOL) 1 “O that you were like a brother of mine, sucking the breasts of my mother! (Mortal man was once of the same divine nature as the Higher Wisdom, and some say that the exalted Sophia came to help us in our own rescue.) Should I find you outside (of material reality, in the Light World), I would kiss you. People would not even despise me. 2 I would lead you, I would bring you into the house of my mother, who used to teach me. I would give you a drink of spiced wine, the fresh juice of pomegranates.
(WZ to DJ) 3 His left hand would be under my head; and his right hand—it would embrace me. (Solomon would become equal to the status of The Light of Lights as this was LL’s holding position referred to earlier in the poem.)
4 “I have put YOU under oath, O daughters of Jerusalem, that YOU try not to awaken or arouse love [in me] until it feels inclined.”
(DJ to themselves) 5 “Who is this woman coming up from the wilderness, leaning upon her dear one?”
(hSOL to WZ) “Under the apple tree I aroused you. There your mother (Higher Sophia, Holy Spirit) was in birth pangs with you. There she that was giving birth to you experienced birth pangs.
(WZ to US the readers, presenting a conclusive theme) 6 “Place me as a seal upon your heart, as a seal upon your arm; because love is as strong as death is, insistence on exclusive devotion is as unyielding as She´ol is. Its blazings are the blazings of a fire, the flame of Jah.(Real love is an aspect of the Light that emanates from the Godhead.) 7 Many waters themselves are not able to extinguish love, nor can rivers themselves wash it away. If a man would give all the valuable things of his house for love, persons would positively despise them.”
(DJ to US) 8 “We have a little sister that does not have any breasts. What shall we do for our sister on the day that she will be spoken for?” (The Daughters of Jerusalem recognize that there is an immature, latent divine body of light that deserves to be met on a higher Light level, and not just diverted into a place of sexual/material compliance.)
9 “If she should be a wall, we shall build upon her a battlement of silver; but if she should be a door, we shall block her up with a cedar plank.” (The anima seeks connection with the higher form and does not want to be lured by the self serving egoic King function within the psyche.)
10 “I am a wall, and my breasts are like towers. In this case I have become in his eyes like her that is finding peace.
11 “There was a vineyard that Sol´o·mon happened to have in Ba´al-ha´mon. He gave the vineyard over to the keepers. Each one would bring in for its fruitage a thousand silver pieces. (Referring to how the lower archons of Baal took possession of the our greater DNA potential, unplugging our greater, multi-stranded nature. In our ignorance, we were complicit in the loss of our higher nature)
(WZ to hSOL) 12 “My vineyard, (the paradise of the divine spark) which belongs to me, is at my disposal. The thousand belong to you, O Sol´o·mon, and two hundred to those keeping its fruitage.” (Reclaim the twelve threads of your higher potential, Oh Solomon.)
(WZ to US The Readers) 13 “O you who are dwelling in the gardens (the material world), the partners (Higher Light Bodies/Inner Sparks) are paying attention to your voice. Let me hear it.” (Sing praises to the Higher Light so you will be heard.)
14 “Run away, my dear one, and make yourself like a gazelle or like a young one of the stags upon the mountains of spices.” (Flee the trappings of the material world and step into the realm of Light.)
And so ends a Song of Sophia.
1) There is even speculation that the Song is based on actual historical events, involving a young virgin from Shunem (which scholars believe is an interchangeable term with Shulem), known as Abishag the Shunemite, who tended to the dying King David. After the King’s death she is thought to have became one of King Solomon’s many brides.
2) Schipflinger, Thomas. Sophia-maria, a holistic vision of creation. Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Me. 1998. ps. 13-33.
3) Both in the gnostic literature and in this Song of Song, there is a vague differentiation between the higher and lower Sophia, as to whether they are two separate beings or one being who has become two. I look to what could be considered one mythological expression of the broader archetypal form of the Sophia story, the myth of Demeter and Persephone in the Greek, as another way of viewing the difference between the two figures.
4) This configuration of a Higher Woman of Wisdom, a fallen Sophianic figure, an arch angelic Redeemer and a process of resurrecting a fallen human race with the activation of a divine spark of Sophia is prominent, at least in part, in these gnostic gospels; The Pistis Sophia, The Secret Book According to John, The Revelation of Adam, The Reality of the Rulers, The Thunder – Perfect Mind, Trimorphic Protennoia or First Thought in Three Forms, The Holy Book of the Great Invisible Mind or The Egyptian Gospel, Zostrianos, The Three Tablets of Seth, Ptolemy’s Version of the Gnostic Myth (Bentley, 1987, pg. 238), The Gospel According to Philip, and The Hymn of the Pearl. I highly recommend Bentley Layton’s The Gnostic Scriptures for the best overview, interpretation and translation of these works.
5) For the student of esoteric traditions, I highly recommend a lecture given by Dr. J.J. Hurtak on The Song of Solomon for an analysis of the Song of Solomon. According to Dr. Hurtak, The Song of Songs is a love poem that describes an eight-fold process of the activation of our higher nature, the new Christ, our radiant bodies of Light. Dr. Hurtak’s analysis helps to unlock a number of the esoteric references within the Song.
6) Layton, Bentley. The gnostic scriptures, ancient wisdom for the new age. (Doubleday, NY. ©1987) p. 238.
7) The Problem of the Anima. The anima is a mediator between a man’s ego personality and his greater Self, or the overarching soul/spirit existence that is beyond space and time (and likewise for a woman with her inner male, the Animus), however, this anima can be problematic. Carl Jung wrote at length about the problem of the anima, or the inner woman within a man. In his writing, Jung discusses how men become pulled off from the course of their soul development by the flirtation of this inner woman. Insights provided by this Song, I think, can shed helpful light on the problem of the anima as the emphasis on this poem is on how mortal man can set aside their own egoic pursuits of earthly glamor, and set his inner sights on the greater Light which is essentially trapped within matter. The inner woman in its most exalted form, Jung identified with Sophia and she is seeking to reconnect with her love for a form which is Light-filled. And yet, she gets distracted by the lure and flash of an ego driven man and between the two of them, this can lead to addiction and a perpetual inflation/deflation cycle. What is important here is that it is not the anima who is at fault, as is commonly perceived within a Jungian model. Rather it is the short sighted man who feels the pull of potential from this infatuating light spark that pulls the inner woman into what the gnostics called a “counterfeit spirit“, or a spirituality that leads down a dead end road. In the gnostic mythology, there is a grand theme of how Sophia attempted to join with the false light of an ego driven lower god where her light was taken from her and she became trapped within the sphere of this lower psychology, much like the story of the fall of Persephone and Hades in the Greek myth. The Song of Solomon reminds us to let the spark of the inner self seek its higher divinity, while our egoic mind settles down in humility to the reality of a greater self.