It came to pass then, when Jesus had spoken these words unto his disciples, that he said unto them:
“This is the song of praise which Pistis Sophia uttered…”
Pistis Sophia, Book I, Chapter 39.
Below is an continually updating collection of quotes, poems, songs, or any sort of written and visual expressions that are in some fashion, apart of the repertoire of The Songs of Sophia. In the Pistis Sophia, Christ tells his disciples the story of Sophia, including her fall from the higher realms into matter and to her ultimate rescue by Christ himself. Included in this story, as he recalls, are “songs of praise, which … Sophia uttered”. Below is a collection of songs inspired by Sophia, the Soul of the World.
The Lord’s Prayer in Aramaic
(The first section
as understood through a gnostic and kabbalistic lens)
Oh, Source of All! Mother-Father of the Cosmos
With Radiant Light that bursts forth from you
We tune our hearts as instruments to your Holy Tone
Come quickly! May Your Kingdom within become alive in us.
As is your desire, your yearning,
May your Holy Light that fills the heavens
Be with us, here, now, in all beings.
This translation is an attempt to work with the meanings of the words as they relate to the broader proto-Christian, gnostic system, placing less emphasis on the nuance of Aramaic translation.
My sense is that the work of Neil Douglas-Klotz, a former teacher of mine at the University of Creation Spirituality, has been enormously valuable in breathing into that old familiar prayer, the breadth of rich interpretation that is found within the Aramaic language. However, the theological analysis, I believe, is still somewhat bound by a later “Christainized” and perhaps less original (proto-Christian, gnostic) interpretation. An example of this is in Douglas-Klotz’s review of the figure Sophia in his book The Hidden Gospel. He defines this Wisdom figure primarily based on materials in the Old Testament, barely referencing the (gnostic) Christ teaching on Sophia.
The work of Lewis Keiser, Ph.D, in his essay The Authentic Meaning of the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, argues that this prayer is from the late first century – mid second century and was influenced by a more Pauline, less specific, and more expansive theology than what was possibly being taught in early first century Palestine. It is this Pauline, Hellenized system that, according to James Tabor and many others, is the primary theological foundation upon which orthodox Roman Christianity was built. Paul, ironically, who had a key influence in the development early Gnostic theology, especially Valentinus, may have had the unique opportunity to fold into this emerging “gentile” version of Christianity, the seeds of these profound earlier gnostic concepts. (Keiser, in this article, I think, falls into that ever so common trap of seeing “gnostic” as a later corruption of the more original teachings of Yeshua). As a result, there are streams of the esoteric traditions that are found within this Lord’s Prayer, such as with the Kabbalist term Malkuth.
Kaballah and gnosticism are quite related, like cousins of Jewish and Christian mysticism. As the last emanation from the divine, the tenth sefiroth, this “kingdom” (Malkuth) is that which is where the Shekinah resides, the indwelling presence, in this earthly realm though made of the stuff of it’s higher form, Hokhmah (Wisdom).
“The Shekhinah is below as it is above. And what is this Shekhinah? Let us say that it is the light that has emanated from the Primal Light which is Hokhmah. And this [i.e., the emanated light] likewise surrounds everything, as is written, “the whole earth is filled with His glory” [Isa. 6.3]. Quoted in Gersham Scholem, On the Shape of the Godhead. p. 173.
According to Keiser, Malkuthakh invokes the universal principle of sovereignty, and the self authorship of free will.
He goes on to say that this Abwoon (Godhead) “is not a father or a deity, but the ultimate philosophical, metaphysical, causal, and scientific reality—the origin and unity of all. Godhead is the interior guiding intelligence that pervades all energy, matter, and life.”
“Recently various authors have published what they claim to be the original Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer. However, this is not the authentic prayer that Yeshua, the Jesus of history, transmitted to his disciples. It is merely a second-century Syriac translation adapted from the Greek versions in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. It is used in the modern Syrian churches.
“Although Syriac was a development of Aramaic, the Abbun d’bishmayo or “Our Father Who art in Heaven” is taken from the Diatessaron or harmony of the New Testament gospels translated from the Greek into Syriac by Tatian about A.D. 160–175. In other words, the so-called Aramaic version of the Lord’s Prayer is merely a translation into second-century Syriac of the … Greek version in Matthew and Luke (c. A.D. 85-90). Like all the sayings and parables of Yeshua in the New Testament gospels, the Lord’s Prayer was poorly translated from Aramaic and altered to make sense in terms of the Pauline theology of the gentile churches.” Keiser
An ancient Zoroastrian version of Sophia
and her descent as sparks of light into matter.
The Fravartis are, in Mazdean [Zoroastrian] cosmogony, feminine entities, heavenly archetypes of all the beings composing the Creation of light. … Each being has his fravarti in the heavenly world which assumes the role of his guardian angel. What is more, all the Celestial beings, gods, angels and archangels, even Ohrmazd himself [also spelled Ahura Mazda, Ineffable creation source being of the Zoroastrian system], have their respective fravarti. Syzygies of light, “light upon light.” Ohrmazd reveals to his prophet Zarathustra (6th century BC) that without the concurrence and assistance of the Fravartis he would not have been able to protect his Creation of light against the assault of the counter-creation of Ahriman [who equates with the gnostic demiurge, Yaldabaoth]. Now, the very idea of this warfare is dramatically unfolded when we come to the Fravartis of human beings. In the prelude to the millenniums of the period of mixture, Ohrmazd offered them the choice from which their entire destiny originates: they could either live in the celestial world sheltered from the ravages of Ahriman, or else descend to earth there to be incarnated in material bodies and struggle against the counter powers of Ahriman in the material world. Their answer to this proposal was the yes which gives their name its full meaning, most significantly for our purpose: those who have chosen. In practice the fravarti incarnated in the terrestrial world finally became identified in religious representations purely and simply with soul.
– from The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, by Henry Corbin, p. 28-29 (1978). This amazing book culls broad themes of creation and emanation from 12th century Iranian sources such as Suhrawardi who sought to revive an ancient Persian Zoroastrian system which has tremendous parallels to the cosmology of the gnostics. Indeed, early gnostics may have been influenced by this oriental teaching as they interfaced with them in the far western reaches of the Parthian empire in Syria, during their earliest stages of gnostic development (first and second century AD). “Any rationalist interpretation would go astray here in reducing this Figure (fravartis) to allegory… By no means is it an allegorical construct but a primordial Image thanks to which a seeker perceives a world of reality which is neither the world of the senses nor the world of abstract concepts.” p. 32. Also, this rare piece of ancient theosophy sheds light on a vital question within gnosticism of whether Sophia “fell” into matter by folly, by accident, or by choice. This material suggests, as embedded in the very name favartis – “those who have chosen” to indicate the these Sophianic sparks came to this material realm by choice.
This Epinoia, leaping forth from him (the Boundless Power), and knowing what was the will of her Father, descended to the Lower Regions and generated the Angels and Powers, by whom the world was made. And after she had generated them, she was detained by them through envy, for they did not wish to be thought the progeny of another. As for himself he was entirely unknown by them; and it was his Thought (Epinoia) that was make prisoner by the Powers and Angels that had been emanated by her.
Referenced by G.R.S Meade in, Simon Magus. Mead notes; “The mystery of Sophia-Epinoia is great indeed, insolvable in is origins; for how does that which is Divine descend below and create Powers which imprison their parents? It is the mystery of the universe and of man, insoluble for all but he the Logos itself, by whose self-sacrifice Sophia, the Soul, is finally freed from her bonds.”
My bridegroom, be comforted. I have engaged myself to you in my highest love, and in my faith [have I] bound myself to you. I shall be with you in all the days to the end of the world. I shall come to you and make my dwelling in you in your internal choir. You will drink from my fountain, for I am now yours and you are mine.
– Boehme, The way to Christ, I/51, p. 62.
This is from a dialogue that Boehme recorded between the soul and Sophia. Boehme is considered the father of Western Sophiology due to the depth of familiarity he had with this celestial phenomenon through what he claimed were visions of direct illumination from the Holy Spirit and Sophia. From Sophia-Maria, A Holistic View of Creation, by Thomas Schipflinger, Weiser, York Beach, Maine, 1998.
The Great Emanation (Holy Spirit, called Barbelo in this text) said to Seth, offspring of Adam and Eve;
“O Foreigner, behold how your blessedness resides in silence through which you understand yourself as you really are. And in seeking to understand yourself, withdraw to reality, and you will find it standing at rest and still, after the resemblance of what is really still and restrains all these spiritual beings in quietness and lack of activity.
On the nature of the supraliminal Light within all “reality”. From The Gnostic Scriptures, by Bentley Layton, 1987. p. 145, Nag Hammadi Codex called, The Foreigner.
September 3, 2017
Om Bhur Bhuvaha Svaha
Tat Savitur Vareniyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah Prachodeyat
(Dear) God that pervades Earth and Heaven
The One God (Goddess) of Light that is The Most High (Universal Source)
Oh Divine Luminous Radiant One, Who Flows Like Sacred Waters
Ignite our Being with your Light.
Om Bhur Bhuvaha Svaha
(Dear…) God(dess) of earth (3D?) of the astral level (4D?) of the localized heaven (5D?)
Tat Savitur Vareniyam
That God(dess) of Source Light the Greatest.
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Luminous Light Divine Radiance, that flows like sacred waters
Dhiyo yo nah Prachodeyat
Internal Spirit Consciousness our (Inspire) Ignite us.
Notes about the chant:
This is my translation of the Tibetan Buddhist Gayatri Mantra based on a few translations. Here we see a clear correlation between this ancient Tibetan Buddhist chant and the cosmology of the ancient esoteric traditions of Chinese Taosism (see The Secret of the Golden Flower), Kabbalah, Alchemy, Sufism as well as the numerous references to the activation of the divine light within the gnostic tradition.
Gayatri is the name of a certain meter of poetry, which is three lines (the first line here is an invocation for the verse), each with eight syllables. There are many gayatri chants but THE Gayatri Mantra presented here is well established as a unique and sacred verse. At the beginning of the chant, the first line is not actually apart of the chant but is rather a traditional invocation of the Divine Name of God, Om or Aum followed by a reference to the first three levels (of seven) of God’s creation. Bhur is earth (third dimension?), Bhuvah astral plane (fourth dimension?) and Svah is a localized heaven (fifth dimension?). This invocation is almost like a Christian version of “Dear God…” said prior to a prayer but in the Sanskrit, there is a call to God who exists here and above.
My favorite rendition of this mantra is from the music duo Rasa.
September 3, 2017
I hail from the Light and from the gods,
Yet I have become as one banished,
separated from them.
The foes assembled above me
And took me to the realm of death.
–Hymn on the Fate of the Living Soul (Parthian)
from: Gnosis on the Silk Road, Gnostic texts from Central Asia.
September 3, 2017
And I hid myself in everyone, and showed [myself] forth in them.
And all acts of thinking desired me and sought me,
For it is I who have imparted image unto the eternity;
They were misshapen, and I changed their forms into (temporary) forms until such time as the entirety should be formed.
It was through me that the sound came to exist.
And it is I who put breath into my own.
And I injected the eternal holy spirit into them,
And I ascended and proceeded into my light.
I [bore fruit] down upon my branch, I sat [in the seed within the] children of the [eternal] light.
And [brought them to] their dwelling place. Amen!
– First Thought in Three Forms or Trimorphic Protennoia, circa prior to AD 350. Nag Hammadi, MS NHC XIII. From Layton, Bentley; The Gnostic Scriptures, 1987. Note: text represents words from the “Afterthought” or the Sophia who extended into the lower worlds from the Higher Sophia (who is known as Thought, Holy Spirit, or Great Emanation.) Interpretation support: “imparted image” – implanted Light. “I changed their forms” – from an original creator god human creation that then was implanted with Sophianic spirit of Light. “sound came to exist” – meaning essential sound as an expression of supernal Light vibration.
Sept 2, 2017
The man of light in me has guided me;
he has rejoiced and bubbled up in me
as if wishing to emerge from me and pass into thee.
Carl Schmidt, Koptish-gnostishe Schriften, I, Die Pistis Sophia, quoted in Henry Corbin, Man of Light in Iranian Sufism (1978)
July 8, 2017
The Wedding Song of Wisdom
The Maiden is Light’s Daughter; On her the Kings’ Radiance resteth.
On the Crown of her Head the King Throneth.
Her Bridechamber shineth with Light pouring forth scent of balsam and sweet herbs.
With Kingly Clothes shall they be clad, and put on Robes of Light.
– from a gnostic fragment, translated by G.R.S. Mead, Echoes from the Gnosis.
Notice how similar this is to the ecstatic divine love poetry of Song of Songs.
In his commentary, Mead writes, “…I have taken [this Song] as a subject not so much for its intrinsic merits, as because it affords an opportunity to set forth some information on that great mystery which was in antiquity generally known as the Sacred Marriage.”
July 8, 2017
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).
July 8, 2017
THE MYSTERIOUS FEMALE (Tao Te Ching)
The Valley Spirit never dies
It is named the Mysterious Female.
And the doorway of the Mysterious Female
Is the base from which Heaven and Earth sprang.
It is there within us all the while;
Draw upon it as you will; it never runs dry.
– from Tao te Ching, chap 6, translated by Arthur Waley, 1934.
May 13, 2017
[Sophia cries out to her Light of Lights (Christ).]
“‘1. O Light of lights, in whom I have had faith from the beginning, hearken now then, O Light, unto my repentance. Save me, O Light, for evil thoughts have entered into me.
“‘2. I gazed, O Light, into the lower parts and saw there a light. thinking: I will go to that region, in order that I may take that light. And I went and found myself in the darkness which is in the chaos below, and I could no more speed thence and go to my region, for I was sore pressed by all the emanations of Self-willed, and the lion-faced power took away my light in me.
“‘3. And I cried for help, but my voice hath not reached out of the darkness. And I looked unto the height, that the Light, in which I had had faith, might help me.
“‘4. And when I looked unto the height, I saw all the rulers of the æons, how in their numbers they looked down on me and rejoiced over me, though I had done them no ill; but they hated me without a cause. And when the emanations of Self-willed saw the rulers of the æons rejoicing over me, they knew that the rulers of the æons would not come to my aid; and those emanations which sore pressed me with violence, took courage, and the light which I had not taken from them, they have taken from me.
“‘5. Now, therefore, O Light of Truth, thou knowest that I have done this in my innocence, thinking that the lion-faced light-power belonged to thee; and the sin which I have done is open before thee.
“‘6. Suffer me no more to lack, O Lord, for I have had faith in thy light from the beginning; O Lord, O Light of the powers, suffer me no more to lack my light.
“‘7. For because of thy inducement and for the sake of thy light am I fallen into this oppression, and shame hath covered me.
“‘8. And because of the illusion of thy light, I am become a stranger to my brethren, the invisibles, and to the great emanations of Barbēlō.
“‘9. This hath befallen me, O Light, because I have been zealous for thy abode; and the wrath of Self-willed is come upon me–of him who had not hearkened unto thy command to emanate from the emanation of his power–because I was in his æon without performing his mystery.
“’10. And all the rulers of the æons mocked me.
“’11. And I was in that region, mourning and seeking after the light which I had seen in the height.
“’12. And the guards of the gates of the æons searched for me, and all who remain in their mystery mocked me.
“’13. But I looked up unto the height towards thee and had faith in thee. Now, therefore, O Light of lights, I am sore pressed in the darkness of chaos. If now thou wilt come to save me,–great is thy mercy,–then hear me in truth and save me.
“’14. Save me out of the matter of this darkness, that I may not be submerged therein, that I may be saved from the emanations of god Self-willed which press me sore, and from their evil doings.
“’15. Let not this darkness submerge me, and let not this lion-faced power entirely devour the whole of my power, and let not this chaos shroud my power.
“’16. Hear me, O Light, for thy grace is precious, and look down upon me according to the great mercy of thy Light.
“’17. Turn not thy face from me, for I am exceedingly tormented.
“’18. Haste thee, hearken unto me and save my power.
“’19. Save me because of the rulers who hate me, for thou knowest my sore oppression and my torment and the torment of my power which they have taken from me. They who have set me in all this evil are before thee; deal with them according to thy good pleasure.
“’20. My power looked forth from the midst of the chaos and from the midst of the darkness, and I waited for my pair, that he should come and fight for me, and he came not, and I looked that he should come and lend me power, and I found him not.
“’21. And when I sought the light, they gave me darkness; and when I sought my power, they gave me matter.
– From Pistis Sophia 1:33 (click on link above for complete translation). G.R. S. Mead, 1921.
In this section of the Pistis Sophia, The (pre-Roman) Gnostic Christ explains to his disciples (this is probably a later more Christianized version of an earlier text) Sophia’s Song of repentance, after which Mary Magdalene says that she has been moved by her Indwelling Light to recognize Sophia’s lament as an original version of the 69th psalm. “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me…”
Notre Dame Cathedral Paris
…the pure Light-power in Sophia began singing praises. She praised my Light-power, which was a crown around her head, singing her praises thus:
‘The Light has become a crown around my head; and I shall not relinquish it, so that the emanations of Self-Willed [the demiurge] may not steal it from me.
And although all Matters be in turmoil,
still I am not distressed.
And although all my Matters are destroyed
and remain in Chaos,
those [Matters] which the emanations of Self-Willed saw,
still I shall not be destroyed.
For the Light is with me,
and I am myself with the Light.‘
Pistis Sophia; I:59. Hurtak and Hurtak, p. 275.
In me there shall be nothing that is not light:
and I was clothed with the covering of Thy Spirit, and I cast away from me my raiment of skin.
– 25th Ode to Solomon
From: The Odes and Psalms of Solomon, by J. Rendel Harris, Cambridge U Press, 1911. p. 69.
Listen, O dearly beloved!
I am the reality of the world, the center of the circumference,
I am the parts and the whole.
I am the will established between Heaven and Earth,
I have created perception in you only in order to be the
object of my perception.
If then you perceive me, you perceive yourself.
But you cannot perceive me through yourself.
It is through my eyes that you see me and see yourself,
Through your eyes you cannot see me.
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.
I have made myself fragrance so often, and you have not
Savorous food, and you nave not tasted me.
Why can you not reach me through the object you touch
Or breathe me through sweet perfumes?
Why do you not see me? Why do you not hear me?
Why? Why? Why?
For you my delights surpass all other delights,
And the pleasure I procure you surpasses all other pleasures.
For you I am preferable to all other good things,
I am Beauty, I am Grace.
Love me, love me alone.
Love yourself in me, in me alone.
Attach yourself to me,
No one is more inward that I.
Others love you for their own sake,
I love you for yourself.
And you, you flee from me.
You cannot treat me fairly,
For if you approach me,
It is because I have approached you.
I am nearer to you than yourself,
Than your soul, than your breath.
Who among creatures
Would treat you as I do? I am jealous of you over you,
I want you to belong to no other,
Not even to yourself.
Be mine, be for me as you are in me,
Though you are not even aware of it.
Let us go toward Union.
And if we find the road
That leads to separation,
We will destroy separation.
Let us go hand in hand.
Let us enter the presence of Truth.
Let it be our judge
and imprint its seal upon our union
Book of Theophanies, by Ibn ‘Arabi. Quoted in Alone with the Alone by Henry Corbin, (1997). Ibn ‘Arabi was a 12th-13th century Sufi mystic who had a profound revelation of Sophia while in deep prayer in Mecca. Corbin discusses Arabi’s mysticism of Divine Love as a dialectic between 1) the Godhead’s “longing” for his “Hidden Treasure” that became separated from him/her with the emanation and 2) the longing of the essence of this original God/Goddess energy that lies within creation to reunite with the Great Source. The poem above is one expression of this theme that is a reverberation of the great Song of Songs.
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
From: The Odes and Psalms of Solomon, by J. Rendel Harris, Cambridge U Press, 1911. p. 119.
The anima mundi [soul of the world], guide of Mankind, herself guided by God.
– Carl Jung, 1953
Robert Fludd. The metaphysical, physical, and technical history of the two worlds,
namely the greater and the lesser, vol. 1.
Frankfurt: J. T. Bry, 1624. Rare Book and Special Collections Division, Library of Congress
[I saw this book by Robert Fludd, opened to this page, at an exhibit in 2010 at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, that paid tribute to “The Red Book of Carl Jung: It’s Origins and Influence” in 2010. In the foreword to his 1953 edition of Psychology and Alchemy, Jung included the engraving by English physician and mystical philosopher Robert Fludd (1574-1637), with Jung’s caption “the anima mundi [soul of the world], guide of Mankind, herself guided by God.”
Notice in Fludd’s image that there are nine levels (“aeons”, dimensions, or gateways) between the physical world and the “Light-Land” (as it is referred to in Pistis Sophia), known as the Pleroma (heavenly realm) in gnostic cosmology. In the image of Our Lady seated on the throne of wisdom at the entrance to Notre Dame de Paris (below), there is the nine rung ladder above which is her head reaching into the heavens.]
Central pillar, central west portal, chest level
Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris
Doth not Wisdom cry aloud in the public places and Prudence put forth her voice in the books of the wise, saying: O ye men, to you I call, and my voice is to the sons of understanding? Understand, ye foolish ones, and make the parable and the interpretation, the words of the wise and their mysterious sayings’ for the wise have used divers manners of speech in making comparison with everything that is upon the earth, and beneath the sphere of the moon they have multiplied parables in this science. For the wise man who heareth [the wise] will grow wiser and understand, and understanding this Wisdom he will lay hold upon her. This is Wisdom, namely the Queen of the South, who is said to have come from the east, like unto the MORNING RISING, [desiring] to hear, to understand, yea and to see the wisdom of Solomon, and there was given into her hand power, honour, strength, and dominion, bearing upon her head the crown of the kingdom shining with the rays of twelve stars, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and having on her garments written in golden letters in Greek, in barbarian (Arabic) script, and in Latin: Reigning I will reign, and my kingdom shall have no end for all them that find me and subtly and ingeniously and constantly seek me out.
From Aurora Consurgens, A Document Attributed to Thomas Aquinas on the Problem of the Opposites in Alchemy, A Companion Work to C.G. Jung’s MYSTERIUM CONIUNCTIONIS. Edited with a Commentary by Marie-Louis von Fran, Inner City Books, 2000. p.54-55. (According to von Franz, Aurora Consurgens was allegedly a written transcript of Aquinas’ last talk “on the Song of Songs”, recorded in 1274 just prior to his death. He had had a recent revelation that likely involved Sophia after which he said all his previous writing was like straw.)
“Wisdom sendeth forth her children.”
(Early Christian Fragment)
Chartres Cathedral, north rose window
Wisdom quote from G.R.S. Mead, Fragments of a Faith Forgotten. “In the early centuries of Christianity there were in circulation many traditions, legends, and religious romances, called Memoirs, Acts, and Gospels, which contained Sayings-of-the-Lord or Logoi.” The “Wisdom” quote is likely to refer to the theme of Sophia, the fallen aspect of Pronnoia (Thought)/Holy Spirit who, according to Valentinian gnostic cosmology, scattered her sparks of divine light (Epinoia), her children, into the bodies of humanity.