“Each person resembles the God he or she understands.”
Rudolf Steiner, The Nature of the Virgin Sophia
Who is Sophia? Is She the Holy Spirit, the wisdom aspect of Christ, some amorphous primal soup, a duality of heavenly and earthly, the breath that weaves in between the Male Trinity, or a group of syzygies that have united with the Male Trinity? Even after Rudolf Steiner’s many indications on Isis, Isis-Sophia, and Anthroposophia, we can find many anthroposophical writers who express completely different “opinions” of who this multifaceted being truly is. Rudolf Steiner said repeatedly that a biography of the being of Isis-Sophia-Theosophia-Philosophia-Natura-Anthroposophia could be written in great detail about this being.
In his book, Riddles of Philosophy, Steiner describes the evolution of philosophy and indicates that she is a being who grows alongside of human intellectual and spiritual development since 2100 BC. He even describes Anthroposophia currently, as a 42 year old human being (without a physical body) who passes through the individual each time a step in spiritual development is taken. Steiner said that She is was ‘in the room’ during the laying of the foundation stone of the Goetheanum and the Christmas Conference. So we ask again: Who is this being of Sophia and how is a spiritual scientist supposed to sort through the differing opinions and uncover Steiner’s mysterious indications that can lead to a biography of Sophia?
Without mentioning names, let’s look closer at a few of the “theories” of who Sophia is. Probably the most accepted version of Sophia makes Her to be the Holy Spirit. In that way, She can be found in sacred literature to be one of the creative (or receptive) principles present at the moment of creation. Solving the mystery of how an un-manifest God (no one has ever seen God the Father and lived) manifests the created cosmos is an impressive feat. Often, Sophia (Wisdom) is there at creation as a “reflection,” “mirroring,” or “epiphany” of the Father God. She is frequently marginalized or even demoted after the moment of creation when She is then said to be a creature, not the creator, created not creating. The logical need for a feminine presence at creation is obvious and the need for a dominant masculine god during patriarchal epochs is obvious also. Sophia as a creator, Goddess of Wisdom, and Mother of All was hidden if not completely extinguished.
Steiner characterizes this demotion as the killing of Isis by Lucifer. Lucifer, in this case, represents human intelligence. As Lucifer is redeemed, he becomes part of the Holy Spirit, and it is the Holy Spirit who helps bring Isis-Sophia back to humanity. In other words, the thinking human being since 2100 BC has hidden Isis-Sophia behind the natural world and now the Holy Spirit is helping Her return. The Holy Spirit works together with the reawakened Isis-Sophia and therefore are clearly two different beings.
There are many other reasons that the likelihood of Sophia being one and the same as the Holy Spirit is doubtful. The biographies of the Heavenly and Earthly Sophias are well mapped out by Steiner as if they were detailed biographies. If either the Heavenly Sophia or the Earthly Sophia were the Holy Spirit, the biographies Steiner has given would be entirely incorrect. While the Holy Spirit was busy being the messenger of God to Mary, Joseph, and John the Baptist, the two Sophias were accomplishing different tasks. The Heavenly Sophia, referred to as the combined workings of the Kyriotetes, was helping Mary and Jesus (the Paradisical Twins) incarnate and helping prepare the soul of the “other” Mary to receive the Paradisical Eve into her soul. The Earthly Sophia, Anthroposophia, was actively passing in and out of all of the beings witnessing the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Anthroposophia was age 21 during the Mystery of Golgotha and She continued to grow alongside of all humans as they developed, including Mary, Jesus, and all of the others whose consciousness were advancing at that time. Anthroposophia (the Earthly Sophia or Isis-Sophia) or the Heavenly Sophia (the Wisdom Being of the Kyriotetes) cannot be the Holy Spirit because they have entirely different biographies. And yet, there is something in Anthroposophia that was advanced when the tongues of flame descended at Pentecost and brought the Holy Spirit to the Disciples of Christ. Anthroposophia and the Holy Spirit work together closely.
Anthroposophia works in the realm of the angels with developing Imagination, just as the Holy Spirit does. The difference is that Anthroposophia prepares the soul to advance from Sentient Soul to Intellectual Soul to Consciousness Soul, at which point, Imagination is developed. The purified soul bodies combine to become the Virgin Sophia, the purified Consciousness Soul (also called Spiritual Soul). Then the Holy Spirit, called the Spirit Self, can pour into the Virgin Soul that has been prepared to receive it. Anthroposophia works to prepare the Virgin Soul to enter the realm of the angels where Imagination lives with the Holy Spirit, the Spirit Self. This merging is described in great detail by Steiner who tells us that the higher part of the Consciousness Soul, the Spiritual Soul, gleans from the world the eternal thoughts that stand behind sense impressions. The worldly ego that is derived from the combination of all the eternal (timeless) thoughts that the Virgin Soul has gleaned from the world of illusion is given over to the higher self, the Spirit Self to develop the higher ego.
Humans have three egos, the first “earthly” ego is transformed into the “higher” ego that is found in the realm of the Spirit Self. This is the personal higher ego. Sophia is the midwife of this process of ascension. Sophia helps us connect to our personal guardian angel who leads us to the Holy Spirit of Christ. In the far future, humanity will have evolved into the realm of the angels where Imagination lives as archetypal thought forms that continuously create. In those future ages, Sophia will walk amongst all people and converse with them whenever Wisdom is present in thinking (Imagination). Interacting with Sophia will, in all cases, lead to the Wisdom of Christ’s love and understanding His cosmic nature. Through understanding and embodying the Wisdom (Sophia) of Christ we come to redeem the Tree of Knowledge. Eating the fruit brought death in the Garden of Eden, but now we must eat the fruit to live and become gods who know the eternal, who are aware of their immortality and the Christ-power that overcomes death for all times.
When we reflect upon the biography of the being of Wisdom from the ranks of the Kyriotetes, we have a complex story of cosmic deeds that go back to the Sun incarnation of the earth when the Archangels came into being by working with the donations of the Beings of Wisdom. This Being of Cosmic Wisdom used the combined efforts of the Kyriotetes during the Sun Incarnation to create an atmosphere of light in which the archangels found their life. The Being of Wisdom works especially through the Archangel Michael, who is the Sun Archangel and the one called, “the countenance of Christ.” In the realm of archangels, the Life Spirit, the Cosmic Being of Wisdom works through the Archangel Michael, especially in our current age which is ruled by Michael. Christ Himself works in the realm of the Life Spirit and brings forth the Waters of Life that spring from New Jerusalem and the Tree of Life.
Both the Cosmic Being of Wisdom and Christ (the Cosmic Being of Love) are united in this realm of the Life Spirit. They join together in the mysterious conjunction that appears as the wedding of the Virgin Soul to the Lamb of God – Sophia to Christ. It is development of this Cosmic Wisdom (Sophia) of Christ that Rudolf Steiner indicated was the aim of the Consciousness Soul era – to attain the Sophia of Christ.
What is seldom spoken is that the Cosmic Being of Wisdom, just like Christ (as the second person in the divine Trinity) came down through the ranks of the hierarchies below them until they manifested on the Earth. Christ used the body of Jesus of Nazareth (the ‘Sister Soul of Adam’), a pure body that had never physically incarnated before, as a vessel for three years starting from the Baptism in the Jordan until His death. Christ accomplished His cosmic deeds on Earth as the “Son” of the Father God, as the second person in the Holy Trinity. Christ used the combined forces of the Elohim on the sun as a vessel for His descent through the hierarchies of the archai, archangels, and angels. As Christ descended through each of these three ranks, he performed deeds to help humanity develop the basic foundation necessary for free, individualized thinking. These deeds are called the “pre-Earthly” deeds of Christ that Steiner spoke about on numerous occasions.
The gifts Christ gave humanity through these pre-Earthly deeds are referred to as: standing upright, speaking, and thinking. He characterizes these three deeds also as balancing the forces of the zodiac, the planets, and the Earth. He also says these deeds could be characterized as harmonizing the heart and the six major organs (planets), as well as the soul capacities of thinking, feeling and willing.
The Cosmic Being of the Kyriotetes also descended through the ranks of the hierarchy below the Kyriotetes. The Heavenly Sophia descended through the beings of Wisdom (Kyriotetes), Movement (Dynamis), and Elohim (Form) who all reside on the sun and planets and then through the ranks of the Archai, Archangels and Angels into the realm of the human being by over-lighting Mary (the one called the ‘Mother of Jesus’). The over-lighting of Mary was so profound that through it she redeemed the ‘fall into matter’ by uniting the Wisdom brought down from on high and the wisdom given to Her by Jesus before his baptism.
One can say that Mary, who was Eve in a past life, redeemed the expulsion from the Garden of Eden by uniting with her higher self that was brought to her by the Cosmic Being of Wisdom. Mary was the vessel not only for the Cosmic Being of Wisdom and the wisdom of Jesus of Nazareth but also for the ‘Sister Soul of Eve’ who like the ‘Sister Soul of Adam’ had remained back in paradise until she incarnated for the first time as the other Mary (of Nazareth). For indeed, through Steiner’s teachings we learn there were two Marys and two Jesus boys. Just before the baptism, after a soul wrenching confession and spiritual cleansing with ‘his Mother’ through a long conversation, the ‘Sister Soul of Eve’ also united with Mary.
This union of the Cosmic Being of Wisdom and the ‘Sister Soul of Eve’ in the body of the original Eve completed the full cycle of return to the divine and pointed to the future when humanity will be able to unite with both Sophia and Christ. Then, the Cosmic Being of Wisdom (Sophia) will become ‘physically present’ as an intimate counselor of the spirit who leads us to the understanding of the Comic Wisdom of Christ which is found in the realm of the Life Spirit. This marriage in New Jerusalem is between our higher ego (Spirit Self) and the being of Christ as our own Christened Self, the Life Spirit. This is the marriage of the Virgin Soul to the Lamb of God which causes New Jerusalem to descend and the Tree of Life to bring forth fruit as the Waters of Life spring from the base of the tree in four directions. This description is also the universal archetype of the marriage of the Cosmic Beings who work through the ranks of the Kyriotetes and the Elohim, Sophia and Christ.
The wedding of Christ and Sophia is described by Steiner’s indications that the pre-Earthly deeds of Christ were accompanied and ‘birthed’ by Sophia (Kyriotetes) on the sun. Sophia helped Christ donate to the creation of the human being from the sun where the archetypal form of the human being was being created. The ‘Sister Souls’ of Adam and Eve, who we can call the Adam Kadmon and the Eve Kadmon after the Hebrew tradition, stayed on the sun (paradise) in the ‘Mother Lodge of Humanity’ until the completed form of the human being was thoroughly prepared to be a free thinker at the time of the incarnations of Mary and Jesus of Nazareth. Sophia and Christ were bringing down to humanity what they needed to evolve while the paradisical twins of Adam and Eve (Adam Kadmon and Eve Kadmon) remained protected from the Earthly forces of the ‘fall.’
Sophia and Christ worked together from the sun through the realms of the archai, archangels and angels to create humanity’s form and to ensure that the realms of Sprit Self, Life Spirit and Spirit Man were created and sustained. These realms are timeless and spaceless and directly relate to the redemption of the astral (Spirit Self), etheric (Life Spirit) and physical bodies (Spirit Man). These realms, like the physical, etheric and astral bodies that were created by Christ’s (and Sophia’s) efforts are now raised back up into the realms of angels, archangels and archai where they came from initially. This is a true wedding of the redeemed lower bodies with their counterparts in the spiritual world.
Since we call Christ the “Son of God,” we can call the Cosmic Being of Wisdom, who used the combined Kyriotetes as a vessel that descended into the being of Mary, the “Daughter of Sophia” who works together with Christ in the realm of Life Spirit where Inspirations live. We can see two distinct beings in the Daughter of Sophia (Wisdom of Kyriotetes) who worked together with Christ the Son, and the being Anthroposophia who evolved over time alongside of human consciousness. We can call Her the Holy Sophia because She evolves together with the Holy Spirit in the realm of angels (Spirit Self). One could say that just as the Cosmic Being of Wisdom (Daughter) and Christ (Son) worked together in the closest union, so too, the Holy Spirit and the being of Anthroposophia (Holy Sophia) work together in the realm of the angels, where Imagination lives in the Spirit Self.
We can easily see the activities of two different beings in the “heavenly” and “earthly” Sophia that look like threads of two separate biographies. We have heard that both biographies are linked inextricably with two of the three beings in the Male Trinity. The Heavenly Sophia and the Earthly Sophia tend to mirror the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. Both Sophias seem to be empowered with a force beyond their rank in the hierarchy. Christ came from the Trinity and “used” the seven Elohim as a vessel. The Heavenly Sophia “used” the combined efforts of the Kyriotetes as a vessel. Since Christ came from a Trinity, the Cosmic Sophia must have come from somewhere before She “used” the Kyriotetes as a vessel.
Harkening back to the beginning of this story, almost all religions and mythologies say creation came from or was donated by a Great Goddess or Mother of All. This aspect of mythology, theology, and ancient beliefs is almost universal. Then why, one might ask, did Rudolf Steiner not clearly point out the third person in the Divine Feminine Trinity – the primal Mother. If he had, he would have been the first to insinuate a Divine Feminine Trinity.
Actually, Steiner did point out the biography of the Great Goddess, the Mother of All. But first, let’s be clear that the mysteries of Sophia were still a secret in Steiner’s day. He indicated that the Sophia mysteries would not be revealed fully until the Sixth Epoch, which he called the Russia (or Slavic). This epoch does not happen for at least another thousand years. Steiner was not free to speak directly about these mysteries, but he said repeatedly that what we needed in our time is the ‘Wisdom of, the Sophia of, the Christ.’ He described two of the three aspects of the Divine Feminine Trinity in greater detail than anyone else and therefore did go as far as any other human had gone in revealing Sophia’s true nature. Steiner’s entire work was the revelation of the ‘Wisdom of Christ.’ One could say that Steiner’s work was Sophia, AnthropoSophia.
As we pondered these questions over decades we wondered, “If Sophia mirrors the Godhead, who is a trinity, then why wouldn’t Sophia be a trinity?”
This question continued to resound until a few quotes of Steiner’s were found that change the picture. In answering some questions at the end of a lecture to the workmen, Steiner remarked that the combined efforts of the hierarchy together sound forth as the word, “suffering.” When asked if there were another word that could be used, he remarked,
“Yes, they sound forth the name of the Great Goddess, the Mother of All.” This then, is the Mother of both Sophias, or the first person in the Divine Feminine Trinity of Mother, Daughter and Holy Sophia.
In other places Steiner also says that the ancients all knew the previous incarnations of the Earth (Saturn, Sun, Moon) as the “Mothers.” Goethe spoke of this tradition quite accurately in Faust with chilling descriptions of the ‘Realm of the Mothers’ and the fear they instil in anyone who encounters them. Steiner indicated that these ‘Mothers’ were beings who have woven our realm together through all of the efforts, sacrifices, and donations of the nine hierarchies during ancient Saturn, Sun and Moon. We owe the past to the gifts of the Mothers, and they are the basis for the universal belief in the Triple Goddess of birth, death and rebirth. There is no end to the enumeration of the many triple goddesses or triune feminine forces found in myths and ancient beliefs. The primacy of the Feminine Trinity is prominent in all religions and the later male extrapolations derive from these sources. That is why the two Trinities of Male and Female are so compatible and incomplete without the missing half.
Finding the Mother Goddess in Anthroposophy is not hard at all when the blinders of past programming are removed. Steiner tells us that the Mothers where three but became one. They were the three sisters known as the Mater Dolorosa (Mothers of Pain) who became the Mater Gloriosa (Mother of Glory). It was historical necessity that the three Mothers become the one Mother.
This is reflected in the thought that the initial “Mother of Creation” reflected or mirrored the Godhead, who was a Trinity.
The original Mother was seen as three because She would become three through the deeds of the Daughter and the Holy Sophia, thereby creating a trinity. The Mothers birthed creation up until the time that the Kyriotetes (Sophia) and the Elohim (Christ) entered into the development of the human being (Earth) and made the donations that helped the Mothers (Saturn, Sun, Moon) develop the human being as a free thinker (tenth hierarchy). Then, in 2100 BC, Anthroposophia (Holy Sophia) incarnated and completed the manifestation of the Divine Feminine Trinity. Each member of the Divine Feminine Trinity share Her power, wisdom, and love with the other two members.
The feminine qualities involved in the creation, destruction, and rebirth of the cosmos and humanity has been marginalized. Old programming has kept Isis-Sophia hidden and powerless. We are told to find and resurrect devotion to Wisdom (Sophia) so that we might align with the Christ, the Holy Spirit, and the Father God. Sophia and Christ are one. The Holy Spirit and the Holy Sophia work together as one. The Father is made whole through uniting with the Mother, the primal substance of suffering, sacrifice and creation.
The Divine Feminine Trinity comes to life by looking at each of the separate biographies of Sophia. The confusion and speculation fall aside as a grand picture of what the Divine Feminine Trinity has done for the evolution of mankind. A true cosmic romance of the deepest love and union comes before our eyes when we look for the footprints of Sophia. There is no end to the illumination of human development that arises when we unite the two Trinities of Male and Female. Creation becomes complete and the mysteries of the past, present and future come into focus. We need the rebirth of Isis-Sophia as the spiritual feminine nature is redeemed and raised back into a position of awe and reverence. We need to again seek the Sophia mysteries as the ‘eternal feminine calls us upward and onward.’
Let’s look at what Rudolf Steiner has said about the primal significance of the feminine nature over the course of human development.
All who strive for a true understanding of human development must be aware that the first strides in imagining, in the creation of inner images, were made by women. They are the ones who first thought, imagined and remembered, and that is a pre-requisite for the formation of memory. Memory, in turn, made possible the development of habits, and habits laid the foundation for a legal code, a kind of framework of custom and morality. It was man who knew and dealt with the forces of nature, but in was woman who first interpreted them.
The inner rhythms of nature sounded from the lips of ‘wise’ women. People gathered around them, feeling the chanted phrases to be the communications of higher powers. Gatherings such as these were the first religious services.
In relationship to the grand evolution of humanity, the female nature is primary and was the primary source of procreation in the far distant past of the Polaria and Hyperborea ages. Parthenogenesis is implied in the development of the human fetus in utero and clearly outlined by Steiner in his Occult Science an Outline. Generation without the polarity of male and female was the original means of human propagation. Humans were not divided into two sexes until the moon separated itself from the Earth.
Freemasonry and Human Evolution, Rudolf Steiner, Berlin, 23 October 1905
Now we want to clarify how that came about. It came about thus: in the beginning, before there was a separate male and female sex, there was a twofold sexuality within each single individual. We must now ask: What was it that could become fertilised, and what was it that did the fertilising, in the one single individual? In ancient Greek mythology Zeus is portrayed with ample female breasts. A truth expresses itself therein, which was known in the old mysteries and which we also learn from the records, that the sex – if I may call it that – which immediately preceded our own, outwardly and physically resembled not the male but the female gender. So that, before the outward separation, we have thus both sexes in one individual that outwardly – in physical expression and in all perceptions and being – was female. Therefore at the beginning of the human race, we have to do with a bisexual individual tending towards the female. Only later did the male sex follow. Now we must be clear that in this individual, which had both sexes in it, a fertilising agent, or male seed, was also present. Woman contained man within her. When we have grasped the fact that the woman had the male principle within her, then we can conceive, with our ordinary scientific concepts, that reproduction was ensured. We want to bear in mind that at this time this happened via the woman.
Now came the time when things had to go their separate ways. What character did the fertilising principle in the woman then have, which on the physical plane would fertilise the female nature? What worked in the female body as a seed, was the male; and that was the spiritual, the wisdom. Woman contributed the substance; the spirit gave it form. Any structuring of the physical plane is a realisation of wisdom. Wisdom worked in the female. Now the two differentiated themselves, in that the two things which had previously worked as one now appeared as two separated poles. What was previously united in a single human organ, divided itself, whereby a duality in human development originated. This duality came about thus: first, the fertility – the ability of the female egg to fertilise itself – within the one individual, ceased to function. The female egg lost the possibility of becoming fertilised from its own body. So we are now dealing with a female which has become infertile and, above everything, the spiritual. The division of the two sexes came about through the separation of the physical organs, and the other sex was now endowed with the possibility of fertilisation. Two individuals appeared, one with physical femininity and the other with physical masculinity. With the man, wisdom has a female character, with the woman, it has a male character.
The separation is a very definite event that one can follow; we will now have to be satisfied, however, with just indications. We are dealing, then, with male-tinged wisdom in the woman and female-tinged wisdom in the man. This female-tinged wisdom is passive, suited to receiving, listening, watching – to taking in from the surroundings. The male-tinged wisdom, the active wisdom, is suited to being productive. Thus we have a two-fold wisdom; the female wisdom that is active and that naturally will also be transferred to the men. So that there may indeed be plenty of men who take over the female wisdom, the race propagates itself below on the physical plane; and above, we are dealing with an active intuition stemming from women, and with a passive cognition, decidedly male in character.
This figures in the old mystery teaching as the antithesis between the Sons of Abel, or Sons of God, and the Sons of Cain, or Sons of Man. Abel represents the female, active intuition. Therefore he is unable to take hold of anything from the outside world which needs to be worked upon. He takes up the divine, which streams through him, that flows into his intuitiveness. The ‘Herdsman’ symbolises that. He tends and nurtures life, while intuition nurtures the divine life of wisdom. Cain has the male wisdom that receives the outward. This wisdom espouses the earth in order to till it; the material is outside himself. He is the agriculturalist.
Now there is a very interesting and important legend in which these truths are symbolically expressed for the Freemasons. That is the Temple Legend. And the reason for it is as follows: The Bible itself, the Old Testament, derives from the female, the intuitive wisdom, and bears its stamp. The Old Testament is female wisdom. Male wisdom was not able to attain to intuition. It confined itself to building and work. It took stones and constructed buildings. It took metals and made implements. The Temple Legend puts it thus: One of the Elohim impregnated Eve and Cain was born. Afterwards, another of the Elohim, Jehovah, also known as Adonai, created Adam. And Adam begat Abel by Eve. This legend counterposed the wisdom of Cain and the Biblical wisdom, so that, by the beginning of the fourth Post-Atlantean epoch, we have two opposing currents: the Bible, representing womanly wisdom, and the Temple wisdom as its opposing male counterpart. Already, in pre-Christian times, what the male wisdom wanted stood in opposition to the female wisdom.
It is little wonder that the true secrets of the divine feminine have been hidden by males in every way possible. The female had to be diminished and dethroned so that the agenda of male dominance could come to full birth. The power, wisdom and practices of the divine were kept faithfully by women through rituals, symbols and old wives’ tales. Isis-Sophia had to hide to keep from being destroyed altogether. Her trail was still left for those with ‘eyes to see.’ Her secrets went underground into the Mystery Religions where the secrets of the Mothers and the Being of Wisdom were held sacred. Those who still had the remnants of clairvoyance were able to sense the truth beneath the confused teachings about the Triple Goddess. They were pulled upward towards the eternal feminine that calls Her children back home. Women have this capacity of spirit naturally.