This web site is an original creation dedicated to Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, with whom I feel inextricably connected. Because of our eternal connection, I most often refer to her simply as Wisdom.
Some diverse words for Wisdom:
Sophia – Greek
Hokmah – Hebrew
Sapientia – Latin
Some of Wisdom's diverse faces:
Mother of God
The Woman Next Door!
Rose (my own Wisdom symbol)
Returning to Wisdom by Z Zephyr
You came with me
Through Creation's fire.
Out of my baby eyes
You shined into the world.
Play and curiosity
Connected me to you.
I felt your loving hand
At my back.
How did I forget you?
Was it the plastic toys,
Did my culture's
'Right Rules' for living
Separate me from you?
Or was it the busyness,
Acts of accumulation,
Return to me.
Shine once again
Through the eyes
Of this older,
Homage to Sophia
Ceramicist Syma's private icon is based on a ceramic mold of her own face.
Photo by Gail Bryan.
Homage to Sophia
Wisdom Claiming Ritual for Group of Older Women and Men Created by Z Zephyr
Chairs or cushions
Candles: White symbolizing the Dove; pink or red for the Rose; purple for Wisdom.
Flowers: Roses in any color – enough for each person present
Create a circle with chairs or cushions
Prepare simple altar in center with bouquet of roses and candles--honoring Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom.
Determine who are the oldest woman and the oldest man present. If only one gender is present; first and second oldest.
The oldest woman present lights the candles and casts the circle.
Group, all together, says: "Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, we invite you to enter our hearts."
Sit in silence for 10 minutes. Listen for the Voice of Sophia speaking through your own heart.
Oldest woman present takes the lead. Using the hand-held mirror, she looks into her own eyes and says: "I claim my gift of wisdom. I use my wisdom to create a more loving world." She also says whatever came to her during the silence, or any wisdom she feels compelled to voice aloud at this time. Or nothing.
She then passes the mirror to her right, and the next person repeats the process.
After 3 people have spoken, the group pauses and breathes deeply, refocusing on the present moment.
When each elder has spoken, the oldest woman puts the mirror on the Sophia altar.
The oldest man, or next oldest person, blows out the candles, opens the circle and gives a rose from the altar bouquet to each person to take home symbolizing Wisdom moving out into the world.
Sophia, Beloved Wisdom - One Woman's Story
"Women around the world are reclaiming Sophia as a representation of their own inner wisdom." --
Patricia Lynn Reilly in her book, Imagine a Woman in Love with Herself
This is a personal story of Wisdom's presence in and influence on my life. For those who want historical and scholarly information on Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom, there are many books and web sites devoted to her.
Research for this story began with deep reflection and reviewing photographs of me as a child. A studio picture taken in early 1943, at six months of age, was my first intuitive knowing that Wisdom was present in my life from the beginning. There are big questions shining from the eyes of this baby. "What is going on? I came here to play and these adults are having a war?" One could argue whether the questions are really there, and I know they are. I can see them in my baby eyes. Wisdom thrives on questions. Questions are Wisdom manifest.
Wisdom was my visible playmate until about the age of twelve. I was physical, untamed, intelligent and full of questions about the 'right rules' for living. Wisdom encouraged me to follow my heart; to be passionate and compassionate, at ease in my body, confident of my intellect, and wild in my creativity. Wisdom taught me to love my life; to live it with playful reverence. Wisdom shined brightly in me.
As a girl coming of age in the 1950's, media's constant message encouraged me to 'forget' Wisdom. Entire magazines and TV shows told me to be nice and tame, get married, have babies, cook but don't eat, and go shopping to fill any holes in my soul. The images were all so pretty and I was seduced. Wisdom gave me one vivid and lasting gift at the age of 16. I was walking alone along a dusty country road, pondering my life and felt a prayer come through me: "I will learn from all my experiences. I will live from my heart. I will feel deeply and remember." When I arrived home I had a message from a girlfriend. We went shopping and met some cute boys. I 'forgot' Wisdom. Wisdom did not forget me!
My life has been blessed with rich experience. Great joys and great sorrows. Through it all, I have always been aware of 'a hand at my back.' I've never felt completely alone. As a post menopausal woman, I can now name that hand; Wisdom. She has guided my life even as I walked unconsciously for years on end.
I'm 58 now and Wisdom is my visible playmate once again. She began showing up as various aspects of my Self. She showed up, full power, about a decade ago. She was dressed as my Longing. Longing wanted to live naturally; intuitively, playfully, reverently; connected to the web of life. I kept trying to ignore her. I had a fancy corporate job that was oppressing my spirit. In an effort to keep Longing at bay, I got very busy. I kept my calendar full of important meetings, coffee and lunch dates, evening classes and cocktail parties. Weekends I worked or went 'away' to relax for another week, month, year of busyness. I shopped; bought lots of stuff, including matching shoes for all occasions! Wisdom is very persistent--and I got older and less resistant. Weakened by Longing's power, I lost my energy for busyness. I got quiet. Wisdom appeared again as my Wild Creativity. WC began to bubble up from deep inside. She is sassy and noisy and demanded full expression.
In her own good time, Wisdom enticed my Zest Hormones into a powerful partnership. Together they gave me the courage to leave my spiritless work. Wisdom, appearing as Longing, Wild Creativity and Zest pushed, pulled, cajoled and teased me onto my unique path to explore and discover my Original Self; that baby who came here to play.
I turned to the wisdom of other wise women. Marion Woodman, in the book On Women Turning 60, talks of her experience of giving up her own aspirations and surrendering to Sophia, the Divine Feminine; a surrender not in defeat, but of consciously yielding to an unknown destiny. I too surrendered to Sophia; my beloved Wisdom, and an unknown destiny.
I headed to the Sonoran Desert on a pilgrimage to offer my life in service to Wisdom; manifesting the Feminine Divine in a form that consciously uses my wisdom, wild creativity and zest. Many long days and dark nights later, the fog is lifting. I, who no longer can birth precious babies, am freshly and wisely gifted by Nature's own hand to birth Wisdom in the world. Dominant culture encourages me to become invisible and to spend my wisdom years in amiable 'retirement.' Thanks to Sophia and my zest hormones, I'm saying No! to Yuma, and Palm Springs, and the entire state of Florida.
Margaret Mead said, "the most creative force in the world is a post menopausal woman with zest." Zest does not belong out of sight sipping iced tea or sweet cocktails. Zest is alive and craves meaningful work until 'death do us part,' and the circle of life begins again! I think zestful women are one of our greatest untapped, natural resources and our numbers are rapidly climbing at a time of social and ecological crises. I think Nature knows exactly what she's doing and Wisdom is one of her most precious and powerful gifts.
For this gift, I am eternally grateful. It's taken long days and dark nights in what I call the organic abyss to redesign my life with a foundation in wisdom; a life that sparkles with Sophia's fire. I now live in elegant simplicity. In honor of my beloved Wisdom and wild Zest, I'm dedicating my life to work I call PM Zest; committed to ' shining a spotlight' on the wisdom of older women. I'm starting a Zestful Women's Movement, co-creating Women's Revolutionary Workshops/Circles, and offering Wisdom-based corporate mentoring to those daring enough to try it! Thanks to Nature's wisdom, Zestful (Z) Women are on the rise! May Sophia, beloved Wisdom, light up our lives and escort us through our denial that unlimited consumption and economic growth are destroying us from the inside out. Wisdom is calling us to new ways of being together. How shall we live?
I feel Sophia becoming powerfully visible. My own life is my 'scientific' proof. Where and when is Sophia appearing to you, dear reader? What do you think? Feel? How shall we live?
Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom by Caitlin Matthews 'fell into my hands' in a book store several years ago. It was and continues to be a source of reference and inspiration for my personal connection to Sophia.