Author of the Month

Jesus and the Goddess
The Secret Teachings of the Original Christians
By Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy

The Myth of Sophia

The are many versions of the Christian Sophia myth, but the essence is the story of her fall from her Father's house into the world, where she loses her way, looks for love in all the wrong places, becomes abused by many false lovers, and eventually falls into prostitution. Eventually she repents and calls out for help, whereupon her Father sends down her lover-brother Christ to rescue her. Sophia represents the soul of each initiate and the myth is an allegory for the fall of the soul into incarnation in a human body, where it becomes lost in the world, until its eventual spiritual liberation through contacting the Christ within, representing the Consciousness of God at the heart of all beings.

The Christians often picture Sophia as having two aspect. The higher Sophia is symbolised by a virgin mother and represent the pristine purity of the soul, from which our bodily self materialises. The fallen Sophia is symbolised by a prostitute who is redeemed, representing the soul fallen into incarnation, lost in the world and in need of spiritual enlightenment.

The myth of the Christian Godman Jesus can only be properly understood alongside the myth of the Christian Goddess Sophia. In the myth of Sophia, the Goddess is the central figure, whilst her brother-lover is an incidental character. In the Jesus myth it is the opposite. The Godman is the central character. Yet the myth of the lost Goddess forms an important subtext to the Jesus story, which would have been obvious to Christian initiates familiar with both allegories. In the gospels the two Marys represent the higher Sophia and the fallen Sophia. They are both called by the same name to emphasise the fact that they are mythologically aspects of the same figure. As in the Sophia myth, the first Mary is a virgin mother, like Sophia with the Father, and the second is a prostitute lover who is redeemed by Jesus, like Sophia lost in the world.

Like her son/brother/lover Jesus, the Christian Goddess is a syncretic figure created from both Pagan and Jewish sources. The Gnostic Christians themselves trace the sources of their Sophia myth back to Jewish texts, such as Genesis, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Proverbs, and various Pagan myths. For example, essentially the same story of the fallen and redeemed Goddess, often pictured in two aspects as virgin lover and prostitute lover, can be found in the Pagan myths of Aphrodite, Helen, Eros and Psyche and, most famously, Demeter and Persephone at Eleusis, all of which, Pagan writers tell us, are allegories for the descent of the soul into incarnation and its eventual redemption.

The figures of Demeter and Persephone were developed by the Greeks from ancient Egyptian mythology. The Pagan philosopher Porphyry tells us that the Egyptian Goddess Isis is equivalent to both the Greek Goddesses Demeter and Persephone. Just as the Egyptian myth of the dying and resurrecting Godman Osiris is the earliest source of the myth of Jesus, so the myths of Isis is the earliest sources of the Christian myth of Sophia the lost and redeemed Goddess.

Sophia, whose name means ‘Wisdom’, had been the Goddess of the Pagan philosophers for centuries. Indeed, the name ‘philosopher’, first used by Pythagoras, means ‘lover of Sophia’. Although often pictured today as dry academics, these brilliant intellectuals were actually mystics and devotees of the Goddess. Sophia was also an important mythical figure for Jewish Gnostic philosophers, such as Philo the Pythagorean.

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Timothy Freke's and Peter Gandy's Jesus and the Lost Goddess

Join us over the last two weeks of January, in The Mysteries forum, for a discussion of the theology of Gnosticism and how it may provide a key to the origins of Christian theology. Timothy Freke and Peter Gandy are the featured Authors of the Month at for January 2002. Pick up a copy of Jesus and the Lost Goddess and join the discussion!

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