The Goddess Path  Issue #24

Winter Wisdom

December, 2004


This Issue: Table of Contents


Fresh Starts
Sophia, The Goddess of Wisdom
Winter Solstice...A Time To Dream
Calendars, Note Cards, and More


Fresh Starts

There were two big changes this month. As a result of our decision to change one of our webhosts, Men, Myths, Minds has now moved to: www.god-goddess.com and The Goddess Path newsletter has moved to a new mail service at Bravenet.

Thanks to each of you for re-subscribing and for persisting when you encountered problems. Special thanks to those who wrote telling us how much the newsletter means to you.

We got little else accomplished this month, but for the sake of consistency, here's the link if you want to read the monthly progress report:
Blog


Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom (Preface)

I have been blessed with two truly remarkable daughters. They remind me how very unique they are each time they give me suggestions for gifts they would like.

For Sarah it was an Oxford Dictionary and/or an air compressor. Go figure the meaning of that combination! 

For Liz it was a copy of the Nag Hammadi bible and a set of reference books on the Gnostic religion. It is to Liz and her interest in the Gnostics, that we owe gratitude for the following article about Sophia.

 Note: for those wondering ‘What are the Gnostics?’ we offer this simplistic explanation—they were the early Christians whose beliefs and practices were more mystical/spiritual than the westernized, and more institutionalized, religion that was to emerge a few centuries later in Rome. The Gnostics were more tolerant and respectful of the pagan religions and accepted the full participation and leadership of women in their religion. 

Sophia, Goddess of Wisdom

Have you ever wondered about that gorgeous woman in Michelangelo’s painting on the ceiling of the Sistine chapel—the one that God has his arm wrapped around while his other arm extends to touch the hand of Adam? Some art historians believe the petite blonde was Jehovah’s grandmother, the Goddess Sophia.   

View image here.
http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess_path/CreationAdam.jpg

In the Judeo-Christian tradition the goddess Sophia is the beginning, the source of wisdom, and keeper of the knowledge of all that is righteous and just. With her sound wisdom and guidance, rulers lead their kingdoms to prosper. In the darkness and ignorance that thrive in her absence, the proverbial wasteland eats away at the soul and nations perish.

 Known as the Mother of All or simply as Wisdom, Sophia was born of Silence according to Gnostic creation myths. She gave birth to both Male and Female who together created all the elements of our material world.

Female then gave birth to Jehovah in all his emanations. But she also gave birth to Ildabaoth who was known as the Son of Darkness. When humans were created, Sophia loved them all dearly. Her affection for them sparked jealousy in both Ildabaoth and Jehovah.

Hoping to keep humans weak and powerless, the brothers forbade humans to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. Female then sent her spirit in the form of the serpent to teach the humans to disobey the envious gods.

Sophia so desperately loved humans that she decided she would live among them. To her dismay they mostly ignored her. She tried speaking to them. When they turned a deaf ear, she screamed from the tops of the highest walls. Still she was not heard.

In her anguish at being so neglected, she left humans with one last thought: You have denied and ignored me, so will I do when calamity strikes and you call for my help. Only those who earnestly search for me and love me will merit my love and assistance.

There are those who believe that Sophia, so desperate in her desire to relate, later returned to humans in another attempt to bond with them. Sophia is often symbolized by the Dove of Aphrodite, which later became the dove representing the Holy Spirit.

The dove appeared to the Virgin Mary in the form of the Virgin of Light, entered her and conceived Jesus. In this sense, Sophia attempted again, in to form of a man, to be united with the mortals she so loved.

Sophia’s traits: righteous, wise, loving, communicative, knowledgeable, creative, protective, giving, and truthful. A Sophia woman sees it and tells it as it is; she has no fear of the truth.

Sophia was also the mother of Faith, Hope, and Charity. She brings meaning to human experience with her gift of understanding “the bigger picture”. Only when you stand back, gaining some emotional distance, can you see that even the most traumatic experiences can be the birthplace of your most treasured strengths. It is only in times of great stress that heroic feats are truly appreciated.

Faith, hope, and charity are Sofia’s gifts to us. . .  gifts that can overcome the despair, confusion, and suffering that frame human life. Sophia reminds you that clear vision and understanding line the path that leads to the discovery of the meaning of your life.
 


The Winter Solstice Approaches. It's Time to Dream.

The Winter Solstice is a magical season . . . one that marks the journey from this year to the next, journeys of the spirit from one world to the next, and the magic of birth, death, and rebirth. The longest night of the year (December 21 in the Northern hemisphere) is the start of the solar year and accompanied by festivals of light to mark the rebirth of the Sun.

Throughout the world gods and goddesses of light were being born during the Winter Solstice. The Egyptian goddess Isis delivered Horus whose symbol was the winged Sun. Mithras, the Unconquered Sun of Persia, was born during the solstice, as was Ameratsu, the Japanese Goddess of the Sun. Sarasvati, Queen of Heaven in India, is honored during Yule-tide.

Rhea gave birth to Saturn (the Father of Time), Hera conceived Hephaestus, and Qetzalcoatl and Lucina ("Little Light") also celebrate birthdays at this time. Saint Lucia, once known as the Goddess of Light, is honored from Italy to Sweden, crowned with candles to carry us through the darkness.


In ancient Europe, this night of darkness grew from the myths of the Norse goddess Freya who sat at her spinning wheel weaving the fates, and the celebration was called Yule, from the Norse word Jul, meaning wheel. The Christmas wreath, a symbol adapted from Freya's "Wheel of Fate", reminds us of the cycle of the seasons and the continuity of life.

In Northern Europe, the year's longest night is called "Mother Night" for it was in darkness the goddess Freya labored to bring the Light to birth once more. The Young Sun, Baldur, who controlled the sun and rain and brings fruitfulness to the fields, was born. Her blessing is invoked for all birthing women, and a white candle that last burned on the solstice is kept as a charm to provide a safe delivery.

You can read more about the goddess Freya and the legend of mistletoe.


That the timing of the Christian celebration of the birth of Christ occurs in the Yule season is no coincidence. Christmas was once a movable feast, celebrated many different times during the year.

The decision to establish December 25 as the "official" date of Christ's birth was made by Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD, hoping to replace the pagan celebration with the Christian one, since this date coincided with the pagan celebrations of Winter Solstice with the Return of the Sun Gods occurring throughout the world.

Numerous Christmas traditions derive from the earlier pagan celebrations. Yule, celebrating the birth or rebirth of a god of light, made use of fire, both in candles and the burning of a Yule log.

The Christmas tree has its origins in the practice of bringing a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm during the cold winter months.  Bells were hung in the limbs so you could tell when an appreciative spirit was present. Food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, symbol of the five elements, was placed atop the tree.


The Solstice is also a time of plenty. The Hopi Kachinas return to the Earth during the solstice, and the Deer Mothers dance for the fertility of the earth.   The hearth fires of Hestia (known as the Roman goddess Vesta) are quenched and then rekindled. The "first fruits" festival, Kwanzaa, is held to honor the seven major deities of Yoruba.

And Winter Solstice is a time for visions. Rhiannon, a Welsh incarnation of Epona, the Celtic Mare Goddess, rides through the dreams of her people by night, transporting them to the place between the worlds where they can create their own visions, giving them a gift of what they need most, helping them to make real their dreams. In Scotland, the last night of the year is Wish Night, a holiday when wishes made for the coming year are at their most powerful.


Calendars, Notecards, and Other Goddess Goodies.

There comes a time when we must put those dreams and wishes into action, a time to set a date with destiny, and mark it on our calendars.

I had fun assembling an assortment of Goddess Calendars, date books, and notecards. You can view them at:

Calendars and Notecards 
http:www.goddessgift.com/goddess_shops/calendar.htm

The Goddess Quiz/Report (also Gift Certificates)
http://www.goddessgift.com/order_bonus.htm
(20% discount for subscribers. Gods Quiz also available)

Glass Art Goddesses and Pendants
Aromatherapy: Goddess Oils, Diffuser, and Soaps
http://www.goddessgift.com/goddess_shops/index.htm


Can't Get Away With Anything

I admit it. I goofed! Wish I could say it was a test to see if readers were paying attention....it wasn't intentional, but it did confirm that you are really on the ball.

In last month's newsletter I said "Currently we're paying $1.89 for a gallon of gas, and she's paying $ for a gallon of flavored sugar water. Go figure!" Make that $5.24 a gallon for sugar water.  A few of you wrote to inquire.

Also apologies are in order to the men among our subscribers. There are several. I take this to be delightful proof that there ARE Wise Men in this day and age! (In one of my "how to resubscribe" emails, I remarked on how glad I was for having such a supportive group of women in the subscriber list.)  Many thanks to the gods among us for all your support.

In closing, a reminder to...

Dream always. Keep your dreams alive.

Till next month,

Sharon

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