Inspired by Thomas Merton’s prayer–poem “Hagia Sophia” (High Wisdom), we have been reflecting on the presence of Sophia within all that lives, the beating heart of the planet.
In her book Praying with the Women Mystics, Mary Malone offers us a reworking of Hildegard of Bingen’s poem, “God: The Wisdom-Woman”.
For this is the Wisdom-Woman of God.
She watches over all people and all things.
She is of such radiance and brightness
That you cannot gaze on her face or on the garments she wears.
For she is awesome in terror and gentle in goodness.
She has the radiance of divinity in her face.
She is with all and in all and of beauty so great
That no one can know how sweetly she bears with people,
And with what unfathomable mercy she treats them.
Our Lady of Guadalupe: 16th c. image
Allow a time of quiet as these words settle within you, creating an inner space of peace and beauty.
In her book Godseed (Quest Books, Wheaton, Illinois, 1992) Jean Houston offers a guided meditation inviting us into “A Visit to the Sophia”.
After a long spiraling journey upwards, you find yourself at the very top of a high mountain. You go inside the mountain to a path that travels downward in a spiral.
Moving along the path down and around within the inner mountain spiral, you pass scenes of your own life, from your earliest infancy. You see or sense yourself being born. Continuing on the path down and around, to your earliest childhood, you see yourself taking your first steps, forming words, reaching out and grasping things, learning to feed yourself. Further down you see yourself learning to tie your own shoes and attending your first days at school. Continuing down, you see yourself learning games and reaching out to other children. As you continue, you see yourself growing up fast and learning many things. You see your adolescence. Further along you observe stages of your life until today………..
Suddenly you find yourself at the very bottom of the inside of the mountain. There you discover a door of baked mud. Going through it, you find that it leads to a hallway and to a door of water. You pass through the door of water, and it leads to a door of fire. You pass through the door of fire, and it leads to a door of winds. You lean against the winds and pass through. This door leads to a door of bronze, and you pass through. This door leads to a door of silver. You pass through the door of silver and find a door of gold.
At the door of gold there is a shining figure who says to you: “Through this door is the Sophia. Through this door is the Wise One herself, the incarnation of Wisdom. When you pass through this door, you will be in the presence of the Sophia. There you must ask your question. You may see her or you may sense her. But know that she is there. She who is Wisdom itself.” When you are in her ambience, whether you see her or hear her or sense her or feel her, ask your question. Her answers may come in words or in images or even in feelings.
You now have four minutes of clock time, equal to all the time you need, to be in the presence of the Sophia and ask your question and receive her answers.
Thanking the Sophia for her wisdom and kindness, and knowing that you can always return to visit her again, begin now to go back through the door of gold, the door of silver, the door of bronze, beyond the doors of winds, of fire, of water, of earth, beyond the spiral of the stages of your own life, reaching the top of the mountain. Now take the spiral path back down from the mountain. Find yourself here in this moment.
Open your eyes, sit up and stretch, and if you wish, write your experiences in a journal or make a drawing or sketch of what you found with the Sophia…