Sophia personifies wisdom, an
ancient tradition concerned with integrity in the marketplace, politics, and
royal court. Because the teachings were rooted in life instead of doctrine,
Sophia became problematical and excluded from the religious formulations of
monotheism. This manuscript is about exile--Sophia's and our own. I compare
Sophia's exile from mainstream religion to the alienation suffered by modern
individuals who experience loss, betrayal, and abandonment. What is exiled
in today's dysfunctional paradigm is the vital soul, the genius or daemon.
When we pay attention to it by taking our life seriously--as a mode of
knowledge--we awaken its fire. The vital expresses the integrity and
intelligence of the life force, whose awakening turns exile into
home--revealing Sophia to be not divine but the source of divine images--the
human psyche. While Sophia has been interpreted as divine, goddess or
psychological image, she is examined here from several unique perspectives.
First, Sophia is developed from the context of modern life and real people,
but in conversation with the historical and mythological. Second, the dark
side is confronted through analysis of Sophia's "Other" faces, Lilith and
Hecate, locating it as the source of individual power and knowledge. Third,
it provides modern women with an image of female power that is not based
solely on reproduction and mothering but on another aspect of the feminine
archetype rarely discussed--the intelligence and cosmic power of the life
force. Finally, it introduces the "path of crumbs" which encourages women to
direct their own life through recognition of the guidance present in
About the Author:
I have lived near Ithaca, New York for over 25
years. I studied with Anthony Damiani at his Center for Philosophic Studies
in Hector, NY -- Wisdom's Goldenrod -- for 13 years until his death in 1984.
My husband Paul, one of Anthony's six sons, shared my interest in observing
subtle psychological phenomena. We shared a passion for the adventure of
inquiry into the mysteries of life and psyche and the shadow side of human
groups. Over a decade of research into Sophia began with images that arose
following Paul's death by fire in 1985.
An intriguing path of questioning that led to
the writing of Sophia: Exile and Return emerged in my life from the
creative tension between the arisal of symbolic messages on the one hand,
and reading the historical and archetypal material about Sophia on the
other. Through this "path of crumbs" I discovered that within the
devastation of a personal tragedy are the signposts that invite us to heal
ourselves through the investigation of its more universal dimensions.
I was fortunate to engage these studies in
graduate programs that encouraged the contemplation and analysis of symbols,
earning a M.A. Degree in Humanities from Old Dominion University and a Ph.D.
in Humanities with a Specialization in Philosophy from the Union Institute.
I believe that the power of authentic
questions about the meaning and purpose of life can radically transform an
individual's life and that of society by disturbing the inertia of the