Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Wedding of Sophia (Review & Commentary)

I am back with another review and, this time, with more commentary.

Today’s book is The Wedding of Sophia: The Divine Feminine in Psychoidal Alchemy, by Jeffrey Raff, PhD, Nicolas-Hays, Inc, 2003. In this book, Raff attempts to demonstrate the alchemical work of combining opposites to achieve the Great Work and his theory of the Psychoidal Realm and Psychoidal Beings. The Psychoidal Beings are beyond the Jungian definition of Archetypes, which exist in humanity’s psyche and are only symbolic representations of mythic themes which humans gravitate towards. On the other hand, Raff attempts to explain that Psychoidal beings are real entities which can be compared to emissaries from a higher spiritual plane or from God. For me, the most interesting parts of Raff’s book was his description of the alchemists’ goals and their efforts in attempting to realize the Great Work – the union of two opposites to create a new, transformed and complete being; the Rebis. For those with a desire to learn more about alchemy, I would recommend this book. Raff gives insights into the symbology of alchemy and even alchemical references within the Bible. I chose not to dwell too much on the Psychoidal theory he put forth (Sorry Dr. Raff).

The two opposites the alchemists are attempting to join are God (masculine/Power – sometimes referred to as the King) and Sophia (feminine/Wisdom – sometimes referred to as the Queen). Sophia as a consort or feminine aspect of God is an ancient tradition found in Gnostic teachings, the Kabala (as the divine Shikenah) and in the Bible (as Asherah). The division of the God into a masculine entity representing Power and a feminine entity representing Wisdom is also found in Freemasonry. The goal of the alchemist is to work to bring the two entities together properly so as to combine and balance the aspects of each into a stronger, more complete being – and in the process increase the power and knowledge of the alchemist by virtue of his/her work. The alchemist is also transformed with God and Sophia and receives the gift of everlasting spiritual life. This is the Great/Divine Work also referred to as the Alchemical Wedding.

Why is this important? Alchemy (and other philosophies) does not view God as a perfect and omnipotent being. It is felt that God “is in the process of becoming.” Raff goes on to say, “The marriage sets the stage for the on-going evolution of God. This is possible because Sophia is the personification of divine knowing [knowledge].” Now this is where I start my pontification…
Given that God is continuously evolving/growing, or, as in the case of this book, transforming, why would God need man in order to evolve? God’s interaction with man may teach it something about itself. Interacting with your creation teaches you something about your creation (limits, growth, care, requirements…). But also may teach you about yourself (perspective, limits, self-reflection…).

Also given that god created man to learn who God is (this Gnostic theory is from another book…), interaction with man may be necessary to access that knowledge. What if the connection between God and man is weak? We are not angels or spiritual creatures, so interface may be difficult. As a collective race, we are just now thinking that we understand something about ourselves, so how could we understand enough to interact with God on its level? All the data acquired through our learned experiences would trickle “up” to God; learning is slow and much of the info/data would be with the individual. Think of a computer. This computer’s function would be to learn information. And with this computer the info/data would stay until it is full or the computer gets to old to function properly, and eventually it crashes. The hard drive (with all the experiences/data) can then be removed from the CPU/Body and sent to a great repository to be “up-loaded”. Now, what if this computer was able to make a connection with the repository/server? All the data learned by the computer could be immediately transferred to the server/network. Additionally, data/knowledge could also be “down-loaded” to the computer from the network (updates, patches, virus protection…). The computer would have knowledge from the whole collective network. Each component is learning, sharing, growing, evolving and transforming. (Now go back and replace “computer” with “person”, “hard drive” with “soul”, and “repository/server/network” with “God”.)

Man has done the same thing when he created computers and then the internet; only he created the “individual” first. Why? Because man never (collectively) understood his connection with “God”. So when he created, he created a thing in his own image – a “stand-alone” system.

So how do we upgrade? According to Raff, alchemy is one tool to use to work on ourselves and understand the materials given to us. We must understand our tools and the components with which we have to work. We must understand that if we want the world to be better, we must start with ourselves. We must work on our connection to the divine and realize the divine within our individual selves and how that divine is connected to every other individual. We must work to make “God” better, so the feedback is better.

If you could, what would you fix about God? Good. Now go fix that in yourself. We are all responsible!