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This is the first of three consecutive essays!

Title: Understanding Wisdom

Three essays are presented to help members of this audience in their pursuit and understanding of wisdom. The Three Essays: (1) THE WISDOM TRADITION IN THE WEST: THE DIVINE SOPHIA TRADITION, (2) WISDOM FROM THE THEOSOPHICAL TRADITION, AND (3) AN EXCERSISE IN UNDERSTANDING WISDOM. Please consider these essays as aids to your growth in wisdom.



Western Civilization has its own wisdom tradition called the Divine Sophia.  Sophia is the archetype of wisdom personified. Sophia is written about in both Judaism and Christianity. Some interesting facts about Sophia:


  • The Divine Sophia appeared in the Old Testament. Proverbs 8and 9. Two quotes from Proverbs 8: First, "When God set the heavens, I was present." Second, "I was by God's side, a master craftswoman." The Book of Wisdom describes Sophia as the heart of the creative process, and the Teacher sent by God to save humanity.
  • The Divine Sophia is perceived as the spirit of wisdom. She has been described as the female soul and source of power of God. The Sophia is known by many names: the All, The Queen of Heaven, and Lady Wisdom. Divine Sophia is the eternal feminine wisdom – all knowing, all love, and all feminine.
  • A few Christian Sects and Gnostic Christian groups believe the third aspect of the Trinity is Holy Spirit who is the Sophia and the Feminine Aspect of God. The Sophia is the way through which the will of God experiences its idea. The roles of the Divine Sophia as the Holy Spirit: teacher of prudence, righteousness, and courageous – strength, the Divine Counselor for people who seek guidance, a co-creator with Father God, and the instructor who speaks to the soul in a quiet voice during meditation. In original Christian sects Sophia was pictured as female WISDOM member of the Trinity and was portrayed with wings.
  • The greatest shrine to the Divine Sophia was built in Constantinople during the sixth century. The name of the church is Haghia Sophia (The Church of the Holy Sophia that means Holy Female Wisdom). This church is considered one of the wonders of our world and the most splendid building of the Byzantine Empire period. Procopius, a Byzantine historian, described this church in 537 AD, "The Church represents a most glorious, spectacle extraordinary to those who behold (it)…. It is distinguished by indescribable beauty, excelling both in its size and in the harmony of its measure." The architects built the Church: Anthenus, the greatest mathematician of his days and Isidous, the greatest physicist of the time. The Byzantium Emperor Justinian dedicated the Haghia Sophia in 536. An earthquake hit the church; enormous damage occurred to the dome. The church was repaired in 563. During the Ottoman period a ruler – Mehmet II whitewashed the mosaics and turned the Church into a mosque. President Atarturk of the new Turkish Republic in 1935 cleaned up the mosaics and turned the mosque into a museum.  Today, the Haghia Sophia is a very popular tourist attraction in Turkey and is the fourth largest basilica in the world: #1 St. Peters in Rome, #2 Duomo in Milan, #3 St Pauls in London, and #4 Haghia Sophia.


This writer believes a manifestation of the Divine Sophia archetype is Athena. In ancient times Athena was a mythological goddess of ancient Greece and Rome. Athena was born from the head of Zeus, which meant her powers were more masculine than feminine. She was a martial goddess. She taught humans to make first weapons. Athena was the patron of Athens. In ancient Greece Athena was the goddess of wisdom, war, the arts, industry, justice, and skill. The owl is her bird, signifying wisdom. Today, she is known as Lady Athena and is alleged a commander of positive ETs known as the Ashtar Command. A description of the wisdom feature of Athena:


    Grey-eyed Athena, who has been called the mind of god, is the goddess of prudent intelligence, her share of wisdom having been given to her by Zeus. She is able to bestow command, skill, courage, and also victory in war for those who revere justice and listen to her persuasive tongue, or destruction for the unjust. For these reasons, it has always been desirable to count upon her favour when war is at hand, for Athena it is said, would never put up with defeat. And yet she checks the insolence of those whose spirit is violent and unjust.


Lady Athena manifests many faces: "Truth, Beauty, Simplicity, Elegance, Liberty, Harmony

Ageless Wisdom"


The Divine Sophia lives on in our era. A modern Theosophist - Dr. Stephan A. Hoeller is a world authority on the Divine Sophia and a well-known lecture on Theosophy.


Background on Dr. Stephan Hoeller:


Dr. Hoeller is an authority on my esoteric subjects: Divine Sophia, Gnosticism, Jungian Psychology, Hermeticism, Tarot, Kabbalah, and mythology


He is the Bishop of the Gnostic Church –The Ecclesia Gnostica and the main lecturer of the Gnostic Society. The address of Ecclesia Gnostica Diocesan Center and Gnostic Society: 4516 Hollywood Blvd Los Angeles CA 90027. More information on the Internet can be found at .




Dr. Hoeller is a national speaker for the Theosophical Society in America. In 2000 he will gives talks at Theosophical Lodges in New York, New Jersey, and Seattle.


Dr. Hoeller was born of Hungarian nobility. He survived the ravages of Nazi Occupation. Because of the Communist takeover of Hungary, he was forced into exile. As a scholar in Austria, Dr, Hoeller developed interests in Gnosticism and the depth psychology of Jung. Dr. Hoeller immigrated to the United States and has achieved great success as a Bishop of the Ecclesia Gnostica, a lecturer, scholar, and writer.  


Background Information:


These services related to the Sophia tradition were held at the Los Angeles Ecclesia Gnostica in 1999: July 22 – The Day of the Holy Mary Magdalen; August 15 – Assumption of the Holy Sophia; September 8 – The Day of the Descent of the Holy Sophia.


Dr..Hoeller has presented a series of talks on the Holy Sophia: In June of 1997 he presented a series of talks entitled THE ETERNAL FEMININE IN A GNOSTIC PERSPECTIVE: June 13: Eve as a Wise Woman: The GnosticTeachings About the Feminine; June 20: The Divine Sophia; June 27: Sophia and the Demiurge: Overcoming the World by the Way of the Feminine. On February 12, 1999 he gave a talk titled SOPHIA AND MARY: PROPHECIES OF THE FEMININE. In this year of 2000 Dr. Hoeller will give two lectures: January 21 – Heavenly Women: Roots of the Sophia Tradition and June 28 – The Classic Sophia Myth: Valentinian and the Other Gnostic Myths.


The Ecclesia Gnostica Church performs A Service Of Devotion To Sophia. Three quotes from the service: (1) "O most holy, divine Sophia, essential image of beauty and sweetness of the all-existent God, glorious body of Eternity, Soul of the universes, only Queen of all souls!"; (2) "Mystic Rose, Lily of the Mystery, Blossom of the Fullness, hear us and be near us. For the Dove and the Serpent unite, and white lily with red rose we wed. Amen."; (3)  "He that loveth Wisdom loveth life, and they that seek Her early will be filled with joy….And whosoever She enter the Godhead will bless. Wisdom is more beautiful than the sun and above all the order of the stars."  The priest conducting the service blesses those in attendance with a flower such as a red rose or white lily. The priest touches the member of the congregation with the holy flower and says, "The blessing of our Holy Lady who was and is to come descend upon thee and remain with thee always. Amen." I attended services of devotion to Sophia. I experienced the beauty of Lady Wisdom in my soul and profound appreciation for the Holy Sophia.