Megalith: Raising Sophia
The Sophia Project
A Fundraising Message from Rob Roy
Sophia, our 55-ton beauty at Stone Mountain Farm in New Paltz, is on hold as we try to raise enough money to get her out of an awkward place. Funding is needed for heavy machinery, straps, rollers and other wooden equipment. Could it be gotten out of where it is at with manpower? Yes, certainly. The ancients did it. They had to. The problem is that it would take several gatherings, each one requiring 60 – 80 people. I’m afraid the project would drag on a long time, and people might get impatient with it before the real exciting work began. There is no getting away from it: we need money. As indicated in Club Meg News # 19, the minimal amount we need is $9000. We have made a little progress, but I fear that if we don’t bring in a few thousand very soon, the final move and erection will have to be in 2010, instead of September of 2009. Still, that would be in keeping with our original mission statement of raising a 50-ton stone by 2010, repeated here:
Mission Statement: The intent of the 50-ton stone project shall be:
1. To demonstrate the transportation and erection of a 50-ton menhir using only materials available to the ancient stone circle builders. The hope is to narrow the engineering gap between modern people and the ancients.
2. To be aware of the earth energy and spiritual aspects of the project, including the importance of site selection and honoring the spirit of the Earth.
3. The project shall be completed during or prior to 2010.
The Sophia team feels strongly that there are enough of you out there that will want to join with us on this exciting project. We just need to reach you and convince you to commit. If you’ve already joined, thanks. We’ll keep you posted with Club Meg News and other newslettersRobinpix3 between our Summer and Winter issues.
SOPHIA: The Story of Her Name
Sophia means wisdom in Greek, and she is sometimes referred to as the goddess of wisdom, or sacred knowledge.
In the Gnostic tradition Sophia is the feminine aspect of the divine creative impulse, or the Holy Spirit, characterized by infinite compassion. She is the godhead moved by pity and capable of empathy for all that is mortal. She is equated with the Hebrew Shekinah, feminine Principal of Creation; and with Shakti and Prakriti in Hinduism.
According to a Gnostic creation myth, Sophia is drawn into creation by her love for its creatures. Forgetful of her divinity, or willingly accepting the limitations of incarnation (depending on the particular story), she becomes lost in the realms of space and time. Sophia wanders among us, her mortal children, leaving tiny fragments of her divine knowledge and love embedded everywhere in our natures, seeding Nature with the possibility of recognizing its own divinity.
In one more Manichaean version of this story, Sophia is said to have “fallen” into nature, and is lost in darkness; The Son of God, also moved by compassion, enters into his incarnation in order to rescue “fallen Sophia” (Sophia Prunikos, “sorrowful knowledge”) and restore the unity of the godhead. (Or restore the unity of God and Nature, in a variant more sympathetic to nature spirituality.)
Why do we name our stone Sophia? The common element in all these stories is of a primal knowing, imaged as divine light fragmented, scattering its shards throughout the myriad universes of time/space—like so many brilliant specks of crystal trapped in a mass of granite, yet pointing its finger-obelisk toward eternal light.
NOTE: Those of you with a metaphysical and mythological curiosity may also be interested in comparing the various stories of the fall of Lucifer, who is motivated by desire or covetous love for nature, and characterized by pride (rather than Sophia’s empathic humility). There are fragmented texts in which Sophia and Lucifer seem to be portrayed as counterplayers, mother/son, siblings (with Jesus), or interchanged. The Sophia story is best known in western literature through the Doctor Faustus stories, where Sophia shines through the beautiful Helen; and especially in Goethe’s Faust who is ultimately open to salvation through his love for Gretchen, a mortal woman. Ramona Fradon’s recent book, The Gnostic Faust: The Secret Teachings Behind the Familiar Tale, will provide an excellent introduction to this complex material, with a really useful overview of the source materials. (Amazon.com has it; and you can read more about it on our Joseph Campbell RoundTable page. )