Depth Psych
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Sophia: Gnostic Archetype of Feminine Wisdom

Sophia: Gnostic Archetype of Feminine Wisdom | Depth Psych |

The Gnostics recognized the condition of exile as more than an event in history.  They saw it as having a profound cosmic and even transcosmic dimension.  The human spirit, they held, is quite literally a stranger in a strange land.  "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child," laments the American spiritual.  The Gnostics would have agreed and might have been tempted to replace "sometimes" with "always".

The exile may indeed find himself in a dark land, but his very awareness of the darkness can also reveal a light on the path to freedom.  So also, the awareness of our alieness and recognition of our place of exile for what it is are the first great steps on the path of return.  We begin to rise as soon as we realize that we have fallen.
The predicament of exile and alienation is not confined to humanity nor does it originate at the human level.  Long before there was a cosmos as we know it, a great drama of exile and return was played out in the story of the divine feminine being named Sophia.  Having resided in the lofty height of eternal Fullness... (Click title to read full article)

Bonnie Bright's comment, February 11, 2014 3:39 AM
Truly excellent telling of the story...I really understood Sophia and gnosticism on a new level by reading this!
Eva Rider's curator insight, February 28, 2014 11:55 PM

A History of Sophia

Kati Sarvela's curator insight, March 9, 2014 11:50 AM

My Inner Wisdom was called Sophia in my self-reflective journaling process :D!


Depth Psych
Pioneered by William James, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Gustav Jung, Depth Psychology is the study of how we dialogue with the Unconscious via symbols, dreams, myth, art, nature. By paying attention to the messages that show up from beyond our conscious egos, we can be guided to greater understanding, transformation, and integration with the world around us, inner and outer. Join the conversation in community at
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Depth Insights » Fishing for the Salmon of Knowledge by Catherine Svehla, Ph.D.

Depth Insights » Fishing for the Salmon of Knowledge by Catherine Svehla, Ph.D. | Depth Psych |

Some say that when the fairy folk ruled Ireland, they had a well beneath the sea where the nine hazel trees of wisdom grew. At the given hour these nine trees would blossom and fruit and drop their nuts onto the surface of the water, where five salmon waited to eat them. The nuts contained all wisdom, poetic inspiration, and the gift of second sight. Whoever caught one of these salmon and ate the first three bites of its flesh would acquire this wisdom and become a great poet.

Every creative enterprise unfolds in accord with the image that guides it. Sometimes the image is given with the process but it can also be chosen, and attention to the operative metaphors enhances the collaboration with the unseen sought by every artist and poet. My exploration of this relationship began with James Hillman’s suggestion that we “entertain” ideas. For years, I’ve begun most creative projects by... (Click title for full article)



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The Myth of Persephone - Greek Goddess of the Underworld

The Myth of Persephone - Greek Goddess of the Underworld | Depth Psych |

The myth of Persephone is one of the oldest of all Greek myths. Her story is a personification of some of the most universal concepts about life and death. In her youth, Persephone represents the powerful bond between a mother and a daughter and the often difficult transition from maidenhood to marriage. As the Goddess of Springtime and Rebirth, she is eternally connected to the cycles of the earth, which lies barren in her absence and bloom again each spring with her return. And her initiatory experience in the realm of the dead is such a powerful experience that it changes her life forever. It is after this transformation that we remember her most for her role as the Greek Goddess of the Underworld.

As the Queen of the Underworld, Persephone is often portrayed as a force to be feared. In Homer's Iliad (written c. 750-725 BCE) she is described as... (Click title for the full article)


Image credit: Soni Alcorn-Hender,

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Lilith, First Wife of Adam

Lilith, First Wife of Adam | Depth Psych |

According to the Midrash*, Lilith, first wife of Adam, was born from the same mud and clay at the same time as Adam in the Garden of Eden and thus they were equal. Lilith refused to be submissive to Adam. The ensuing argument in which Adam, and God, refused to see Lilith’s side of the story caused her banishment by God for her blasphemous rage to the depths of the Red Sea to be never seen or heard of again.


But she does re-appear, from her exile, in the guise of the serpent who offered Eve the apple. Lilith, as serpent, was instrumental in Adam and Eve’s exile. In contemporary psychological terms, this banishment is referred to as the ‘Rise’ of man, and not the ‘Fall’ as it was seen as necessary, Fate, for them to move from unconsciousness and to strive for consciousness.


This meant leaving Paradise and its unity, into a world of duality, where pain and pleasure, light and dark, life and death, temporal and eternal, into a world of opposites with which to contend, and to experience... (Click title for more)

Via Skip_Conover, Eva Rider
Skip_Conover's curator insight, June 17, 12:04 PM

3rd in a cycle of 5 Essays by Susan Scott @Susan Scott

Eva Rider's curator insight, June 18, 3:46 PM

This is a timely and article of import and fascination: Lilith, the wife of Adam as the Serpent...this unfolding saga of western human psychological history is reexamined  through a lens that frees the feminine and humankind... The fall; not a curse, the expulsion,; our destined journey home to consciousness.


Eva Rider's comment, June 18, 3:51 PM
Thank so much for this timely and rich series, Skip.
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I, Mercurius

I, Mercurius | Depth Psych |
The cave we explore is the unconscious, which is the greatest part of the human psyche. It is a vast territory, every bit as big as the external Universe, because the Universe is contained within it, but comparatively little is known about it.


We know it makes our heart beat, our lungs breathe and our cells reproduce, in addition to sending us inscrutable messages through dreams and visions, but further explanation and research is needed. Desperately needed!


Regarding the unconscious universe ... we know much less. Indeed, Drs. Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud studied it for their entire lives, and brought up many discoveries, but in the end Dr. Jung himself admitted that we know nothing about the inner universe... (Click title for more)

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The Green Man

The Green Man | Depth Psych |

The Green Man is an archetypal expression calling attention to our relationship to the natural habitat of the woods as a necessary source of life and creativity. 

The Green Man has made appearances in stories around the globe through both pagan and Abrahamic religious imagination, leaving behind a trail of art and symbolism in Europe and the Near-East.

I first heard (and have even written) about him a few months ago through Tom Cheetham’s book, GREEN MAN, EARTH ANGEL, The Prophetic Tradition and the Battle for the Soul of the World, in which Tom writes about Khidr, the Verdant One, how... (Click title for full article)

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James Hillman’s Shift to Soul-Making (“From Anima-Mess to Anima-Vessel”)

James Hillman’s Shift to Soul-Making (“From Anima-Mess to Anima-Vessel”) | Depth Psych |

Psychologist James Hillman is best known as the founder of archetypal psychology – a branch of depth psychology that developed out of and has found its place alongside Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalysis and C.G. Jung’s analytical psychology.

And if there is one word that is most associated with Hillman’s archetypal psychology it is probably that of soul-making. Originating out of the poetic mind of John Keats, the term soul-making as applied by Hillman refers to a practice through which individuals: slow down and deepen their connectedness to themselves, others, and the world; emphasize being over doing and the present moment over future aspirations; embrace and prioritize one’s woundedness, humanity, and limitations over a quest for perfection, transcendence, and transformation.

In other words, soul-making occurs every time we look more closely, more feelingly at the individuals peopling our lives and the ideas, afflictions, and ever-present prospect of death which together give substance and meaning to our hours and days... (Click title for more)

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Symbols and Signs: Tree of Life and its Meaning

Symbols and Signs: Tree of Life and its Meaning | Depth Psych |
Symbolism of Tree of Life across different cultures, discovering a magical key to how life manifests itself, a complex formula of existence, the flow of creation from Divine to Earth and back to Divine.


The Mayan believed heaven to be a wonderful, magical place on Earth hidden by a mystical mountain.  They called this place Tamoanchan.  Heaven, Earth, and Underworld (Xibalba) were connected by the ‘world tree’.  The world tree grew at the locus of creation, all things flowing out from that spot into four directions.  These were: East associated with red, Northrepresented by white, West that is black and South that is yellow.  The Mayan tree of life is a cross with its centre... (Click title for more)

Susan Scott's curator insight, May 13, 4:29 AM

a wonderful exposition from many traditions revealing its manifold meanings..

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Who is Carl Jung and What is Jungian Psychology?

Who is Carl Jung and What is Jungian Psychology? | Depth Psych |

Carl Jung is widely recognized as one of the greatest thinkers of the last century and is one the founding fathers of psychoanalyses and dream work. His psychology emphasizes the value of one’s creative forces and one’s development toward wholeness.

Jung’s contributions include: A theory of the structure and dynamics of the psyche, personal unconscious and collective unconscious; Dream work; A theory of personality types (introvert/extrovert); The process of psychological development or “individuation,” which has terms that have become part of our language as complexes and archetypes.
Jung transformed psychotherapy from a practice concerned with treatment of the sick into a means... (Click title to read more)

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The Shocking True Stories Behind Your Favorite Classic Fairy Tales

The Shocking True Stories Behind Your Favorite Classic Fairy Tales | Depth Psych |
Numerous fairy tales, and the legends behind them, are actually watered-down versions of uncomfortable historical events. These darker stories might be too terrifying for today's little lambkins, as well as some adults!...

Via Pamela D Lloyd
Eva Rider's curator insight, November 9, 2014 2:06 AM

Interesting article on the origin of fairy tales, but whether it is so or not, they still remain Archetypal tales of the human journey to wholeness.

Aladin Fazel's curator insight, March 21, 3:55 AM

Anyway, the Happy-End is the most important thing!   

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Depth Insights » Symbolism and Synchronicity: The Art of the Tarot   ~ by Suzanne Cremen Davidson

Depth Insights » Symbolism and Synchronicity: The Art of the Tarot   ~ by Suzanne Cremen Davidson | Depth Psych |

‘Archetype’ refers to a principle or agency which organizes and structures psychic imagery into specific patterns or motifs (mythologemes) and constellations of persons in action (mythemes).


Our conscious images are archetypal when they possess an archaic content or when they are primarily derived from mythological motifs. Archetypes can also be described as ‘partial personalities’ appearing in myth, art, literature, and religion the world over, as well as in dreams, family roles, personal emotions and pathologies….In Jungian psychology archetypes are arranged under such names as shadow, persona, ego (hero), anima, animus, puer (eternal youth), senex (Old Wise Man), trickster, Great Mother, healer, Self. (Avens, 1980, p. 42)

We intuitively experience the presence of these archetypes in the image of each card in the Major Arcana: the Magician, the High Priestess, the Emperor, the Hierophant, the Lovers, Strength... (Click title for more)

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Jung and Synchronicity: The Union of Nature and Psyche

Jung and Synchronicity: The Union of Nature and Psyche | Depth Psych |

C.G. Jung determined that the psychological and physical features we perceive in the world are dual aspects of one underlying reality (Pauli et al., 2001). He came to view mind and matter as a continuum, with psyche located on one end and the physiological instinct on the other, and the archetype serving as the bridge between them (C. G. Jung, 1947/1985, p. 216), though he ultimately expressed a desire to do away with a theory of psychophysical parallelism altogether in lieu of a unitary reality known as the unus mundus, a union of spirit, soul and body (C. G. Jung, 1958/1978a, p. 452).

Pointing to ways in which inanimate objects seem to “collaborate” with the unconscious by forming symbolic patterns, Jung even cited instances where clocks stop at the moment of their owner’s passing, or where items break within a home where someone is going through a powerful emotional crisis. Click title to read more...

Susan Scott's curator insight, May 7, 3:16 AM

I loved this - so insightful and broadening. Thank you.

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» Chaos and Creative Expression - The Creative Mind

» Chaos and Creative Expression - The Creative Mind | Depth Psych |

Creative people and writers about the creative process often say creative work is a way to release or make use of inner chaos; what is this turmoil?


"The very impulse to write, I think, springs from an inner chaos crying for order, for meaning, and that meaning must be discovered in the process of writing or the work lies dead as it is finished." Arthur Miller

Via Douglas Eby, Eva Rider
maria taveras's curator insight, March 4, 6:26 PM

"...or the work lies dead as if it is finished."  As far as I understand the creative process phenomenon, the work does go back into the depths of the unconscious, until it resurfaces once more in a different form. For the unconscious keeps on trying to get the "ego" attention for a specific reason.

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Depth Insights » Becoming Real: Seeing Through the Eyes of the Velveteen Rabbit By Marta Koonz

Depth Insights » Becoming Real: Seeing Through the Eyes of the Velveteen Rabbit By Marta Koonz | Depth Psych |

From one vantage point, The Velveteen Rabbit appears a tale for children, a story that brings to mind beloved toys and childhood dreams. But if we shift our view just a bit, we can see that the words hold truth and meaning for children of all ages, young and young-at-heart. A further shift and an imagining into these very words brings us to a place where the Velveteen Rabbit himself is able to explain the intricacies of Hillman’s archetypal psychology. By gently holding both the children’s storybook and the story of archetypal psychology side by side, we will consider the four aspects of this psychology, looking at each in turn through the eyes of the Velveteen Rabbit.

My argument is simple: The story of the Velveteen Rabbit, when read from the imaginal and reflective perspective of soul, not only provides us with an opportunity to observe a “deepening of events into experiences” (Hillman, 1975, p. xvi), but also engages
us, the readers, in the very act of soul-making itself. As we consider... (Click title for full article)


Image credit: Rob Woodrum,

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Getting the Conscious and Unconscious Mind Working Together

Getting the Conscious and Unconscious Mind Working Together | Depth Psych |
We are meant to be in relationship with the unconscious, not allow it to run the show while we strip our conscious minds of the faculties that we were gifted with. This is the secret to creativity.


We need to get the conscious and unconscious mind to work together in a natural sort of give-and-take. Imagination can be our great ally in this pursuit, as any good teacher of creative visualization would maintain. Most everything that we achieve is preceded by imagination on the conscious level: If we can’t “see ourselves” doing something then it becomes exceedingly difficult to actually do it.... (Click title for more)

Via Zeteticus, Eva Rider
Eva Rider's curator insight, June 19, 3:32 AM

finding our roots and growing up. Developing a dialogue with the unconscious.

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Myth and Psyche: The Evolution of Consciousness

Myth and Psyche: The Evolution of Consciousness | Depth Psych |

Mythology is the most archaic and profound record we have of mankind's essential spirit and nature. As far back as we are able to trace the origins of our species, we find myth and myth-making as the fundamental language through which man relates to life's mystery and fashions meaning from his experiences. The world of myth has its own laws and its own reality. Instead of concepts and facts that make logical sense, we find patterns of irrational imagery whose meaning must be discerned or experienced by the participant-observer. Discovering these patterns of meaning is what Jung meant by the symbolic approach to religion, myth, and dream.

The mythic image is not to be taken literally and concretely...we must approach myth symbolically as revealed eternal 'truths' about mankind's psychic existence — about the reality of the psyche. 'Once upon a time' does not mean 'once' in history but refers to events that occur in eternal time, always and everywhere. Any myth is very much alive today. Every night in sleep we sink back into that source of all mythological imagery, the unconscious psyche — the origin of dreams. Many of our games have their roots in mythology and much of contemporary art, literature, and film is shot through with mythological themes..... (Click title for more)

Kathy Mays's curator insight, June 3, 3:20 AM

Nice description of why we look to myths and the symbolic imagery they present, which is still so alive in our lives today.

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Attachment Theory

Attachment Theory | Depth Psych |

Psychologist John Bowlby was the first to coin the term. His work in the late 60s established the precedent that childhood development depended heavily upon a child's ability to form a strong relationship with "at least one primary caregiver". Generally speaking, this is one of the parents.

Bowlby's studies in childhood development and "temperament" led him to the conclusion that a strong attachment to a caregiver provides a necessary sense of security and foundation.


Without such a relationship in place, Bowlby found that a great deal of developmental energy is expended in the search for stability and security. In general, those without such attachments are fearful and are less willing to seek out and learn from new experiences. By contrast, a child with a strong attachment to a parent knows that they have "back-up" so to speak, and thusly tend to be more adventurous and eager to have new experiences... (CLICK TITLE for more)

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A Brief Mythology of Petroleum ~ Craig Chalquist PhD

A Brief Mythology of Petroleum ~ Craig Chalquist PhD | Depth Psych |

Oil has also raised a modernized mythology of the subterranean smoking and flaming to the planet surface. Our current state of global crisis looks to a mythological eye like the Underworld is eradicating the upperworld. 

Most people with a basic psychological education know about what Freud named the "repetition compulsion": the human tendency to repeat old patterns even when they disrupt and sadden rather than satisfy.


Anyone capable of some degree of self-reflection quickly discovers similarities between friends, bosses, relationship partners with whom we repeat typical situations over and over until we realize what we need from these recurrences. Jung referred to the largely unconscious woundings that drive the compulsion to repeat as "complexes."


What goes unnoticed, especially in cultures frozen in an adolescent belief in the delusion of a wholly self-made life free of limitations, is that similar patterns of recurrence play out collectively, in the world at large. At that level the vehicle is not the personal complex, it’s a collective structure: myth, the cultural repository... (Click title for full article)

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Carl Jung and James Hillman: The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil

Carl Jung and James Hillman: The Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowing Good and Evil | Depth Psych |
I found this great quote from Tom Cheetham (in his works on Henry Corbin). I think only true Hillmaniacs can understand it, especially when we are trying to reconcile the drive toward integrative wholeness while recognizing the necessity of falling apart: 

"To compare Hillman and Jung in any detail is far beyond the scope of these remarks...Hillman is "a Jungian" by any standard, but rather a wayward one. Any simple contrast will be inadequate and perhaps misleading; but if Jung is the Wise Old man, Hillman is the Trickster, or pretends to be. Years ago when I was immersed in reading them both rather obsessively in the midst of the beginnings of my own psychic crisis, the difference was quite a practical one about which I thought very little. If I were feeling threatened by fragmentation, I would read Jung. If I were in terror of being bound and stifled, I would read Hillman. I still think  that says a lot about their differences."... (Click title for more)

Eva Rider's curator insight, May 15, 3:55 AM

A novel and intriguing examination of Jung, Hillman and the two trees in the Garden of Eden.

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Carl Jung and his Mother, Emilie Preiswert

Carl Jung and his Mother, Emilie Preiswert | Depth Psych |

[Jung's mother] Emilie Preiswerk was a psychic and an `uncanny’ to the point where her son was afraid of her at night. Photographs show her as a forbidding woman, and though she bore Jung when she was just twenty-seven, her youthful charms faded fast, to the point where she was considered ugly as well as domineering.


At an early age Jung decided it would be dangerous to let her see too much of his inner life. Although after her death he was to claim that he derived from her an earthiness and a hearty animal warmth’, and that her intuitive gifts gave him the security to explore the depths of the psyche, this was hindsight rationalization. (Click title to read more....)

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Awakened Leadership

Awakened Leadership | Depth Psych |

"May the gift of leadership awaken in you as a
vocation,Keep you mindful of the providence that calls you to
serve.As high over the mountains the eagle spreads its
wings,May your perspective be larger than the view from
the foothills.When the way is flat and dull in times of gray
endurance,May your imagination continue to evoke horizons.When thirst burns in times of drought,
May you be blessed to find the wells.May you have the wisdom to read time clearly
And know when the seed of change will flourish.In your heart may there be a sanctuary
For the stillness where clarity is born.May your work be infused with passion and creativity
And have the wisdom to balance compassion and
challenge.May your soul find the graciousness
To rise above the fester of small mediocrities.
May your power never become a shell
Wherein your heart would silently atrophy.
May you welcome your own vulnerability
As the ground where healing and truth join.May integrity of soul be your first ideal.
The source that will guide and bless your work." John O'Donohue


Via Michael Goodman
Eva Rider's curator insight, April 28, 4:26 PM

Blessings from the walls from whence  The seeds of change take , root .

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A Girl, A Shoe, A Prince: The Endlessly Evolving Cinderella

A Girl, A Shoe, A Prince: The Endlessly Evolving Cinderella | Depth Psych |
We take a stroll through just a little of the cultural history of Cinderella, the shoe-wearing, prince-finding, stepmother-vexing heroine who's been around for hundreds of years — at least.

Via Pamela D Lloyd
Pamela D Lloyd's curator insight, March 13, 11:52 PM

Think you know this fairy tale? Think again. There are so many variants.

Eva Rider's curator insight, March 15, 3:16 AM

This beloved story is indeed 100s of years old and Grimm's version  "Ashenputtel is a much darker story than Charles Perrault's lighter more "fairy tale" version. This is the one we are more familiar with as it was the foundation of the Disney animation we knew and loved. Now, remade live and still magical as ever.

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Something to do with Love: Dreams and the Archetype of the Orphan  ~ by Jean Raffa

Something to do with Love: Dreams and the Archetype of the Orphan  ~ by Jean Raffa | Depth Psych |

In Monday night’s dream I’m driving a lawn mower and am surprised to see that I’m pulling three portable potties behind me, tiered one above the other, which appear to have been the unlucky recipients of some explosive diarrhea. The image suggests I am trying to get rid of, but still unconsciously lugging around, some powerful and “disgusting” inner contents.


Last night’s dream features some dangerous intruders who invade my house and run upstairs Fred goes to turn on the alarm to alert the police so I relax. But after time passes and the police have not arrived, I see shadows descending the staircase and run for my life.


Unwanted diarrhea. Dangerous intruders. Both dreams remind me of some powerful emotions I experienced after last weekend’s house party at the cabin. We had invited four couples to join us. Since it was Valentine’s Day weekend we decided to be romantic and silly. We made valentines out of red construction paper and lace and ... (Click title for the full essay)

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Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: Depth Psychology and the Honeybee Hive - PGIAA

Greater than the Sum of Its Parts: Depth Psychology and the Honeybee Hive - PGIAA | Depth Psych |
One glorious late spring day on Pacifica’s Ladera Campus I witnessed a humming, writhing, vibrant swarm of honeybees on a bougainvillea bush. It stopped me in my tracks, entrancing me with the sheer number and proximity of bees buzzing around what seemed to be a living, breathing organ that almost pulsed with power—what turned outRead More
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Carl Jung Depth Psychology

Carl Jung Depth Psychology | Depth Psych |

You saw that the alchemists used the term "scientia" in a very wide sense, and that they regarded it as something exceedingly mysterious. 

The same is true of the "sapientia", which even appears personified as a highly mysterious figure. 

Wisdom is personified as early as the book of the "Wisdom of Solomon" (Apocrypha]. 

In Gnosticism wisdom appears as the famous Sophia, sometimes represented as the youngest daughter of the creator of the world, or as the feminine counterpart of Christ, and sometimes as 
the virgin of light. 

The sapientia appears in a very substantial form in alchemy. 

Wisdom is attained, so the alchemists say, through the union of chemistry and theosophy.... (Click title for more)

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