On August 15 the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches celebrate the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is also the date when Gnostics commemorate the Ascension of Sophia, the Divine Feminine or Wise Goddess. Sophia, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Chokmah, denoting Wisdom, was a real biblical character with abundant references in the Christian scriptures. One reason her name is not prominent in the Bible is that it is usually translated with the term “Wisdom”. Her gender was feminine in Hebrew and Greek until it became assimilated to the masculine concept of Logos, and then to the Latin Spiritus Sanctus (Holy Spirit).
In the Gnostic scriptures Sophia is described as the youngest of the emanated divinities, the last of the Aeons, dwelling in the realm of unity and Fullness (pleroma). Sophia, like human beings, incorporates two aspects: the first (Higher Sophia) is part of unity and fully aware of the connection with God, the second (Lower Sophia) dwells in the circumference and identifies with a body separated from God (the ego). The Lower Sophia (Achamoth) expresses energies that generate the realm of separation, manifesting a being who becomes the creator of the material and psychic cosmos. This being, called the Demiurge, has lost consciousness of the Father, and believes himself to be the absolute God. As a result, he begins to unfold his own kingdom (kenoma), the realm of separation, which is an imperfect manifestation of the pleroma.
This bogus cosmos consists of seven spheres, each of which is also a planet and angel, presided by seven rulers (archontes), with the Lower Sophia or Achamoth remaining entrenched in the eighth sphere. In response to her agony, the Father creates a new pair for her redemption: Christ and the Holy Spirit. This myth identifies Jesus as the rescuer of the Lower Sophia, her sister-lover. In the Christian literature the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are often associated with the Higher and Lower Sophia respectively.
The Cross represents the boundary between the pleroma and kenoma. The Christ takes Achamoth into the pleroma, while the Holy Spirit remains to retrieve the remaining fragmented parts still trapped in the kenoma. We cannot return to the original home until we find and bring back those parts trapped in the world. As children of Sophia, we are the intermediaries between heaven and earth. Step by step the process of retrieval proceeds, as Sophia ascends toward the light of the Fullness, moving through the twelve regions that she had transgressed on her way down into chaos. In order to undo these transgressions, “she utters twelve repentances, or poetic statements. This allows her to ascend through the twelve gates, while focusing and calling upon the Light. After calling out repeatedly to the Light, the dark powers finally dissipate and she enters again in the kingdom of the boundless Light.