We are now in the last stretch of Advent, completing this cycle of the Path of Initiation as modern Christians. The Third week of Advent is the microcosm for the Water Trial outlined by Rudolf Steiner in How to Know Higher Worlds. During the Water Trial, the initiate develops the qualities of attention and courage. For those of us who have been suffering with the difficulties of life, and gain from our suffering instead of spiraling into despair and anger, we know on a cellular level the gifts of these trials.
When we successfully pass through this trial, we are then allowed to enter the "Temple of Wisdom." In my personal journey, the outcome from my own suffering has been wisdom, which actually almost makes the suffering worth it. For some reason we humans need to suffer to attain wisdom, but at least this gain, this transformation, the beauty that lies beyond, is the lifeline during the trials.
The Fourth Week of Advent is the corresponding time of the year for the entry into the Temple of Wisdom for our modern day Christian Initiation. In the northern hemisphere, this occurs during the darkest time of the year. What modern science tells us about darkness speaks volumes about the spiritual nature of the Cosmos.
12 Century Icon of the Divine Sophia, Mary and John the Baptist
The Divine Sophia or Holy Wisdom is a being that is becoming increasingly more visible in our modern culture. She has many qualities and definitions. In the Hebrew Tradition we hear of her in the Proverbs, we are told that she was the first creation of God. How I like to view her is that the Sophia was the first created being, that was designed in order that creation could actually happen. There needed to be a container for the creative word of God, the Logos, and Sophia was the result. She is also considered to be the Divine Feminine Wisdom of God.
The Black Madonna in Barcelona, Spain
Our cosmos is an entire community of stars, which dance through the depths of infinity in an orderly spiral fashion. The fact that the Cosmos continually moves, continually expands without a mass collision I think is the deep miraculous proof of the existence of a benevolent creator, a loving universe.
With the development of greater telescopes, many discoveries have been made in the last several decades. Astronomer Vera Rubin in the 1970's observed that over 90% of the universe was made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy, which could not be seen, but held everything together. For me, this is the physical reality of the Sophia, the dark, loving container for all of creation.
The Divine Sophia by Dr. Mary Plaster
To order copies and find out more about the artist go to http://www.maryplaster.com/sophiadivinewisdom.html
As we enter into these last dark days before Christmas and the Holy Nights, I hope you feel the love that surrounds you. We are entering into the dark Temple of Wisdom, where Isaiah tells us in verse 43:3 "I will give you the treasures of darkness, and the hidden riches of secret places."
The Golden Madonna in the Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) Cathedral, Istanbul, Turkey
How to Know Higher Worlds by Rudolf Steiner
The Cycle of the Year as a Path of Initiation by Prokofieff
The Christian Community in North America, a community of congregations that embraces Anthroposophical Christology http://www.thechristiancommunity.org/
The Christian Community in the United Kingdom
Resources for Anthroposophy http://www.anthroposophy.org/
Listen to The Black Madonna Speaks a new podcast featuring the Art, Culture and Spirituality of Esoteric Christianity, and all things Black Madonna.