The Seven Sorrows of Sophia: A Devotion for the Descent of the Holy Sophia

A wooden carving of Virgin of the Seven Sorrows is displayed in a church in the Andalusian capital of Seville

Today is the Feast of the Descent of the Holy Sophia, which begins another (nearly) year-long cycle honoring the Fall and Redemption of Sophia, culminating in August on the Feast of the Assumption. The Descent – which in the exoteric Church is celebrated as the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary – is, for Gnostics, a day to remember Sophia’s fall from the Pleroma (Fullness) and into the chaos below because of Her desire to know the Light, Her Source.

According to the story Jesus tells his disciples in the Pistis Sophia, Sophia was the youngest emanation of the Light. She longed to know and unite with Her source, and She looked behind Her and saw a light which She mistook for the True Light, the Source of Her being and that of all the other Æons that make up the Pleroma. She chased after the light She saw, and the True Light allowed Her to pass the Horos (the limit of the Pleroma), where She found Herself in the darkness of the chaos, trapped with the demiurge and his servants, the archons. She had no realized that the light she saw was merely a reflection of the Light She so desired. Separated from the other Æons and Her Consort, and tormented by the Lion-faced demiurge and his servants, She began to cry out repentances and prayers for the Light to save Her.

Ultimately, the Light takes pity on Her, and sends the Christos to rescue Her light-power from the darkness. But that story is what we celebrate in August, at the Feast of the Assumption. Today, we mourn with Her, because like Her, we too are separated from the Light as we live out our earthly lives in this world of the demiurge.

For the next week, I plan to offer a short meditation on the Seven Sorrows of Sophia, which will culminate on the octave day of the Descent of Sophia on September 15th. A new Sorrow will be offered each day, as a sort of seven-day novena (What would you call that? A “septena”?!), and will include a reading from scripture, a prayer for the Sorrow, and a Hail Sophia in honor of that Mystery. On the octave day, which in the exoteric Church happens to be the feast of the Sorrowful Mother, I will bring these Seven Sorrows together into a convenient chaplet that can be prayed all at once.

Whether done as a chaplet, or a week-long daily meditation, contemplating the Sorrows of Sophia helps us to remember our own sorrow as the poor exiled children of Even, mourning and weeping on this æonial battlefield we call earth. With that said, here begins the first Sorrow of our Lady Sophia:

The Longing of Sophia
Sophia longs to be with the Light, the Source of Her being.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God;
℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.
℣. Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
℟. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, unto the æons of æons. Amen.

A reading from the thirty-first chapter of the Pistis Sophia.

“It came to pass then that She looked below and saw a light-power in the parts below; and She knew not that it was that of the triple-powered Self-willed, but She thought that it came from the Light which She had seen from the beginning in the height, which came out of the veil of the Treasury of the Light. And She thought to herself: ‘I will go into that region without my consort and take the light, and thereout fashion for myself light-æons, so that I may go to the Light of lights, which is in the Height of heights.’” (Pistis Sophia, Ch. 31)

Let us pray. I grieve with Thee, O Sophia most sorrowful, in the affliction of Thy tender heart as Thou didst long to be with the Light, continually seeking after It. Dearest Mother, by Thy heart so afflicted, obtain for me the virtue of steadfast dedication to the Light above all lights.

Hail Sophia, filled with light, the Christ is with Thee. Blessed art Thou amongst the Æons, and blessed is the Liberator of Thy light, Jesus. Holy Sophia, Mother of all gods, pray to the Light for us, Thy children, now, and in the hour of our death. Amen. 

℣. Pray for us, O Mother most sorrowful;
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises of the Christ.



Filed under Rituals

3 responses to “The Seven Sorrows of Sophia: A Devotion for the Descent of the Holy Sophia

  1. This feast is timely for me, as I feel at a low ebb emotionally and spiritually and have been having my doubts about the Gnostic path (the more you learn…). Life is just too ordinary, and I am kind of shipwrecked out here in the middle of Kentucky.

    • Yeah, I think we all experience doubts from time to time. What I love about this feast is that it reminds us to have faith, as Sophia did, even in our lowest moments. I’ve been experiencing some personal struggles myself lately, so I definitely needed this feast day!

  2. Pingback: Seven Sorrows of Sophia: Day 2 | Gnostic Devotions

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