Each of us carries within ourselves both darkness and light. As we know so well, accepting both is not always easy, but understanding the nature of these contrasts can help. Sophia – Wisdom – as a dynamic creative force, is the first emanation from the Unknowable. In the beginning of all things, the cosmos needed that ‘x-factor’ to make things happen. Sophia, bursting with creative dynamism, provided that extra something which was needed. Out of Sophia’s dynamic energy darkness and chaos were born – but these were not negative values. Rather, they were the fertile grounds from which all else could flow – including light and order.
Great truths go on being true. We are mirrors of the cosmos, and so Sophia’s energy continues to exist inside us. It offers us the opportunity to recognize our own darkness for the dynamic force which it truly is. But more than this: it offers us the chance for redemption. This is not the redemption which requires supreme sacrifice. This is not the redemption which demands a crucifixion to make it happen. This is the deep redemption which comes with an awareness of the true value of our darkness, as a quality which, when recognized for what it truly is and given it true place, will set our inner light free.
For without first embracing our darkness, we cannot reach that ‘turning point’ in our own inner labyrinth (see my previous post The Winding Path). Without the experience of the turning point, we will be reaching for the light, but we will remain in shadow – and that shadow is our own.
This is what my picture here portrays. Kahlil Gibran’s painting shows a man in a pose which we readily identify with crucifixion. But the woman in front of him in turn raises her own arms, placing her hands on his outstretched arms in a gesture which makes it clear that she wishes him to lower his arms. Gibran portrays the deepest truth. As long as the man's arms are raised in the position of crucifixion it remains impossible for him to embrace the woman: impossible for him to embrace that feminine part of himself which is the dynamic wisdom of Sophia. For with this embrace comes an awareness and a development of the dynamic forces at work within us, and the self-knowledge which comes with this acceptance. And this is the true redemption.
Painting by Kahlil Gibran