The credo of the Knighthood of Sophia, as referred to in my series of meditations and commentaries on Henry Corbin’s Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth, were “May we be among those who will bring about the Transfiguration of the Earth“.
Let me remark that you will find little support for environmental activism, or even tendencies towards pantheism as you would find with the Romantics of the 18th and 19th century, in this blog. That does not mean I am entirely disinterested with the conditions for continued life on this earth, now or for any unknown future. Neither am I very symphatetic with the corporate culture of mass consumption which has been going on as long as I have been alive in my part of the world, the “industrialized, developed West”.
When I posted this series on one of the forums I participated in many years ago, I got a limited amount of feedback. This way around I got none. I am not disheartened at this, I am quite sure some of you have found the time to read and ponder upon what I have contributed.
Some of the feedback was questions. That was quite inspiring, since questions raised function as a signal that something is received.
One of the questions were: “What is your perspective on the mystery of restoration”. I linked the concept of restoration with said Transfiguration intuitively, which is an unpardonable intellectual vice – but the result, I felt, answered the question. An additional observation before giving you my old answer to this challenge, the Book of Revelation, historically held to be written by John the Apostle while imprisoned on the island Patmos, gives us a vision of the old world, heavens and earth included, consumed and rolled up, devoured and entirely annihilated, to be replaced with a Paradisical new earth with some quite interesting features, such as the description of the “sea being no more”. I have been unable to read this apocalyptical vision as anything an interior vision which draws upon the experiences the writer and the reader have with the phenomenal, physical world. The Transfiguration we may seek to participate in, involves a deeper understanding of everything which is – from a point of enquiry well beyond the finite and mortal realms of newborn stars and dying suns. This point coincides with the most interior, most hidden, yet most intimate of all: your starting point for every enquiry – your Self.
The restoration was mentioned, in fact, in the first paragraph of the 6th part of the series, and described as:
“Transfiguration of the world and the expulsion of the powers of darkness from the existencial sphere human,natural and angelic- restoring the “paradisical purity””
But what in the world would that might be?
Within the specific hermeneutic applied by Corbin in his treatment of this theme “the transfiguration of the earth”, the task of the “Knighthood of Sophia” – there is a distinction between oppressive darkness,intervening with Being – which has a myriad names but constitute the same thing, which might be considered within a moment, or within a potentionality of eternities (which nevertheless is not eternal) – and a luminous darkness, which could be likened to the soil, or even earth, from which the sparks of light, the souls, the beings – hid inside it,can be retrieved.
Sophiology, as we might find it in the slightly heterodox thinkers Vladimir Solovyev and Nicolai Berdyaev, as well as the more orthodox oriented thinkers such as Sergei Bulgakov and Pavel Florensky – operates with Dual aspect of Sophia, or a dual expression of Sophia (Wisdom); a creaturely Sophia and a Divine Sophia – the might be considered the same “person” under different circumstances,conditions and predicaments, co-existing.
They are unified through the agent of Man who can “wed” the separate realms and dimensions of being in himself through the discipline which in this context is called a “Sophianity”.
Achamoth (Echmoth) can be construed to be the substantiality which fills the galaxies of forms and potentional existence, she “leaks” life, or “bleeds” it – into all containers, and upon contact, participates in the natures, which is to say, in this “diminishing” of herself into a plurality
– she “creates”, fashions or “gives birth to” ..worlds. Taking on the nature or participating in the life which is shaped by this union, a certain Wisdom accrues, while also it is subject to the mortality of the recipient forms, their fragility. Her presence fills up every form, every person, every globe – and those who experience, like she experiences, the exchanges between the outer and the inner, between the twilight and dawn, is informed of what Beauty is, what longing is (a very wise endeavour, but shut in, by itself.. Eros, according to the myth – is born of the union of such longing with industry (activity)) and what suffering means.
What lacks here, at the foundation of such existence, such being – galaxies and universes, is a connection with the initial identity, the initial integrity, and a resolve of will, of conscious participation – an active knowing.
“He that knows the All, yet lacking Self-Knowledge, lacks everything” –
to paraphrase the Gospel of Thomas.. but this “lacking” is an continuous condition of our “earth”, and because of this condition the aforementioned powers, dark or evil we might say, have their say and influence on all that participates in the self-same “life”.
I am trying to state something difficult: That your “god”, your “consciousness” – everything elevated to some distance of value or integrity, all “powers”, “angels” and “principalities” – not calling them demons,archons or tyrants as such, they might become this, just as we might become bitter men and women, corrupt, perverted, misanthropes, hating not only the world, our next, any “god” – but also oursleves, our lives etc. participating in the continuous “sin against the Holy Spirit” – is party to this condition, this predicament.. and subject to a Shadow, which enlivens the passive/active ignorance,arrogance,forgetting,uncharity. That Shadow is not Achamoth, but every “child” of Achamoth, like Herself, is born into a world which is dominated by the active pollution of the Shadow of every single particle or universal; they would not have been born into that particular predicament.. had not the flaw of their mother been reproduced in their own interior. So men, in a unconscious capacity, in amnesis, forgetting -and subservience to these powers – “create the world”, as well as becoming products,charges,debtors to the selfsame.
Every child, again, contains a Dual aspect – they are as much the child of the Higher, redeemed,unfailing Divine Sophia, as they are a child of Achamoth, just as much are they the product of the union of Logos with Sophia, as they have become the bastard product of the union of Ialdabaoth with Achamoth; or as much from “Heaven” as they are from “the World”; and every child again, is not exclusively human, animal, angelic etc. but represents all that are emanated out of Sophia – whether into Her own, in the Pleroma – or into Achamoth, which becomes Kenoma (emptiness) continuously; this also represents a Dual Aspect, in origin it is One, but becomes many in the multiplicity both of Light and Dark, only in the struggle between the two, does it become divided.
From a Gnostic perspective – the redemption of identity through interior knowledge, Gnosis – is that predicament which is of greatest priority; without that, there is no true power in us to interfer,assist or parry – whatever powers,developements and events come our way, we can only do damage.. call that “sin” if you will, but at the very least there is lesser or greater damage being done.
Zoroastrianism being decidedly Monotheistic in cosmology (sic!) recognizes only one possible outcome for the All, but appreciates the nature of man as something a bit different than other monotheistic orthodoxies: Like Angels who are messengers, lighthouses of intent,information,wisdom..and power of intercession – Man is a redeemer and a repairer, who paradoxically is in the closest vicinity of that which needs redemption..
The Good is defined, not in the passive and docile enjoyment of a paradisical condition as such, but in the active participation in making things better, the Good is, very primitively put, Love..not the thought of Love, or sentiment, or ideal – but that transformative intercession. While most souls will travel to the Bridge of Chinvat with a very heavy baggage, and meet something resembling a gruesome parody of a man or a woman, once they arrive – some will participate in the work represented by the Advocate, like some parts of existence and reality will shine the brighter, reflecting the Light of the Divine, even if its present form and constitution..will be ruined at the end of the “last day” when all is accomplished.
Some traditions of Gnostic Christianity, as well as- certain traditions of the Esoteric or “hidden” aspect of so-called Orthodox Christianity, as well as with the Kabbalistical tradition of Isaac Luria (I cannot vouch for all the others) – teach an Apokatastasis Panthon – the restoration of all things into their origin; they will no more linger in a middle condition, being not exactly of this constitution or the other, not truelly fulfilling their natures or revealing their true identities, not really participating in a reality which is informed by their potentionality; what looses itself to darkness, is darkness, and what looses itself to light, is light – that which is born out of this process of purification, this distilling of the true light from the mixture – becomes a new, truer being, for they are children of redemption. Of Christ-Sophia.
So with Man, He either works upon “nature”, or “nature” works upon him. If he takes no part, still he is a child of Sophia, but he has not “put on the robe of light”, he has not “intervened on behalf of “his” soul, which is *not* his self” – he is no Knight, nor a page.. he is some uncharitable person who nevertheless profit by way of the redemption of the kingdom, for it will provide a sanctified spot for him to continue to be passive,uncharitable,cowardly and whatever else he desires, until he tires of it.. finally gravity itself will pull his roots up and land him right in the trouble which brought him here, and finally this trouble will be resolved.