Chapter 15
Big Top

The Woman Clothed with the Sun

- chapter index -
pg. 1 - Big Top | pg. 2 - Echoes of Camels and Needles | pg. 3 - The Crimson King
pg. 4 - Beelzebub | pg. 5 - Demon est Deus Inversus | pg. 6 - Prophets Chained for Burning Masks
pg. 7 - Kundalini | pg. 8 - The Dweller on the Threshold | pg. 9 - The Alchemical Wedding
pg. 10 - The Woman Clothed with the Sun | pg. 11 - Circe | pg. 12 - Ouroboros
pg. 13 - And there a Swan is Born | pg. 14 - Spiral

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Sophia | Asherah

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The woman clothed with the sun is Intuition.

"And a great portent appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child and she cried out in her pangs of birth, in anguish for delivery."

- Revelation 12:1,2

"The Great Mother in ancient India was Aditi, the mother of the 12 spirits of the zodiac, the Adityas who would "reveal their light at Doomsday". The Mahanir- vanatantra describes the sun as a golden garment of light which graces the Great Goddess. "The sun, the most glorious symbol in the physical world, is the mayik vesture of Her who is `clothed with the sun."

- The Sun

"King Solomon, son of King David and the lineal ancestor of Jesus, sought Wisdom as his Bride. Wisdom herself is a Goddess--the Sophia of the Greeks. She embodies all the aspects of the feminine principle and is variously described as "the spotless mirror of God's activity," and "the spouse of the Lord" in ancient texts.
In "Thunder, Perfect Mind," a Gnostic text from the Nag Hammadi Library, Wisdom declares:

"I was sent forth from the power,
and I have come to those who reflect upon me,
and I have been found among those who seek after me.
Look upon me, you who reflect upon me,
and you hearers, hear me.
You who are waiting for me, take me to yourselves.
And do not banish me from your sight.
And do not make your voice hate me, nor your hearing.
Do not be ignorant of me anywhere or any time. Be on your guard!
Do not be ignorant of me.

For I am the first and the last.
I am the honored one and the scorned one.
I am the whore and the holy one.
I am the wife and the virgin.
I am the mother and the daughter.
I am the members of my mother.
I am the barren one
and many are her sons.
I am she whose wedding is great,
and I have not taken a husband.
I am the midwife and she who does not bear.
I am the solace of my labor pains.
I am the bride and the bridegroom,
and it is my husband who begot me.
I am the mother of my father
and the sister of my husband
and he is my offspring.
I am the silence that is incomprehensible
and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold
and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name.

Why, you who hate me, do you love me,
and hate those who love me?
You who deny me, confess me,
and you who confess me, deny me.
You who tell the truth about me, lie about me,
and you who have lied about me, tell the truth about me.
You who know me, be ignorant of me,
and those who have not known me, let them know me.

For I am knowledge and ignorance.
I am shame and boldness.
I am shameless; I am ashamed.
I am strength and I am fear.
I am war and peace.
Give heed to me.
I am the one who is disgraced and the great one.

Be on your guard!
Do not hate my obedience
and do not love my self control.
In my weakness, do not forsake me,
and do not be afraid of my power.
For why do you despise my fear
and curse my pride?
But I am she who exists in all fears
and strength in trembling.
I am she who is weak,
and I am well in a pleasant place.
I am senseless and I am wise."

- Imaging God as Partners

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The same Sophia or Wisdom, whom Solomon sought as his Bride, was also essential to Sufism.

"The term Sufi itself may well have been derived from the Greek "Soma Sophia" - meaning Body of Wisdom derived from the Orphic Mystery School whose followers revered a Goddess. The Sufi doctrine or belief held that ecstatic vision or communion with God or the Mother Goddess was more important than the letter of the Law or any philosophical idea or notion which act as a binding force within Islamic culture. Ibn Arabi had a vision of the Goddess when during a pilgrimage to the Holy K'aba he felt a hand touch his shoulder. As he turned he saw a young girl, a priestess and daughter of the Greeks from who radiated a great spiritual light."

- Islamic Faith

"In 1 Corinthians 1:23, 25, Paul writes, "We are preaching a crucified Christ ... a Christ who is the power and the Sophia of God." A few verses later (30) he continues, "By God's action Jesus Christ has become our Sophia." And then a few verses later (2:6-8), "But still we have a Sophia to offer those who have reached maturity: not a philosophy of our age, it is true, still less of the masters of our age, which are coming to their end. The hidden Sophia of God which we teach in our mysteries is the Sophia that God predestined to be for our glory before the ages began. She is a Sophia that none of the masters of this age have ever known."

- Wisdom's Feast
Sophia in Study and Celebration (p. 33)
by Susan Cole, Marian Ronan, and Hal Taussig

- Jesus Is Our Sophia

"She has confused all the learned of Islam,
Everyone who has studied the Psalms
Every Jewish Rabbi,
Every Christian priest."

Ibn El-Arabi (Shah 86)

The Goddess, as simultaneously positive and negative, is synonymous with the twin serpents of Sensation and Intuition.

"Joseph Campbell: The serpent, who dies and is resurrected, shedding its
skin and renewing its life, is the lord of the central tree, where time and
etemity come together. He is the primary god, actually, in the Garden of
Eden. Yahweh, the one who walks there in the cool of the evening, is just
a visitor. The Garden is the serpent's place. It is an old, old story. We
have Sumerian seals from as early as 3500 B.C. showing the serpent
and the tree and the goddess, with the goddess giving the fruit of life to a
visiting male. The old mythology of the goddess is right there.

Bill Moyers: But how do you explain the difference between that image
and the image of the snake in Genesis?

Joseph Campbell: There is actually a historical explanation based on the
coming of the Hebrews into Canaan and their subjugation of the people
of Canaan. The principal divinity of the people of Canaan was the
Goddess, and associated with the Goddess is the serpent. This is the
symbol of the mystery of life. The male-god-oriented group rejected it. In
other words, there is a historical rejection of the Mother Goddess implied
in the story of the Garden of Eden."

- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth, p.54

"The Hindu tradition sees Kundalini as the divine Mother of all form. Coiled in sleep at the base of the spine, the serpent power of the Goddess Kundalini gives life. When she awakens and begins to rise, the forces within (Shakti) merge with the powers on high (Shiva), consummating the sacred marriage. From this union of earthly and heavenly energies comes spiritual rebirth and wholeness. This same phenomena has been recognized and described (in indigenous semantics) by nearly every culture in the world."

- Mysteries of the Goddess
by El Collie

The hermaphroditic union of Shiva and Shakti is also a component of the Tower tarot card.

"Deep inside the sacred mountain the Celestial Bolt unites with the Abyssal Waters to create the Para-Bindu (Supreme Bindu), which is the hermaphroditic union of two seeds, Shiva and Shakti."

- The Pythagorean Tarot
by John Opsopaus

And this brings us back to the starting point: Zeus.

"It is only in Zeus Arrheno thelus that one gets the true Hermaphroditic nature of the symbol in unified form. This is a very important fact, especially for the present purpose, because images of this god recur again and again in alchemy. It is hardly possible to describe this lucidly; the idea pertains to a faculty of the mind which is "above the Abyss"; but all two-headed eagles with symbols clustering about them are indications of this idea."

Imperial Eagle of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty
Imperial Eagle of the Hohenstaufen Dynasty

"The ultimate sense seems to be that the original god is both male and female, which is, of course, the essential doctrine of the Qabalah; and the thing most difficult to understand about the later debased Old Testament tradition."

- Book of Thoth
by Aleister Crowley

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"The aggressively monotheistic Yahwist priests of pre-exilic Israel and Judea frequently butted
heads with their "stiff-necked" countrymen over the urge to worship divinity also in a female
form. Asherah, a Canaanite fertility goddess identified by the Ras Shamra texts as the wife of ,
the supreme god El and the mother of the god Baal, was a special temptation for the pre-exilic
Hebrews (6). Raphael Patai, the anthropologist and Biblical scholar, writes that the Hebrews of
approximately 800 B.C.E. until 621 B.C.E. (the generally agreed-upon date for the "discovery" by
Hilkiah of the "Book of the Law"-now thought to be the core of our present book of
Deuteronomy-and the resultant decision by King Josiah to tear down the asherim and officially
establish exclusive Yahwism) often conceived of Yahweh as having a feminine counterpart, much
like the god-goddess pairs of the surrounding peoples of the Canaan valley:

'One of the most intriguing finds that has come to light in the past decade is that
of Kuntillat 'Arjud in the northeast Sinai, some forty miles south of 'Ayn
al-Qudayrat. . . where two large pithoi (storage jars) were discovered. They are
over three feet high, and one of them carries this inscription (in my translation):
"Amaryau said to my lord. . . may you be blessed by Yahweh and his Asherah.
May he bless you and keep you, and be with my lord.". . . .At Khirbet al-Qom, a
site some nine miles west of Hebron, another inscription was found. It reads:
"Uriah the rich has caused it to be written: Blessed be Uriah by Yahweh and by
his Asherah; from his enemies he has saved him." These inscriptions show that
in popular religion the Goddess Asherah was associated with Yahweh,
probably as his wife, and that "Yahweh and his Asherah" were the most popular
divine couple. (The Hebrew Goddess 53)'

This feminine counterpart-or aspect-of the One Male God manifests itself again in the
figure of Hokhmah (Sophia in Greek) or Wisdom. Ecclesiasticus (Ben Sirach) 24:1-3
describes "her":

'Wisdom shall praise her own self, and shall be honoured in God, and shall glory in the midst of her people. And shall open her mouth in the churches of the most High, and shall glorify herself in the sight of his power. And in the midst of her own people she shall be exalted, and shall be admired in the holy assembly.'

This feminine aspect of God is later masculinized in the concept of the Logos of John 1:1.

"In the beginning was the word."

- Reclaiming the Self
by Michael Bryson

"A convention common to most ancient philiosophical speculations was the designation of deities as "male" beings and their "thoughts" as "female" beings. Neither, in this sense, is truly separable from the other; they exist in eternal androgynous union, each defined by the other's presence. Examples of this idea survive in the so-called "Old Testament" as the character of "Wisdom" in Proverbs, who says: "the Lord possessed me at in the beginning of His ways..."

The true God's first companion, according to some gnostics, was a female being known as the "Barbelo," the "womb of the universe." Barbelo arose from the peace and silence of the primordial void so that God Himself could dream existence.

If the "Unkown God" is "nothing," consciousness without separation, timeless and unchanging,the Barbelo is "everything," infinite consciousness overflowing into multiplicity, the mind of God at play with itself."

- Barbelo: Womb of the Universe
by Rev. Illuminatus Maximus

"She is the first power. She preceded everything, and came forth from the Father's mind as forethought of all. Her light resembles the Father's light; as the perfect power She is the image of the perfect and invisible Virgin Spirit. She is the first power, the glory, Barbello, the perfect glory among the worlds, the emerging glory, She glorified and praised the Virgin Spirit for she had come forth through the Spirit. She is the first thought, image of the Spirit. She became the universal womb, for She precedes everything, the common parent, the first humanity, the Holy Spirit."

- Jesus, The Secret Book of John

"The 13th Path of Gimel has been called the "Dark Night of the Soul" because it traverses the Abyss directly to Kether. The letter Gimel means "camel"

(or the "horse" of Prince Rupert)

...and symbolizes a vehicle which alone can cross the seemingly infinite desert of the Abyss. Gimel is the ultimate source of Water and represents the root essence of consciousness. The letter Gimel, spelled out, has the number 73 and this is also the numeration of the Second Sephiroth, Chokmah, Wisdom. Throughout the Old Testament, Wisdom is used in the feminine gender, Sophia. Sophia, or the World Soul, is the intermediary between the Divine and humankind and has been called the "Soul of Light" because it is the first vehicle in which the Light of Spirit clothes itself."

- The Tarot Trumps as They Relate to the Tree of Life
by Soror I. D. D.

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Chapter One The Metaphysical Record In The Court Of the Crimson King In The Wake Of Poseidon Lizard The King In Yellow The Sun King Eight
The Lake Which Mirrors the Sky In the Beginning Was the Word In the Beginning was the Word...side two Eros and Strife Dark Night of the Soul...Cirkus Dark Night of the Soul...Wilderness Big Top Islands
Islands Two Footnotes in the Sand Still Still 2
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