Speaking as the Goddess Hagia Sophia, this passage embodies the spirit of February and late winter perfectly.
“I have hidden this month’s message inside a bear’s cave, then changed my mind and thrown it on your threshold. Did you feel me encircle your house? You would hardly recognize me, I am so beautiful, my cheeks are red from the winds, and my feet are damp from all the moisture I am pumping up to the tips of my forests from the depth of the earth.
Nothing is showing now, of course. It’s still the dead of winter, but I have my hidden activities. We are busy down in the depths! My rowan is about to burst out in flowers, and in the south blooms my laurel, my bay. There are crocuses in my hair, and I have tiny snow-white flowers blending with the snow itself. I am heralding an initiation.
A spiritual strength, unlike that of any other time, is surging through me like the sap of the trees. I care for the depths of the soul. It’s a new down. There is no more need to hide the spiritual strength of women. My name rings out freely from their lips, and I answer the call. I answer the call every time. This season I am the all-wise seeress, the witch of transformation. Have you heard the stirrings of my power?”
Sophia, the spirit of female wisdom, disguised herself as a white dove, her sacred bird. Christianity tried to write her out completely, retaining only the symbol of the dove, which is the giver of powers to Jesus at his baptism, and also appeared to the apostles when they gathered after Jesus was killed.
In Gnostic tradition, Hagia Sophia, the Great Mother was born from silence. She was the great revered Virgin in whom the Father was concealed before he created anything. She suffered great slander from the new patriarchal religions, which despised a female god but couldn’t quite eliminate her worship.
“Sophia” in ancient Greek translates to “wisdom,” and from this we derive the words “philosophy” and “sophisticated.” And “Holy Wisdom” translates to Hagia Sophia. Her cathedral represents harmony, peace and religious tolerance and is a meeting point of the world’s religions.
We are living through one of the most turbulent times in American history. Racism, gun violence, drug addiction, sexual abuse, religious intolerance, immigration issues — you name it — abound at an alarming rate.
Last year saw wave after wave of new revelations about the extent of the Catholic Church’s sex abuse crisis. It saw deadly hate crimes, as well as major #MeToo moments in many major communities. While we won critical milestones for religious minorities on Capitol Hill, we also witnessed a radical conservative bloc moving further to the right in the United States — wandering into nativist, anti-immigrant and, frankly, anti-Semitic territory.
What better time for us to recall the precepts of Hagia Sophia: Harmony. Peace. Religious tolerance. Finding a meeting place of the minds.
Jesus, the Hebrew prophets, Allah, the Pagan Gods and Goddesses, all welcome mankind in its entirety. Love for all. No matter which god you worship, I’m pretty sure that God judges us first on how we treat the stranger, and then on how we meditate on his omnipotence.
My spellwork (and prayers) this year are going to center on making even a small dent on the above list of atrocities, and getting back on the path of blessing, not cursing, each other in 2019.