The gospel of the Pistis Sophia is one of the few gnostic writings that were already available in the eighteenth century. An English translation appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century, so Carl Jung, for example, already had it in his bookcase. In the Sixties of the last century a Dutch translation appeared thanks to the Rosicrucian press. The collected Nag Hammadi writings that have become available in our time give a new image of the Pistis Sophia. She is the mythical representation of spirit power that can reveal herself in our lives in the twenty-first century.
The spiritual life of the first centuries of our era is focused mainly on the bright world, also called the pleroma, where the light-man begins his development. The present man, as the writings tell us, carries a spark of that original light of the pleroma in his Heart. This spark is therefore the starting point of a path of initiation back to the pleroma.
During the first centuries of our era, a dogma was created around the free expression of the learning of the light. The light was still shining in the darkness, but the light became less and less able to be understood internally. Thus, the writings of the early days were rewritten, adapted and placed in the context of a historical event: a savior existing outside yourself without any inner spiritual strength.
The path of initiation from the darkness back to the light was considered to be impossible by anyone beside groups that had “other” thoughts that differed from those of the established order.
Contemporary researchers show us clearly that many mythical images have disappeared and been forgotten during the first centuries of our era. You can transform a myth into a historical person, as happened with Jesus. The Myth of the Pistis Sophia has been completely forgotten due to the destruction of all written sources. She is, as it were, banished to the collective unconscious of humanity.
Fortunately, we can now read and study the old scriptures again. Perhaps we can now better understand the old myth of the Pistis Sophia. She is frequently described in the Nag Hammadi writings as a creative spiritual power in the pleroma. There she is the bearer and guardian of wisdom for the light-man.
However, at a certain moment she creates a new universe outside the luminous world of the pleroma. From this the shadow appears and finally the darkness. Thus, the life of mankind has become what it is today.
Her image in the Askew codex, the gospel of the Pistis Sophia, is a reaction to this development. It is the narration of a soul that frees itself from the motives of a life in the material world. She comes to a deep understanding that this world is governed by the will, the mind and the desires of a lower instinct. The Pistis Sophia however remains directed to the “light of lights”. She frees herself from the darkness and eventually connects with the saviour Jesus.
The path of the Pistis Sophia can make us aware of the possibilities that are within us. It is like activating a spiritual force within us, according to a mythically suggested method. The most important thing is to start to live from an intention that does justice to what you are already aware of. If you cannot keep your own intentions, you can call upon the Pistis Sophia. That is the source of wisdom and trust in the depths of one’s own being. For Pistis means “faith” and Sophia “wisdom of the heart”.
In the twenty-first century, working with the available energies of daily life is a dynamic process. Time and again we test our own consciousness against life’s reality of the moment. There we meet what is needed to deepen our consciousness. Not just by reflecting, but also to approach everything with a receiving, wise and always wondering heart.
A life attitude that does justice to our true nature as a human being is to believe, to trust, to discover, to become deeply touched and to wonder. But just as well we can forget, suffer, accept, rediscover, fall and then get back up again.
Our consciousness can develop to where all boundaries disappear, by living from the eternal values of the pleroma, where all-embracing Love is the keynote of existence. Thus, the myth does not remain just a myth, but becomes an active spirit power within us. This gives inspiration, joy and trust in our own inner source of life.
The Pistis Sophia lives again in the present of the twenty-first century.
Codex Askewianus contains the Coptic translations of the Gnostic Pistis Sophia
Pistis Sophia; A Gnostic miscellany: being the most parts extracts from the Books of the Saviour, to which are added excerpts from a cognate literature; Englished by G. R. S. Mead, London, J. M. Watkins , 1921