The Shared Mythos of the Shekinah and Sophia an Thoughts on Thunder, Perfect Mind.

As written for goddesschristians@yahoo.com.

 http://www.truthtalker.com/

I love the above image because in my own Tradition, the Holy Mother is known, metaphorically, as the Supernal Sun. The Holy Daughter is the Supernal Moon Who reflects to us, the Bright Light of the Mother. And of course, Sophia is understood to be the Holy Spirit. Our Celestial/Heavenly Mother is known as the Fiery Rose Heart. This painting reflects it all. Gold is the color of the Celestial Mother; silver is the color which represents the Holy Daughter.

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The Shekinah and Holy Sophia are considered by some to be One and the same Divine Being/Person, while others recognize that these are two different Divine Feminine Persons. I like to think of them as each being Forms/Images of Dea (Our Divine Mother God).  

In these latter times, the perception of the Shekinah appears to be evolving. Many are coming to understand the Shekinah as being a Divine Being/Person in Her Own right. This Shekina, though, is not merely just as aspect of God, She is a Divine Being of Her Own Right. (4) This is a great article.

I always have taught that Sophia is God in Her Own right. Her Godhood is not dependent upon the Father, nor is She God because She is the Spouse of the Father, rather, She is God because that is Her very Nature, Her Eternal Being; just as we have human nature, human being. She is a Person of the Godhood.

Nor did She need Her Male Consort to save- Her, as we shall see, rather, She is a Saviouress. Our Soteria who works hand in hand with the Christ-Logos.

It must be remembered that there are many aspects of Sophia. In addition to being the Wisdom Goddess, in the earliest Gnostic texts, Sophia is Creatrix and sometimes, She is listed as Supreme.

As the Barbelo, She is the Supreme Mystery, the Mother of the All. As Aletheia, She is Truth. As Pistis, She is Faith.  She is also known as the Holy Spirit.Through Zoe, She is Life. She is the Mother of All Life.

 And so, though She may be the Wisdom Goddess, that is only one Aspect of Her.

I believe that She is the Christian Divine Mother God, Who is coming to be known as, Dea. 

(As you read the following, please keep in mind that I have not studied the Kabbalah or the Zohar and so I only have a rudimentary knowledge of these things.)

I had a Jewish friend (mentioned in a previous post), Lieren Malka, who was a Reconstructionist Jew. She believed in the Shekina as Mother and Daughter just as many understand Sophia to be Mother and Daughter. Like the Sophia, this understanding of the Shekina as being Mother and Daughter is based upon the idea of Higher and Lower Shekinah, just as there is Higher and Lower Sophia.

In Gnostic circles, the Mother is considered to be the Barbelo (whom some Gnostic scholars consider to be Higher Sophia). while the Daughter is Lower Sophia.

In the Gnostic Text, On the Origin of the World, the Mother and Daughter are named: Pistis Sophia is the Mother of Zoe. In the Valentinian System, we have Sige (may be pronounced Sy-gee or Siege), which means Silence. The Mother is Aletheia, which means Truth and the Daughter is Zoe, which means Life. (1).


I have noticed how many similarities there are between the Mythos/ Story of the Shekinah and that of Holy Sophia.


Lower/Daughter) Sophia, is the World Soul. The Shekinah is also the World Soul. 
 painting by Helena Nelson Reed: 

From the Universal Kabbalah Network: … the Shekinah is the World Soul. So, the Shekina, in addition to being the Soul of God, is also the Soul of the World. (2). Can there be more than one World Soul?

In some forms of Deanic (Goddess) Christianity, Mother Sophia is known as Rosa Coeli, Rose of Heaven. The Holy Daughter Sophia, as the World Soul is known as Rosa Mundi, Rose of the World.

In my own spiritual Tradition, Our Heavenly Mother, as Rosa Coeli, is Transcendent, like Our True Father, while the Holy Daughter, as Rosa Mundi, is Immanent like the Divine Son.

As we will see in the excerpt below, the Shekinah is the World Soul voluntarily, while according to Gnostic Christian Mythos, Sophia is the World Soul because She is trapped here because She erred and is Fallen and is in need of Her Male Consort to save Her.

But as Rose Horman Arthur  showed in her scholarly work, The Wisdom Goddess, Feminine Motifs in Eight Nag Hammadi Documents, (I believe this is available through Stanford University Library), Gnostic Christian authors took pre-Christian texts and clearly demoted Sophia. Her ‘Fall and entrapment’ was not in the pre-Christian equivalent texts. From what I understand, they took certain texts, re-wrote them, demoted Sophia in many, many areas and gave them a new title. According to Dr. Arthur, the ‘Fallen Sophia” was unknown in the original texts. 

 Sophia


Sophia and the Shekinah each suffer a Descent through darkness. We know, from Gnostic texts, that Sophia suffers a Descent down through ever-denser/darker realms, which causes Her Light to Scatter. The Shekinah also suffer a Descent through the realms which causes Her Soul to Shatter as we read in the following text:

Here again, the Shekinah plays a very special and multi-faceted role in the Kabbalistic teachings.  For, it is the Shekinah that is ascribed by Kabbalists to be the Middle Pillar of Balance that unites the opposites, just as the soul allows for the opposites of body and spirit to unite, so too does the Shekinah play this role for us.  Indeed, the Shekinah is the Soul of Man, what Kabbalists call the Neshamah, for She has given a portion of Herself in order for each human to come into being in this world. In giving of Herself to humans, in this state of physical density and isolation, the World Soul becomes shattered. This shattering can be metaphorically grasped in considering what might happen to a glass alembic or flask when too much pressure is put upon in the alchemical works.  Thus, the Shekinah represents the ultimate archetype of selfless sacrifice. All Her sacrifices have been for the benefit of creation so that humankind may experience this life in order to fulfill its destiny and purpose. Kabbalists, therefore, pay great respect and gratitude to the Shekinah for Her sacrifice and service by taking up the mantle or the quest to reunite the Shekinah with the Creator.

Through this, the Shekinah shares Her Soul with us while Sophia resides in us as the Divine Spark of Light.

Both Sophia and the Shekinah have often been referred to as the Holy Spirit. (3).

Both are said to be Higher/Mother and Lower/Daughter. The Mother is Her Transcendent Form, the Holy Daughter is the Immanent Form as the World Soul.

In Thunder, Perfect Mind, http://gnosis.org/naghamm/thunder.html.,

which some scholars believe was originally named in honor of the Barbelo, (High Sophia), depicts Her as the Immanent Saviouress who speaks, speaks back and forth about Her identity. (4)

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 oneand 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, etc.

On a personal level, I can understand Thunder on different levels. On one level, I see part of this poem as going back and forth between the Transcendent Mother (Barbelo-Sophia) and the Immanent Daughter (Eve-Sophia). The Immanent Daughter is within each of us. Whatever we go through, She goes through. There is nothing that we suffer which She does not suffer with us. There is no joy that we experience that She does not experience with us,

And so, as the Transcendent Mother, She is the honored one, but as the least of Her children, in whom dwells the Holy Daughter, She is the scorned one and so on.  Here is an article with similar views: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/thunder.html

(By the way, this is awesome: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/thunder.html. Also recommended: https://lightgrid.ning.com/group/thepowerofthedivinefeminine/forum/topics/the-shekinah-image-of-the)

In Summary:

The Shekinah is associated with Creation.

Sophia is associated with Creation.

Shekinah is the World Soul.
Sophia is the World Soul. (Can there be more than one World Soul?)

The Shekina has often been referred to as the Holy Spirit. (3)
Sophia has been referred to as the Holy Spirit. (4)

As a result of the Descent into density and darkness, the Shekinah suffered and Her Soul is Shattered.
As a result of the Descent into density and darkness, Sophia suffered, and Her Light is Scattered.

The Shekinah is Higher/Lower or Mother and Daughter.
Sophia is Higher/Lower or Mother and Daughter.

The Shekinah shares a portion of Her Soul, with us.  Her soul is our soul. (Sacrifice).
Sophia shares a portion of Her Light with us. She resides in us as the Divine Spark. (Sacrifice).

The Shekina is the Bride of God. (5)
Sophia is the Bride of God.

Both are Eternal.

For an interesting article on Sophia from an Esoteric Christian perspective, please see: https://northernway.org/sophia.html

Let us Bless the Queen of Heaven,

Blessed is She.

Rev. Pamela Lanides

HOLY SPIRIT – JewishEncyclopedia.com

4) Wikipedia: “Thunder Perfect Mind (the title is, more accurately, The Thunder – Perfect Intellect) takes the form of an extended, riddling monologue, in which an immanent saviour speaks a series of paradoxical statements concerning the divine feminine nature. The original language of the poem was Greek, though only a Coptic version survives in the Nag Hammadi library; the manuscript resides in the Cairo Coptic museum.” https://www.facebook.com/SpiritualAwakeningRadio/posts/gnostic-poem-of-sophia-thunder-perfect-mind-recited-httpyoutubeb_rjsmiisxsthunde/10152898602472357/

This is a great article: Shekhina | Encyclopedia Mythica

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The Seven Virgins/Female Angels and the Tower Part II

 

In Part I, we discussed the Seven Virgins of Aseneth who are connected to a Tower in the early Christian text, the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth. (A) Part II examines the Seven Women around the Tower as found in the Shepherd of Hermas, (B) once considered a canonical text. (1 and 2).

Important to remember, as discussed in Part I, that the later part of the text may be a forgery: So, what was the motive of the later forgery to the Shepherd of Hermas?  In the first four visions Hermas encounters a female angel, whom he mistakes for the oracle of the Sibyl.  It is explained that this female angel represents the church.  In the ninth parable, it is explained that the female angel really was not a woman, but rather the Son of God.  This is an obvious gloss.  Whoever added this forged section, had a problem with female teachers in the church.  This actually was an issue of the second century church, and it was suppressed by the male majority. 

http://dream-prophecy.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-shepherd-of-hermas-and-swedenborg.html

Moving on to Part II:

While Aseneth must leave Her Seven Virgins behind in her Tower, thereby leaving behind her Pagan past, so that she may marry the Divine Joseph; the Shepherd of Hermas, in his vision, is told that the Seven Women (female angels) support the Tower and must be served.

(3[11]:3 The tower, which thou seest building, is myself, the Church, which was seen of thee both now and aforetime. Ask, therefore, what thou willest concerning the tower, and I will reveal it unto thee, that thou mayest rejoice with the saints.”

8[16]:2 She looked upon me, and smiled, and she saith to me, “Seest thou seven women round the tower?” “I see them, lady,” say I. “This tower is supported by them by commandment of the Lord.

8[16]:8 Whosoever therefore shall serve these women, and shall have strength to master their works, shall have his dwelling in the tower with the saints of God.”

While in Joseph and Aseneth, the Tower represents the Pagan priestesshood of Artemis, in early Christianity, Mary Magdalene has always been associated with a Tower. Magdal-eder means Tower of the Flock. (4)

Mary Magdalene is said to have been a Pagan high priestess. Later, She was to become the first Apostle to the Apostles. A spiritual leader of whom Peter was jealous. Some believe that she actually founded Her own Church. And while it is very possible that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were, indeed, married, others believe that their relationship was more spiritual.

The following article from Time Mag (warning: page has unwanted audio and a lot of popups), presents a different view of Mary Magdalene. One where she is a spiritual leader, a view held by many Gnostic Christians, as well. This flows well with the recent findings of the imagery of female priests (and Mary as a bishop) in the earliest known iconography of the Church, (see previous post), and other known factors of early female Christian clergy.

http://time.com/5210705/mary-magdalene-controversial/ .

And so, while in the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth, the Tower represents the Pagan priestesshood of Aseneth, while in the Shepherd of Hermas, the Tower represents the Church. In his visions, the Shepherd sees an Aged Lady, a female angel, who explains to him that She is the Church, which is represented by the Tower and that all the bricks of the Tower symbolize the faithful. (The Blessed Virgin Mary also typifies the Church and the Church as Bride).

At one point, the Aged Lady shows him the Seven Women of the Tower:

8[16]:2 She looked upon me, and smiled, and she saith to me, “Seest thou seven women round the tower?” “I see them, lady,” say I. “This tower is supported by them by commandment of the Lord.

8[16]:3 Hear now their employments. The first of them, the woman with the strong hands, is called Faith; through her are saved the elect of God.

8[16]:4 And the second, that is girded about and looketh like a man, is called Continence; she is the daughter of Faith. Whosoever then shall follow her, becometh happy in his life, for he shall refrain from all evil deeds, believing that, if he refrain from every evil desire, he shall inherit eternal life.”

8[16]:5 “And the others, lady, who be they?” “They are daughters one of the other. The name of the one is Simplicity, of the next, Knowledge, of the next, Guilelessness, of the next, Reverence, of the next, Love. When then thou shalt do all the works of their mother, thou canst live.”

8[16]:6 “I would fain know, lady,” I say, “what power each of them possesseth.” “Listen then,” saith she, “to the powers which they have.

8[16]:7 Their powers are mastered each by the other, and they follow each other, in the order in which they were born. From Faith is born Continence, from Continence Simplicity, from Simplicity Guilelessness, from Guilelessness Reverence, from Reverence Knowledge, from Knowledge Love. Their works then are pure and reverent and divine.

8[16]:8 Whosoever therefore shall serve these women, and shall have strength to master their works, shall have his dwelling in the tower with the saints of God.” (5)

 

Let us Bless the Queen of Heaven,

Blessed is She.

Rev. Pamela Lanides.

A) The Lost Gospel, Decoding the Ancient Text by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Gospel-Decoding-Marriage-Magdalene/dp/1605988871

B) The Shepherd of Hermas in an updated language form by Daniel Robinson: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016CD4AA4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shepherd_of_Hermas
  2.  http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/shepherd-lightfoot.html
  3. http://dream-prophecy.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-shepherd-of-hermas-and-swedenborg.html
  4. http://www.margaretstarbird.net/mary_called_magdalene.html
  5. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/shepherd-lightfoot.html

 

The Seven Virgins/Female Angels and the Tower Part I

 

Seven Virgins/Ladies are often associated with Sophia.

These Divine Seven have been understood to be the Seven Planetary Powers, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom/Sophia, and the Seven Virgins of Wisdom/Sophia.

They may be associated with the Seven Gifts of the Sophia in Her Aspect/Form of the Holy Spirit. And finally, the Seven Spirits around the Throne, as mentioned in Rev., are often associated with the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Surprisingly, Seven Virgins are also to be found in early Christian texts. These Seven are especially associated with a Tower  in both the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth (A)and in the Shepherd of Hermes (B)

Both texts are controversial. The Gospel, because it was originally thought that the text centered around the Hebrew Testament of Joseph of Egypt and his wife, Aseneth. And so some considered it to be a Jewish text. But the Gospel contains clear Christian elements, including a beautiful communion rite. And the story line has little resemblance to the scant information available about Aseneth, wife of Joseph of Egypt.

After an initial debunking attempt, wikipedia admits: ] The book contains a new translation by Tony Burke into English based on the oldest manuscript, the Syriac one, along with the first-ever English translation of the two covering letters that place the text in context. This translation used spectral-imaging technology to “see through” smudges and other marks to ascertain the original underlying text.

And we see as we read the article, the Gospel was a compilation of writings, some with very early dating. And the evidence seems to suggest that it is of early Syriac Christianity.

Over time, the common consensus, even amongst members of the Jewish community, appear to concede that it is an early Christian and not a Jewish text.

Simcha Jacobovici, in his book,the Lost Gospel, (3), presents the case that the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth was purposefully written about Jesus and Mary Magdalene. This is highly debated amongst scholars. His case is compelling and many feel that at the very least, in the Gospel, Joseph and Aseneth may certainly typify Jesus and Mary the Magdalene.

St. Mary Magdalene Icon

l raise this issue because Mary is always associated with a Tower. Magdala, her town of origin, is said to mean Tower Town. Migdal, in Hebrew and Magdala, in Aramaic, means Tower. Magdalene is a title, not a surname. So Her name would mean Mary from Tower Town.

(For a lovely list of some of the symbols of Mary Magdalene, see: https://bookstore.nevskys.com/products/st-mary-magdalene)

However, there may be an additional meaning to Her title. Simcha Jacobovici points out that Tower Town is not the only meaning of the Tower title. In the New Testament, Mary is called Mary the Magdalene, not Mary Magdalene.

Mary the Magdalene literally translates to Mary the Tower. Additionally, tradition has it that she had been a Pagan high priestess of Artemis and extremely wealthy, attributes she has in common with the Aseneth of the Gospel.

In addition to the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth, in the early Christian text, the Shepherd of Hermas, which was considered canonical by some of the early church fathers, include Irenaeus, there are found Seven Virgins/angels associated with a Lady and a Tower. In this case, the Tower is said to represent the Church. So in both early Christian texts, we have Seven Supernatural Virgins/Angels associated with a Tower. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Shepherd_of_Hermas

Though there was a time when it was suspected that The Shepherd of Hermas was a forged text, recent scholarship has shown that the last three parts were later additions. The rest of the text has been found to be authentic.

An example of the forgery may be found here:

“So, what was the motive of the later forgery to the Shepherd of Hermas?  In the first four visions Hermas encounters a female angel, whom he mistakes for the oracle of the Sibyl.  It is explained that this female angel represents the church.  In the ninth parable, it is explained that the female angel really was not a woman, but rather the Son of God.  This is an obvious gloss.  Whoever added this forged section, had a problem with female teachers in the church.  This actually was an issue of the second century church, and it was suppressed by the male majority.”
There was one other other motive of the forgery which is more subtle: it is to suppress the original Christology of the Shepherd of Hermas.  Whereas the original Hermas is not theologically minded, the forger has some theological ideas and wants to “correct” some of the things that Hermas wrote.  One thing that is obvious is that there is a preponderance of the phrase “Son of God” in this forged section which is absent in the earlier Hermas.” 

http://dream-prophecy.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-shepherd-of-hermas-and-swedenborg.html

(My thanks to ArchMadria Kathi of the Shrine of the Gentle Way for bringing my attention to the Shepherd of Hermas.)

  Aseneth, from Joseph, King of Dreams.

In the Gospel of Joseph and Aseneth, Aseneth is described as the Tower Lady as she resides in the Tower of her home. It holds a beautiful golden-domed and jewel-encrusted chapel to the Pagan gods and goddesses whom she worshiped.

The Seven Virgins (of the Tower), attend the Pagan princess Aseneth, who was a priestess of Artemis. These Seven Virgins were all born on the same day as she.

But in this story, Artemis must leave the Seven Virgins behind, if she is to marry the Divine Joseph, who is Jewish. Jacobovici associates this with the seven daemons (not demons) (4) having been cast out of her.

So, here we have Seven supernatural attendant Virgins who reside in a Tower with a Lady (Aseneth/Mary the Magdalene). Mary the Magdalene is often considered to be the incarnation of Sophia by Goddess Christians.) (5)

In Part II, we shall discuss the Seven Female Angels around the Tower as found in the Shepherd of Hermas, once considered a canonical text.

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May Our Lady bless you,

Blessed is She.

A. M. Pamela

A) The Lost Gospel, Decoding the Ancient Text by Simcha Jacobovici and Barrie Wilson: https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Gospel-Decoding-Marriage-Magdalene/dp/1605988871

B) The Shepherd of Hermas in an updated language form by Daniel Robinson: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016CD4AA4/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

  1. https://deanic.com/the-seven-great-janae/who-are-the-seven-great-janae/

2) http://spokensanskrit.org/index.php?mode=3&script=hk&tran_input=janati&direct=se

3) https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Gospel-Decoding-Marriage-Magdalene/dp/1605988871

4) https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/daemon

(in ancient Greek belief) a divinity or supernatural being of a nature between gods and humans.

An inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force.

‘Socrates claimed to have lived his life according to the dictates of his daimon’
5) Goddess Christianity, as founded or co-founded by Rt. Rev. Katia Romanoff in 1999, is the larger umbrella beneath which Deanic Christianity, which holds certain beliefs of its own, resides.)

Anniversary of ArchMatrona Georgia/The Five Questions of Our Lady of Guadalupe Rosary

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

(Please see previous post on Mary and scallop shells).

I wish many blessings of Dea upon ArchMatrona Ghrian of the Lady of Light Chantry (1) upon the eight anniversary of her consecration as an ArchMatrona (bishop).

ArchMadria Kathi is currently forming her Order of the Shrine of the Gentle Way. This Order is devoted to Mary (both Cosmic and Mother of Jesus). ArchMadria Kathi has composed the Shrine’s rosary based upon the Five Questions of Our Lady of Guadalupe. On this, Her feast day, I would like to share it with our devotees. Deanic Christians will find it most suitable for a Blended Path.

We post it here with her permission.

Rosary Form used by the Shrine of the Gentle Way by ArchMadria Kathi Burke, SGW. 

Using a standard Catholic rosary, which may be adapted to add a medal of Guadalupe if one desires. At the medal, recite the Queen of Heaven:

Queen of Heaven:

The Queen of the Universe

She who did reveal to us

Her love at the proper time

Now descends from the heavens

To the hills of Tepeyac

 

For each decade of beads, recite the Under Your Protection Prayer, followed by ten Hail Maris. While reciting each decade, focus on the following Questions asked by Our Lady of Guadalupe. To conclude each decade, recite the Blessing Prayer: Blessed by Guadalupe, now and forever.

The first Question:  “Am I not here, I, who am your mother?” When have you felt your Mother left you? How did you know she was never gone from your side? What do you do on a regular basis to maintain that connection to your Mother?

The second Question:  “Are you not under my shadow and protection?” We have all felt unprotected at times—remind yourself of the actions and devotions you take when you feel this way. Make an effort to protect others who may feel vulnerable.

The third Question: “Am I not the source of your joy?” Just for today, remind yourself how your Mother is the source of your joy—what blessings have you received, for which you may not have expressed gratitude? No matter how small, focus on the joyful events of the day.

The fourth Question: “Are you not in the hollow of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?” When you feel despondent, remind yourself of how you are comforted by your Mother. You are always close to Her heart, and Her tender love is never far away.

The fifth Question: “Do you need something more?” This is the most important question of all. Speak to your Mother with the words of your heart, with as much clarity as you can. Lay your problems out so that She can help you resolve them. She does not need flowery words or rhetoric—speak plainly and with open need and any tears that may come. She understands. She always has. Our Lady is a lady of everyday people—not just of priests and priestesses, but of all who call upon Her.

 

Rosary Prayers

Under Your Protection

Under Thy Protection, we seek refuge, O Holy Mother. Despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us continually from all dangers, O Glorious and Blessed Virgin

Hail Mari

Hail Mari, Fount of Wisdom

Glory Be to Thee

Blessed art Thou, O High Queen of Heaven,

and blessed is Thy heart of Love

Holy Mari, Mother God, bless us, Thy children, now and eternally

 

The Memorare (to conclude the Rosary)

Remember, O most gracious Lady, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.

Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

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https://deamatronablog.wordpress.com/blog/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mary and Scallop Shells

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

ArchMadria Kathi sent me the following information:

There is book by Paul Lambourne Higgins, called Mother of All. He mentions that the Collyridian group used scallop shells… “The crusaders found a spirited devotion to Mary and the scallop shell, ancient symbol of Aphrodite and Venus and Demeter, was used by these enthusiastic Christians in their adoration of Mary. Tradition has it that some of these crusaders returned to England carrying pa!m branches in their hands and apocryphal gospels in their pockets, with a scallop shell on their caps, for they were now Mary men, determined to make their homeland once again ‘Mary England.”