Starlight Newsletter

Newsletter of the Sophia Foundation
(Two issues each year: Spring / Autumn)

Starlight, the Sophia Foundation newsletter, serves to inform friends of the Sophia Foundation about upcoming events, highlights and experiences from past events, newly published articles about topics relevant to the Sophia Foundation, and other items - creating an avenue of communication for people around the world who share a love of Sophia and are unable to gather together in person with any frequency. Starlight is published twice a year, near the beginning of Advent and around Pentecost time. The newsletter is sent out to people who have made a donation to the Foundation, who have become a "Friend of the Sophia Foundation".

If you wish to receive the newsletter click here to read about making a donation to the Foundation.

We welcome your active participation in the newsletter by sending us articles and reports for future editions. Please email articles (preferably as a Word document) to the administrative office of the Sophia Foundation, clearly marked "Newsletter". The newsletter provides a valuable reflection of the activities of the foundation for us all. If you would like to share your thoughts or experiences with other "friends of Sophia", please email your article, Choreocosmos experiences, account of a workshop, poems, digital photographs, drawings, and any suggestions you might have for future newsletters. Space considerations may prevent us from publishing everything that is received. But we will do our best to allow all voices to be heard.  We very much appreciate your sharing your heart with fellow Sophians.

Following are excerpts from past issues of Starlight, to indicate the nature of the content of the newsletter.

Volume 5, Number 1
Spring 2005

Dear Friends of Sophia,

Greetings in this season of the Holy Fire of Pentecost. We remember this time when Sophia entered fully into the life of the Virgin Mother, transforming a community beset with grief into individuals wholly infused with the spirit of love.

This issue of Starlight, named for the radiance eternally emanating from the celestial realms, seeks to illumine some of the issues, both personal and collective, that are facing humans in our present age. Please take these words as food for your own journey of discovery of true love and wisdom, through deeds large and small, in service of Christ and Sophia.

Beginning with the personal, we have notices of the lives of two dear friends who have recently passed. In these eulogies we see how lives lived in service of the heart so intimately weave into the life of the community.

We announce two births. The first is of a new book exploring the mysteries of Jesus, Lazarus and the Messiah by Charles Tidball and Robert Powell. The second involves Robert's story of his long journey to a Ph.D. with his thesis on the History of the Zodiac. This journey, of course, is far from being over. Robert will continue to present the research he has accomplished in so far as it may serve the further development of a new wisdom of the stars.

Patriq DuSaint, from a wonderful Sophia community in Wisconsin, offers a meditation on patience. "Who is rushing by, attentive to the many elsewhere's, entangled in what is to be spoken and done next, and reacting to the unexpected with impulsiveness or harshness?" And who is it for whom the "ever-present angel", "wounded by us, for us, and over us," waits?

Participants of the Choreocosmos school reflect on how they have been touched by the spiritual world in these dances of head, heart and limbs woven into the fabric of the community of the divine celestial cosmos.

Turning to our collective times, Janice-Marie Mappin of Kentucky points us to a surprising discussion of an eternal being in Time. Robert Powell follows with an exploration of the life of the recently deceased pope's relationship to Sophia through Mary. Robert continues with reflections on the new pope, who was prophesized to be "the Glory of the Olive", with a mission to work for "peace (the symbol of the olive branch) on earth and unity between the different branches of Christianity and also between the different world religions and spiritual streams." This issue of Starlight finishes with "A Hymn to Sophia" sung at a royal wedding attended by St. Thomas during his mission to the city of Andrapolis.

Bringing us deeply into the esoteric calling of the present age are the notes of a lecture on the Trials by Fire, Water, and Air by Valentin Tomberg given in August 1937. These are words are a clarion call regarding the spiritual challenges we now face, spoken not so long ago, when our world was on the brink of global conflagration. Some say we stand again on that brink. If so, it may benefit us to have eyes wide open. Even more, it may help to recall again the time of Pentecost when the fire of love infused those who stood for the Messenger of Love at a time when all seemed lost.

As we do always, we invite your participation, comments, support and dialogue. We hope to see many of you in the coming months as we gather to dance, meditate, pray, sing, and talk together.
The angels will smile.

In the faith, hope and love of Christ and Sophia,

Olivia Klassen and Andrew Elliott


             Hail Mary Sophia,
             Daughter of Light,
             Who Speaks:
            I am the Handmaid of the Lord,
            I am the Queen of Peace,
            I am the Virgin Soul
            I am the Womb of Divine Love,
            I am the Voice of Silence,
            I am the Vessel for the Wisdom of God,
            I am the Bearer of the Memory of God's Son.
              Sophia Blesses us with
              The Light of Wisdom,
             The Life of Fulfillment,
             The Love of Creation.
          We unite Ourselves with Sophia,
          We seek Communion in her Name,
          We offer our Hearts in Devotion to Sophia.

This prayer was given to the Sophia Foundation by Karen Rivers during the bi-annual meditation retreat of the Foundation in San Rafael in 2003.  It made a deep impression on me at that time and after having worked with it ever since, I would like to share some of my experience with it.

I made this prayer part of the prayer sequence with which I start my day and inserted it after the "Hail to Thee, O Lamb of God."  After doing this for some months I began to realize that the similarity between this prayer and the "Hail to Thee, O Lamb of God" lies not only in the similar pattern and words, but there is more to it.

One could say that with the seven I-Am sayings Christ gave us a "description" of himself as the cosmic spirit, the cosmic I-Am, which is the archetype of the spirit of each individual human being.  When He calls Himself the "Light of the World" we should take this literally and know that without Christ the world would have become a very dark place.  However, Christ connected Himself with the earth and gave each human being a "spark" of Himself: our own I-Am is part of His I-Am.  In this way we each carry in us the potential of developing the hidden capacities of this spark.  We each have the potential of becoming the "Light of the World," provided we want to work at it.  In this way Christ stands there as the example of the perfection we can strive for.

Now, all spiritual traditions I am familiar with agree that spiritual striving requires purification of the soul.  As long as we have the kinds of passions, wants and prejudices with which we all walk around, we cannot enter the spiritual world.  Christian esoteric tradition has a name for a soul that has been able to become completely pure.  It is called the Virgin Sophia.  The bible gives us an example of such a purified soul in
the figure of Mary through whom the Divine Sophia had been working from the beginning and with whom
the Divine Sophia connected intimately at Pentecost.  Mary then became Mary Sophia.

Mary Sophia thus stands before us as the archetype of the purified soul, the example of the purity we can all strive for, the Virgin Sophia.  The seven I-Am sayings developed by Karen describe this purified soul.  Each human being can be the "Queen of Peace", in fact we all have this capacity in our soul, hidden deep under the many layers of our personalities.  By saying this prayer every morning we remind ourselves of this fact. 

Then there is the additional dimension of the correspondence of the seven sayings with the seven chakras.  On the next page I have outlined a way of
seeing these correspondences.  Everyone who meditates on them will form his/her own picture.

Personally, the example set for us by the Virgin Sophia feels closer to me than the example of Christ.  I can relate to it more easily because I can see more clearly what it is I have to work on to try and follow the example.  Not that it is easy, but it seems less distant than the archetype of the I-Am.
I consider the "Hail Mary Sophia" prayer an inspired prayer that deserves a permanent place in the prayer sequence of the Sophia Foundation.                       (Philip Mees, July 2004)


Volume 5, Number 2
Fall 2005

Autumn of 2005 brings change and a new stage in the growth and development of the Sophia Foundation, the most visible being the move of our administrative office from Eugene, Oregon to Palo Alto, California.
This is a good time for the Foundation to have a physical presence in the San Francisco Bay area, on the peninsula. Karen Rivers has been teaching a weekly class on the peninsula for several years, (now with Choreocosmos and singing), and a Sophianic community is beginning to bud and bloom. In addition, this past year our nearby sister community, the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, has formed the Center for the Divine Feminine, inviting Robert Powell to give the first presentation. Other guest speakers include Andrew Harvey (in August) and Jean Shinoda Bolen in October. (For more information contact Amanda Young at
We have experienced a transition in the administration of the Sophia Foundation as well.  After five years of faithful and devoted service, Andrew Elliott and Olivia Klassen have passed the administrative torch to Molly Rose. Andrew will continue to serve on the Board and both Andrew and Olivia continue to be active in the Sophia community in Eugene. Andrew has performed his duties with an attitude of deep respect, quiet reverence and warmth, always ready to meet the individual needs of SFNA members. Olivia has performed many of the behind the scenes tasks, such as putting together the newsletter, processing and mailing out orders and keeping up with the website, with a quiet grace, steady dependability and an artistic eye.
Together, Andrew and Olivia faithfully carried the administrative work with dedication, intelligence, and graciousness. It is an extremely challenging job, involving constant multi-tasking, competing demands, and an incredible amount of detail work, with a thousand ways to make mistakes. One can very easily get caught up and absorbed in the computer and paperwork. Yet Olivia and Andrew, as they worked, were able to hold the spiritual mission and tasks of the Sophia Foundation in a way that was visible, with heart and soul, in humble service to the very real and serious responsibilities they carried. With deep gratitude, we offer our thanks and good wishes for their future endeavors.

Inside this issue of Starlight you will find, for the first time, "Choreocomo News" with reports and personal sharings of individual experiences, as well as the schedule for the coming year. Robert has presented us with many gifts this year and now offers us in this newsletter another treasure, the first part of Valentin Tomberg's esoteric lecture on Zarathustra, which he has translated from the German and commented upon, and he has also found an inspiring and moving article written by Eugen Kolisko about Beethoven, his life circumstances, his genius and its connection with his temperament and physical disability, in light of his karmic background.

Esoteric material by valentin tomberg
In the 1930's, over a period of several years, Valentin Tomberg published first his Anthroposophical Studies of the Old Testament, then those of the New Testament, and finally he started on those of the Apocalypse of St. John. However, after publishing the first three of the Studies of the Apocalypse of St. John he was obliged to resign from the Anthroposophical Society and stopped publishing further Studies, although - as with the twelve Studies of the Old Testament and the twelve Studies of the New Testament - also twelve Studies of the Apocalypse of St. John had been planned. It was around this time (shortly after the beginning of World War II) that he began to work esoterically with a small group of people in Amsterdam on the profound mysteries of the "Our Father" prayer (Valentin Tomberg, Study Course on the Lord's Prayer available from the Sophia Foundation).The word that is translated here as "Studies" (e.g. Studies of the Old Testament) is the German "Betrachtungen" which more literally means "considerations" or "contemplations" or even "meditations". These biblical studies are indeed works that require contemplative reading, not simply for esoteric information but more especially for meditative experience.

For many years the three books comprising Valentin Tomberg's biblical studies have been out of print. The Sophia Foundation jointly with an anonymous donor has made it possible for Steiner Books (formerly Anthroposophic Press) to republish these outstanding works. They will now all be combined in one volume of some 500 pages, which will also include Valentin Tomberg's seven lectures entitled "The Four Sacrifices of Christ and the Appearance of Christ in the Etheric" held in Rotterdam in August 1939. Christopher Bamford will write a foreword. This book should be available by the summer of 2006. The Sophia Foundation plans to have an ample supply available and looks forward to receiving your orders. The Sophia Foundation is also helping with the republication by Lindisfarne Books of Valentin Tomberg's Covenant of the Heart.

In addition to the above publications, in the newsletters of the Sophia Foundation the following esoteric material by Valentin Tomberg has been published for the first time in English translation:

  1. "Our Mother" in volume 2 (2002), no. 1
  2. "Solomon" in volume 2 (2002), no. 2
  3. "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" in volume 3 (2003), no. 1
  4. "From a book that I read during sleep" in volume 4 (2004), no. 2
  5. "Trials by Fire, Water and Air of Man and Humanity" in volume 5 (2005), no. 1

Now, in this issue of the newsletter, we are taking the opportunity to present further hitherto unpublished material - "The Zarathustra Line of Jesus of Nazareth" - translated from the German into English. The esoteric lecture with this title, held in German for a small group of people in Amsterdam during World War II. Owing to the fragmentary nature of the notes, it is sometimes not easy to translate them in an adequate way. This should be borne in mind by the reader of these esoteric notes, and this is also the reason for the numerous additional notes inserted by the translator.

The Zarathustra Line of Jesus of Nazareth
Part I: Manu-Melchizedek
Valentin Tomberg

Translated by Robert Powell from the handwritten German notes of an esoteric lecture held in Amsterdam during World War II and previously unpublished in English.
Footnotes and words in brackets [      ] added by the translator.

[For practical reasons this lecture has been divided into two parts. The first part dealing with the Manu-Melchizedek, the teacher of Zarathustra, is published in this issue; and the second part - focusing upon Zarathustra and his incarnations - will be published in the next issue of the newsletter. Part I comprises a lengthy insert - Translator's notes relating to the individuality Manu-Melchizedek - which is relevant to the Sophia Grail Circle, providing important background knowledge to help with a deeper understanding of the Grail mystery. The main content of Valentin Tomberg?s lecture is in Part II - see the Spring 2006 issue of the newsletter.]

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