Sophia Woman DetailSophia Angel DetailSophia Dragon Detail
Sophia copyright 1997 36 inches by 36 inches oil on canvas

The Painting Sophia

This painting is based on Revelations 12 in the Book of Revelations, The Bible. In Revelations 12, the woman is threatened by the 7 headed dragon and must flee into the wilderness and leave her child under the protection of an angel until she can return.

When I began this painting I was planning to paint a series of pictures of the Book of Revelations, especially the “man clothed with garment, feet like brass.” I saw this image clearly and wanted to paint it. Yet, this is the Son, “the masculine side of the christlike potential of the Human Race,” and he has already been painted to completion in this society. So I painted the woman. 

The woman started out pretty much completely black, like a silhouette or a shadow. Then (I didn’t know why) but I painted many many paintings of women layered one on top of the other.  I would complete a perfectly fine painting of the woman and then bam – I had to paint another on top.  Over several years the woman went from black, to lighter and lighter and lighter shades. Thus, the final woman contains within her hundreds of women of various shades.  Also, every time I painted the woman I put more and more light emanating from her, as if the power she has is expanding more and more in the world. There were distinct stages – shifts as I went along – and I can only imagine this has to do with sensing the needs of the painting itself. 

I also painted many cliffs on the lower left – beautiful sheer rock cliffs with the ocean hitting against them.  I would spend many days painting a perfect rendition of cliffs, with all the intricate details, and then I would have to paint another perfect painting of different cliffs on top, just like the many many paintings of women. At the very end, literally the very last few minutes of painting the painting, I created calm peaceful hills on top of the cliffs.  All the drama was over and I just painted pastoral hills – it was simple. And it took a very short time compared to the many days I had spent painting sheer cliffs.

The process of repeating images, going through constant shifts and needing to adjust it over and over again reminds me that everything is changing. We are not finished with the task of truly establishing the sacred feminine as equal alongside the masculine – in this society. The painting will never be finished, really, in my lifetime.

The way that this painting is really many paintings layered on top of each other also reminds me of multidimensionality, and multi-lifetimes – that one person can manifest on many layers and has been many different people.

Also – the woman on the very top layer (the visible one) is light – and light is actually quite masculine. But under her are all the dark ones. So this is a united picture of the hidden feminine Dark principle and the visible masculine Light principle.

 In terms of the story in Revelations 12, one interpretation is that the wisdom of the divine feminine/mother is waiting in the wilderness (nature) until she can be reunited with her child (humanity).

Another interpretation of this story is that this is an individual who loses touch with their inner child and is out in the wilderness (lost). In order to find a way back to themselves they must learn to nurture and care for their inner child like an angel would, handling emotions compassionately (emotions symbolized by all the water in the painting). They must find a way to rise above, and yet accept with open arms, simultaneously.

Revelation 12 King James Version

And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:

And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.

And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.

And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.

And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.

And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.

And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.

And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

(from Online Parallel Bible a fascinating site that has all the different bible versions for comparison