Angel Of The Grail
Art by Pamela Matthews

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Sophia's Presence

by Burl B. Hall

My first mystical experience occured when I was 4, perhaps 5, years of age. On numerous occasions during that period of my life, I would have visions of a beautiful and awe-inspiring Woman. Without warning, She would appear in the kitchen of the apartmet where I lived. She would appear in front of me, poised in midair, in the corner of the room. According to adult logic, it would seem She would need to be small to fit into the corner of the kitchen. Yet, I never ascribed any size to this Woman. This phenomenon continues to occur when the Woman appears in adulthood dreams. She appears to be all-powerful. Yet, there is never any perception of size. This notion of not having any size means the image of the Woman serves as a metaphor for the Absolute. In Her, there is no relativity. <...>

The mysterious image of the Woman was awe-inspiring. She had golden-brown hair that, when reaching the sides of Her head, flowered into ringlets and flowed in powerful waves to the resting comfort of Her gracefully curved and bare shoulders. This Woman dressed in a blue gown, that was of the same hue as that of the daytime sky. It appeared to be a similar style dress common to women living in the 1700's. Low-cut in the front, the dress revealed the soft, rounded tops of Her breasts. Cupping the breasts from underneath was a hem. From there, the gown fell in multiple folds and draped about Her body. Appearing from the bottom hem of the gown were the Woman's unclad feet. From the bareness of the feet, to the style of the hair and dress; the entire image of the Goddess elicited an atmosphere of naturalness. This perception also elicited an impression that She was an ancient Being.

At rare times, this Woman appeared with two other Ladies. These Women were identical to Her in style of appearance and demeanor. These three did not seem to be in any type of power relationship. There were no bosses in this Trio. Rather, they all seemed synchronized in their objective, which had something to do with me. This objective is still a mystery to me. The power of these Women was intense, and was not felt as being plural. It was one radiant power that gave birth. These Women were a fiery Energy, and I felt enveloped within their radiance.

When the central Goddess appeared alone, I realized She had created me and monitored my progression in life. She knew everything about me, even my most private thoughts. This sense of being monitored elicited an awareness of an intense Presence. Her eyes appeared to penetrate to the core of my being. Nothing was secret before Her.

I did not call the Woman God, or Goddess. I learned these terms later, as an adult. With a child's innocence, I only considered Her my Friend. When She appeared, I would be very still. My Friend's radiating power and magnificence generated a deep sense of love and commitment. Though the Goddess only appeared in form in the kitchen of my apartment, I could feel Her Presence even when not there. She was with me wherever I went: playing with friends, in the living room, or in the bath.

These experiences lasted about a year, and eventually I learned the ways of our society. For fear of ridicule, I did not speak to anyone about my Friend. Not even my parents. In the world of schools, parents, and peers, there was no room to discuss the visions of a Goddess. I suppressed Her memory as a silly childhood fantasy. <...>

As I will illustrate throughout the book, the visions were not a silly childhood fantasy. I was wrong when I labeled them such. They tied in with ancient mystical teachings on the Holy Mother. The Power behind these visions entailed an all-encompassing Awareness transcending any cultural or social boundaries. That Power was the Power of everything. <...>

What was most salient in the visions was the intense feelings of Power and Awareness associated with the Woman. <...>

For example, at the age of 17, I began experiencing my life as being born here and now from an Infinite State of Consciousness, or Being. <...> I realize my life as being in a continuous process of creation and destruction within a timeless State of Infinity. I have no past or future in this Place. An instant and an eternity are one. <...>

pp. 3 - 6

What I was beginning to realize was that gender is not a thing. Gender was becoming known as a verb, not a noun. The terms Woman and Man referred to function and transcended the human body and personality. Human beings, I began to reason, took form as women and men because they mirrored an interactive Process that was universal. The biological function of human women mirrored a Process immanent throughout the universe to conceive, birth, devour (absorb or receive), and sustain life. Similarly, the biological function of human men mirrored a Process immanent throughout the universe to fertilize, penetrate, divide, and create form. <...>

p. 12

For me to begin seeing this Web, my Friend had to reintroduce Herself to me. In the summer of 1992, I began to have a series of dreams regarding the Feminine Divinity. In one of those dreams, I saw a plain sheet of notebook paper. Appearing on this paper, as if by magic, was the line, "Worship the Feminine Lord Thy God." This sentence appeared in a Woman's handwriting. This dream served in causing me to question traditional conceptualizations of God. Soon after the dream, I had another that began the process of questioning perceptions I had of the world and myself. This dream occurred on a night I was feeling somewhat depressed and turbulent due to stress at work. The dream is as follows:

While drifting into sleep, feeling depressed and trapped, I found myself falling into an eternal pit. Suddenly, my arms flew above my head, and I felt two hands grab hold of my wrists.

Glancing up, I saw the face of my childhood Friend, dressed in Her blue gown, with a face aglow with Light. That smile I knew in childhood provided nourishment for me again. My Friend was realized as a peace of mind long since forgotten in a world filled with cement, interstates, jobs, schools, and committments to a society interested in results, material possessions, and success. I had returned Home.

Instantaneously, we became the Wind. Our Spirits soared weightless as we sailed high above the Earth, gazing upon forests, trees, lakes, and streams. There was no distinction between She and I. As the Spiritual Wind moving over the Earth, She contained me. We blew across the sky, and I felt a unity about the Earth.

With a flash, we were in space. We gazed upon the Earth below us, and She stretched Her arms out in an embrace of the entire planet. In imitation of Her embrace, I too stretched forth my arms and felt a deep and infinite Love flow through me. <...>

pp. 13-14

~ from Chapter 1, The Tapestry Of Life, SOPHIA'S WEB: Understanding the Unity and Diversity of Religion, Science, and Ourselves by Burl B. Hall, Copyright 1999

Burl Hall's Web Site is:

More art by Pamela Mathews can be viewed on her Web Site page:
The Goddess Art of Pamela Matthews

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