Excerpts and highlights for possible avenues of discussion:
In most versions of the Gnostic mythos, it is Sophia who brings about this instability in the Pleroma, in turn bringing about the creation of materiality. According to some Gnostic texts, the crisis occurs as a result of Sophia trying to emanate without her syzygy or, in another tradition, because she tries to breach the barrier between herself and the unknowable Bythos
. After cataclysmically falling from the Pleroma, Sophia's fear and anguish of losing her life (just as she lost the light of the One) causes confusion and longing to return to it. Because of these longings, matter
, ὕλη) and soul
(Greek: psychē, ψυχή) accidentally come into existence. The creation of the Demiurge
(also known as Yaldabaoth, "Son of Chaos") is also a mistake made during this exile. The Demiurge proceeds to create the physical world in which we live, ignorant of Sophia, who nevertheless manages to infuse some spiritual spark or pneuma
into his creation.
In reconciling the doctrine of the pneumatic nature of the Sophia with the dwelling-place assigned her, according to the Proverbs, in the kingdom of the midst, and so outside the upper realm of light, there was envisioned a descent of Sophia from her heavenly home, the Pleroma, into the void (kenōma
) beneath it. The concept was that of a seizure or robbery of light, or of an outburst and diffusion of light-dew into the kenōma, occasioned by a vivifying movement in the upper world. But inasmuch as the light brought down into the darkness of this lower world was thought of and described as involved in suffering, this suffering must be regarded as a punishment. This inference was further aided by the Platonic
notion of a spiritual fall.
Alienated through their own fault from their heavenly home, souls have sunk down into this lower world without utterly losing the remembrance of their former state, and filled with longing for their lost inheritance, these fallen souls are still striving upwards. In this way the mythos
of the fall of Sophia can be regarded as having a typical significance. The fate of the "mother" was regarded as the prototype of what is repeated in the history of all individual souls, which, being of a heavenly pneumatic origin, have fallen from the upper world of light their home, and come under the sway of evil powers, from whom they must endure a long series of sufferings until a return into the upper world be once more vouchsafed them.