Sophia

Album: A Creature I Don't Know (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • The first full offering from English singer-songwriter Laura Marling's third album, A Creature I Don't Know, is an ode to a mythical deity. She explained to the NME: "There's an idea that Sophia is God's female counterpoint. I became quite obsessed with that. She was a woman who kept men in check and told them off for doing nasty things."
  • For those of you without a theology degree, "Sophia" is the ancient Greek word for wisdom and in Christian theology is used to describe the higher wisdom of God. Gnosticism, which is a set of religious beliefs and practices that integrates aspects of Christianity, Ancient Greek philosophy, Hinduism and Buddhism sees Sophia as a feminine figure, allied to the human soul but also simultaneously one of the feminine aspects of God.
  • Marling told NME that she became fascinated by the academic theory that Sophia is God's female counterpoint. "It was a really fascinating idea that God had this kind of… moral nag," she explained. "Those really conflicting ideas of femininity I found really interesting. How can this kind of very sexual being with the long blonde hair be seen as angelic? That's something I always find really difficult, this kind of idea of sexualising women and kind of putting them in a maternal role and where do they fit in? I find it all wonderfully confusing (laughs)."
  • This song was inspired by Robertson Davies's novel Rebel Angels, "which is about God's female counterpart," explained Marling. "In the book she was this nagging figure, God's guilt, basically, keeping him on his toes, and I thought that was absolutely brilliant. So it's an homage to Sophia, and to the idea of the feminine divine — which comes up in 'The Beast' too. And it's kind of two fingers up, and meant to be funny."

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