Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Kelly Murphy MasonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_746

Wisdom is a virtue that combines proper understanding with the prudent application of knowledge; it is often believed to be a product of right relation with the Divine. In psychospiritual terms, wisdom melds both acceptance and insight and thereby results in judicious action. Often, wisdom is characterized as having a feminine dimension. It has also been associated with elders at the end of life. Throughout the ages, wise ones have been revered not only by their peers but also by successive generations who recognized the wisdom of previous generations as timeless wisdom.

Personifications of wisdom have abounded for millennia. In the Greek pantheon, Athena was the embodiment of wisdom; her totem was the round-eyed owl that was able to see through darkness and at wide angles (Warner 1985). In her nativity myth, Athena springs fully formed from Zeus’ head, suggesting the relation of wisdom to flashes of insight. She is a feminine archetype of good counsel, sound strategy, clear thinking,...

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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Psychotherapy and Spirituality InstituteNew YorkUSA