There’s something I like about this whistling wasteland. In a corpse country all you can really do is poke a carcass with a stick, and there’s something freeing about that, like you can disengage and focus on whatever you want.
I want to start from the ground up
The De Mysteriis and Iamblichean theurgy became the foundation for the resurgence and continued life of Platonic communities until the closing of the Athenian Academy by Justinian in 529 C.E. and later–for Platonists in exile–in the frontier city of Harran where Iamblichean Platonism ultimately passed into Arab hands
I’ve given you a snapshot of Iamblichus before. He’s the one who made a religion out of Plato by fusing his thought with Egyptian ritual elements. I’m thinking about this in the context of all the “emanationism” I’ve been going on about- theurgy, for Iamblichus, is necessary to ascend to the descending light. So, you can’t just read about it or look at pretty pictures of angels, you have to do actual rituals.
It’s interesting how it ricocheted to Persia
Plato himself had acknowledged that his writings were merely a propaideia to deeper mysteries, and in several dialogues he spoke of the influence of “Oriental,” particularly “Egyptian,” wisdom on his thought.
Iamblichus was Syrian. So the “spirit” went north from Egypt to Greece, then east, then further east…
We like to think it went from Greece to the N/W – and upon closer inspection it isn’t clear that was the case.
Here is Plato in the Laws talking about the golden age
Kronos gave our communities as their kings and rulers, not men but Daimones, beings of diviner and superior kind just as we still do the same with our flocks of sheep and herds of other domesticated animals. We do not set oxen to manage oxen, or goats to manage goats; we, their betters in kind, act as masters ourselves. So, the god, in his kindness to man, did the same; he set over us the superior race of Daimones.
And in the Republic he says we should try to get back to that.
The Hidden Imam seems similar to ancient descriptions of Daimones. Does the US have anything remotely reminiscent? Ahahahaha. Everything is flattened here, the Chain is snapped, and the “gods” are like a released balloon that has left us alone on the ground as they rise farther and farther away from us. Iamblichus’ system is about how to grab the string. It’s called hieratikē technē.
You need serious people to do this. The kind of people for whom life is a joke aren’t going to be able to participate in something like this. Just go chatter about nonsense in a restaurant or something please. In other words, one already has to be “holding the balloon” to even approach this properly. If you’re so postpostpostpostpostmodern that you don’t believe anything then you’re “S. O. L.” as they say, and that seems pretty much like the average case these days.
Reflecting on how 8-bit Christian church services are is making me laugh. You’re saved! It’s so cheap, no wonder no one goes there anymore. What people don’t seem to get is that it’s possible to see how simplistic that “theurgy” is and then seek a more advanced understanding. “Oh you have something better than church?” I don’t think it’s difficult.
Beyond just my fellow theoretical hermeticists I think a reformulation of theurgy could help feminists, POC, etc. too, because they’re truly in a sorry state, and I’m usually embarrassed for them when I hear them speak. This is because they have no link to the above, they’re purely creatures of the earth. And again, I think they’re mostly S. O. L. because they’re conditioned from a young age to have an ironic detachment from this kind of talk. To them anything “God” related is inescapably lumped together with the ~white patriarchy reeee~ It seems that without anything above them they’re reduced to a hole to be used by stranger after stranger. “I’m not a hole, I’m THREE holes!” You sound like an actualized human being. What a failed ideology if that’s what it leads to. What are you, a bowling ball? An object with three holes used by different guys depending on the hour, many of whom are scrubs eating nachos, sounds about right- I hope I have a daughter with such a self-perception, I’d be so proud.
Anyway do you see how it’s a natural progression from Kabbalah to Iamblichus? How was ascent to the “Ein Soph” formulated originally? We’re trying to get to the historical roots of mysticism here.
Corbin is referenced in this study, and that isn’t a surprise to me. Here’s how this “Daimones” talk is phrased in that
The avenue I’m going down here is- Practically speaking, how do you do this?
Another connection here with Kabbalah is that Iamblichus was strongly influenced by Pythagorean arithmology. Numbers, words, and the lower and higher worlds are all connected. There’s an even more technical term- arithmogony. The following relations are harmonized opposites (you might think of the sephiroth and qliphoth)
This alone calls for a separate post, which might be for the future. At the moment I’m trying to focus on more practical matters.
Porphyry is another Neoplatonist, and to him theurgy amounted to nothing more than idol-worship. Iamblichus is known for challenging him on this.
That daimons were the immediate objects of worship was a point with which Iamblichus agreed, for it followed the hierarchical law that man must approach the gods through the mediation of daimons… As a class daimons were ontologically superior to man and revealed the invisible powers of the gods. Iamblichus says: “they bring into manifest activity the invisible good of the Gods, reveal what is ineffable in them, shape what is formless into form”
The Shi’ists have their “daimon” known as the Angel Gabriel, and the Kabbalists have their “daimon” known as the various sephiroth and qliphoth. Speaking approximately, Jesus acted as a sort of daimon for Europeoples too.
Here is how Iamblichus puts it around the year 300 AD
they equally facilitate the ascent (anagogē) from inferior to superior natures. They insert order and measures of the communication descending from more excellent natures
In the early days of Christianity you might have been killed for practicing theurgy. Theurgic temples were certainly destroyed. One ancient account describes it as eyes being gouged out from the earth.
“Yeah because Christ is the TRUE daimon!”
Really? Then explain why Christian-descended people are enslaved by people like this
I think it’s wise to go back to the beginnings of religion and try to see what might have been lost throughout the centuries of Christendom. I think it would be ideal to even attempt to synthesize Iamblichus, Christianity, Kabbalah, and Shi’ism.
Let’s look at this image again
You’re sitting at that table in the back with Iamblichus talking about that triangle. He seems to believe there are concrete rituals to perform so that you can invoke one of those angels above who has more direct access to the descending light.
He believes there are three different types of human souls and thus three different types of ritual
Scroll around in this if you want to know more.