"Everywhere he who possesses the least amount of intelligence, will begin his undertakings from Deity, and especially in explications respecting Deity: for we can only gain understanding of theosophia--wisdom concerning Deity--by being enlightened through the light of Deity; nor divulge it to others unless governed by Deity. . .
Knowing therefore this, and complying with the exhortation of the Platonic Timaeus, we in the first place establish Deity as the source of wisdom respecting itself. But may Deity in consequence of hearing our prayers be propitious to us, and benignantly approaching, guide the intellect of our soul, and lead it about the Vesta of Plato, and to the arduous sublimities of this contemplation; where, when we have arrived, we shall receive all the truth concerning Deity, and shall obtain the best end of our parturient conceptions of divine concerns, desiring to know something respecting Deity, inquiring about Deity of others, and, at the same time, as far as we are able, exploring Deity ourselves." |
Proclus (412-485 C.E), The Theosophia of Plato
It is fitting that we begin this essay/meditation/mind-exertion with Proclus' invocation, because, as he says, we must recognize Deity as the source of theosophia--wisdom concerning deity--and realize that we can only gain understanding of theosophia by being enlightened through the light of Deity, nor divulge it to others unless governed by Deity.
In this essay
we shall attempt to adumbrate 1 Perennialist Theosophia. The term "theosophia" is composed of the Greek words for Deity (Θεο) and Wisdom (Σοφια), thus, wisdom concerning the Deity.
The term theosophia is to be clearly distinguished from the word "theology"--which means mere theories about a conjectural conception of a deity as used by a specific religion or cult.
theosophia is to be clearly distinguished from Theosophy, a cult created by "Madame" Blavatsky out of a hodgepodge of oriental theories and dogmas.
This essay is part of a "new work" which the author is presently undertaking to explore and present new aspects of the Perennial Tradition previously undisclosed. The purpose of this essay is not only to explore and present this new theosophia--wisdom concerning Deity--but also to explicate and engage in new "theurgic practices" which allow for participation in this wisdom.
"The Principle of Things, superior even to Being itself, the First One, is truly the Unity of Unities, the Monad of Monads, the Principle of Principles, the Deity of Deities, The One, The All, and yet The One Prior To The All."|
Iamblicus (242-325 CE), The Mysteries of the Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Assyrians
One of the primary reasons for studying and practicing theosophia (wisdom concerning Deity) is that our coming to better understand The Divine makes it possible that we can, through esoteric practice, attain contact with and realize our union with The Divine Deity and Creator. We begin with a discussion of Hermetic Ascension and Ascesis: mind-exertion.
Musical/Verbal Theurgic Thaumaturgy
This Thaumaturgy [miracle-working] involves listening to a longer piece of music while simultaneously listening to a verbal audio message of a shorter duration a number of times. Activate both of these audio files below simultaneously. The volume of the first should be about 40% and the volume of the second should be 60%.
Before the soul joined herself to a terrestrial body, she enjoyed and appreciated divine musical harmony so when she proceeded into body and heard melodies of such a kind as especially preserve the divine essence of harmony, she embraced these, from them recollected divine harmony, and tends and is allied to it, and as much as possible participates in it. Hence the cause of some divine thaumaturgy [miracle-working] may, after this manner, be explained as arising from theurgic harmonious music.
The whole Pythagorean school produced, by certain appropriate songs, what they called exartysis, or adaptation; synarmoga, or elegance of manners; and epaphe, or contact, usefully transmuting the dispositions of the soul to passions contrary to those which it before possessed. For when they went to bed, they purified the reasoning power from the perturbations and noises to which it had been exposed during the day, by certain odes and special songs, and by this means procured for themselves tranquil sleep, and few and good dreams. And when they rose from sleep, they again liberated themselves from the torpor and heaviness of sleep, by songs of another kind. Sometimes, also, by musical sounds alone, unaccompanied with words, they healed the passions of the soul and certain diseases, enchanting, as they say, in reality. And it is probable that from hence this name epode, i. e. enchantment, came to be generally used. After this manner, therefore, Pythagoras, through music, produced the most beneficial improvement in human manners and lives.
Divine thaumaturgy brings about a conjoining with Deity and imparts to us a divine life involving participation in divine foreknowledge, and divine Reason, and renders us in reality divine.
Much of the theosophia we are studying and practicing through this essay/meditation/mind-exertion derives from the work of Plato and his disciples, the Neo-Platonists, especially Iamblicus and Proclus. According to the Neo-Platonists, the entire Platonic theosophia is a separate, supernatural element which exists in the supersensible realm and came to the terrestrial plane through the work and writings of Plato. Proclus, in his The Theosophia of Plato, makes this clear.
"I am of opinion that the whole philosophy of Plato was at first unfolded into light through the beneficent will of superior natures, exhibiting the intellect concealed in them, and the truth subsisting, together with beings, to souls conversant with generation (so far as it is lawful for them to participate of such supernatural and mighty good); and again, that afterwards having received its perfection, returning as it were into itself and becoming unapparent to many who professed to philosophize; and who earnestly desired to engage in the investigation of true being, it again advanced into light. But
I particularly think that the mystic doctrine respecting divine concerns, which is purely established on a sacred foundation, and which perpetually subsists with the gods themselves, became thence apparent to such as are capable of enjoying it for a time, through one man, whom I should not err in calling the primary leader and hierophant of those true mysteries, into which souls separated from terrestrial places are initiated, and of those entire and stable visions, which those participate who genuinely embrace a happy and blessed life."
| "The Deity that created Being and the All partakes of the essence (Form) of Goodness, and He desires that all should be . . . like unto Himself."|
"In the divine there is no shadow of evil, only the perfection of Goodness, and nothing is more like the divine than any one of us who manifests Goodness as much as possible. It is here that a man shows his true spirit and power or lack of spirit and nothingness. For to know this is wisdom and excellence of the genuine sort; not to know it is to be manifestly blind and base."
For Plato, one of the primary essences of Deity is Goodness.
"As Plato's conception developed, he dwelt more and more upon the one ultimate Reality which binds all subordinate realities into an organic whole--the supreme unity of all that is. This he called the 'Idea of the Good.' Through the 'Idea of the Good' all special spheres of reality are united in One Ultimate Reality. This is the Source and Goal of all things--the Alpha and Omega. Toward It all that is moves. It is the end and Final Cause in the entire circuit of the universe--'the one far-off divine event to which the whole creation moves.' Whatever comes to any degree or stage of being does so through the attraction of the Idea of the Good. The universe in all its parts is realizing an End which is Good and the end or Goal functions in the entire process. As the idea of a loved one moves the lover toward her whom he loves, so the Idea of the Good moves the many parts of the universe toward Itself, the One Reality--the Absolute Good." |
Rufus Jones, Studies In Mystical Religion, 1919
The Divine appears to be a composite, a "harmonized collectivity of consciousnesses" reminiscent of a loving family or a highly-effective Assembly or Committee. In his letter to Christians in Rome, Paul speaks of all things working together for good to those who love God. And he speaks of a Divine Family, with Jesus of Nazareth as the eldest son.
"Thus we have a harmonized collectivity of consciousnesses which together make up a sort of super-consciousness; the earth is covered by myriads of grains of thought but enclosed in one single enveloping consciousness so that it forms, functionally, a single vast grain of thought on a sidereal scale of immensity, the plurality of individual acts of reflective consciousness coming together and reinforcing one another in a single unanimous act." |
Teilhard de Chardin, Hymn of the Universe, (1961)
"Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs."|
Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
"The Good is... the goal toward which all our being and all the world's being should be directed, and hence in a way above being, exactly as in the Timaeus the Ideal world is the pattern toward which the phenomenal world, so far as this is possible, shall be shaped and guided."
Paul Elmer More, The Religion of Plato
Iamblicus explicates important elements of
"GOD THE FIRST: GOD THE CREATOR.
Before the things that really are, even the first principles of all things, is One Divine Being, prior even to the first God and King, abiding immovable in the aloneness of his own absolute unity. For neither is Intelligence nor any principle else intermingled with him, but he is established an exemplar of the God self-begotten, self-produced and only-begotten, the One truly Good. For he is the something Absolutely Great and Supreme, the Source of all things, and root of the first ideals subsisting in the Supreme Mind. Then from this One, the God sufficient in himself caused himself to shine forth: and hence he is self-engendered and self-sufficient. For he is the Beginning and God of Gods, a unity proceeding from the One, subsisting before essence, and the principle of essence. For from him are being and essence; and he is called accordingly Noetarch, Chief of the realm of thought.
"After the theurgic discipline has conjoined the soul individually with the several departments of the universe, and with all the divine powers that pervade it, then it leads the soul to the Creator of the world, places it in his charge, and frees it of everything pertaining to the realm of matter, uniting it with the Sole Eternal Reason (Logos).
"What I am saying is this: That it unites the soul individually to the One, Father of himself, self-moving. He who sustains the universe, spiritual, who arranges all things in order, who leads it to the supreme truth, to the absolute, the efficient, and other creative powers of God: thus establishing the theurgic soul in the energies, the conceptions and creative qualities of those powers. Then it inserts the soul in the entire Demurgic God.
"The soul, having a twofold life--the one in conjunction with the body, and the other separate from everything corporeal--we, in the case of the other mode of living, when we are awake, make use of many things pertaining to the life belonging with the body, except we, after a manner, detach ourselves from it in every respect by pure principles of thought and understanding.
"The theurgic energy and the successful accomplishment of the thaumaturgy [divine work] is enabled by Deity alone.
Divine thaumaturgy [miracle-working], involves our attaining union with Deity, truly brings us into the leading of a separate, divine life and renders us in reality divine."
Iamblichus, Theurgia or On the Mysteries of Egypt
The "mind-exertion" which is the essence of this essay involves our actually joining the "harmonized collectivity of consciousnesses" in their Eternal Work, engaging in dialectical interchange with this collectivity, discerning the Essence of their Work, gaining understanding of their goals, their principles and criteria of their reasoning, their decisions, and their actions; partaking of the Life Eternal and the higher powers of the heavenly ones," as Iamblicus describes it.
We learn to join in the Work of the Divine Harmonized Collectivity of Consciousness by gaining increasing discernment of their Essence, which is Goodness. Thus, in dialectical interchange with the harmonized collectivity of consciousness--the Divine--we understand that their work always involves bringing into reality in general and bringing into reality in an individual's life-experience, that which is ideal, most in allignment with Divine Forms or Prototypes, that which results in or evinces the most good (Perfection) for all persons involved. We have the Divine Privilege of dialectically interchanging by suggesting what appears to us to be ideal, perfect, most conducive to Goodness for All Creation.
1Adumbrate: to provide the main points or summary of a subject, from adumbrare (Latin) "to cast a shadow on"