|Twilit Grotto -- Esoteric Archives||Contents||Prev||Iamblichus||Next||timeline|
Translated by Alexander Wilder, 1911.
This digital edition by Joseph H. Peterson,
Copyright © 2000. All rights reserved.
|First, then, thou askest that it shall be explained to thee in detail what it is that takes place in the prognosticating of the future. It is impossible to set forth at once what thou art trying to learn. For according to the gist of the question, thou imaginest something like this of the art of prognosticating: as that it is generated, and some thing existing in the realm of nature. But it is not one of the things that are generated, nor what a certain natural mutation accomplishes, nor some ingenious product which has been invented for useful purposes in every-day life -- nor, in short, is it a human accomplishment at all, but divine, and beyond the realm of nature; and having been sent down from the heaven above, unbegotten and eternal, it naturally takes the first place.||NOTES:|
|The chief remedy for all doubts of such a kind is this: to know the origin of the Divining Art, that it is neither set in motion from bodies nor from the conditions incident to bodies, nor from a peculiar nature and the faculties incident to the nature, nor from human preparation or experience pertaining to it; but on the other hand, not from any skill acquired externally in relation to some part of which may be attempted in every-day life. Its entire validity pertains to the gods, and is conferred by the gods. It is perfected by the divine Performances and symbols, and there are likewise divine spectacles and learned theorems. All other things are subject as instrumentalities for the gift of foreknowledge which has been transmitted from the gods. These include both such as relate to our soul and body and such as are inherent in the nature of everything or in the individual natures of every one. Some things, however, are subordinate beforehand, as being in the realm of Matter; such, for example, as places, or other things of a like character.|
|If, however, any one thinking that he is saying something erudite, shall refuse to consider the primary causes,1 but shall attribute the art and faculty of divining to operations of an inferior character, such as to the activities of bodies, or changes of conditions, or to different movements or operations of human life, or to reasons of a psychic or physical nature; or if he shall argue from the correspondence of these things to others as being causes, presuming that he is setting forth what is true, he has gone entirely wrong.2 On the contrary, the one right goal, and the one principle in relation to all these matters, will be found to be: that in no case do we derive the divination of the future from any of those things that have no foreknowledge in themselves, but that we shall contemplate the mantic power which is apportioned over all the world and to all the natures distributed therein from the gods who possess in themselves the entire compass of the knowledge of the things that have a being. For such a cause is not only primal, and, in the fullest sense, universal, but it also contains in itself primarily whatever it imparts to those that participate of it; and it especially bestows the true knowledge which the divining art requires. It likewise comprehends beforehand the essence and cause of the things about to take place, from which, of necessity, the attaining of foreknowledge comes unceasingly.||
The Causes are to be understood to be divine
beings. Plato and the Stoic philosophers regarded the art or faculty
of divination as incited by a divine rapture or enthusiasm, and
an imparting of divine knowledge to human beings. They also believed
that there were divine dreams. Xenophanes, however, was a disbeliever,
and Pythagoras rejected all forms of divination by sacrifices.
Strato taught that the noëtic faculties are active in sleep.
Plutarch explains that when the imaginative part of the soul and
the divine efflux are in accord, there is a mantic inspiration.
The body, he insists, is sometimes naturally endued with the faculty
of divining; and in other cases, this faculty may he set in operation
by external and artificial means.
Abammon, as will be noted, denies that the sex of the seer or ecstatic is an essential in the technique of divination. The oracle at Delphi was served by virgin attendants, and the shrines in other places by persons of some particular age, and in a peculiar state of alienation produced by fasting, mesmeric applications, anesthesia or other artificial means.
2. Aristotle imputed the divining faculty to a melancholic temperament; others to an inhaling of certain vapors or gases, and others to a variety of causes. Abammon in subsequent chapters treats of these. Plato describes priests skilled in divining as "the interpreters of the divinity to men."
Let such, therefore, be the principle generally, not only in relation
to all divining from which it is practicable to find out by the
mode of the superior knowing all the forms of it, but let us also
now take it in turn, following out the questions which thou hast
DIVINATION BY DREAMS.
|In regard to divining in sleep thou remarkest as follows: "When we are asleep we often come, through dreams, to a perception of things that are about to occur. We are not in an ecstasy, full of commotion, for the body lies at rest; yet we do not ourselves apprehend these things as clearly as when we are awake."3||
We are reminded of Campbell's verse:
"Coming events cast their shadows before." The person whose faculties are acute thus perceives them. Plutarch defines the matter as follows: "The divining faculty when it has drawn itself farthest from the present, touches on that which is to come; and it withdraws itself from this by a certain disposition of body, by which that state is produced which we call Inspiration or Enthusiasm."
|These things of which thou speakest are likely to take place in human dreams and in those set in motion by the soul or by our own thoughts, or by discourse, or such things as arise from phantasies or daily cares. These are sometimes true and sometimes false; they sometimes hit upon actual fact, but they go, many times, wide of the mark.|
|The dreams, however, which are termed "God-sent," do not have their origin in the way which thou describest. On the contrary, either when sleep is leaving us and we are beginning to awake, it happens that we hear a brief expression in regard to things to be done; or it may be that the voices are heard during the period between being awake and asleep, or when we have become entirely awake. Sometimes, also, an invisible and unbodied spirit encompasses the recumbent persons in a circle, so as not to come to the sight of the individual, but to be present in another joint sensation and understanding. It makes a rustling sound when thus coming in, and also diffuses itself in every direction, without producing any sense of contact; and it likewise accomplishes wonderful results in setting free from ill conditions of the soul and also of the body. At other times, however, a light beaming forth bright and soft, the sight of the eyes is not only held fast, but it remains so even when they had been wide open before. But the other senses continue awake, and are jointly conscious to a certain degree as to how the gods are visible in the light. Hence the individuals both hear what they say, and, following with the thought, know what they do. Of course, this is perceived more perfectly when the eyes are looking attentively, and the mind, being in full vigor, understands the things which are performed, and the movement of the Beholders is likewise in harmony.4 These, therefore, being so many and so different, are in nothing like human dreams. On the contrary, not only are the peculiar wakeful condition, the holding of the sight, the seizure resembling torpor (catalepsis), the condition between sleep and awake, and the recent awaking or entire wakefulness, all of them divine, and accordant with the receiving of the gods, but they are actually sent from the gods themselves, and a part of the divine manifestations precedes them, after the manner of such things.||4. This is similar in many respects to the vision of the prophet Balaam (Numbers, XXIV, 15, 16) "Balaam the son of Beor saith -- the man beholding what is good and true, saith: Hearing the oracular utterances of God, apprehending superior knowledge from the Most High -- Beholding the vision of God in sleep, having his eyes unsealed."|
Banish, then, from the divine dreams in which particularly there
is divination, all notion that "we are asleep" in any
sense whatever, and also the statement that "we do not clearly
apprehend the meaning," as applying to those who behold the
divine apparitions. For not only is the presence of the gods manifest
in a degree by no means inferior to those who understand such
things, but if we must tell the truth, it is necessarily more
exact and distinct, and effects a more perfect consciousness in
the former case than in the latter. Some, however, who do not
take cognizance of these proofs of dreams which are truly oracular,
but who think that they are in some way common with those that
are merely human, fall rarely, and by accident, upon those in
which there is a foreknowing of the future. Hence they doubt whether
there are any dreams that contain truth in any degree. Indeed,
this, it seems to me, disquiets thee because of not knowing their
genuine tokens. But it is necessary that thou shouldst prefer
the true meaning of dreams before thy own notions, and follow
out the whole argument in regard to divination during sleep.
DIVINATION AND HEALING POWER.
They (the ancient sages to whom we have referred) likewise affirm the following things:
|The soul, having a twofold life -- the one along 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. In sleep, however, we are completely set free as from fetters lying by us, and bring into activity the life which is separate from the sphere of generated existence. Hence, therefore, this form or ideal of life, whether it is spiritual5 or divine, which is the same, or only one existing individually by itself, is awakened in us and puts forth its energy according to its own nature.||5. Greek, noeros, the pure reason; spiritual; from noos, or Mind. It is the term usually rendered so in this treatise.|
DISTINCT PROVINCES OF THE MIND AND SOUL.
|Since, therefore, the mind contemplates the things that have real being, but the soul encompasses in itself the principles of all things that exist in the sphere of generated existence, it follows, of course, that, answering to the cause which comprehends future events, it prognosticates them, as arranged by their antecedent principles. Besides, however, when it joins together the divided sections of life and spiritual energy in the wholes (divine essences) from which they were taken, it creates a more perfect art of divining than this. For it is then filled from the wholes with every kind of knowledge, and thus most frequently attains to true conception in regard to the events which are taking place in the world. Nevertheless, when it is united to the gods through such liberated energy, it receives on the instant abundances of perceptions absolutely genuine, from which it gives forth the true oracular solution of divine dreams, and thenceforth establishes the absolutely genuine principles of knowledge. If, on the other hand, the soul interblends its spiritual and divine nature with the superior beings, its mental images will then be more pure and unalloyed, whether in respect to the gods or in relation to beings essentially incorporeal; or, to speak in simple terms, in respect to whatsoever contributes to the truth, that which relates to the world of mind. If, however, it exalts the notions of things pertaining to the world of creation to the gods, their causes, it receives from them, in addition, a power and a capacity of knowing which reasons intelligently both of things that were and things that will be.6 It not only takes a view of every period of time, and examines events that are to take place in the period, but it likewise participates in the arranging, management and correcting of them. It not only heals diseased bodies,7 but also restores to order many things among men which were discordant and disorderly. It also gives forth discoveries of arts, proper regulations .for the administering of law, and institutions of customs. Thus, in the temples of Asclepius, not only are diseases brought to an end by dreams of divine origin, but through manifestations by night the medical art is combined with the sacred visions.8||
Nothing resembles death more than sleep,"
says Xenophon. "In sleep the soul reveals her divine quality,
and being then set free from the body she beholds the future."
7. Physicians and others having the care of the sick have been indebted to dreams for the discovery of many remedies. Such is the testimony of Cicero, Diodoros, Plutarch and others. Intuitive suggestion also prompts to the employing of the proper remedial measures.
8. Asclepius (or Asklepios or Æsculapius), the patron god of the medical art, was called Oneiropompos or sender of dreams. There were sleep-houses at his various temples, in which "incubation" or mesmerism was employed. The dreams which were thus procured were interpreted by the prophets or mantic priests, and the remedies suggested if found valuable became a part of the pharmacopoeia. The names of Cheiron, Jason, Medeia, seem to refer to this practice. Aristeides, in the reign of the Antonines, gives a very full account of this matter.
|The entire army of Alexander was saved when in imminent danger of being destroyed in the night, Dionysos (Bacchus) appearing in a dream and indicating the way to be delivered from desperate calamities.9 Aphutis, likewise, when it was besieged by King Lysander, was saved through dreams sent from Amun; he withdrawing his troops at the shortest notice and raising the siege without delay.10||
Plutarch and Arrian state that when Alexander
on his return from India passed through Gedrosia, his army suffered
from famine and disease; The mortality was prodigious and it required
all the energy of the king to bring forward the survivors out
of the trackless desert. We have no account of the interposition
of the divinity, but, after arriving in Karamania, an orgy or
festival of seven days was celebrated in his honor.
10. Aphutis or Aphytis was a city of the peninsula of Pallene or Phlegra on the gulf of Saloniki. Pausanias and Plutarch tell the story that Lysander, the King of Sparta, was warned by a dream to abandon his purpose of investing the city and a temple to the god Amun was built and dedicated.
Yet why is it necessary to refer specifically to events which
occur daily, and exhibit an energy superior to speech? These things,
therefore, which have been set forth in relation to divination
from the gods during sleep, both as to what it is and the benefit
which it affords to human beings, are certainly enough.
TOKENS OF GENUINE POSSESSION.
And then thou affirmest as follows: "In like manner, many also come to a perception of the future through enthusiastic rapture and a divine impulse, when at the same time so thoroughly awake as to have the senses in full activity. Nevertheless, they by no means follow the matter closely, or at least they do not attend to it as closely as when in their ordinary condition."
Right here I wish to show the tokens in these occurrences of those who are really possessed by the gods. For they have either placed their whole life at the disposal as a vehicle or organ for the inspiring gods, or they exchange the human for the divine life, or else they carry on their own life in reference to the divinity. They are not acting by sense, nor are they watchful as those whose senses are aroused to greater acuteness, nor do they attempt the study of the future, nor are they moved as those who are active from impulse. On the other hand, they do not understand themselves, either as they were formerly or in any other way; nor, in short, do they exercise their own intelligence for themselves, nor do they put forth any superior knowledge of their own.
|The chief token may be adduced as follows: Many, through the divine affiatus, are not burned when brought to the fire, nor when the fire touches them. Many, also, who are burned, do not perceive it, because in this case they are not living the life of an animal. Some, also, who are pierced with spits do not feel it; and others who have been struck on the shoulders with axes, and others still whose arms are cut with knives,11 do not mind12 it at all. Indeed, their performances. are not at all usual with human beings. For to those who are divinely possessed inaccessible places become accessible: they are thrown into the fire; they go through fire they pass through rivers like the holy maids in Kastabalis.13 From these examples it is shown that they who are enthusiasts do not have any thought of themselves, and that they do not live a human or an animal life so far as relates to sense or natural impulse, but that they exchange it for another more divine life by which they are inspired and by which they are held fast.||
This is probably an allusion to the mutilations
practiced at Rites like the orgies of the Great Mother. Similar
suspensions of sensibility are reported in cases of burning alive
and the tortures inflicted upon religious devotees. The enthusiasm
or mental ecstasy overcomes the corporeal sensation.
12. Greek, parakolonthéw to follow a subject. It implies an understanding, together with a fixing of the attention till external consciousness is lost sight of.
13. Kastabalis was a city in Kappadokia. In it was a temple of Artemis or Anahita, whose priestesses or holy maids, it was affirmed, walked with bare feet upon the snow and upon burning coals without harm.
OTHER TOKENS -- THE BODY LIFTED INTO THE AIR.
There are truly many forms of divine possession, and the divine inbreathing is set in motion in many ways. Hence, accordingly, there are many different signs of it. For on the one hand the gods by whom we are inspired are different, and communicate a different inspiration; and on the other hand, the mode of the divine transports being changed, it occasions another form of divine impulse. For either the divinity possesses us, or we our entire selves become the god's own, or we are active in common with him. Sometimes we share the ultimate or last power of the divinity, at another time the intermediate, and sometimes the first. At one time there is a bare participation of these raptures; at another there is also communion; and sometimes, again, there is a complete union. Either the soul alone enjoys, or it has it with the body, or else the whole living individual shares it in common.
|From these diversities it follows that the distinctive signs denoting those who are inspired are of many kinds. Not only among them are the motions of the body and of specific parts, but likewise its perfect repose, and also harmonious orders and dances and musical voices, or the contraries of these. The body also is seen lifted up, or increased in size, or borne along raised up in the air,14 or there appear occurrences in relation to it the contrary of these. There is likewise to be observed an evenness of voice according to extent, or with many deviations with intervals of silence and irregularities. Again, sometimes, the sounds are augmented or relaxed after the rules of music, and sometimes after another manner.||
M. Eugene Salverte in his work on the
"Philosophy of Magic" remarks that in spite of
their master's assertions to the contrary, "the enthusiastic
disciples of Iamblichus affirmed that when he prayed he was raised
to the height of ten cubits from the ground; and dupes to the
same metaphor, although Christians, have had the simplicity to
attribute a similar miracle to St. Clare and St. Francis of Assisi."
Calmet mentions "several instances of persons full of religion and piety, who, in the fervor of their visions, have been taken up into the air and remained there some time." He adds that he personally knew a man to whom this occurred. Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, it is said; "was raised up from the ground to the height of two feet, while his body shone like light." Savonarola, who was burned at the stake, one person declares, was seen to remain suspended at a considerable height from the floor of his dungeon. Superintendent Moeller of Freiburg testified that Anna Maria Fleischer was "raised in bed, with her whole body, head and feet to the height of nine ells and a half, so that it appeared as if she would have flown through the windows."
If the polarity of the body can be changed by the will, this would be a physical possibility.
DESCENT OF THE DIVINE SPIRIT AND FIRE.
|The principal thing in the evoking of a spirit is that the spirit is seen coming down and entering into an individual, also its importance and kind, and he is mystically persuaded and governed by it. The form of fire is seen by the recipient before the receiving of the spirit, and sometimes, either when the god is descending or when he is withdrawing himself, it becomes visible to all the Beholders.15 From this manifestation the sign of the god which is the most genuine, the most potent, and most perfectly ordered, becomes known to a certainty; and it is not only proper to proclaim what is true in respect to certain matters but also to exhibit the power or to complete the rite with the adepts. But they who, without witnessing these holy spectacles at the Sacred Rites, effect the conjuring of the spirits in some invisible manner, grope their way as in the dark, and know nothing of what they are doing, except some very small signs which are manifested through the body of the person who is divinely inspired and some other things which are plainly to be seen; and they are likewise ignorant of everything of divine inbreathing which is veiled in invisibility.||15. This description presents a striking analogy to that given by John the Baptist in the Gospels, "He shall baptize or envelop you in a holy spirit and fire." (The words, "and fire," are interpolated.) "I have beheld the holy spirit descending as a dove from the sky, and it remained upon him."|
But to come back from this digression. If the presence of the
fire of the gods and an ineffable form of light from without shall
permeate the individual who is under control, fill him completely,
have absolute dominion over him, and encompass him on all sides
so that he can put forth no energy of his own, what sense or mental
effort or purpose of his own can he have who receives the divine
fire? Or what impulse merely human can then insinuate itself,
or what human reception of passion or ecstasy or turning aside
of imagination, or anything else of the kind, such as the many
conceive of, may then take place?
Let such as these, then be the divine tokens of genuine inspiration
from the gods, which any one, keeping in mind, will not swerve
from the right knowledge in regard to it.
ENTHUSIASM OR DIVINE INSPIRATION.
|Nevertheless, it is not enough to learn these things alone, nor may any one who knows only these things become perfect in divine overknowledge. On the other hand, it is necessary to know also what enthusiasm or divine possession really is and how it is developed. The conjecture that it is a carrying away of the understanding by a dæmonian afflatus is utterly false.16 The human understanding, if it is truly thus possessed, is not carried away. Not from daemons, but from gods. comes inspiration. Really, on the other hand, it is not simply an ecstatic rapture or trance, but, on the contrary, an exaltation and passing to the superior condition; whereas mental distraction and ecstasy indicate a general overturning to the worse. Hence, a person declaring this may speak of the results in respect to the entheast individuals and yet give no instruction in regard to the principal matter. This, however, consists in holding fast to all these manifestations of divinity to which the ecstatic condition afterward succeeds. No one, therefore, may justly suppose that the entheast condition is of the soul and of faculties belonging to it, or of the mind or of the energies or of bodily infirmity, or that without this latter concomitant it may not thus occur and be, as a matter of course, the underlying cause. For the matter of divine possession and inspiration is in no sense a human attainment, nor has it an origin in human organs and energies. On the contrary, these are subordinate, and the Divinity employs them as instruments. Neither the soul nor the body of the individual has the least agency in the matter, but he exercises the whole function of divination through himself; and being free, with no intermingling of anything extraneous; he works according to his own nature.||16. Theophrastos, who became the teacher in the Lyceum at Athens after Aristotle, regarded enthusiasm as a disease.|
Hence, the vaticinations being thus performed as I describe, they
are, of a certainty, incapable of being untruthful. But when the
Soul begins beforehand or is disturbed in the meantime or takes
part with the body, and interrupts the divine harmony, the divinations
become tumultuous and false, and the inspiration is no longer
true or genuine.
ORIGIN OF THE ENTHEASTIC RAPTURE.
|Suppose, accordingly, that the genuine art of divining was a liberating of the divine from the other soul17 or a separating of the mind by itself or an extending of its purview, or that it was a vehemence and extending of energy or passion or a sharpening and prompting of the understanding or an in-spiriting of the mind. All such things being conditions which are set in motion by our own soul, it may be assumed with good reason that enthusiasm or inspiration has the same origin. But if the body is to be regarded as the cause of the inspired rapture or trance, on account of certain temperaments, either melancholic or some other, or, to speak more particularly, on account of heat and cold and moisture, or some form of these or, in a word, the mingling or tempering of them or the breath, or more or less of these, in such case the bodily condition would be the cause of the aberration, and it would arise from the physical disturbances.18 If, however, the origin arises from both these, from the body and the soul so far as these are blended together with each other, such activity will be common to them as a single living being. But on the contrary, it is neither an affair of the body nor of the soul nor of the two together. For there is not in these any cause of divine aberration, and it is not in the order of nature for superior things to be generated from those that are inferior.19||
Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle, and Zeno
concur in the statement that the soul is itself of a several-fold
nature. The "immortal principle" which proceeds from
the Creator consists of the faculty of intelligence, the epistêmê
or overmind, and sound judgment. The "mortal part" comprises
the thumos or passionate, aggressive quality, and the epithumetic,
appetitive, or receptive nature.
18. Plato declares in the Timaios that the faculty of divining is active only when the understanding or reasoning faculty is in abeyance, fettered by sleep or aliened by disease or the entheastic rapture. Plutarch imputes its activity to a certain crasis or condition of body through which it becomes separated from the consciousness of objects and matters that are immediately present.
19. Abammon seems to clash with the modern dogma of evolution except as associated with the hypothesis of the Rev. Dr. James Martineau, that whatever is evolved or unwombed has been before involved.
|On the other hand, it is necessary to investigate the causes of the divine frenzy.20 These are illuminations that come down from the gods, the inspirations that are imparted from them, and the absolute authority from them, which not only encompasses all things in us but banishes entirely away the notions and activities which are peculiarly our own. The frenzy causes words to be let fall that are not uttered with the understanding of those who speak them; but it is declared, on the contrary, that they are sounded with a frenzied mouth, the speakers being all of them subservient and entirely controlled by the energy of the dominant intelligence. All enthusiasm is of such a character, and is brought to perfection from causes of such a kind; hence it is by impression, and not with precise accurateness, that we speak in relation to it.||20. Greek, mania, rage, madness, entheasm, religious excitement, or rapture. The term is used here to denote the rapture incident upon being possessed by a superior power. Plato remarks in the Phaidros: "There are two kinds: one arising from human diseases and the other by a digression from fixed habits." He subdivides the divine mania or entheasm into four kinds, and assigns the mantic or prophetic inspiration to Apollo, mystic inspiration to Dionysos, poetic inspiration to the Muses, and the passion of love to Aphrodite. This last, he declares to be the best of all enthusiasms and of the best origin, describing it as "the right hand of the divine mania, and the source of greatest blessing to us."|
THE MUSIC AT THE ARCANE RITES.
|In addition to these things you remark as follows: "So also certain others of these ecstatics become entheast or inspired when they hear cymbals, drums, or some choral chant,21 as, for example, those who are engaged in the Korybantic Rites,22 those who are possessed at the Sabazian festival and those who are celebrating the Rites of the Divine Mother."23||
Some exhibition of this kind is described
by the Apostle Paul in the first Epistle to the Corinthians. "If,"
says he, "the whole assembly come together to the same place
and all prattle in tongues, and common men should come in, or
unbelievers, will they not say that you are raving?" Hence
he counsels that only two or three should speak in turn, and one
interpret; but if nobody present is capable of this, they should
keep silence, and speak only to themselves and to God: "for
not of tumult is he a god, but of tranquillity." (Ovid; Fasti
IV, "The attendants beat the brass, and the hoarse-sounding
hides. Cymbals they strike in place of helmets, tambourines for
the shields; the pipe yielded its Phrygian notes.")
There is evidently a deeper meaning in all this than is commonly apprehended.
22. The Korybantes are variously described. Their cult was identified or closely allied to that of the Kabeirian divinities, and that of the Great Mother. It was celebrated in the islands of the Aegean Sea and in Phygia. Music, dancing, processions, and ecstatic frenzy were characteristics.
23. Sabazios, Sabaoth, or Sabbat, the god of the Planet Saturn, was better known as Bacchus or Dionysos, and was also styled in Semitic countries, Iao or Yava. His worship was more or less associated and identified with that of the Great Mother, under various designations, and it was characterized by phallephoric processions, dances, mourning for the slain divinity, and the Watch Night. It came from Assyria as its peculiar symbols, the ivy or kissos, the spotted robe or Nimr, and the Thyrso, indicate. The name Zagreus the Kissos and nimr remind us of Kissaia or Asiatic Ethiopia, and the Zagros mountains occupied by the Nimr. Assyria was called "the land of Nimrod." -Amos VIII.
|It is proper, accordingly, to tell the causes of these things, how they came into existence, and what explanation there is for the performing of the Rites.|
|These allusions which you make, namely, that the music at these festivals is exciting and passionate; that the sound of the flutes causes or heals conditions of aberration; that the music changes the temperaments or dispositions of the body; that by some of the choral songs the Bacchic frenzy is excited, but by others the Bacchic orgies are made to cease; how the peculiar differences of these accord with the various dispositions of the soul, and also that the peculiar wavering and variable choric chants, such as those of Olympus, and others of the same kind., are adapted to the producing of ecstasies24 -- all of them seem to me to be stated in a manner unfavorable to the entheast condition; for they are both physical and human in their quality and performances, according to our technic, but nothing essentially divine appears in them.||24. Proclus declared that the choral songs of Olympus were adapted to produce ecstasy. Plato describes an audience in Ion, comparing it to a series of iron rings connected by a chain and moved by the lodestone: "Some hand from one Muse and some from another," he remarks, "some, for example, from Orpheus, others from Mussios, but the greater part are inspired by Homer and are held fast by him."|
We affirm, accordingly, not only that the shoutings and choric
songs are sacred to the gods, each and all of them, as being peculiarly
their own, but likewise that there is a kindred relationship between
them in their proper order, according to their respective ranks
and powers, the motions in the universe itself and the harmonious
sounds emitted from the motions By the agency of such a relationship
of the choric songs to the gods it is that their presence actually
becomes manifest, for there is nothing intervening; and hence
whatever has a mere incidental resemblance to them becomes immediately
participant of them. There also takes place at once a perfect
possession and filling with the divine essence and power. Nor
is this because the body and soul are in each other, and affected
alike in sympathy with the songs; but, on the contrary, it is
because the inspiration of the gods is not separated from the
divine harmony, and being allied with it, as being of the same
kindred, it is shared by it in just measures. It is, however,
aroused or checked, one or the other, according to the specific
rank of the gods. But this is never by any means to be termed
a separating, purifying, or a remedy. For, first of all, it is
not dispensed on account of any disease or excess or plethora
in us, but the whole beginning and course of operation are from
the gods above.
On the contrary, it is not proper to say that the soul originally consisted of harmony and rhythm, for in that case the entheast condition is an inherent property of the soul alone. It will be better, therefore, to bring our discourse back to this statement: that the soul, prior to the giving of itself to the body, was a hearer of the divine harmony, and accordingly, when it came into a body it heard such songs as especially preserve throughout the divine trace of harmony, it followed them eagerly, recalled from them the remembrance of divine harmony, is borne along with it, becomes closely allied to it, and partakes of it as much as possible.
Hence we may generally explain in this way the source of the divine
faculty of divination.
INSPIRATION AND ORGIASTIC EXCITEMENT.
|Let us now proceed with our reasoning in relation to this subject of divination. We may not affirm this at the outset, namely, that Nature is leading everything to its own, for to be entheast is in no way a work of Nature; nor may we say that the composition and quality of the air and of the environment create a different condition in the bodies of those that are entheast, for the divine products of inspiration are never modified by bodily powers or components; nor may we suppose that the divine inspiration gives sanction to special conditions and incidents, for the gift of the gods to human beings is the bestowing of their own energy, and is superior to everything of the sphere of generated existence. But since the power of the Korghantian divinities is, in a certain degree, of a guardian and perfecting character,25 and the peculiar usages of the Sabazian worship make ready for the Bacchic enthusiasm, the purifying of souls, and deliverances from old incriminations, their respective inspirations are, accordingly, different in every important particular.26||
In these rites the worshippers danced,
forming a circle around the altar. See also I Kings, XVIII, 26.
With the Korghantians, this represented a guard about the Demiurgos
or Creator; with the Kuretes, it denoted a protecting of the divine
26. Servius remarks that the Sacred observances of Father Liber, the Roman Bacchus, related to the purification of souls. This cleansing, as here declared, was considered to be not only from contamination acquired by coming into the conditions of physical existence, but also from guilt actually incurred.
Thou seemest to think that those who are enrapt by the Mother
of the gods are males, for thou callest them, accordingly, "Metrizontes";
yet that is not true, for the "Metrizontesæ" are
chiefly women. A very few, however, are males, and such as may
be more delicate. This enthusiasm has a power that is both life-engendering
and perfective, in which respect it differs from every other form
Proceeding thus, after this way, into what remains of the present
discussion, and distinguishing particularly the inspirations of
the Nymphs or of Pan, and their other specific differences with
reference to the powers of the gods, we shall treat of them separately
according to their respective peculiarities; and shall, likewise,
explain why they sally forth and spend time in the mountains,
why some of them appear bound, and why they are to be worshipped
by offerings. We shall like-wise attribute these things to the
sources of divine authority, as they possess all power in themselves;
but we shall neither affirm that an accumulation of refuse of
the body or soul requires to be cleansed away, nor that the periods
of the seasons are the cause of such ill conditions, nor that
the receiving of what is similar and the taking away of the contrary
will prove a remedy for an excess of this kind. For all such things
are set down in the category of the corporeal, and are entirely
separate from a divine and spiritual life. Each, however, succeeds
in accomplishing the operations which pertain to its own nature.
Hence the spirits that are aroused by the gods, and that excite
human beings to the Bacchic frenzy, overstep every other human
and natural activity, and it is not right to compare their operations
to those taking place in ordinary ways; but in respect to those
which are utterly strange, and of earliest origin, it is proper
to refer them back to the gods as authors. One form of divine
inspiration is, accordingly, of this kind, and takes place after
Another mode of entheastic divining, that of Oracles, is famous, and very plain in many ways, concerning which thou declarest such things as these, namely: "Others are inspired when drinking water, like the priest of the Klarian Apollo at Kolophon; others when sitting over cavities in the earth, like the women who deliver the oracles at Delphi; others when overpowered by vapors from the water, like the prophetesses at Branchidæ."
Thou hast mentioned these three oracles by name, not be-cause there are only these, for there are many more which thou hast passed over in silence; but since these take rank before the others, and on account of which are more sought, thou art sufficiently instructed in respect to the mode of divining. I will now, because thou hast enough of these things, speak of the oracular art which has been sent down to human beings from the gods. We will, therefore, make our discourse in relation to these three, and not let a word fall respecting the many other oracles.
|It is acknowledged by everybody that the oracle at Kolophon gives its responses through the medium of water. There is a spring in a house underground, and from this the prophet drinks. On certain appointed nights, many sacred ceremonies having taken place beforehand, he drinks, and delivers oracles, but he is not seen by the beholders who are present. It is manifest from this, therefore, that that water possesses an oracular quality; but how this is so not every man, as the saying is, may know. For it seems as though a mantic spirit extended through it; but this is not true. For the divine being does not go about among its participants, thus divided and apportioned; but, on the contrary, it shines upon the fountain as though giving of itself from without, and fills it with the mantic power from itself. The inspiration which the water imparts is by no means all of it from the god, but it causes an adaptedness alone and a purification of the light-like spirit27 in us, through which we become able to contain the divinity; but the presence of the god is different from this, and prior to it, and it flashes in from above like the lightning. Indeed, this presence forsakes no one of those who, through kindred nature, are in intimate union to it; but it is immediately present, and employs the prophet as an instrument, he neither being normally himself, nor aware of what he is saying or where on the earth he is. Hence, after giving the oracles, he recovers control of himself at a later moment with difficulty. Indeed, before drinking the water he fasts an entire day and night, and as he begins to become entheast he withdraws by himself into certain sacred retreats. Thus, by this withdrawing and separating from human affairs, he makes himself pure, and prepared for the receiving of the divinity; and through this means he has the inspiration of the divinity illuminating the pure sanctuary of his own soul, and he likewise effects by himself, unobstructed, the possession and divine presence complete and without impediment.||27. Mr. Thomas Taylor refers us to the treatise accredited to Plutarch, on the "Failure of the Oracles" in which this matter is explained at length. The faculty of divining, this author declares, is farthest withdrawn from this present condition by that idiosyncrasy of body which favors the development of the entheast condition. "The soul does not acquire the faculty of divining when clear of the body," he says, "for it has the same before, but is blinded by the commixture and confusion which it has with the body." Hence be argues, "we do not divest divination either of divine origin or of rationality, seeing that we allow it for its subject, the Human Soul, and for its instrument an aura or exhalation productive of the entheastic rapture."|
|The prophetess at Delphi, however, whether she gives oracles to human beings from a tenuous and fire-like spirit brought up from somewhere through an aperture,28 or vaticinates sitting in the inner shrine, upon the bronze chair with three feet or upon the four-footed chair sacred to the divinities,29 gives herself up entirely to the divine spirit and is shined upon by the ray of the fire. In fact, when the fiery mist coming up from the aperture, dense and abundant, encompasses her on every side in a circle, she becomes filled by it with a divine luminance, and when she sits down in the seat of the god she comes into harmony with the unwavering oracular power of the divinity, and from these two preparatory operations she becomes entirely the medium of the god. Then truly is the god present, shining upon her separately, being himself other than the fire, the spirit, their peculiar seats and all the visible apparatus about the place, physical, and sacred.||
Modern writers have conjectured that
this exhalation was of the nature of nitrous protoxide. Such a
deriving of prophetic inspiration from "laughing gas"
has a resemblance to the concept that Emanuel Swedenborg acquired
his illumination by drinking coffee, and is equally absurd.
29. Apollo and Dionysos Zagreus his hearth-mate were the divinities at Delphi.
|The woman also who delivers the oracles in verse at Branchidal, whether she is holding the staff30 which was first presented by a divinity and becomes filled with the divine luminance, or whether she sits upon a wheel and predicts what is to occur, or whether she dips her feet or the border of her robe in the water, or receives the god by inhaling vapor from the water, she becomes by all these ways prepared for the reception, and partakes of him from without.31||
The staff, rod, wand, scepter, or baton,
as the symbol or authority, possesses the greatest antiquity.
It appears in mythology as the scepter of Zeus charged with lightning,
the caduceus of Hermes that lulled to sleep, the staff of Asclepius
with healing virtue, the narthex or thyrsos of Bacchus, and the
club of Heracles. Every Roman Senator carried a wand. The rods
of Moses and Aaron, the staff of the prophet, the wand of Kirkê
[Circe], the magic divining staff and the bishop's crosier belong
in the same category.
31. Branchidia or Didymea was situated near Milletus in Ionia. The temple was very ancient. It was twice burned by the Persians. The structure was of the Ionic order, but a straight road, which led from it to the sea, was bordered on each side with statues on charis of a single block of stone with the feet close together and the hands on the knees precisely as at the avenues of the temples of Egypt. There was an Egyptian influence in Asia Minor and the islands of the Levant in very ancient times.
|These things, therefore, are plain to view, namely: the abundance of offerings, the established law of the whole sacred Observance, and such other things as are performed in a manner worthy of a god, prior to the oracular responding, such as the baths of the prophetess, her fasting for three entire days, her abiding in the interior shrine and having there already the light and enjoying it a long time. For these things all make it manifest that there is an invoking of the deity, and that he becomes present as though coming from outside; and not only that the prophetess, before she takes her position in the accustomed place, receives an inspiration of a wonderful character, but likewise in the very spirit that is brought up from the fountain shows forth another divinity more ancient comes to view, separate from the place, who is the cause or the author of the place, of the fountain, and of the whole technic of divining.32||32. The divinity here indicated belonged to the pantheon of Egypt. He was probably Imopht or Emeph the Asclepius of the Egyptians.|
|It clearly appears, therefore, that the technic of divining at the oracles accords with all the hypotheses which we have put forth in respect to the mantic art. For such a faculty, being inseparable from the constitution of places and bodies that are subjects of it, or preceded by a motion limited by number, cannot always prognosticate in the same manner things occurring in every place. But being separate and free from places and things that are measured by the enumerations of times as though superior to those existing in relations to time, and from those that are held fast by place, it is present with objects equally wherever they are, and is always conversant at once with those coming into existence in time, and likewise includes in one the truth of all things by virtue of its own separate and superior essence.||NOTES:|
If, indeed, we have stated these things rightly, the divining
power of the gods is not encompassed in parts by anything -- neither
by place, nor by a divisible human body, nor by a soul that is
held fast in a single form of divisible qualities, but being separate
by itself, and indivisible, it is present everywhere in entirety
with those who are able to receive it. Not only does it shine
from without, and fill all things, but it likewise permeates all
the elements, occupies the earth, and air and fire and water,
and leaves nothing destitute of itself -- neither living beings
nor things sustained from the realm of nature. On the contrary,
it imparts from itself an allotment of the faculty of foreknowing
to some in a greater and to others in a smaller degree. Existing
itself before all things, it is able, by reason of its separateness,
to permeate and fill all things, according as every one is able
to receive of it.
|Let us now examine after this the other form of divination which is private and not public, concerning which thou sayest as follows: "Others are affected by standing upon indented marks,1 like those who have been filled from an imperceptible inflowing of the divine pleroma." Hence because of those who make a bad use of this form of divining it is by no means easy to include it in a single explanation. On the contrary, being near at hand, and in a pernicious degree superficial, it is employed by many persons in falsehood and deception which may not be tolerated. Nor is there any god present at all, but a certain motion of the soul is produced which is repugnant to the gods, and allures from them a certain indistinct and phantom-like apparition which sometimes, because of the transient power, is likely to be thrown into disorder by the spiritual emanations of evil daemons. But an appearing which chances to be genuine is likewise in other respects distinct, pure, unchangeable, true, and both inaccessible and unobstructed by spirits of a contrary temper. In like manner the darkness, from its peculiar nature, is not able to remain under the glowing sunshine, but suddenly becomes totally invisible, goes completely away from where it was, and takes itself off. So also when the power of the gods shines forth in many directions, pervading everything with its benefits, the mob of evil spirits has no field of activity and is not able to manifest itself in any way, but, on the contrary, falls back as nothing into non-existence, having no nature for activity at all when superior beings are present, and not being able to throw them into disorder when they are giving forth light.2||
Goethe indicates a magic power in certain
marks or characters when he describes Mephistopheles as fastened
inside the chamber by the pentagram:
"I must confess, my stepping o'er
Thy threshold a slight hindrance doth impede:
The Wizard's Foot doth me restrain."
2. Proclus explains that when initiatory ceremonies are taking place, as in spiritual manifestations generally, baser spirits will often assume the guise of the superior genii, and draw away souls that are not pure. Hence the Chaldean Oracles declare that it is not proper to participate in them till purity is attained. "They enchant the souls and lead them away." Proclus says again, "In the most sacred of the Perfective Rites, they say that the candidates first encounter the multiformed and many-shaped races which come to view before the gods are to be seen; but they go on to the Mystic Cave unswerving, and having been made secure by the Rites they receive the divine illumination without alloy into their bosoms, and being stripped, so to speak, they partake of the divine nature. This, I think," he adds, "is what takes place in the spectacular manifestations."
|Whereas, therefore, there is such a difference in each of these classes, I will make use of no other tokens to distinguish them than those which thou hast mentioned. For when thou affirmest that "some are affected by standing on indented marks" thou seemest to signify nothing else than the cause of all the evils relating to these things. For there are some who overlook the whole matter of the Perfective Vision, not only in regard to the one making the invocation, and also the Beholder, but they likewise hold in contempt the arrangement of religious worship and the most sacred ordeal of encountering prolonged penances,3 and also reject the sacred laws and ordinances and other Holy Rites. They consider the standing upon indented marks to be enough, and imagine that by doing this for a single hour there is a certain spirit introduced. Yet how may anything worthy or perfective take place from these things? Or how is the eternal and real essence of the gods to be combined in sacred operations with temporary performances? Hence, through things of this character, such silly men go entirely astray, and are not worthy to be numbered with diviners.||3. In all initiatory rites a probation takes place to test the fidelity and endurance of the candidates. The "Tortures" of the Mithraic initiations consisted of long fasting, exposure to the severity of the climate, and terrors of wild beasts and the execution of a capital sentence.|
OTHER MODES OF ENTRANCEMENT.
|In regard to another kind of divination thou makest this statement, namely: "Others who understand themselves in other respects become divinely inspired through the fancy:4 some taking darkness as accessory, others employing certain potions, and others depending on singing and magic figures. Some are affected by means of water, others by gazing on a wall, others by the hypæthral air, and others by the sun or some other of the heavenly luminaries."||4. Greek, fantastikon (Phantasia, or imagination) is defined by Chrysippos and Plutarch as the faculty which reveals itself and its causes; phantastikon or fancy, the term here used, as a vain impulse of the mind with no real cause; phantaston as the imaginable, anything that may make an impression; phantasma, a phantom, an apparition.|
|All this kind of divination which thou describest as being of numerous species may be comprehended in a single faculty, which may be denominated the "Bringing of Light." This evidently shines, however, with a divine luminance upon the ether-like and brilliant vehicle5 which surrounds the soul, from which vehicle the divine imaginations, being set in motion by the will of the gods, take possession of the faculty of imagination in us. For the whole life of the soul and all the faculties in it being subject to the gods, are set in motion in whatever manner the leaders may desire.||5. The vehicle is called the "astral aura" by Paracelsus, and Kamarupa by Hindu sages.|
This takes place in one of two ways: from the gods being present
in the soul, or from the shining into it of a light coming beforehand
from them. In either case the divine presence and the illumination
are entirely separate. The attention and the reasoning faculty
of the soul are therefore conscious of the events, because the
divine light does not extend to these. The fancy, however, is
divinely affected. As it varies entirely from the habits of human
beings, it is not excited from itself to the modes of imagination,
but from the gods.
Since, however, the contrary principle, through a change throughout and absence from itself, is capable of receiving its contrary, or that which is akin or homogeneous through similarity may receive its like, the light-bringers likewise take the darkness as an auxiliary, and likewise employ the light of the Sun or of the Moon, or, in short, the open air, for illuminating.
|Sometimes, however, they also make use of established conditions such as are familiar to the gods that are about to be brought thither, or chants or dramatic compositions; these having been suitably prepared for the order of reception, the coming and appearing of the gods. Sometimes, again, they conduct the light through water, since this medium, being transparent, is well adapted for the receiving of light.6 But at other times they cause it to shine upon a wall, having before-hand made ready in the best manner a place in the wall for the reception of the light, by sacred delineations. of engraved figures, and at the same time fixing it firmly in a solid place so that it may not be too much diffused.||6. Damaskios explains this operation: "There was a sacred woman who had a nature divinely endowed in a wonderful degree. Pouring pure water into a glass cup, she saw in the water in the cup the ideal appearance of things about to take place, and foretold from the view things that would occur. But," adds he, "of such an experiment, we ourselves are not ignorant."|
There are also many other ways for bringing the Light: but they
may all be reduced to one, namely: to its illumination in whatever
way and through whatever instrumentalities the gods may choose
to shine forth. Since not only the light is from without, and
alone possesses everything subject to the will and intelligence
of the gods, but, what is more important,. it has a sacred irradiation
derived not only under the æther on high but also from the
air or from the moon or the sun, or some other celestial sphere,
it is manifest from all these things that such a mode of divination
is unlimited, primary in operation, and worthy of the gods.
DIVINING BY AUGURY.
Come, then, let us pass on to the mode of divining which is carried into operation through a human technic, and involves much guessing and expecting. In regard to this thou speakest as follows: "Some have likewise established the technic of searching the future by means of entrails, birds and stars." There are also many other such technics, but these are sufficient for the exhibiting of every form of the art of divining. So, then, to tell the whole story this method makes use of many signs or symbols which have in various ways been made efficacious by the gods. From the divine tokens, according to the relationship of things to the signs that have been exhibited, the technic in some way arrives at conclusions, and guesses at the augury, inferring it from certain probabilities. The gods, then, create the signs either through the agency of nature, which is itself subservient to the generation of everything both general and particular, or else through the daemons that operate in the generative sphere, who, taking control of the component parts of the universe, and of partible bodies, and likewise of all living things in the world, bring out with facility the phenomena which are pleasing to the gods. They make known beforehand, symbolically, the purpose of the divinity that is about to come, as explained by Herakleitos, "neither telling nor concealing, but indicating by signs." Thus, by foreshadowing, they impress, as by a likeness, the manner of the creation. In like manner, therefore, they generate all things by means of images, and likewise signify them beforehand through instituted emblematic representations. Equally, also; by this means, they excite our faculty of understanding to a greater acuteness. Let these things, therefore, be determined in common by us in regard to all technic of this kind that men have devised.
|In particular, however, the soul of living animals, the daemon that is set over them, the atmosphere, and likewise the motion of the atmosphere, and the revolution of the surrounding sky, transform the entrails in various ways as may please the gods. A sign of this is that they are often found without a heart, or in some way dismembered of some of the principal parts,7 of which, when they are deprived, it is not at all possible that the life should remain in the animals. Not only, however, the impulse of their own soul moves the birds, but the guardian daemon of the animals also sets them in motion. Likewise, the circulation of the atmosphere, and the potential force which passes down from the sky into the air, making everything in harmony with the divine purposes, lead them in conformity to what the gods arrange originally. The most important sign of this is that of the birds themselves tearing, and many times actually destroying, themselves; for this is a thing not natural for anything to do. But this art of divining is a thing of a superior nature, so that it is a something else accomplishing these things through the birds.||7. When Julius Caesar was assassinated it was affirmed by the Augurs, that the event was foreshadowed by the absence of a head to the liver of the animal sacrificed that day; and on the morning of the murder of the Emperor Pertinax the victims were said one of them to lack a heart, and the other, a liver.|
Moreover, the circuits of the stars come near to the perpetual
revolutions of the sky, not only in space but also in powers and
in the radiations of light. But they are moved in whatever way
the gods in the sky impel them. For the most absolutely pure and
supreme principle of the atmosphere being closely affiliated to
fire, they, as the gods make the sign, are also lighted up immediately.
If, however, any one thinks that certain auras of the divinities
of the sky are given off into the atmosphere, he will not have
conjectured anything foreign to what is often performed in the
divine art of divination. The oneness, and also the sympathy,
of everything, and likewise the simultaneous motion of the parts
that are farthest away as though they were near by and parts of
one animate being, cause the sending of these signs from the gods
to human beings, first through the sky and then through the atmosphere
appearing to men, especially brilliant.
This, then, becomes manifest through the statements that have been made, namely: That the gods, making use of many intermediate instrumentalities, send forth signs to human beings, employing not only the services of daemons, but also of souls and the whole realm of nature; they likewise leading all these, their followers, from the first beginning throughout the cosmic universe, and transmitting the impulse which goes forth from them whither they please. Being, therefore, themselves separate from all and free from all relationship and common nature with those in the region of generated existence, they lead everything in the realms of generation and production according to their own purpose.
This explanation in respect to the art of divination agrees accordingly
with the theory of the creation and foreknowledge of the gods,
for it does not drag down the mind of the superior beings to this
region and to us; but instead, this, remaining stable in itself,
turns to itself not only the signs, but likewise the whole art
of divining, and discovers them proceeding from it.
ERRONEOUS VIEWS OF DIVINATION CORRECTED.
|Thou askest likewise, in relation to "the nature of divination, what it is and what is its peculiar character." This we have explained already, both generally and specifically. But thou, first of all, hast put forth this statement: "The diviners all say that they arrive at the foreknowing of the future through gods or daemons,8 and that it is not possible for others to have any inkling of it -- only those who have command over the things to be." Thou then remarkest, as if hesitating: "I dispute whether the divine power is brought down to such subserviency to human beings, as, for instance, not to hold aloof from any who are diviners with barley meal."||8. There are three modes of forecasting: prophecy, divination and guessing; and they are referred respectively to divinity, daemons and observation of the course of things. Daemons appear to he the same as the "angels" of the Judaean and Christian theology. "Both gods and daemons have a certain and unerring knowledge of things to come," says Proclus.|
But when thou appliest the term "subserviency" to the
providential care and protection that we enjoy thou failest to
understand aright the vastness of the power of the gods, the goodness
transcending and the causality which includes all things. Besides,
thou overlookest the mode of energy, that it is neither attracted
downward nor turned toward us, but precedes us, as being separate
from us and entirely distinct. It, indeed, imparts itself to the
recipients, but in this it neither goes out from itself nor becomes
lessened, nor is subservient to those that participate of it.
On the contrary, it makes use of all as being subservient to itself.
The observation which thou hast suggested appears to me to be a complete mistake in another particular. If we take for granted that the doings of the gods are similar to those of men, there will a question arise as to how they are per formed. For in supposing that because we ourselves undergo changes, and are sometimes affected by the conditions of various affairs to which we are attending, on this very account thou dost, in the concept that the power of the gods is at all subservient to those that are governed by it, conjecture wrongly. Neither in the making of worlds nor in the foresight of the realm of generated existence nor in the divining in respect to it, is the divine power ever attracted from its sphere to those that participate of the outflow. But, on the other hand, it shares its benefits with all, and makes all to be like itself. It not only serves those abundantly that belong to its circle, but the more it remains by itself so much the more it is filled from its own stores. It does not itself become of the quality of those that participate of it, but it renders its partakers similar to itself. It preserves them in every way, but remains complete in itself; it includes them within its own sphere, but at the same time is. neither mastered nor encompassed by any one of them. In vain, therefore, does an undermeaning of such a kind cause annoyance to individuals, for the god is not divided and portioned out as a commodity among the different modes of divining, but without such division it produces them all. Nor does he bring different matters to completion separately in regard to time, and in different ways, but operates them all together at once and according to one design. Nor is he held fast in respect to signs, as being encompassed by them or parceled out by them. On the other hand, he arranges signs in himself in a single order, and likewise includes them in one concept, and issues them forth from himself according to a single purpose.
|If, however, the power of the gods in this matter of prognostication extends to objects without soul, such as little pebbles, rods, certain trees, stones, wheat, or barley meal,9 this is itself a most wonderful form of predicting by divine vaticination, because it is an imparting of soul to things that are without soul, and motion to objects that of themselves are incapable of moving, and makes everything clear and knowable, participant of the reasoning faculty, and definable according to the measures of intelligence, and yet having nothing of rationality by themselves.||9. Various modes of divining were employed. We read that the patriarch Joseph divined with his cup (Genesis, xiv, 5): the Syrian ambassadors took the mode of reply from Ahab as a token (I Kings, xx, 33). The Skyths and other ancient peoples divined with rods of tamarisk. Laurel leaves were also used. The King of Babylon decided to lead his army against Jerusalem, after a divination with arrows (Ezekiel xxi, 21, 22). The lot was common; indeed it was supposed that the conditions of life in the earth were established by such allotment.|
Another thing which the god brings to notice in the displays appears
to me to be nothing less than a superhuman wonder: for as he sometimes
makes a man of moderate attainments and understanding utter apothegms
full of wisdom, through which it is made plain that the occurrence
is not a human, but a divine performance, so through agencies
destitute of knowledge he reveals perceptions which were prior
to any knowing. At the same time the god makes it manifest to
individuals that the signs and tokens which are exhibited are
worthy of belief, and that he is superior to the realm of nature,
and exalted above it.
Thus the things in the realm of nature which were unknown he makes known, and those which are unknowable he makes knowable. Not only does he, through these, implant sagacity in us, but he also, through everything that is in the universe, sets our mind in motion toward the knowledge of the truth -- of the things that are, of the things that are coming into existence, and the things that will be -- the Past, Present and Future.
From these considerations it is evident, I think, that the mode of divination is absolutely contrary to those ways which thou dost mistrust and suppose; for it is authoritative, and first in operation, and likewise self-governing and transcendent, encompassing all things in itself, but not itself encompassed by any, or enclosed in limited conditions by its participants. On the other hand, it takes its place above, and exercises authority over all as a single assemblage, without distinctions, but ruling over the whole with unlimited power, and giving forth signs and portents collectively.
Thou wilt, therefore, from these premises, easily resolve those doubts which are personal and annoying to many individuals, and duly raise thyself to the perception of the spiritual, divine and undeceptive foretokens of the gods that are manifested from all sources.
We contend, therefore, that the divine power is not brought down
into the signs and symbols of the art of divination.
THE DIVINITIES PRESENT AT THE RITES.
Another controversy now awaits us, not less in significance than the one which has just been finished. Thou introducest it at once in regard to the divinities that are the causative powers in the art of divination, by questioning "whether a god or angel or daemon, or some other such being, is present at the manifestations (epiphanies) or at the divinations or at any of the Sacred Performances."
|The simple reply which we make to this is that it is not possible for the Divine Performances to be carried on in a manner befitting sacred matters without some one of the superior races being present, beholding and making the Sacred Performances complete.10 Accordingly, when the procedures are perfect, sufficient of themselves, and without defect, gods are their directors. But when they are only suitable for the intermediary races (as angels and daemons), and fall somewhat short of what is due to the highest beings, then they have angels to make them complete and make the exhibitions. But those which are classed as lowest and last are assigned to the daemons to be performed.||10. See above, Deceptive Divination.|
The successful accomplishment of the divine services is always
confided to some one of the superior orders. Since it is not permissible,
without the gods, even to prattle a word in respect to the gods,
it may be taken for granted that godlike achievements and all
forms of prognostication are not conducted successfully except
with the gods present. For the human tribe is weak and of little
account; it sees but little, and possesses nothing by nature.
But for the inherent tendency in it for wandering, disorder and
unstable changing, the one remedy is whether it may participate,
so far as it is able, of some portion of the divine light. But
whoever seeks to exclude this does the same thing as those who
attempt to develop a soul from objects that are without soul,
or generate mind from those destitute of mind. For he proposes
without the agency of a divine cause to create divine works from
materials that are not divine.
Let it be conceded, then, that a god or daemon or angel is bringing the superior rites to completeness. We do not grant in the least what thou throwest out as an acknowledged fact, namely: That the superior beings bring these things to pass, "as having been drawn thither, through us, by the necessities created by the invocation." For the god, and the entire chorus of superior beings connected with him, are superior to necessity -- not alone from the necessity which is induced by human beings, but also that necessity which holds the world in its grasp. Hence, it is not the province of the nature which is non-material, and not receptive of any acquired order, to be subservient to any necessity coming in from elsewhere.
Then, again, the invocation and the rites performed by the adept
in superior knowledge bring them to the superior races and attach
them together by becoming assimilated and of the same household;
but they never bring their operations to completion by compulsory
endeavor. Hence, the occurrences are not observed. in the persons
entranced, as thou thinkest, the theurgic adept being in a passive
condition; nor is divining effected through a necessity, a passive
condition being dominant in the delivering of the oracle. For
these conditions are foreign to the essence of the superior beings,
and in other respects unsuitable.
DIVINATION PURELY A DIVINE OPERATION.
|On the contrary, neither is the cause of these manifestations of the superior beings like an intermediate instrumentality, nor does the person who makes the invocations act through the one that is entranced; and to assert these things is sacrilegious. For this is much more true, namely: That God is all, he is all-powerful, he has filled all from himself, and he alone is worthy of highest regard, praise and supreme honor.11||
Mr. Thomas Taylor adds this note: "God
is all things causally, and is able to effect all things. He likewise
does produce all things, yet not by himself alone, but in conjunction
with those divine powers which continually germinate, as it were,
from him, as from a perennial root. Not that he is in want of
these powers to the efficacy of his productive energy, but the
universe requires their cooperation, in order to the distinct
subsistence of its various parts and different forms. For as the
essence of the first cause, if it be lawful so to speak. is full
of deity, his immediate energy must be deific, and his first progeny
must be gods. But as he is ineffable and superessential, all things
proceed from him ineffably and superessentially. For progressions
are conformable to the characteristics of the natures from which
they proceed. Hence the cooperative energy of his first progeny
(the minor gods) is necessary to the evolution of things into
effable, essential, and distinct subsistence. The supreme God,
therefore, is alone worthy; but this is not to the exclusion of
paying appropriate attention and honor to other powers that are
subordinate to him, who largely participate of his divinity, and
are more or less allied to him. For in reverencing and paying
attention to these appropriately, we also attend to and reverence
him. For that which we attend to, honor and esteem in them, is
that alone which is of a deified nature, and is therefore
a portion, as it were, of the ineffable principle of all things.
Mighty study and labor about these intermediate powers is necessary in order to our union with their ineffable cause. For as we are but the dregs of the rational nature, and the first principle of things is something so transcendent as to be even beyond essence, it is impossible that we should be united to him without media: viz., without the gods and their perpetual attendants, who are on this account, true saviors of souls. For in a union with the supreme deity our true salvation consists."
|What is human when it is compared with the divine is base, insignificant, and a mere plaything. Hence, I laugh when I hear that the god is automatically present with certain persons or objects, whether through the Cycle of nativity or through other causes. For if he is controlled by the Cycle of nativity the unbegotten divinity will not then be the superior; nor will he, as he is himself arranged with certain things with reference to other causes, be primarily a cause of all things. These suggestions, therefore, are also unworthy of the conception which we should entertain in regard to the gods, and are entirely foreign to the performances which take place in Theurgy.12||12. The sentiment here enforced is that no prayer or rite has any efficacy to attract a divine being, and so bring down God, but rather it exalts the worshipper to the Divinity. Proclus also says: "In the invocations and at the Autopsia, the divine essence seems after a manner to come down to us, when really we are extending ourselves to it instead."|
Such inquiry, however, is subject to the same condition which
the many experience in regard to the Creation of the universe
and providence. For not being able to learn what is the nature
of these, and likewise discarding the deep thoughts and arguments
of individuals in respect to the divine beings, they take all
recognition of providence and creation entirely away from them.
We are accustomed to meet these individuals with the answer that
the divine mode of creation and guardianship is different from
what they suppose of such things, and that it is not proper for
them, because of their ignorance, to reject it as not having existed
from the beginning. So, likewise, it may be pleaded with thee
that all foreknowledge and doing of sempiternal works are the
works of gods, and are neither performed through necessity nor
through different human causes, but wrought through such causes.
as the gods alone know.
DIVINATION NOT A FACULTY OF THE SOUL.
|Passing these things by accordingly, we may now, with good reason, proceed to explain the second cause which thou hast set forth, namely: "That the soul utters and imagines these things, and that they are peculiar conditions of it, which have been produced from little sparks."13||13. PLUTARCH: Why the Oracles Cease to Give Answers. 39. -- "The soul does not have the faculty of divining when clear of the body as from a cloud; but it is blinded by its commingling and confusion with the mortal nature."|
|On the contrary, neither are these things from the realm of nature, nor does the reasoning faculty accept them. For everything that comes into existence comes from a specific cause, and that which is of kindred nature is brought to pass by that which is akin to it. But the divine operation is not automatic, for such a thing is without a cause and not in any way arranged. Nor is it the product of a human cause, for this is alien to it and subordinate, and that which is more perfect cannot issue from that which is less perfect.14 All operations, therefore, which are like divinity in their nature have their inception from a divine cause. For the human soul is held fast by a solitary ideal, and is kept in the dark by the body on every side. Whether this condition is termed the river Amaletê or water of Lethê or ignorance and insanity or bondage through passive conditions or deficiency of vital force, or some other evil thing, it will not be a name sufficiently expressive to denote its badness:15||
Rev. JAMES MARTINEAU: Place of Mind
in Nature. -- "Surely nothing can be evolved that is
not first involved. Evolution and prospection are inseparable
conceptions. Go back as you will, and try to propel the movement
from behind instead of drawing it from before, development in
a definite direction toward the realization of a dominant scheme
of ascending relations, is the sway of an over-ruling end."
15. "Amaletê" signifies carelessness, negligence; "Lethê" means the extinction of remembrances; ignorance is inability for real knowing. Plato in the "Republic," Book X, describes a vision in which the souls are seen in the act of selecting for themselves the quality of a new life in the earth. By the choice they make, their guardian daemon is allotted to them. Then they drink the water of Lethê "which no vessel contains" and forget all the past.
Irenaeos, cavilling at Plato, demanded how he knew all this; adding that if he knew part he ought to know all. He seems to have overlooked the fact of a mantic or supraconscious condition in which such things may be known as they are perceived, to an extent commensurate with the development of the intuitive faculty.
The soul being held by such restraint, how may it become sufficient
for such an operation I It is by no means reasonable to suppose
such a thing. For if we seem at any time to be able to effect
a participation, and to be enlightened by the gods, it is by this
alone that we derive benefit of the divine energy. On this account,
the soul not possessing intrinsic excellence and sagacity, it
does not participate of the divine operations. Indeed, if such
operations pertained to the soul, every soul, or at least the
solitary one endowed with intrinsic completeness, would perform
them. Now, however, not one or another of them is sufficiently
prepared for this. On the contrary, so far as relates to the divine
energy, even the perfect soul is incomplete.
The theurgic energy, therefore, is different, and the successful
accomplishment of the divine works is enabled by the gods alone.
If the fact were otherwise this would not be at all necessary
in the service of the gods, but we would have the divine boons
in this case without religious worship. If these opinions are
like madness, and without sense, it is proper to discard such
undermeanings as furnishing a cause worthy. of mention for the
fulfilling of divine operations.
DIVINATION NOT OF TWOFOLD ORIGIN.
Thirdly, thou subjoinest the following statement, namely: "That there is a mingled form of substance produced from our own soul and from the divine inbreathings from without." Is it any more true than the others?
Look at this more critically, lest from being entangled by its apparent plausibility, we pass it by without noticing. For if any one thing is, perchance, brought into existence from two, it is generally alike in form, alike in nature, and alike in essence. So the elements coming together into the same association produce one specific element out of many, and many souls are joined together into one entire soul. Certainly, however, anything which is completely taken away cannot ever become one with that which is going forth from itself; neither may the soul be constituted of one form of substance with the divine inbreathing. For if the divine nature is unmingled the soul is not commingled with it, and if it subsists unchangeable it will not be changed through any combination from its simple essence into any community of elements with anything else.
Certain individuals of former times were, therefore, of the opinion that "small sparks" kindled up divine ideals in us, which, whether they are from the realm of nature or of the nature of the body in some other manner, cannot be changed from things of chance into things divine. In the present instance, however, the suggestion is made that the soul is a joint element in the divine commixture. This is equivalent to saying that the soul is equal in importance to the gods, and likewise that it imparts to them a certain constituent and receives one from them in return; and also that it imposes conditions upon the superior beings and is itself limited in its sphere by them.
But there are others who affirm what is most mischievous, namely: That the gods, being the interior cause in the order of the elements, coexist in the beings that are brought into existence by them, and that there will be an outbirth that will be produced since time, and of a commingling during time, and that it will encompass the gods in itself. But in such event what is this commingled form of substance! For if it is both, conjoined together (the soul and the divine inbreathing), it will not be one single thing from out of two, but as composed from two put together at random. But if it is an entity, other than both, then we must admit that things eternal will be subject to change, and the divine essences will differ in nothing from physical ones in the realm of generated existence. The supposition that an eternal being may be brought into the world through nativity is absurd; but to imagine that anything consisting of eternal qualities will be dissolved is more absurd.
By no means, therefore, has such an opinion in respect to divination any reasonableness; but now we must consider this notion paradoxical, whoever may propose it, whether one or two.
|Thy next supposition comes up now for consideration, namely: "That the Soul, through such activities, generates from itself a faculty of imagination in regard to the future, or else that the emanations from the realm of nature bring daemons into existence through their inherent forces, especially when the emanations are derived from animals."||NOTES:|
|These statements appear to me to exhibit a fearful disregard of the principles pertaining to divinity, and likewise those of the theurgic operation. For one absurdity appears at the outset, namely: that the daemons are generated and perishable things.1 But another one more woful than this is, that by this hypothesis those beings that are prior are produced from those that are posterior to themselves. For the daemons existed already in some manner before soul and the faculties incident to the bodily structures. Besides these considerations, how is it possible that the energies of the divisible soul, which is held fast in a body, be transformed into essence and be separate by themselves outside of the soul? Or how may the faculties incident to the bodies, which have their very being in the bodies, become separate from them? Who is it that is freeing them from the corporeal framework and collecting the dissolved substance into one group? For a being of such a character will be a daemon preexisting before the placing of the component elements together. The statement, however, has also the usual perplexity. For how may divining be produced from things that have no oracular quality, and how may soul be generated from bodies that are without a soul? Or, to say the whole at once, how may the things which are more complete be produced from those which are less complete? The mode of producing appears to me likewise to be impossible. For to produce essence through the activities of the soul and through the powers in the bodies is not possible; for from the things which do not have it, essence cannot be developed.||1. Plutarch in his treatise on "Oracles" speaks of Hesiod limiting the soul of a daemon and the life of a demigod, and also represents Xenokrates as saying that the nature of daemons is endued with the passions and perturbations of the mortal nature and the force and power of the divine.|
Whence comes the imagination of that which is about to take place?
From what does it receive the faculty of divining? For of the
things which have been sown anywhere through generation we absolutely
never see anything possessing more than what is imparted to it
from the first parentage. But it seems that the imagination may
receive a certain superior addition from what has no being; unless
it may be said that the daemons get a foothold upon the matter
from the [sacrificed] animals, and that, being brought under their
influence, they are moved in respect to it by a common sympathy.
According to this opinion, therefore, the daemons are not generated
from the forces inherent in bodies, but being at the lead of them,
and existing before them, they are moved in like manner with them.
Granted that they are thus exceedingly sympathetic, yet I do not
see in what manner there will be anything true in regard to what
is to come. For the foreknowing and forecasting of the future
do not come within the range of a sympathetic power, nor a nature
belonging to the realm of matter, and held fast in a specific
place and body; but, on the contrary, the faculty must be free
in respect to everything.
Let the supposition which thou hast made receive these corrections.
CONCERNING ORACULAR DREAMS.
Immediately after this, observations are brought forward as of
one that was wavering in regard to the nature of divination; yet
as they are advanced there is an endeavor apparent to overturn
the art entirely. We will, therefore, direct the discussion to
both these conditions of the case. We will begin by first answering
the former of them: "That during sleep, when we are not engaged
with anything, we sometimes chance to a premonition of the future."
It is not suggested that the source of the divination is from
out of ourselves and that the one which accompanies it is from
without. The two are closely allied together and are intimately
interblended with each other. Hence, their operations in respect
to these matters are carried out in the manner defined, and follow
the causes which precede them, being allied to them in close relations.
When, however, the cause is free from such attachments, and preexists
by itself, the end is not marked out in relation to us, but everything
depends on influences outside. Now, therefore, it is likely to
happen in such cases that the truth in the dreams does not come
out in concert without ritual operations, and it often shines
forth from itself. This shows that divination, being from the
gods without, and endued with authority which is all its own,
will, when it pleases, graciously reveal the future. Let these
explanations be an answer of such a character.
A PECULIAR CONDITION OF SOUL NOT A SOURCE OF DIVINATION.
Afterward, in the endeavor to explain the nature of divination, thou doest away with it altogether. For if, as thou affirmest, "a condition of the soul" constitutes the source of divination, what person of sense will accord to a thing so palpably unstable and capricious foreknowledge that is normal and stable? Or, how can the soul that is discreet and constant as to the better faculties -- those of the mind and understanding -- be ignorant of what is to be, when the individual that is receptive as to disorderly and turbulent impressions throws the future wide open? For what in the world is peculiar in the passive condition to qualify it for the beholding of the things that possess real being? Why is not this condition a hindrance rather than an aid to the more genuine perception? Further, also, if the things in the world were placed together by means of passive conditions, the similitude of the passive conditions would be in close proximity to them. But if they are established through principles and through ideas there will be a different nature of foreknowledge, which will be quit of everything like passive condition.
Then, again, the passive condition is conscious only of what is going on and what is now in existence, but foreknowledge extends also to those things which as yet do not have being. Hence, foreknowledge is far different from a passive or susceptible condition.
Let us, however, consider thy arguments for such an opinion as thou hast put forward. Thy statement that "the senses are held in check" tends to the contrary of what thou hast before declared, for it is an evidence that no human phantasm is active at the particular time. But "the fumes which are introduced" are in close relationship to the god, but not to the soul of the Beholder. The "invocations" do not induce an inbreathing into the reasoning faculty or passive conditions of body in the worshipper, for they are perfectly unknowable and arcane; but they are uttered intelligibly to the god alone whom they are invoking. But what thou remarkest, "that by no means everybody, but only the more artless and young are suitable" for the procedures, demonstrates that such as these are more in condition as a receptacle for a spirit that enters from without and holds the subject entranced.
From these things, however, thou dost not conjecture rightly that
the enthusiastic rapture is a passive condition; for the evidence
follows likewise from these signs and tokens that it flows in
from without, as an inbreathing. Let these things, therefore,
so be with us.
DISEASE NOT A FACTOR IN DIVINATION.
After these conjectures there follows another, a descent from the entheast aberration to ecstasy or alienation of mind on toward a worse condition. It is declared, most irrationally, that the origin of the divining art is "the mania that occurs in diseases." For it sets forth enthusiasm or divine inspiration as due to melancholia or the redundancy of black bile, the perverted conditions of drunkenness, and the fury incident to, rabid dogs. It is necessary from the beginning, therefore, to make the distinction of two species of ecstasy or entrancement, of which one causes degeneration to an inferior condition, and fills with imbecility and insanity; but the other imparts benefits that are more precious than intelligence. The former species wanders to a disorderly, discordant and worldly activity; but the latter gives itself to the Supreme Cause which directs the orderly arrangement of things in the world. The former, being destitute of real knowledge, is led aside from good sense; but the latter is united with those superior sources of wisdom that transcend all the sagacity in us. The former is constantly changing, but the latter is unchangeable. The former is contrary to nature, but the latter is superior to nature. The former brings down the soul into lower conditions, but the latter leads it upward. The former places the subject entirely outside of the divine apportionment, but the latter joins, unites him to it.
Why, then, does thy discourse lead off so much from the proposed hypothesis as to be turned from the things superior and beneficial to the worst evils of mania? For in what does the enthusiastic inspiration resemble melancholy or drunkenness or any other form of alienation originating from morbid conditions of the body? What oracle can ever be produced from distempers of the body? Is not a product of such a kind wholly a destruction, but divine possession a perfecting and deliverance of the soul? Does not the worthless trance happen at the same time with debility, but the superior enthusiastic rapture with complete reign? In short, to speak plainly, the latter, being in a tranquil condition as relates to its own life and intelligence, gives itself to be used by another; but the former, operating with its peculiar species, renders them utterly wicked and turbulent.
|This difference is therefore the most palpable of all, as all operations by divine beings differ from others. For as the superior orders are completely apart from all the others, their operations are accordingly not like those of any other beings. When, therefore, thou speakest of the aberration of a divine being, let thy conception of it be free from all human "aberrations." And if thou imputest to them "abstinence" similar to that of the priests, do not look upon human abstinence any more as being similar to it. But of all things, do not compare "diseases of the body, such as suffusions, and fancies set in motion by morbid conditions," with the divine visions. For what have they in common with each other? Neither art thou at liberty to contrast "equivocal states of mind, such as may occur during abstinence and ecstasy," with the sacred visions of the gods, which are defined by a single energy. But on the other hand, thou mayest not associate in mind the spectacles of the gods that are superlatively efficacious with "the apparitions got up by technical magic."2 For the latter have neither the energy nor the essence nor the genuineness of the objects that are beheld, but only project bare phantasms that seem real.||2. The goetic art or "black magic."|
All such questions, however, which lead away from the subject
and carry the attention from contraries to contraries, we do not
consider as touching the hypothesis before us. Hence, having set
them forth as foreign to the subject, we do not suppose it to
be necessary to waste more time upon them, as they have been set
in a disputatious way to lead us to wander from our course, but
not with any curiosity of a philosophic character.
CONCERNING SPURIOUS AND GENUINE DIVINATION.
One will wonder, therefore, at the many and different suggestions of new points of argument which are evidently brought forward for the purpose of disputing. He will be astonished, with good reason, at the oppositeness of the opinions that are put forth to explain divining. It is affirmed that the whole art is only a matter of appearances produced by jugglers, there being nothing substantial, and likewise that it is exercised by persons who are impelled by emotion or disease, and are in a condition to dare anything of a delusive nature, and that it is possible for them to come upon the truth by chance. For what principle of truth, or what starting-point of something that may be understood, less or greater, will there exist in these individuals? We should not receive that as the truth, however, which comes in such manner by chances; as that also happens to be recorded of those who are borne along to no purpose. That, however, is not to be acknowledged as the truth in which the things are done in concert with those that are performing them; for these things coexist with the physical senses and with the perceptive faculties of animals. Hence, that which is done in this way has nothing that is its own, or divine, or superior to what is common in nature.
|On the other hand, the truth which is to be regarded stands permanently in the same manner as respects operation. It has perfect knowledge present with it of existing things, and is itself of the same nature with the essence of things. It employs the stable reasoning faculty, and sees everything as existing in its perfectness, its fitness for use, and its dimensions. This truth, therefore, is in close connection with the art of divination. It ought accordingly to be much more than natural presentiment, such as the instinctive perceiving of earthquakes and great storms of rain, which is possessed by certain animals. From this a feeling in common, certain animals being acted upon together, or perceiving more or less accurately, through an acuteness of sense, things which are taking place in the atmosphere above but have not yet been brought to pass upon the earth.3||3. Ancient literature has preserved several incidents of this character. The tenth chapter of the book of "Daniel" throws considerable light upon the subject; and in the fifth chapter of the second book of the "Maccabees," an apparition of an army maneuvering in the sky is described. The newspapers abound with accounts of dreams in which events were represented as they afterward actually occurred. This would seem to indicate that there is a world of reality about us, other than the spectacular region that we contemplate, and that scenes taking, place here are copies of what has been enacted there already.|
If, then, these things which we are saying are true, although
we may have received from nature a power to ascertain things,
or though we feel what is going to take place, that we shall accept
this kind of impression as oracular foreknowledge, yet it is similar
to divining, except that in divination there is nothing wanting
in certainty and truth, while the other is a matter of chance
for the most part, but not always; perceiving correctly in regard
to certain things but not in relation to all. Hence, if there
is any instruction in the arts, as, for example, in pilotage or
in medicine, which gives power to forecast the future, it does
not pertain in any respect to the divine foreknowledge. For it
reckons up what is to happen by probabilities and certain signs,
and these not always credible; and they do not have the thing
that is thus signified in a proper connection with that of which
the signs are indicators. But with the divine foresight of things
to be there are, before all, steadfast perception, the unchanging
assurance completely at one with the Causes, an indissoluble holding
of everything to everything, and a knowledge always abiding of
all things as being now present, and their province defined.
DIVINATION NEITHER FROM NATURE, ART, NOR FELLOW FEELING.
It is not proper to make this statement: "That the realm of nature, art, and the feeling in common of things throughout the universe as of the parts of one animal, contain foreshadowings of certain things with reference to others"; nor "that the bodies are so constituted as to be forewarnings from some to others." For these things, which are very clearly beheld, remove the traces of the divine oracular power in a greater or less degree. But it is not possible that any one should be bereft of it entirely. On the contrary, as in all things, the image of the good carries the god in it; so, also, a certain likeness of the divine oracular power, obscure or more active, appears to be in them. But none of these is such as the divine form of divination, nor may the one divine, unmingled form of it be characterized from the many phantasms which go down from it into the realm of generated existence. Nor is it proper, if there are any other false or delusive appearances, which are farther removed from genuineness, to bring these forward in the forming of a judgment of the matter. On the contrary, we must think of it as one single utterance, one arrangement, and according to one divine ideal and one intellectible and unchangeable truth.; and in like manner we must regard the change which may be taking place at different times, and in different ways, as denoting instability and discordance, and disrespect for the gods.
If, then, divination is truly a divine work of such a character, who would not be ashamed to attribute it to the agency of nature, that accomplishes its objects without thought, as though it had elaborated in us a power of divining, and had implanted it in a greater degree in some and in a less degree in others? For in those things in which men receive from nature the means for accomplishing their individual undertakings, even in these, certain aptitudes of nature take the lead. In those, however, in which there is no human agency in the inception, neither is the final result our own. And when a certain good, older and superior to our own nature, has been so arranged beforehand, it is not possible that any natural genius or cleverness in these things should have been engaged secretly in the matter. For with these things which are fully perfected there are also those which are imperfectly developed; but both are conditions of human beings. But of these conditions which we do not experience as human beings there will not, ever, be a preparation by nature. Hence, there is no seed of the divine oracular power in us from nature. If, on the contrary, however, any one should make the invocation by a certain more common and human mode of divining, let there be a natural preparation. But in regard to that which may be truly named the divine oracular art, which belongs to the gods, it is not right to think that this is insown from the realm of nature. For, indeed, both the different modes, and the indefinite one, follow more or less with this idea. For this reason this indefinite mode of forecasting stands separate from the divine oracular art which remains in fixed boundaries. Wherefore, if any one says that the art of divination has its being from out of ourselves, it is our duty to fight strenuously against this assertion.
But thou likewise makest this statement: "Examples are manifest
by the things done, namely: That they who make the invocations
carry stones and herbs, tie sacred knots and unloose them, open
places that are locked, and change the purposes of individuals
by whom they are entertained, so that, from being paltry, they
are made worthy." All these things signify that the inspiration
comes from without. It is necessary, however, not only to accept
this beforehand, but also to define thoroughly what a specific
inspiration is, which comes from duty, and produces the god-given
art of divination. Otherwise, we shall not be fit beforehand,
to give judgment on this subject, unless by applying its own peculiar
sign to it and fit its own token to it as a seal.
CONCERNING SPECTRAL FIGURES AND MATERIALIZATION.
Thou also puttest forth this declaration: "Those who are able to reproduce the mystic figures (idola) are not to be held in low esteem." I shall wonder if any one of the theurgic priests who behold the genuine ideal forms of the gods should consent to allow them at all. For why should anybody consent to take idola or spectral figures in exchange for those that have real being, and be carried from the very first to the last and lowest! Do we not know that as all things which are brought into view by such a mode of shadowing are but imperfectly discernible, they are really phantoms of what is genuine, and that they appear good to the seeming but never are really so?
|Other things are in like manner brought in, being carried along in the course of events, but nothing is rendered that is genuine or complete or distinct. But the mode of producing them is plain, for not God, but man, is the maker of them. Nor are they produced from single and intellectual essences, but from matter taken for the purpose.4||4. This process has again appeared in what is known as "materializing." It is explained as the producing of tile figure of an individual by surrounding it with material elements procured from the body of another person who is, during tile time, in a dormant and inanimate condition.|
|What that is good can come into existence, that germinates from matter and from the powers material and corporeal which exist with matter and in bodies?5 Is not the thing which owes existence to human art more impotent and of less importance than the persons themselves who gave it existence? By what art or skill is this spectral figure put into form? For it is said it is molded as by the skill of Demiurgus himself. But that skill is employed in the producing of genuine essences, never in the forming of mere spectral figures. Hence, the art of producing idola is a long way distant from Demiurgic creating. On the contrary, it does not preserve the analogy with Divine creating at all. For God creates all things, but not through the physical motions of things in the sky or by those of particled matter or by the forces thus divided. But instead, it is by thoughts put into activity, by purposes and non-material ideals, through the sempiternal and supermundane soul, that he constructs the worlds.||5. Pythagoras and the philosophers who adopted his views describe matter as the source of evil. This is an Oriental doctrine, and was doubtless carried to the West by teachers sent out for the purpose. The same notions have more or less pervaded opinion ever since, and given rise to the impression that so many seem to entertain that everything physical is intrinsically vile and therefore to be repressed so far as possible. But the sentiment given by Plato in "Theaetetus" would seem a more rational conception. "It is not possible that evil shall be destroyed," says Socrates, "for it is necessary that there should always be something contrary to good. Nor can it be seated among the gods, but of necessity moves round this mortal nature and this region. Wherefore we ought to endeavor to fly hence as quickly as possible. But this flying consists in resembling God as much as possible, and this resembling is the becoming just and holy with wisdom."|
|But the creator of the spectral figures, it is said, makes them as of the revolving stars. The thing does not have its existence in the way as it is imagined. For as there are unlimited powers possessed by the gods in the sky, the last and lowest of all these is that of the realm of nature. But again,, a part of this lowest power takes the lead by itself prior to generated existence, being inherent in the principles which contain the germs of things, and established in the immovable essences. The other part, however, existing in the perceptible and visible motions, and likewise in the auras and qualities from out of the sky, exercises dominion over the whole visible order of things, in all which this last in the series rules as a deputed governor over the universal realm of visible existence in the places around the earth. But in the realm of visible existence, and in the qualities of the auras perceptible to the sense which are sent down from the sky, many different arts are brought into use, such as medicine6 and gymnastics, and all others that harmonize with nature in their results. And what is more, the creating of spectral figures attracts from the auras a very indistinct portion of generative energy.||6. Both Galen and Hippocrates insisted that astral knowledge is essential for physicians; and Galen derided those physicians who denied the necessity for such knowledge. He went so far as to declare medical men who were ignorant of astral learning, homicides. All the medical schools of Christendom and the "Moslem" world formerly taught astrology, and Nicholas Culpepper, in his Herbal, is careful to assign to each medicinal plant its astral relations.|
Hence, as the truth is so, it is right to make it known: That
the individual creating the spectral figures employs in his procedures
neither the revolutions of the heavenly bodies nor the powers
which exist in them by nature; and, in short, he is not able to
come in contact with them. But as he follows the rules of an art,
and does not proceed theurgically, he deals with the last and
most inferior emanations, manifestly, from their nature, about
the extreme part of the universe. But these emanations being partially
commingled with matter, I think that they are capable of changing
to it, and likewise of taking new form and being modeled differently
at different times. They likewise admit change of powers in these
particulars from some to others. But such a diversity of energies,
and the combination of so many powers pertaining to the realm
of matter, are separated not only from everything of divine creation,
but also from everything of natural production. For nature performs
its own works after one plan, and, at once, by simple and uncomplicated
operations. The fact remains, accordingly, that such a manner
of producing spectral figures by a commingling about the lowest
and a manifest celestial inflow, the things being yielded by the
celestial nature, is by art.
SPECTRAL FIGURES UNSTABLE.
|Why, then, it may be asked, does the projector of spectral figures, the man who creates these things, why does he disregard himself, when he is superior, and descended from superior beings? He appears, instead, to be trusting in specters destitute of soul,7 only animated with the outward appearance of life, holding together externally a framework of diversified complexion and absolutely ephemeral in duration. Does anything genuine and true exist in them? On the contrary, nothing of the things fashioned by the ingenuity of man is unalloyed and pure. But do simplicity and uniformity of operation of the entire structure predominate in them? They are wanting in all. In regard to their visible composition they are brought together from out of manifold and incompatible substances. But is there a pure and complete power manifest in them? By no means. When any such multitude of auras, accumulated from many sources, has been mingled together, it is shown to be feeble and fleeting. Yet, except these things are as described, is there the stability in the apparitions which they affirm? There ought to be much; but they vanish more quickly than the idols that are seen in mirrors. For when the incense is placed upon the altar the figure is immediately formed from the vapor as it is carried upward, but when the vapor becomes mingled and dispersed into the whole atmosphere the idolon itself is immediately dissolved, and not a trace of it remains. Why, then, should this juggling be desired by the man that loves manifestations that are true? I regard it as worthy of no consideration. If they who make these spectral figures know that these things about which they are engaged are structures formed of passive material the evil would be a simple matter. Besides this, they become in this similar to the apparitions in which they place faith. But if they bold to these spectral figures as to gods, the absurdity will not be utterable in speech or endurable in act. For into such a soul the divine ray never shines; for it is not in the nature of things for it to be bestowed upon objects that are wholly repugnant, and those that are held fast by dark phantasms have no place for its reception. Suchlike wonder-making with phantasms will, therefore, be in the same category with shadows that are very far from the truth.||7. Origen treated of these idola or spectral figures as things in motion, but not beings really alive; apparitions approaching the nature, of phantoms.|
NO DIVINE QUALITY IN SPECTRAL FIGURES.
But then thou affirmest further: "They watch the course of the heavenly bodies, and tell from the position and relation of one, with another whether the oracular announcements of the ruling planet will be true or false, or whether the rites which have been performed will be to no purpose, or will be expressive or arcane."
To the contrary, not on account of these things will these phantasms possess the divine quality. For the last and most inferior of the things in the realm of generated existence are moved by the courses of the heavenly bodies and are affected by the auras which go forth from them. No, indeed; but if any one shall examine these things carefully they will show the contrary. For how may it be that these things which are so easy to change in every respect, and are turned round in various directions by daemons from without, so as to be rendered of no importance, whether as oracular or in regard to promises or in relation to Perfective Rites or in other matters, as the case may be, shall contain in themselves any allotment of divine power, however small? What, then, are the powers which are inherent in various kinds of matter, the elementary constituents, of which daemons are formed? Verily, and indeed, they are not. For nothing of divisible sensitive bodies originates daemons; but these, instead, are themselves generated and watched over by daemons. Neither is anybody able to fashion the shapes of daemons as from a machine, but rather, on the contrary, he is himself fashioned and constructed by the daemons according as he partakes of a body possessing sensibility.
|But neither is there any incidental number of daemons generated from the elements of things of sense, but, far otherwise, the number is itself simple in nature and is uniformly operative around compound natures. Hence, it will not possess things of sense older than itself, or more lasting; but as it excels sensible things in age and power, it imparts to them the constancy which they are able to receive. Perhaps, however, thou termest the idola daemons, applying such a designation wrongly; for the nature of daemons is one thing and that of the idola another. The rank of each is likewise very widely different. And also, indeed, the Chorus-leader of idola is different from the great prince of the daemons.8 For this thou givest assent when saying that "no god or daemon is drawn down by them." Of what consideration would a sacred observance or a foreknowledge of the future be worthy which is entirely without participation, God or any other superior power. Hence, it is necessary to know what is the nature of this wonder-making art, but by no means to have faith in it.||8. It may perhaps be well to remark that the prince of daemons here named is probably not the same personification as Beel Zebul of the Gospels. That personage is styled in the Greek Testament, Baal Zeboul, the lord of the house; and in astrology it will be borne in mind that every one of the planetary houses had its own chief.|
FALSE AND TRUE DIVINATION.
Again, therefore, thy explanation of religious performances is still worse. It describes "a race of a tricky nature assuming all shapes, artful, and turning many ways, that personates gods and daemons, and souls of the dead, like, actors on the stage."
In reply to these imputations I will relate to thee what I once heard from the prophets of the Chaldaeans.
The gods of truth, whoever they may be, are alone the bestowers of all things good. They consort with only good men; they are in intimate union with those who have been purified by the sacred discipline, and extirpate from them every bad quality and disorderly passion. When they shine upon these, then what is evil and daemonian gives way, and disappears from the presence of the superior beings as darkness vanishes before the light. Nor does the light by any chance cause any annoyance to the theurgic priests, and they receive from it every excellent quality of mind, are made perfect as worthy and decorous, are set free from disorderly passions, and purified from all irregular impulse. and likewise from godless and profane habitudes.
But those who are themselves impious wrongdoers, and who assail divine matters in lawless and disorderly ways, are not able, because of defective individual energy and lack of inherent power, to obtain intimate association with the gods. If, by reason of any contaminations, they are debarred from being with immaculate spirits, they become allied with wicked spirits, and are filled by them with the most pernicious inspiration. They become evil and profane, full of unbridled desires after pleasure, replete with badness, and likewise eager admirers of modes of life that are foreign to the nature of the gods; and, to speak briefly, they become like the evil daemons with whom they are now joined in their nature. These, then, being full of disorderly passion and badness, through their common nature attract the evil spirits to themselves and are themselves incited by them to every kind of wickedness. They grow together like beings of the same birth, as in a circle, joining the beginning with the end and returning in the other direction in like manner.
|These things are sacrilegious misdeeds, full of impiety. They have been brought into the Sacred Rites irregularly, and their observance attempted in a disorderly manner by those who have come later.9 At one time, as it seems, one god would be caused to be present instead of another at the komos, or mystic revel, and at another they would introduce evil daemons instead of gods, calling them rival gods. Never, when discoursing about Sacerdotal Divination, set forth these things as examples. For Goodness is certainly more opposed to intrinsic badness than those to that which is simply not good.||9. It was usual at the Eleusinian Initiations, and others, to have a minor observance for those who did not reach the temple soon enough for the regular proceedings. Probably irregularities might occur on such occasions, but had to be guarded against.|
As, therefore, the profaners of temples fight against the religious
service of the gods most of all, so also those who have to do
with daemons that lead astray and are causes of excess undoubtedly
take the lead in fighting against theurgists themselves. For not
only is every evil spirit driven away by them, and is utterly
overthrown, but every species of badness and every disorderly
passion made an end of altogether. On the other hand; there is
a free participation of benefits among the pure; they are filled
from above from the fire of truth, and they have no "impediment"
or hindrance to the good things of the soul from bad spirits.
Nor does there any arrogance or adulation or enjoyment of exhalations
or force of violence greatly annoy them. On the contrary, all
these, as though struck by a bolt of lightning, give way, and
fall back without touching -- not able even to approach them.
This kind of divination is immaculate and sacerdotal, and is likewise truly divine. It does not, as thou remarkest, require an umpire, whether me or some one else, in order that I may distinguish it out of many. On the contrary, it is itself distinct from them all, superior above them, sempiternal, preexistent, not admitting any parallel nor the arranging of any superiority in many respects, but is free by itself, and takes the lead in a single form over all. To this it is necessary that thou, and every one that is a genuine lover of the gods, should give himself wholly; for by such means, truth, which gives a good foothold, is obtained at once in divinations, and perfect excellence in souls, and with both these the way upward will be granted to the theurgists to the Intellectual Fire, which is placed before as the end of all knowledge and of every theurgic transaction.
To no purpose, therefore; thou bringest forward the notion which some entertain: That divination is the work of an evil daemon. For the notion is not worthy to be remembered in the speculations respecting the gods. At the same time, also, these individuals are ignorant of the difference between truth and falsehood, because they have been reared in darkness from the beginning, and likewise are not able to discern the principles from which these things are derived.
With these conclusions, therefore, let us bring to a close these explanations in respect to the nature of Divination.
|Come, then, let us look over the opposing propositions in their order, what they are, and what reason there is for them. And if we let ourselves go on a little more at length in regard to some, as though speaking indeed by particular authority and at our own convenience, thou shouldst wait and bear with us patiently. For in regard to the Supreme Sciences, if thou wouldst know them perfectly, it is necessary that great diligence shall be observed and likewise that they shall be investigated for a long time with rigorous exactness. Thou wilt, therefore, according to the present plan, as thou hast begun, put forward the questions at issue which constitute the topics for discussion, and I in my turn will give thee an answer.||NOTES:|
Accordingly, thou sayest: "It perplexes me greatly to form
a conception how they who are invoked as superior beings are likewise
commanded like inferiors."
I will tell thee in reply the whole distinction in regard to the beings that are invoked that is worthy of a word; from which thou wilt have an intelligible explanation as to what may be and what may not be, in regard to the matters of which thou art asking. For the gods, the beings superior to us, by a purposing of the things that are beautiful, and likewise by an ungrudging affluence of benefits, bestow cordially the things that are suitable upon those who are worthy, compassionating the labors of the men in the Sacred office, but loving their children, their nurslings and pupils.
|The intermediary races,1 however, are the ephors or directors of decision. They likewise advise what it is necessary to do and what it is well to desist from. They also help to just actions, but hinder from those that are unjust, and they likewise cause many who are endeavoring to despoil others unjustly, or to ill-treat or destroy some one, to undergo the same things which they are designing to perform to others.||1. Proclus enumerates three classes of the daemons: the more spiritual, the more rational, and the more unreasoning. The guides of Socrates and Plotinus were of the second of these. They are here described.|
|There is, moreover, a certain other race of daemons present, irrational and destitute of judgment, to which has been allotted only a single faculty in the series, by the distribution to each of the function which has been arranged among the several divisions. As, therefore, it is the function of the sword to cut and to do nothing else than this, so also of the spirits distributed everywhere according to the differentiating necessity of the realm of nature, one class divides and another collects the things that come into existence. This, however, is well known from the manifestations. For the Charoneian cavities,2 as they are called, send forth a spirit or exhalation from their recesses, which is capable of destroying everything indiscriminately that happens to be there.||2. Charoneia is a district in Asia Minor, bordering on the river Meander. The name is from Charon, the supposed ferryman of disbodied souls across the river Styx in the Underworld. The caves, or, rather, little openings in the ground, emitted a sulfurous vapor, sometimes destructive to life. Pliny also mentions similar cavities at Italy, near Puteoli. They were supposed to lead to the realm of Hades.|
So, therefore, certain invisible spirits, each having by allotment
a different function, are constituted to perform that office only
as it has been arranged. If, then, any one shall undertake to
celebrate the Perfective Rites in proper order, and shall change
them in another direction, and do something contrary to prescribed
custom, there will be a particular injury for making use of the
Sacred Rites in an unlawful manner. This is a topic, however,
foreign to our discourse.
WHY SPIRITS ARE COMMANDED
|[4.2. Cp. Luck 121-22.]|
|What, however, it is now proposed to investigate we sometimes behold as it takes place. For it happens in regard to the spirits that do not make use of a rational faculty of their own and have no principle of judgment, that they are commanded; and this is not unreasonable. For our understanding, being naturally endowed to reason and decide, in the same way as it has charge of affairs, and likewise comprehending many of the forces of life in itself, is accustomed to dominate the most irrational and those that have only a single energy complete. Hence it calls upon them as superior beings, because it is endeavoring to draw from the whole cosmic world that encompasses us the things which perfect us entirely in respect to the matters that are held among divisible things. But it commands them imperatively as inferiors,3 because certain parts (of our nature while) in the world frequently are more pure and more perfect than (faculties) that extend to the whole cosmos; as, for example, if one is spiritual and intellectible and the other is wholly non-spiritual or belonging to the sphere of nature; for then the one that is less extended and developed is superior in authority to the one that is developed more amply, although it may be surpassed by the latter in the magnitude and extent of dominion.||3. These irrational spirits, so far as they contribute to perfecting individuals, are superior to us, though because of their irrationality they are inferior.|
There is, however, also another reason to be applied to these
things, namely: There is a twofold prelude to the whole theurgic
performance. The former, which is introduced as by human beings,
which conserves our rank in the universe as it exists in the sphere
of nature; and the latter, which is confirmed by divine tokens,
exalted on high through being allied to the superior beings, and
likewise led harmoniously after their beautiful order, which may
also in all likelihood be invested with the external form of the
gods. In accordance, therefore, with the difference of such a
kind, the officiator very properly invokes the powers from everywhere
as superior beings, in so far as the invoker is a human being,
and in turn commands them as subordinate; since through the arcane
symbols he is in a manner encompassed with the sacred dignity
of the gods.
SUGGESTIONS IN REGARD TO INVOCATIONS
Yet in order to resolve the doubts of these things still more truly, we think it well, when making the invocations, to omit the supplications which appear to be directed to them as to human beings, and also the imperative expressions which are uttered with great force during the celebrating of the Rites. For if the communion of a harmonious friendship and an indissoluble combining together as being only one comprise the sacred work, nothing of achievements called human joins with it, to the end that it shall be truly of the gods and superior to human beings. Nor should the invocation be in such a manner as when we endeavor to bring distant objects to us, nor the supplication of the form addressed to beings separate and apart in such a manner as we pass something from one to another. But energy of the divine Fire itself shines forth spontaneously in all directions, and being both self-called and self-operating, is active in like manner through all things, those alike that impart and those that can receive it.
The explanation which is now made is far superior, which does
not assume that divine operations are accomplished by means of
contrary or different natures, as things of nature are wont to
be effected; but, instead, that every work is rightly accomplished
through sameness, oneness and conformity of nature. If, then,
we should make a distinction between the invoker and the invoked,
the commander and the one commanded, the superior and the inferior,
we should in some way transfer the contrariety of sex that is
peculiar to generated beings to the unbegotten blessed natures
of the gods. If, then, as is right, we disregard all these matters
as being earth-born, but assign as being more precious that which
is common and simple to the beings that are superior to the diversified
conditions existing here, the first thing assumed by these questions
will be at once completely answered, so that there will not be
a single reasonable point of controversy left in regard to them.
KARMA OR ILLS FROM FORMER LIVES
What shall we say, then, in regard to the question, after the one just answered: "Why do the divinities that are invoked require the worshiper to be just, although they themselves when entreated consent to perform unjust acts?"
In reply to this I am uncertain in respect to what is meant by "performing unjust acts," as the same definition may not appear right both to us and to the gods. We, on the one hand, looking to that which is least significant, consider the things that are present, the momentary life, what it is and how it originates. The beings superior to us, let me say, know for certain the whole life of the soul and all its former lives; and if they bring on a retribution from the supplication of those who invoke them, they do not increase it beyond what is just. On the contrary, they aim at the sins impressed upon the soul in former lifetimes, which men, not perceiving, imagine that it is unjust that they shall fall into the misfortunes which they suffer.
The many are also generally accustomed to propose the same doubt in regard to Providence; that certain persons are suffering from wrong-doing, who had not wronged any one previously. For they are unable here to reason as to what the soul is, what its entire life has been, the magnitude of its great errors in former lives, and whether it is now suffering these things for what it did formerly. Then also there are many unjust acts which elude human cognizance, but which are well known to the gods, since the same view of justice is not maintained by mankind generally. On the contrary, men define justice as the independent action of the Soul and the assigning of merit according to the established laws and the ruling conditions of civic life. The gods, I assure you, give their judgment of whatever is just, looking to the whole orderly arrangement of the world, and to the joint relation of the souls with the gods. Hence the judgment of what actions are right is different with the gods from what it is with us. We cannot wonder at this, if we do not in most matters arrive at the high and absolutely perfect judgment which is exercised by the superior beings. But what hinders justice to every one individually and with the whole family of souls, especially in a much superior manner from being as would be approved of the gods? For if a sharing of the same nature by souls when they are in bodies and when they are apart from bodies effects an intimate alliance to the common life and order of the world, it is also necessary that the payment of the requirements of justice shall be demanded to the uttermost, and especially when the magnitude of the wrongs done by the one soul in former terms of existence exceeds the fullest extent of the single punishment following upon the offenses.
If, however, any one should add other explanations, by which he
seeks to make plain in a different way the maintaining of justice
by the gods, or as it is determined by us,. there may result from
them a way for us in regard to the matters under consideration.
But for me the rules alone which have been already laid down are
sufficient for the purpose of manifesting generally the race of
superior beings, and including everything in relation to the healing
influence in the punishments.
GOOD ONLY IS FROM THE GODS
In order, therefore, that we may from our abundance decide the
contest against the assumption now under discussion, we will,
if agreeable to thee, consider as granted the contrary of what
we have argued, namely, that unjust things are performed in the
proceedings, the invocations. It is evident at once, therefore,
that the gods are not to be accused of these things. For they
who are good are causes and authors of good things; and the gods
are good in their very essence. They accordingly do nothing unjust;
hence it is necessary to seek for other causes of the things which
occur discordantly. But even though we are not able to find these,
we ought not to throw away the true concept in relation to the
gods (that they are the causes only of what is just); nor should
we, because of controversy as to whether things occur and how
they occur, reject notions in regard to the gods that are really
clear. For it is much better to confess the feebleness of our
powers that are unable to understand how unjust acts are perpetuated,
than to concede an impossible falsehood in respect to the gods,
concerning which all the Greek philosophers, and likewise the
foreign peoples, rightly entertain the contrary opinion. So, then,
this is the truth.
EVIL DAEMONS AT THE INITIATIONS
|Nevertheless, it is necessary to add also the causes by which evils sometimes come into existence, and likewise how numerous and of what kind they are. For their form is not simple,4 and being diversified it takes the lead in the bringing of a variety of evils into existence. For if we spoke truly just now in regard to the mystic figures and the evil daemons, that after the manner of actors in a play assume to be present in the character of gods and good daemons, there appears in some manner a malignant tribe rushing in a numerous body, and with these the discrepancy which thou hast described usually happens. For the daemons require the worshiper to be just, because they themselves as actors in the drama are assuming to be, as if of the race of the gods, whereas they are servants to injustice because they are in their nature evil.||4. Real being, only is simple and unique; evil is always complex.|
Let there be, therefore, the same statement in regard to false
and true, and of good and evil. In the divinations we attribute
truth to the gods only, and when falsehood is detected impute
it to another race as the cause, that of the daemons. So also
in regard to matters just and unjust; that what is beautiful and
right is to be ascribed only to the gods and good daemons, while
the daemons who are evil by nature do the things that are unjust
and dishonorable. That which is in all respects in harmony with
itself, and is always in the same manner in itself and with itself,
pertains to the superior beings; but that which is contradictory,
discordant and never the same, is the peculiarity of the dissensions
of the daemons. Hence it is no matter of wonder in regard to them
if violent conflicts exist. Indeed, it would be more wonderful
if this should not be the case.
COOPERATION OF PARTS IN THE UNIVERSE
Hurrying out from another line of argument, we assume that the several parts of the body of the universe are not inert or destitute of power. On the contrary, so far as they excel our conditions in perfection, beauty and magnitude by so much we insist that the greater power is present with them. They are themselves capable of different things individually by themselves, and they employ diverse energies; but they can accomplish much more in a certain degree acting with one another. Indeed, there is a certain creative activity of various kinds extending from the whole universe into the parts either from sympathy through similarity of powers, or from the adaptation of the active to the passive principle.
If, therefore, there happen by corporeal necessities, any mischievous
and destructive results to parts, yet they are salutary and beneficial
as regards the whole and the entire framework. But they bring
on a necessary decay to the parts, either from not being able
to conduct the operations of the whole; or secondly, from a commingling
and combining of the infirmities existing from themselves; or
thirdly, from the want of harmony of the parts with one another.
MANY THINGS ORIGINATE SPONTANEOUSLY
|Next in course after the body of the Universe, there are many things coming into existence from its productive principle.5 For the harmonious union of the things that are of like nature, and the repulsion of those that are unlike, produce not a few. Moreover, the joining of the many is one, the Living Principle of the Universe,6 and the forces in the world, however many and of whatever kind they may be, bring to perfection, to speak in plain terms, one thing in respect to the whole, but another in respect to the parts, owing to the relative feebleness of the parts when they are separate; just as Attraction, Love, and Repulsion,7 which are present in the universe as energy, become passive conditions in those that participate individually, taking the lead in ideals and pure principles in the nature of wholes,8 they share in a certain deficiency and unshapeliness which are incident to matter in regard to things of a divisible quality. In respect to wholes, they are united, but in regard to parts they are at variance. Thus do differentiated natures that participate in these imperfections in conjunction with matter deteriorate in regard to everything that is good, perfect and universal. Sometimes they decay in parts in order that the entire natures which are compacted firmly together may be preserved. Sometimes, also, the parts are tormented and weighed down, while the natures that are entire remain insensible to such molestation.||
5. The fusis (phusis), or nature,
is here indicated as the maternal function of the world, by which
the multiplicity of created things are brought forth into existence.
6. The Anima Mundi, or Soul of the world.
7. Greek, filia, efws, neikos. The ancient verse repeated this statement as follows:
"The race of Immortals was not till Eros mingled all together:
But when the elements were mixed with one another,
Heaven was produced, the ocean and earth and the imperishable race of the blessed gods."
8. "Wholes" being complete are undivided into parts, but complete in every respect.
DIVINITY NOT THE AUTHOR OF WRONG
Let us, therefore, bring together the results from these conclusions. For if some of those who make the invocations (at the Rites) employ the natural or corporeal powers of the universe, the gift comes of energy unpremeditated and without evil. Indeed, it is the one using the gift improperly who diverts it to contrary and useless purposes; and then it is joined in a contrary manner sympathetically to passive conditions through similarity of nature, but he draws the gift directly contrary to the right toward what is evil and base. He also makes the things that are farthest apart to operate together according to the one established order of the world. Yet if any one, perceiving this, should endeavor improperly to attract certain parts of the universe to other parts, they will not be the cause of that mischief; but, on the contrary, it will be the temerity of human beings, and the violation of order in the world, that pervert the things that are good and lawful.
|Hence, therefore, the things that are considered to be wicked the gods do not perform, but, on the contrary, the natures that are beneath them are the causes of them, and likewise the bodies. Nor do these, as is supposed, impart from themselves anything of a faulty character; but they send down instead, for the safety of all, their own auras to those races that are allotted to the earth,9 and those who receive these emanations change them by their own commingling and modifying and transfer what had been given for one purpose to others widely different.||9. The "archons" of the lower earthly class.|
From all these things, therefore, it is shown that the divinity
is in no sense a source of evils and wrongs.
Moreover, thou askest, and at the same time hintest a doubt with this question: "They (the gods) will not hearken to the person who is invoking them, if he is not pure from sexual contamination. Yet they do not themselves hesitate to lead chance individuals into unlawful sexual relations."
Whether there are occurrences that take place outside of human
laws, but according to another and higher source and order than
the laws; or whether occurrences of this kind happen, and according
to an agreement and affection in the world, but yet in part through
some commingling sympathy; or whether the gift of beauty which
was graciously imparted is perverted by those who receive it to
that which is the opposite, there is, nevertheless, a clear solution
from the things that have been said before.
SOURCES OF INCONTINENCE
|Of a truth it is not necessary to examine separately in regard to these same things and how they occur and what reason there is for them. We must bear in mind that "the whole universe is a single living being," and the parts in it are separated by spaces, but with one nature, and are desirous to be with one another.10 The whole impulse for coming together and the cause of commingling attract the parts spontaneously to an intimate union. It is also possible, however, for this to be excited by artificial means, and likewise to be increased beyond what is becoming.||10. Plotinus: Ennead IV, iv, 32 "This all is one and as a single living being. Being a living being and completely one, there is nothing in it so distant in space as not to be near to the peculiar nature of the one living being through common sympathy."|
|The cause itself, therefore, considered by itself alone, extending from itself about the whole world, is both good and a source of completeness, and also of communion, conjunction and harmonious adaptation and with the union it also introduces the indissoluble principle of Love which retains and preserves both the things that are and the things that come into existence. But in the parts (the incomplete natures) it occurs that by reason of their separateness from each other and from the perfect natures, and likewise because they are incomplete, deficient and weak in their own nature, there is a connection effected through the passive condition. On this account there are innate desire and appetite inherent in the principal number of them.|
|In Art, therefore, observing that this innate desire is thus implanted by Nature and distributed through her domain, and being itself distributed over the realm of nature in many forms, attracts it and leads it on. That which in itself is arranged in order, it brings into disorder, and that which is beautiful it fills with ideals of corresponding disfigurement. The Sacred Purpose in them all which is by nature that on union it changes to an unseemly complement of a different character, a bringing together of diverse things in some way according to a common passive condition. It likewise gives forth a material from itself which is adverse to the entire creation of what is beautiful, either not receiving beauty at all, or changing it to something else. It likewise mingles with many different forces of the realm of nature, from which it directs as it pleases the comminglings incident to the sphere of creation.11||11. "The Magic Art (white magic) is regarded by the Greeks as an agency of great power. They declare it to be actually the very extreme of the Sacred Knowledge. For it searches out everything under the moon, its nature, virtue and quality: I mean the elements and their component parts, being animals, plants of all kinds and their fruits, stones, and herbs: and in short, everything with its substance and power. Hence, therefore, it works out results of itself: it employs schemes of every kind, images promotive of health."|
We show, therefore, from every side that such argument for sexual
connections comes from a technique or art of human origin, but
is never from any necessity daemonian or divine.
INCONTINENCE PROMPTED FROM EVIL DAEMONS
|Consider, therefore, a class of causes of a different kind: that somehow a stone or plant has frequently a destroying quality derived from them, or one that collects together those which are productive. For it is not by any means in respect to these things alone, but also in respect to greater natures or in greater things that this natural superiority exists, which they who are unable to examine, reflect upon and determine, may easily attribute to the superior operations of nature. Already, moreover, it may be conceded that in the realm of generated existence, in respect to human affairs and in matters generally about the earth, the tribe of evil daemons is able to hold superior dominion. What wonder is it, then, if such a race performs such works? For every man may not be able to discriminate which is the good and which the evil selfhood, or by what tokens they may be distinguished from one another. Indeed, those who are not able to perceive the distinction come to conclusions absurdly concerning the inquiry in regard to the cause of these agencies and refer it to the races superior to the realm of nature and to the order of daemons. But even though powers of the particled12 soul are comprehended in respect to these things as to their accomplishment, both while it holds to the body and when it has left the oyster-like and earthly corporeality,13 but yet wanders below around the places of creation in a disturbed and melting spirit -- nevertheless the same opinion would be true; but it places the cause far away from the superior beings. By no means, therefore, does the divine nature nor a good daemon minister to the unlawful desires of human beings in regard to sexual matters, since there are many other causes of these.||
12. The human soul is particled, divided
not only by qualities but also by being partly included in the
category and influence of the body while the nobler part is still
in a manner a denizen of the Eternal Region. Hence the declaration
of Paul to the Corinthian believers "We know that though
our earthly house of this tabernacle should be dissolved, we have
a divine building, a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens."
13. Plato: Phaedros -- "This which we now carry with us and call 'the body,' fastened to it like an oyster to its shell."
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