Chapter 8. The Divining Art Universal.

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.

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, <sup>1</sup> 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. <sup>2</sup>

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, <sup>3</sup> 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.

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: <sup>4</sup> 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.”

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 vehicle <sup>5</sup> 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.

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. <sup>6</sup> 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.

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.

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, <sup>7</sup> 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.

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.

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, <sup>8</sup> 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.”

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, <sup>9</sup> 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.

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.

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. <sup>10</sup> 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.

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.

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. <sup>11</sup>

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. <sup>12</sup>

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.

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.” <sup>13</sup>

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. <sup>14</sup> 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: <sup>15</sup>

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.

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.



  • 1. 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. Proklos 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.” Proklos 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 5. The vehicle is called the “astral aura” by Paracelsus, and Kamarupa by Hindu sages.
  • 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.”
  • 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.
  • 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 Proklos.
  • 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.
  • 10. See Deceptive Divination, page 132.
  • 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.”


  • 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. Proklos 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.”
  • 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.”
  • 14. 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.