Saturday, November 19, 2011

Proclus on the soul

Proclus: The soul is constituded from intellective logoi [reason-principles] and from divine symbols [sumbolon], of which the former come from intellective forms, the latter from the divine henads; and we are images [eikones] of intellective essences but statues [agalmata] of nonconceptual tokens [agnoston sunthematon]. And just as every soul is the totality [pleroma] of all the forms, but subsists universally according to a single causality, likewise it participates of all the tokens through which it is connected to things divine, but the existence [huparxis] is defined in unity/in the One [en heni].
Philosophia Chaldaica
quoted in Edward Butler

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Ficino on the Sight of the Beloved

Hence it always happens that lovers fear and worship in some way the sight of the beloved. Let me even say, although I fear that some of you will blush when you hear these things, that even brave and wise men, I say, have been accustomed to suffer in the presence of the beloved, however inferior. Certainly it is not anything human that frightens them, which breaks them, which seizes them. For a human power is always stronger in braver and wiser men. But that splendor of divinity, shining in the beautiful like a statue of God, compels lovers to marvel, to be afraid, and to worship.

-Marsilio Ficino, Commentary on Plato’s Symposium on Love
(found on Arturo Vasquez's excellent blog

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hymn-Singing from Plethon to Ficino (subjective to theurgic?)

“Gemisto Pletho recurs as an important but shadowy figure in the handing down of this tradition. He does not in his surviving works mention either Orpheus or the Orphic writings. But we know that hymn-singing played a large part in his reconstructed paganism, and that he devoted a chapter of his Nomoi to ‘Hymns to the Gods’ and another to ‘The Arrangement of the Hymns.’ We have evidence also that he copied out fourteen of the Orphic Hymns. It may be that it was Pletho's appearance at the Council of Florence in 1438 that awakened in the West an interest in this ritual practice. There are, however, significant differences in the motives underlying the hymn-singing of Pletho and that of Ficino. As Walker tells us Pletho saw the effect of the hymn-singing as subjective rather than objective. It did not actually reach the gods, but prepared or ‘moulded’ our imaginations. Ficino's motives are more direct and straightforward, and closer to the theurgic tradition of Iamblichus and Proclus. The singing of hymns can prepare man's spiritus to receive the influx of spiritus from a particular astral body. Music recovers its powers of magic, its ability to exploit and turn to advantage the forces of the phenomenal world. ‘Nothing is more effective in natural magic,’ says Pico, ‘than the hymns of Orpheus, if the proper music, mental concentration and other circumstances which the wise are aware of be applied.’ “
John Warden: from Orpheus, the Metamorphosis of a Myth, University of Toronto Press, 1985.

thanks to Lily Beard for dropping this excerpt on the Phoenix Rising Facebook forum