The Pre-Essential Demiurge: Aion

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Aion, God of eternity, in a celestial sphere decorated with zodiacal signs, between a green and a dismantled tree, which represent summer and winter respectively. Before him is the Great Mother, along with four children who personify the four seasons.

The One-Being becomes Aion once it’s reflected into the Intelligible Realm, the realm immediately after the realm of the One. Aion acts as the source (monad) of the Intelligible Realm, and as the Good it rules over and unifying Being, Life and Mind. Specifically, Aion represents a vertical extension of the One into the Intelligible Realm. This means Aion occupies the same ontological place as the One-Being, however, as it exists at the top of the Intelligible Realm rather than at the bottom of the realm of the One, it is functionally different.

Aion is called many things, such as “the Father”, “King of the Universe”, “God of Gods”, “Cause of All”, “The Pre-Essential Demiurge”, “The Paradigm”, “The Idea of Being”, “Supra-Intelligible”, and “Monad from The One”. Aion is beyond Ousia (substance/essence) and beyond On (Being), His existence being beyond all things and prior to the Gods under Him, being alone in the singularity of the highest divinity, governing apart over the universe. Aion is the Pre-Essential Demiurge; and while existing before ousia (substance/Being) is simultaneously the source of ousia (substance/Being) and essentiality, which come into existence before the Gods.

He is Supra-Intelligible, meaning He is so sublime and transcendental that even the Gods under Him can’t know Him. He is the source of all essence, and as the source of that which is thought, He is therefore the cause of Being; but is still beyond it. As the supreme genus He allows for all levels of the ontological hierarchy to participate in His divine essence, His principle of intellection thinking the Gods under Him, and Being itself, into existence.

Aion is the creative power the Celestial Demurge draws from to craft the universe. Matter (hylē) is also created by Aion, and is thus eternal. Hylē is empty though, being an empty receptive substance which forms into matter as we know it once the Celestial Demiurge directs the logoi to give hylē shape. This informs matter and gives it shape, turning it from an empty substance into the matter we understand.

As Aion, the One-Being is the model upon which the Cosmos are based on and is described as the “Essence of Being” from which all Being stems. Aion being the cosmic model is important, because it tells us about the nature of the cosmos; that the cosmos are modelled by the Celestial Demiurge based upon something that is eternal, unchangeable, good, and beyond generation; as Plato quotes in the Timaeus: “Everyone will see that [the Celestial Demiurge] must have looked to the eternal, for the world is the fairest of creations and He is the best of causes.”

Aion is, as Clarian Apollo says, “Self-begotten, untaught, without a mother, unshakeable, nameless, many-named, and dwelling in fire”. He rules over the Intelligible Realm, holding the role of organizing the Intelligible Realm and all its inhabitants according to the impulses given by the One.

 

Worship

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Hermes presented as Harpocrates, the God of mystical silence, who guides the souls upon their return to the Monad or Oneness. The words inscribed on the circle above Hermes read: ‘Silentium Deum cole – monas manet in se’, or “Worship God by being silent – the Oneness remains in itself”; an allusion to Iamblichus’ De mysteriis Aegyptiorum. On the pedestal which Hermes stands upon is a saying attributed to the poet Simonides by Plutarch: “He had often repented of speaking, but never of holding His tongue.”

Because Aion comes into being before duality, which sprung the Word (Logoi) of creation was spoken by the Celestial Demiurge, Iamblichus informs us the only appropriate way to worship Aion is through silence.

 

Bibliography

Afonasin, Eugene, John Dillon, and John F. Finamore. Iamblichus and the Foundations of Late Platonism. Leiden: Brill, 2012.

Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia. “Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia Catechism.” Ekklesia Neoplatonismos Theourgia. Accessed July 17, 2017. http://theourgia.org/catechism/.

Flavius Claudius Iulianus Augustus, and Wilmer Cave. Wright. The works of emperor Julian. London: Heinemann etc., 1962.

Hunter, Richard Lawrence. Hesiodic Voices: Studies in the Ancient Reception of Hesiod’s Works and Days. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Iamblichus. De Anima. Translated by John F. Finamore and John M. Dillon. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002.

Iamblichus. De mysteriis. Translated by Emma C. Clarke, John M. Dillon and Jackson P. Hershbell. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003.

Kupperman, Jeffrey S. Living theurgy: a course in Iamblichus philosophy, theology and theurgy. London: Avalonia, 2014.

Sallustius, “On the Gods and the Cosmos”, 4th Century AD, accessed May 17, 2017, http://www.platonic-philosophy.org/files/Sallustius%20-%20On%20the%20Gods%20(Taylor).pdf

Shaw, Gregory. Theurgy and the soul: the Neoplatonism of Iamblichus. Second ed. Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2014.