The Chaldean Oracles


The Chaldean Oracles are a revealed text written in the second century CE. They are attributed to Julian the Theurgist and his father, Julian the Chaldean. Julian the Theurgist served in the Roman army during the Marcomannic Wars during Marcus Aurelius’ campaign against the Quadi. It is claimed that during a severe drought, Julian caused a rainstorm which saved the expedition.

The circumstances surrounding the writing of the Chaldean Oracles are mysterious, the most likely explanation being that Julian uttered them after inducing a sort of trance akin to that of an oracle.

The Chaldean Oracles have a large amount of Hellenistic syncretism, more precisely Alexandrian; as practiced in the cultural melting-pot city that was Alexandria, and were credited with embodying many of the principal features of a “Chaldean philosophy”. They were held in the greatest esteem throughout Late Antiquity, with Iamblichus writing a now lost thirty-volume commentary on the Chaldean Oracles and Julian the Philosopher being well-versed in their teachings.

The word theourgia is coined in the Chaldean Oracles. While the Julians first use the word and develop its general use, it wasn’t until over a century later that theurgy was taken fully into Platonic practice.

Unfortunately the Chaldean Oracles merely survive in fragments; however they can be roughly pieced together.


Remaining Texts

The following is a collection done by

1. But God is He having the head of the Hawk. The same is the first, incorruptible, eternal, unbegotten, indivisible, dissimilar: the dispenser of all good; indestructible; the best of the good, the Wisest of the wise; He is the Father of Equity and Justice, self-taught, physical, perfect, and wise—He who inspires the Sacred Philosophy.

– Eusebius. Præparatio Evangelica, Liber. I., chap. X,

This Oracle does not appear in either of the ancient collections, nor in the group of oracles given by any of the mediaeval occultists. Cory seems to have been the first to discover it in the voluminous writings of Eusebius, who falsely attributes the authorship to the Persian Zoroaster.


2. Theurgists assert that He is a God and celebrate him as both older and younger, as a circulating and eternal God, as understanding the whole number of all things moving in the World, and moreover infinite through his power and energizing a spiral force.

– Proclus on the Timæus of Plato, 244. Z. or T.

The Egyptian Pantheon had an Elder and a Younger Horus—a God—son of Osiris and Isis. Taylor suggests that He refers to Kronos, Time, or Chronos as the later Platonists wrote the name. Kronos, or Saturnus, of the Romans, was son of Uranos and Gaia, husband of Rhea, father of Zeus.


3. The God of the Universe, eternal, limitless, both young and old, having a spiral force.

Cory includes this Oracle in his collection, but he gives no authority for it. Lobek doubted its authenticity.



4. For the Eternal æon* —according to the Oracle— is the cause of never failing life, of unwearied power and unsluggish energy.

– Taylor.—T.

* “For the First æeon, the Eternal one,” or as Taylor gives, “Eternity.”


5. Hence the inscrutable God is called silent by the divine ones, and is said to consent with Mind, and to be known to human souls through the power of the Mind alone.

– Proclus in Theologiam Platonis, 321. T.

Inscrutable. Taylor gives “stable;” perhaps “incomprehensible” is better.

6. The Chaldæans call the God Dionysos (or Bacchus), Iao in the Phoenician tongue (instead of the Intelligible Light), and he is also called Sabaoth,* signifying that he is above the Seven poles, that is the Demiurgos.

– Lydus, De Mensibus, 83. T.

* This word is Chaldee, TzBAUT, meaning hosts; but there is also a word SHBOH, meaning “The Seven.”

7. Containing all things in the one summit of his own Hyparxis, He Himself subsists wholly beyond.

– Proclus in Theologiam Platonis, 212. T.

Hyparxis, is generally deemed to mean “Subsistence.” Hupar is Reality as distinct from appearance; Huparche is a Beginning.

8. Measuring and bounding all things.

– Proclus in Theologiam Platonis, 386. T.

“Thus he speaks the words,” is omitted by Taylor and Cory, but present in the Greek.

9. For nothing imperfect emanates from the Paternal Principle,

Psellus, 38 ; Pletho. Z.

This implies—but only from a succedent emanation.

10. The Father effused not Fear, but He infused persuasion.

Pletho. Z,

11. The Father hath apprehended Himself and hath not restricted his Fire to his own intellectual power.

Psellus, 30; Pletho, 33. Z:

Taylor gives:—“The Father hath hastily withdrawn Himself, but hath not shut up his own Fire in his intellectual power.”

The Greek text has no word “hastily,” and as to “withdrawn—Arpazo means, grasp of snatch, but also “apprehend with the mind.”

12. Such is the Mind which is energized before energy, while yet it had not gone forth, but abode in the Paternal Depth, and in the Adytum of God nourished silence.

– Proc. in Tim., 167. T.

13. All things have issued from that one Fire. The Father perfected all things, and delivered them over to the Second Mind, whom all Nations of Men call the First.

Psellus, 24; Pletho, 30. Z.

14. The Second Mind conducts the Empyrean. World .

– Damascius, De Principiis. T.

15. What the Intelligible saith, it saith by understanding.

Psellus, 35. Z.

16. Power is with them, but Mind is from Him.

– Proclus in Platonis Theologiam, 365. T.

17. The Mind of the Father riding on the subtle Guiders, which glitter with the tracings of inflexible and relentless Fire.

– Proclus on the Cratylus of Plato.

18. …After the Paternal Conception I the Soul reside, a heat animating all things. …For he placed the Intelligible in the Soul, and the Soul in dull body, Even so the Father of Gods and Men placed them in us.

– Proclus in Tim., Plat., 124. Z. or T.

19. Natural works co-exist with the intellectual light of the Father. For it is the Soul which adorned the vast Heaven, and which adorneth it after the Father, but her dominion is established on high.

– Proclus in Tim., 106. Z. or T.

Dominion, krata: some copies give kerata, horus.

20. The Soul, being a brilliant Fire, by the power of the Father remaineth immortal, and is Mistress of Life, and filleth up the many recesses of the bosom of the World.

Psellus, 28; Pletho, 11. Z.

21. The channels being intermixed therein she performeth the works of incorruptible Fire.

– Proclus in Politica, p. 399. Z. or T.

22. For not in Matter did the Fire which is in the first beyond enclose His active Power, but in Mind; for the framer of the Fiery World is the Mind of Mind.

– Proclus in Theologiam, 333, and Tim., 157. T.

23. Who first sprang from Mind, clothing the one Fire with the other Fire, binding them together, that he might mingle the fountainous craters, while preserving unsullied the brilliance of His own Fire.

– Proclus in Parm. Platonis. T.


24. And thence a Fiery Whirlwind drawing down the brilliance of the flashing flame, penetrating the abysses of the Universe; for from thence downwards do all extend their wondrous rays.

– Proclus in Theologiam Platonis, 171 and 172. T.

25. The Monad first existed, and the Paternal Monad still subsists.

– Proclus in Euclidem, 27. T.

26. When the Monad is extended, the Dyad is generated.

– Proclus in Euclidem, 27. T.

Note that “What the Pythagoreans signify by Monad, Duad and Triad, or Plato by Bound, Infinite and Mixed; that the Oracles of the Gods intend by Hyparxis, Power and Energy.”

– Damascius De Principiis. Taylor.

27. And beside Him is seated the Dyad which glitters with intellectual sections, to govern all things, and to order everything not ordered.

– Proclus in Platonis Theologiam, 376. T.

28. The Mind of the Father said that all things should be cut into Three, whose Will assented, and immediately all things were so divided.

– Proclus in Parmen. T.

29. The Mind of the Eternal Father said into Three, governing all things by Mind.

– Proclus, Timaeus of Plato. T.

30. The Father mingled every Spirit from this Triad.

– Lydus, De Mensibus, 20. Taylor.

31. All things are supplied from the bosom of this Triad.

– Lydus, De Mensibus, 20. Taylor.

32. All things are governed and subsist in this Triad.

– Proclus in I. Alcibiades. T.

33. For thou most know that all things bow before the Three Supernals.

– Damascius, De Principiis. T.

34. From thence floweth forth the Form of the Triad, being preexistent; not the first Essence, but that whereby all things are measured.

– Anon. Z. or T.

35. And there appeared in it Virtue and Wisdom, and multiscient Truth.

– Anon. Z. or T.

36. For in each World shineth the Triad, over which the Monad ruleth.

– Damascius in Parmenidem. T.

37. The First Course is Sacred, in the middle place courses the Sun,* in the third the Earth is heated by the internal fire.

– Anon. Z. or T.

*Jones gives Sun from Hellos, but some Greek versions give Herios, which Cory translates, air.

38. Exalted upon High and animating Light, Fire, Ether and Worlds.

– Simplicius in his Physica, 143. Z. or T.