Plotinus’ description of the activity of the One is that it overflows of its superabundant goodness (Uždavinys 2009, 27). A corollary of this overflowing is that the lower entities proceed from the highest entity. This is reflected in three suns, with each being direct vertical emanations of the ruler prior to it, which illuminates three separate spheres of existence with the gift of intelligible light, which manifests differently in each realm. The Gods of that realm are that ruler’s horizontal emanations, and all having their effect on the lower.
It is of note that this entire process happens wholly within the Intelligible level, hence why the Gods’ Substance (Ousia) is also understood to be Intelligible while their Activities (Energeia) lies at their level of concern (e.g., Intellective for an Intellective God).
Plato writes that “eternity [aion] remains in the One” (Plato Timaeus, 37d5), which tells us that the Intelligible Sun, Aion, is a horizontal extension of the One. Aion is the first sun, the Pre-Essential Demiurge, who lies between the ineffable One and the Intelligible Realm. They rule at the summit of the Intelligible Realm over the Intelligible Gods, horizontal emanations from Him. Aion provides Them the life-light which sustains and nourishes Them, granting Them “endless beauty and superabundance of generative power and perfect reason” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 429) and allowing Them to think in a unitary mode.
Aion then has a vertical emanation who proceeds “from the generative substance of the Good [the One]” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 429). This second sun is Zeus-Helios, “the genuine son of the Good” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 395) who lies between the Intelligible and Intellective Realms. Zeus-Helios is the “middle of the middle, connecting all of the realms below Him with those above Him” (Finamore 1985, 139), acting as the mean between the immaterial cosmos and the visible encosmic cosmos.
Being “appointed by the Good to rule and govern” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 361) over the Intellective Realm, Zeus-Helios rules its summit, ruling over the Intellective Gods, who are horizontal emanations of Him who He “contains in himself” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 431) and had “came forth and came into being together with” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 361). This is so “the cause which resembles the Good,” i.e., Zeus-Helios, may guide the Intellective Gods “to blessings for them all, and may regulate all things according to pure reason” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 361). Zeus-Helios attains the Intelligible light from Aion and then transmits it into the Intellective Realm (Finamore 1985, 134), filling it with the energy of Nous (or intellect) and illuminating those same gifts that Aion grants the Intelligible Gods upon the Intellective Gods, bringing blessings for Them all and filling Them with “continuity and endless beauty and superabundance of generative power and perfect reason” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 429) (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 361), all at once and independently of time (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 429). This bestows upon Them the faculty of thought and being comprehended by thought (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 397), the mode of thinking being dual, Form and Mind. The gift of Beauty at the Intellective level of Zeus-Helios is manifested as an eternal Form, the Form of Beauty.
The third sun is the visible Encosmic Sun, a manifestation of Zeus-Helios in the visible realm who lays “between the [Intellective] noeric and [Encosmic] visible realm” (Finamore 1985, 139). Through the Encosmic Sun, Zeus-Helios delivers the Intellective rays into our visible cosmos and illuminates the entire visible cosmos– the Encosmic and Sub-lunar realms. The Encosmic Sun is the active principle of Helios in our realm (Finamore 1985, 138), perfecting and harmonizing the powers that the other Gods give to the earth (Finamore 1985, 138). Through His rays Zeus-Helios grants us sustained life with His warmth, and sight which grants us clearance and mirrors goodness.
The sun governs our Encosmic Realm by embracing matter within Himself to impose order on it. This is the expression of Helios that is known for His centrality among the planets “in order to assign goods” to the other visible Gods who “proceed from him and with him”, and to “rule the planets, stars, and the realm of generation” (Finamore 1985, 138). We can thus understand that visible Gods (i.e., the stars and planets) are horizontal emanations of the sun, created by Zeus-Helios from the sun (Finamore 1985, 138). Through His radiance He blesses the Encosmic Gods with the same Intelligible gifts as He does the Intellective Gods, perfecting them and allowing Them to be made visible in the universe (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 367). Zeus-Helios fills the whole heavens with the same number of Gods as He contains in Himself in Intellective form (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 431). And without division the visible Encosmic Gods “reveal Themselves in manifold form surrounding” the sun, but They are attached to Him “to form a unity” (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 431). The mode of thinking at the level of the Encosmic Sun is multiple, extending over time and in varying ways; and the gift of Beauty is manifested visually, with all which that entails.
Furthermore, through His “perpetual generation and the blessings” that He bestows from the heavenly bodies, He holds together the Sub-Lunar Realm (Flavius Claudius Iulianus, III 431). “Contained” within Himself is the Sub-Lunar Demiurge, identified as Asklepios and Dionysos. Unlike Zeus-Helios, the Sub-Lunar Demiurge is an imitator, rather than a creator. They are called “image-maker,” eidolopoios, and “purifier of souls,” kathartis psychon. As souls descend into generation, Dionysos removes from them logoi inappropriate to their nature, and Asklepios attempts to give those souls a life appropriate to the logoi properly belonging to them. In doing so the Sub-Lunar Demiurge also deeply binds the soul into the Realm of Generation. They are the Master Daimons, megistos daimon, especially over Personal Daimons.
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