Hieratic Rites

There are three general kinds of theurgic worship. These have been designated by Iamblichus as material, a median that uses both material and immaterial, and immaterial. The first introduces us to the Gods, the second connects us to the divine in demiurgy and intuitive knowing, realizing the benefits from the divine through participation, and the third brings about henosis. Each level of theurgy should be performed in relevancy to the amount one’s soul has remembered itself.

 

I. Material Theurgy

Material worship involves the use of material or physical tokens (synthemata), symbols and other offerings to raise ourselves to the encosmic divine intelligible and tertiary causes, such as archons and Daimons. This kind of theurgy is the type most commonly practiced. This form of theurgy introduces us to the Gods.

 

II. Median Theurgy

The median class of worship employs both physical and immaterial tokens to unite ourselves with the liberated divine intelligibles. This form of theourgia is more rarely practiced, only by those who are beginning to move beyond the need for material worship engage in median theurgy. This form of theurgy connects us to the divine in demiurgy and intuitive knowing, realizing the benefits from the divine through participation.

This form of Theurgy involves worship of the Hyper-Encosmic or “Liberated” Gods, and employs an intermediate form of sacrifice. While material sacrifice such as that of animals or material foods might be appropriate to Material Theurgy, they are inappropriate to Median Theurgy. Instead, intermediate forms of sacrifice are offered that while material, is nonetheless less material than bodies. This includes hieratic characters and symbols, possibly talismans, divine names and images, incantations and musical compositions. All these depend on the physical world since things such as names cannot be spoken without lips to utter them or air to vibrate them; however, they are a kind of materiality that is less “material” and more refined than the sacrifice of bodies. The Hypercosmic Gods are those who tend to receive “barbarous names of invocation” or barbara onomata, are frequently directed to, those hieratic names with no human meaning, but are instead of divine origin and so have meaning only to the Gods.

 

III. Immaterial Theurgy

Immaterial worship involves the use of purely spiritual tokens without the use of to physical symbols or ritual. The purpose of immaterial theurgy is to unite ourselves with the immaterial Gods. This form of theurgy is very rarely practiced, as only the most advanced souls, the Theurgic Sages, engage in it. This type of theurgy brings about henosis.

 

Gnosis

Gnosis isn’t a single experience or understanding but a continuum stretching from the depths of the natural cosmos to the One itself. Gnosis is both acquired and given in that the theurgist must make real changes in themselves in order to become more like the divine, and that the divine is an active participant in the receiving of gnosis. One can attain gnosis of multiple different things, beings and of the different realms. A purified Theurgic Sage will intuitively know proper moral activity through gnosis.

 

Demiurgy

Demiurgy is divine behaviour in the physical and spiritual, and is the end result of theurgy. Demiurgy is the nature of purified Theurgic Sage, those who engage in Immaterial Theurgy. The Theurgic Sage fully participates in the work of the Gods and the Celestial Demiurge Zeus-Helios. Having cleansed themselves of the accumulation of matter and inclinations towards generation, they are never again lost in incarnation and are now instead engaged in demiurgy. They work and worship in accordance with the laws of theurgy and the intellect.

Both Gnosis and Theurgy are necessary to reach Demiurgy, and ultimately henosis.

 

Bibliography

Dunn, Patrick. The Practical Art of Divine Magic: Contemporary & Ancient Techniques of Theurgy. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Publications, 2015.

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 (France) Wright. The works of the Emperor Julian. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006.

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.

Medieval Astrology Guide Editors. “Theurgy.” Medieval Astrology Guide. Accessed July 21, 2017. http://www.medievalastrologyguide.com/theurgy.html

Remes, Pauliina. Neoplatonism. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press, 2008.

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.