By Jayne Gibson
The Chaldean Oracles are fragments of a mystery poem, left to us through Greek translations, which seem to be instructions for initiates in Divine Philosophies and methods of Mystic Union. Said to have been written by Zoroaster, the Oracles contain the sacred doctrines and philosophies of ancient Babylon. Highly spiritual and profound in nature, the poem emphasizes a non-objective reality called the “Intelligible World,” the word “Intelligible” being used to signify that which transcends human understanding. They speak of a Supreme Principle, “Father,” “Mind,” or “Fire” as the Source of All. This Supreme Principle was considered “First, indestructive, eternal, impartible, naught like anything else, the Disposer of beauty, of all the good, of all the wisest and Most Wise . . .”* and the greatest symbol of the Power of Deity was called “Holy Fire.” Simonian tradition has it: “The hidden aspects of the Fire are concealed in the manifest and the manifest produced in the hidden . . .” The self-creative energy of Mind is intelligible, “pure potentiality,” and hidden from the senses. The sensible or manifested universe comes into existence by the formative energy of Mind, the Architect of matter, called in the Oracles – Mind of Mind. Therefore, when speaking of Mind, we are speaking of “Potentiality,” the “Hidden Fire,” as opposed to “Manifested Fire” which is Mind of Mind or Mind in operation. Manifested Fire is what Man can perceive visibly. Hidden Fire is everything which can be perceived of as “Intelligible” or that which Man fails to perceive.
The Monad, by self reflection, became the Dyad. Mind of Mind is conceived of as dual, whose duality consists of power over both the intelligible and the sensible. It is not two Gods, two Minds, or two Fires, but one God, one Mind, one Fire. As stated in the Oracles: All things have for their Father the One Fire.* The Father is thus called the Paternal Monad: “He is the all-embracing (literal wide-stretching) Monad who begets the Two.”*
From both of these (the Monad and Dyad) there flows the Body of the Three, first yet not first; for it is not by it that things intelligible are measured.”* The Body of the Triad, the Mother substance, comes first as the container of all things sensible, but it is not the measurer of things intelligible or ideal. It is the Primal Triad mirrored in itself, a self reflection, the First or Primal Body. However, Mind preceded it. The Three Persons of the Supernal Triad were called in the Oracles by the names Once Beyond, Twice Beyond and Hecate (as Primal or Great Mother) who were generally regarded as the Three-In-One of the Second Mind or Mind of Mind.
Once Beyond is the Paternal Mind of all cosmic intellection. Regarded as Beyond, not in a sense of transcending but as beyond the threshold, it is a state of spiritual pureness raying forth into manifestation. Hecate is the ineffable Power of this Mind, whereas Twice Beyond constructs the various existences and directs perception into them.
Once Beyond and Twice Beyond parallel the first and second Minds of the Primal Unity. Hecate was considered the Spouse of Mind but also simultaneously the Mother and Spouse of Mind of Mind and was centered between them. She was the Mother of Souls and “in-breather of Life” and was said to fill all things with intellectual light.
Hippolytus stated the Chaldeans were the fist to consider the soul as triple but at the same time One, and this is borne out by several quotations from the Oracle: The Mind of the Father uttered (the Word) that all should be divided (or cut) into three. His Will nodded assent and at once all things were so divided.* The soul was therefore divided into three: the first, the Intelligible or Divine part of the soul; the second the Intellectual or rational soul; and the third, the irrational or passionate soul. However, the fundamental Triplicity of all things is “Intelligible” and determined by Mind.
From Damascius we learn, according to our Oracles, that the “Ideal division of all things into three was the root (or source) of every division in the sensible universe.”* Therefore, Three is a number of determination and stands for the root conditioning of form. But if from one point of view, Three is formative, determining and limiting, then from another point of view, it is endowed with power. The Oracles state: “Arming both mind and soul with triple Might.”* In the original texts, the word “Triple” is poetic, interpreted as “Three-barbed”, but if connected with a Pythagorean designation, it would denote a triple angle, the solid angle of the tetrahedron or four-sided pyramid.
The focus of this paper cannot, out of sheer volume, concentrate on the Oracles in their entirety. Therefore, it is centered on the speeches of the Hierophant, Hiereus and Hegemon, in the Practicus Initiation, which contain fragments of the Chaldean Oracles. However, these officers are personifications of three gods noted in the Samathracian Mysteries, and in order to comprehend their correlation, a brief explanation of the these Three Kabiri follows:
Initiation into the Samathracian Mysteries concerned three great gods whose names were Axieros, Axiokersa and Axiokersos. A fourth Kabir, their brother, was named Kasmillos. The first three attack and murder their brother, Kasmillos, and having killed him, dismembered his body and bury him under the roots of Olympus. The mysteries of the Kabiri were divided into three degrees, the first of which celebrated the death of Kasmillos at the hands of his bothers; the second, the joyous discovery of his dismembered body; and the third, his resurrection and consequent salvation of the world. Clement speaks of the Mysteries of the Kabiri as the mystery of brother slain by brother, and it is a metaphor for the Self murdered by the not-self or the Philosophic Death and Resurrection.***
In the Practicus Initiation, on the 31st Path of Shin c, the candidate is introduced to these Three Kabiri, which, in this ritual, are personifications of the Triplicity of the Second Mind or Mind of Mind (God manifested or God as Man can perceive Him). Axieros is the Solar Fire, the Creator, Mind in the generative act of creation. Axiokersos is the Destroyer/Perfector, Volcanic Fire, Mind in the formative act of creation. Axiokersa is the Reconciler/Preserver, Astral Fire or the Spiritual Soul. As a way past these gods, the candidate holds in her hand the Tetrahedron or Pyramid of Flame, which symbolically represents this Triplicity in these three aspects. The candidate can be considered as Kasmillos, Latent Heat, the Temple which houses this Triplicity.
The first speech comes from Axieros:
Hear thou the voice of AXIEROS, the First KABIR: “The Mind of the Father whirled forth in re-echoing roar, comprehending by invincible Will, ideas omniform, which flying forth from that One Fountain issued. For, from the Father alike were the Will and the End, by which yet they are connected with the Father, according to Alternating Life through varying vehicles. But as they were divided asunder, being by Intellectual Fire distributed into other Intellectuals. For the King of all previously placed before the polymorphous World, by which the Universe Shines forth decked with ideas all various, of which the Foundation is One and Alone. From this: the others rush forth distributed and separated through the various bodies of the Universe and are borne in swarms through its vast Abysses, ever whirling forth in Illimitable Radiation.**
All comes from One, and the One becomes Many. These Living Ideas or Creative Thoughts are emanations of the Divine Mind and constitute the Plan of the Mind. For Mind is not without the That which-makes-it Mind and That-which-makes-is-the-End-of-Mind doth not subsist apart from Mind.* Both these hyphenated terms represent the same word in Greek, usually deciphered as “the Intelligible.” The Oracle can therefore be perceived to say: “For Intellect is not without the Intelligible, and the Intelligible subsists not apart from Intellect,” or “It is all things, but intelligibly (all).”* That is to say, things are not divided in time and space for there is no sensible separation. It is not a specified state but a state of wholes, neither Father nor Mother, yet both. It is the state of “At Once” and this may explain the term Once Beyond, the “At Once” in the state of the Beyond, beyond the sensible divided cosmos.
They are Intellectual Conceptions from the Paternal Fountain, partaking abundantly of the Brilliance of Fire in the culmination of Unresting Time. But the Primary, Self-Perfect Fountain of the Father pours forth these Primogenial Ideas.**
The Unresting Time is a supreme moment and is momentary, not in the sense of lasting only the smallest fraction of time, but referring to Time at its limit where it touches Eternity. The Thoughts of the Father are on the border-land of Time. The Primogenial Ideas are living Intelligences of Light and Life — the projected Nature of God.
These being many, ascend Flashingly into the Shining World and in them are contained the Three Supernals — because it is the Operator — because it is the Giver of Life-bearing Fire — because it filleth the Life-producing Bosom of Hecate . . .**
One becomes Three and then Many — the Mind of Mind, the Architect of Creation — Mind in the Act of Formation.
. . . and it instilleth into the Synoches, the enlivening strength of Fire, embued with Mighty Power.**
To understand the Synoches, you must first understand the Iynges — the mysterious beings whose names may be translated as Wheels or Whirls: “The Whirls (Iynges) created by the Father’s Thoughts are themselves, too, intelligent, being moved by Wills uneffable to understand.”* They were thought of as Living Spheres, whirling out in every direction from the center, and upon reaching the limit of their periphery, swirling in again. They were the Children of the Aeon and symbolize the power of Air, midway between Heaven (the Great Surround) and Earth (the Fixed Center). An anonymous ancient writer tells us that they are the blending of the Intellectual and the Intelligible, the union of the archetypes of Subject and Object in the sensory world — the self-reflective energy of Mind on the plane of reality. These Wheels or Whirls were divided into three: the Iynges, Synoches and Teletarchae, which can be translated as “Whirlings,” “Holdings-together” and “Perfectings.” Their root names suggest the ideas of creating, preserving and completing. They are the three-in-one hierarchy that divides the world into three: cosmic, etheric and terrestrial.
The Iynges are the Starters. They are created by Divine Thought and procreate by thought for they are Mind-born and give birth to minds. Called “Ineffables’ or “Unspeakables”, they are further referred to in the Oracles as “swift” and proceed from and “rush to” the Father, i.e. they are the Father’s Powers. Iynge, in its root meaning, signifies the “power of transmission” which is said in the Oracles “to sustain the fountains”. This same idea is repeated in the following verse: “For all cosmos has inflexible intelligent sustainers.” Proclus affirms that the Order of the Iynges “has a transmissive or intermediary power of all things from the Intelligible (or Typal) Order into Matter and again of all things into the Intelligible.” They are the direct link between the Divine and physical and suggest the idea of Angels or Messengers, yet they are likened to Wheels or Whirls or Vortices. In essence, they are unbound by space and time, although they manifest in space/time.
Though the later Platonic commentators make two separate, although allied, hierarchies out of the Syncohes and Teletarchae, both should be taken as parts of the Iynge. In manifestation from One, it passed to Three and then become Many. A fragment of the Oracles reads: “Nay and as many as subject to the hylic (or terrene) Synoches.”* This would seem to mean these Powers hold together, contract or mass material things, and these Powers are the Iynges — the simultaneously creative, preservative and destructive/perfective Intelligences of the Father Mind.
They are symbolically addressed in the Oracles as His “Lightnings” and were thought to be Rays of Intelligences. The word Presteres (Lightnings) is more literally rendered “Fiery Whirlwinds” which are the Iynges or Whirls, Swirls or Wheels spinning in and out. “But to the Knowing Fire-whirls of the Knowing Fire (i.e. the Father) all things do yield subject unto the Father’s Will which makes them to obey.”* These Whirls or Synoches, in their power of holding together, were called “Guardians”. The Teletarchs or Perfecting Powers were regarded as intimately bound up with the Synoches, and therefore with the Iynges. The unifying or holding together of the Synochic power is defined and delimited by the perfecting nature of the Teletarchic power.
The Creator of all, Self-operating, formed the World, and there was a certain mass of Fire, and all these self-operating He produced, so that the Cosmic Body might be completed conformed — that the Cosmos might be manifest and not appear membranous.**
The word “Mass” is used to denote space, dimension, atom, etc. and gives the idea of the simplest perception of Body. The World or Cosmos is the “Outline” of the Mind turned to the thought of Body. Yea, for there was a Second Mass of Fire working on its own self all things below (lit. there) in order that the Cosmic Body might be wound into a ball, in order that Cosmos might be made plainly manifest and not appear as membrane-like.* It is difficult to guess the meanings of these fragments without their context. The appearance of the cosmos as membranous suggests the idea of the thinnest skin or surface, the lines or initial markings on the surface of things. The action of the Forming Fire rolls up the surfaces into three-dimensional things or solids (even as the threads of wool are wound into a ball). The Second Mass is presumably the Sensible Fire or rather the Fire that brings into manifestation the sensible world, as contrasted with the Pure Hidden Fire — the Unmanifest or the Intelligible. The Second is Mind of Mind, as contrasted with Mind in itself or Mind going forth from itself.
. . . And He fixed a vast multitude of in-wandering stars, not by a strain laborious and hurtful, but to uphold them with stability, void of movement-forcing Fire toward into Fire.”**
The Father doth not sow fear, but pours forth persuasion.*
The Father controls from within, not from without, and controls by being, by living within, not by constraining.
The candidate next encounters Axiokersos who speaks:
Hear thou the voice of AXIOKERSOS, the Second KABIR, “For not in Matter did the Fire, which is in the Beyond, first enclose His Power in acts, but in Mind; for the Former of the Fiery World is the Mind of Mind . . .**
The fiery, self-creative energy of the Father is regarded as Intelligible, determined by the vital potencies of Mind alone. Here, all is “Potentiality,” hidden from the senses and is truly the “occult world.” “Acts” seems to mean activities, objects, creatures — separation. This Father, who is wholly beyond Matter, does not shut up His Power into Matter by locking it in bodies, but energizes by means of an abstract, infinite penetration — laying down the foundations of root-form, the ground plan, which, in turn, causes Matter to assimilate the first beginnings of Mass. Mind created this framework of Fire, while Mind of Mind, by contacting Matter in its primary structure, generates the beginnings of the World-Body.
. . . Who first sprang from Mind, clothing the one Fire with the other Fire, binding them together so that He might mingle the fountainous craters while preserving unsullied the brilliance of His own Fire and thence a Fiery Whirlwind drawing down the brilliance of the flashing Flame — penetrating the Abysses of the Universe; thence from downwards all extend their wondrous rays, abundantly animating Light, Fire, Aether and the Universe.**
The sensible or manifested universe comes into existence by the formative energy of Mind, which is now called, as the Architect of matter, Mind of Mind. For He doth not in-lock His Fire ascendant, the Primal Fire, His Power, into Matter by means of works, but by energy of Mind. For it is Mind of Mind who is the Architect of this fiery world (Manifested World).*
. . . From Him leap forth all relentless thunders and the whirlwind-wrapped, storm-enrolled Bosom of the All-splendid Strength of Hecate, Father-begotten, and He who encircleth the Brilliance of Fire and the Strong Spirit of the Poles, all fiery beyond.**
Hecate, as an aspect of Mind of Mind, is the Power of this Mind, the Body of the Triad, the Container of the tangible, the First Body or Nature. As stated in a mystery hymn from the earliest years of the Christian era: “From Thee is Father, through Thee Mother and to Thee is Son.”
The next Kabiri to be encountered by the Theoricus on the 31st Path is Axiokersa, who speaks:
I am the Life of beings — the vital heat of existence . . .
This is the voice of Hecate, the Mother of Souls. “After the Father’s Thinkings, you must know, I, the Soul, dwell, making things to live by Heat.”*
. . . Hear thou the voice of AXIOKERSA, the Third KABIR, “The Father hath withdrawn Himself but hath not shut up His own Fire in His Intellectual Power.**
The Father withdrew Himself, yet shut not up His own peculiar Fire within His Gnostic Power.*
His own peculiar Fire seems to mean that which characterizes the Mystery of Father Creator. He withdrew Himself into Silence and Darkness, but left His Fiery Mind (or Mind of Mind) to operate the whole of creation. In the mystery-hymn at the end of the Christian Gnostic period, TheSecond Book of Ieou (Carl Schmidt, Gnost. Schrift., p. 187) it reads: “I praise Thee . . .; for Thou hast drawn Thyself into Thyself altogether in Truth, till Thou hast set free the space of this Little Idea (the manifested cosmos?) yet hast Thou not withdrawn Thyself.”
All things are sprung from that One Fire, for all things did the Father of all things perfect, and delivered them over to the Second Mind, whom all races of Men call First. The Mind of the Father riding on the subtle girders which glitter with the tracings of inflexible and relentless Fire.**
“The Father out-perfected all, and gave them over to His second Mind, whom ye, all nations of mankind, sing of as first.”*
Intelligible Fire has the essence of all things in its “sparks” or “atoms.” In a certain mystic sense, there are never more than two things in the universe — namely any one thing which you may choose to think of and its compliment. “Out-Perfected” seems to mean that the Father is the Compliment or Fulfillment of each separate thing, and the completion of every imperfection is God. When we distinguish Spirit and Matter, and regard the mystery from our state of duality, imagining Matter to be set over Spirit, then the administration of Matter is said to be entrusted to Mind in operation in space/time. This was called Mind of Mind. The contention of the Gnostics was that the nations worshipped the fabricative power of Deity as the most transcendent mystery, which they contended was only a secondary mode of the Divine, the Mind of Mind — Power as compared to the Ineffable.
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, the channels being intermixed, wherein she performeth the works of Incorruptible Fire.**
Here, Hecate, as the mixture of individual souls or Virgin of the World, is referred to. As soon as the conception, or implanting of the Life Spark, from the Father takes place, the spiritual soul of Man becomes cognizant of the passion of the Great Soul — the One and Only Soul.
The candidate at this point is led back to the Hierophant, in the role of Axieros, who again speaks:
Stoop not down into the darkly splendid World wherein continually lieth a faithless Depth and Hades wrapped in clouds, delighting in unintelligible images, precipitous, winding, a black ever-rolling abyss, ever espousing a body unluminous, formless and void.**
See that thou verge not down unto the world of the Dark Rays, neath which is ever spread the Deep, devoid of from, where is no light to see, wrapped in black gloom befouling, that joys in shades void of all understanding, precipitous and sinuous for ever winding round its own blind depth, eternally in marriage with the body that cannot be seen inert and lifeless.*
This is a description of the Serpent of Darkness laboring with its infernal counterpart – Blind Matter and Ignorance. This is a vision of the other side, the antithesis of the Light; and so we find Proclus writing: “for this region is Hater of the Light.”
Nature persuadeth us that there are pure daemons and that even the evil germs of Matter may alike become useful and good. But these are Mysteries which are evolved in the profound abyss of the Mind.**
The lesser powers were divided into Angels, Daimones and Heroes. A direct translation read: “Nature persuades us that the Daimones are pure, and things that grow from evil matter are useful and good.”* This seems to imply that , from Man’s standpoint, Daimones can be either good or evil. However, according to Nature, they are pure, indifferent and non-moral, their operations conditioned by the nature of Man. They are, in themselves, non-human entities, and there is a scale from lowest to highest.
Such a Fire existeth extending through the rushings of Air, or even a Fire formless, whence cometh the image of a voice, or even a flashing Light, abounding, whirling forth, crying aloud. Also, there is a vision of the Fire-flashing Courser of Light, or of a Child borne aloft on the shoulders of the Celestial Steed, fiery or clothed in gold, or naked and shooting with a bow, shafts of light, and standing on the shoulders of a horse. But if thy meditation prolong itself, thou shalt unite all these symbols in the form of a Lion.**
“When thou hast uttered these (words of power), thou shalt behold either a fire resembling a boy, dancing upon the surface of the waves of air; or even a flame that hath no shape, from whence a voice proceeds; or yet a wealth of light around the area, strident, a-whirl. Nay thou shalt see a horse as well, all made of fire, a-flash with light, or yet again a boy, on a swift horse’s back astride, a boy clad in flame or all bedecked with gold or else with nothing on, or even shooting with a bow and standing on horse back.”*
The above refers to a mystic experience of the highest level where shapes of fire appear.
We have the same order of experiences in the following four verses: “If thou should’st oft address Me, thou shalt behold all things grow dark, for at that hour no Heaven’s curved dome is seen, there shine no Stars; Moon’s light is veiled; Earth is no longer firm; with Lightning-flash all is a-flame.”*
Then when no longer visible to thee are the Vault of the Heavens and the Mass of the Earth; when to thee the Stars have lost their light and the Lamp of the Moon is veiled; when the Earth abideth not and around thee is the Lightning Flame then call not before thyself the visible image of the Soul of Nature, for thou must not behold it ere thy body is purged by the Sacred Rites . . .**
“Do not invoke the self-revealed image of Nature.”*
Here, Mother Nature is what the Greeks called Hecate and her “image” or nature symbol was the Moon. Very similar to this is: “Turn not thy face Naturewards; for her Name is identical with Fate,”* which might mean, as Iamblichus wrote, that “The whole being (or essence) of Fate is in Nature. That is to say that Nature and Fate are identical.
. . . since ever dragging down the Soul and leading it from the Sacred Things, from the confines of Matter, arise the terrible Dog-faced Demons never showing true image unto mortal gaze.**
Certain classes of these Daimones were classed in the Oracles as “Dogs.” In a quote from Lydus it is said ” . . . Hecate (the World Mother) is four-headed, because of the four elements. . . . and the chastening and avenging nature of the Dog with that of earth. This clause sheds light on the associated figure of Anubis in Egyptian myth and also on the following fragment of the Oracles: “Out of the Womb of Earth leap Dogs terrestrial that unto mortal never show true sign.”* It is impossible to say exactly what this means. Dogs were the intelligent guardians of the secrets of various mystery traditions, and they were ever watchful. The Outer Guards of the Adyta in which the mystic rites were celebrated were sometimes called Dogs. The inferior Daimones had their existence as far as the Moon only, the Astral plane, in what was regarded as the realm of impure nature and gross matter. Beyond the Moon, the Daimones were held to be of a higher and purer order. They were also called Angels, a term that probably came into the Hellenized Oracles along the line of Mago-Chaldean tradition. The nature of the Daimones was unstable and variable, and they could assume any shape or form at will, hence never showing a true image.
So therefore first, the priest who governeth the works of Fire must sprinkle with the lustral water of the loud, resounding Sea.**
This might be a way of approach to the innermost form of the rites, a solitary sacrament, indicating an inner ceremonial cult. This recovered fragment seems to be an instruction by the officiating priest: “But first of all, the priest who doth direct the Works of Fire must sprinkle with the cold wave of the deep-sounding brine,”* suggesting a ceremonial ritual. The consummation of the innermost rite was solitary and of the nature of a Mystic Union or Sacred Marriage.
Labor thou around the Strophalos of Hecate. When thou shalt see a terrestrial Demon approaching, cry aloud and sacrifice the Stone of MNIZOURIN.**
Be active (or operate) round the Hecatic spinning thing.*
This Oracle may have been taken from a Theurgist of a Hellenized Magian source and not from the original poem. It is doubtful what Strophalos means, but it may mean a top. In the Mysteries, tops were included among the mystic playthings of the young Bacchus or Iacchus and represented, among other things, the “fixed” stars (humming tops) and planets (whipping tops).
“But when thou dost perceive an earthward Daimon drawing nigh, make offering with the stone Mnouziris, uttering the [proper cant]”.*
The word “Mnouziris” is a word native to Chaldea. However, to make offering with a stone might mean to put it into the fire, which could allude to the Art of Alchemy. The chant or mantra would also be of native names.
Change not the barbarous names of evocation, for they are Names Divine, having in the Sacred Rites a power ineffable.**
“See that thou never change the native names; for there are names in every nation, given by the Gods, possessed of power, in mystic rites, no language can express.”*
This phrase needs no comment from this student.
And when, after all the phantoms have vanished, thou shalt see that Holy and Formless Fire — that Fire which darts and flashes through the Hidden Depths of the Universe. Hear thou the voice of Fire.**
In connection with this idea is another phrase “a flame that hath no shape from which a voice proceeds”* which leads us to this next phrase, “But when thou dost behold the very sacred Fire with dancing radiance flashing formless through the depths of the whole world, then harken to the Voice of Fire.”* To reach this pure and formless vision was very difficult. Various false appearances could intervene which had to be cleared from the psyche. They were held to be impure presences or rather the impurities of Man’s own lower nature.
The whole instruction might be termed a method of yoga or mystic union of the spiritual mind or the mind that rules itself – raja yoga. The “fiery vision” of the soul is literally the “eye” of the soul. The mind must be emptied of every object so that it may receive its wholeness. It becomes the “pure eye” which perceives nothing other than itself. It is to understand the nature of understanding or to transcend all distinctions of subject and object. Reality may be said to be ‘beyond the mind,” or “without the mind,” but this is really not so. While Reality may seem to transcend the personal mind (or mind in separation, for that is the mind that separates), the Intelligible and mind are really one.
Upon entering the 30th Path of Resh r, the candidate again meets the Three Kabiri, but on this Path, Axieros is the Sun in Greatest Elevation, Axiokersos is the Sun in Greatest Depression and Axiokersa is the Sun in Equinox, giving an indication of the Measure of Time. The following is from the speech of the Hierophant, as Axieros:
Before the Intellectual Whirlings of Intellectual Fire, all things are subservient through the Will of the Father of All. The Father of All congregated the Seven Firmaments of the Cosmos, circumscribing the Heaven with convex form. He constituted a Septenary of Wandering Existences, suspending their disorder in well-disposed zones. He made them six in number and for the seventh, he cast into the midst thereof the Fire of the Sun. Into that center from which all lines are equal, that the Swift Sun may come around that center eagerly urging itself towards that center of Resounding Light. As rays of light, His locks flow forth, stretching to the confines of Space, and of the Solar Circles, and of the Lunar Flashings and the Aerial Recesses, the Melody of the Aether and of the sun and of the Passages of the Moon and of the Air.**
The Father causes to swell forth seven firmaments of worlds.*
The Father, as the Mind of Mind, is the cause of this swelling forth and gives the idea of a surging forth from the center to its limit. The most interesting point is that those who knew the Oracles did not regard these seven firmaments as “planetary orbits.” One of the seven was assigned to the empyrean (cosmic), three to the ethereal (etheric), and three to the gross material. There was a coil of seven, suspended from an eighth, an octave of Light, the border-land between the Intelligible and the sensible worlds. Three were of gross matter as compared with the solid, liquid and gaseous states of physical matter; three were ethereal as resembling similar states of ether or subtle matter, and the seventh corresponds with the universal or empyrean.
The wholeness of the Sun is in the supermundane orders, for therein a Solar World and endless Light subsist. The Sun more true measureth all things by time, for He is the Time of Time, and his disc is in the Starless above the inerratic Sphere and he is the center of the Triple World. The Sun is Fire and the Dispenser of Fire. He is also the Channel for the Higher Fire.**
Proclus tells us that the real Sun, as distinguished from the visible sun, was “transmundane” or super-cosmic, beyond the worlds visible to the senses. It belonged to the Light World of the monadic cosmos and poured forth its emanations of Light. The Sun’s wholeness, or the Monad, was to be sought on this “transmundane plane.” “For there,” he says, “is the Solar cosmos” and the “Whole Light.” Proclus speaks of “what appears to be the circuit of the Sun,” and contrasts this with its true circulation, which “Proceeding from above, some whence from out of the hidden and super celestial ordering of things, behind the heavens, sows into all the [suns] in cosmos the proper portion of their light for each.”
As the Formative Mind was called Mind of Mind, so was the “Truer Sun” called in the Oracles “Time of Time” because it measures all things with Time, and this Time was considered the Aeon. It was also called “Fire Sluice (passage) of Fire and Fire Disposer.”*
O Aether, Sun and Spirit of the Moon, ye are the leaders of Air. And the Great Goddess bringeth forth the vast sun and the brilliant Moon and the wide Air, and the Lunar Course and the Solar Pole. She collecteth it, receiving the melody of the Aether and of the Sun and of the Moon, and of whatsoever is contained in Air.**
If the visible sun was not the true Sun, we must suppose also that the visible moon was an image of the true Moon, reflected in the atmosphere of gross matter. Concerning the Moon, we have five scattered shreds of fragments: “Both the ethereal course and the measureless rush and the aerial floods [or fluxes] of the Moon. O Aether, Sun, Moon’s Breath, Leaders of Air! Both of the Solar circles and Lunar pulsings and aerial bosoms. The melody of Aether and of Sun and of the streams of Moon and Air. And wide Air and lunar course, and the ethereal vault of Sun.”*
Unwearied doth Nature rule over the Worlds and Works, so that the Period of all things may be accomplished. And above the shoulders of the Great Goddess is Nature in her vastness exalted.**
She is the Energizer(literally work-woman) and Forth-giver of Life-bringing Fire.* Hecate fills the Life-giving Bosom (or Womb) with the Fire of Life, and she is the Supernal Mother’s self reflection in the sensible universe. “And from her back, on either side of the Goddess, boundless Nature hangs,”* which suggests that Nature is the Garment or Mantle of the Goddess Mother. She was also called Rhea in the Oracles: “Rhea, in sooth, is both the Fountain and the Flood of the blest Knowing Ones (Thoughts of the Father); for she it is who first receives the Father’s Powers into her countless Bosoms, and poureth forth on every thing birth (and death) that spins like to a wheel.”* Therefore, she is the Mother of Genesis, the Wheel or Sphere of Becoming and Re-becoming.
The Oracles speak of the Ineffable Mind of God expressed through the Triplicity of the Second Mind. The teachings contained within these Oracles not only describe the Act of Creation, but also seem to be philosophies and instructions to Mankind regarding its inherent, although forgotten, unity with the Divine. As the illusion of division is caused by the perception of finite minds, Mankind must endeavor to rediscover its spiritual roots and heal this discontinuity by individual self-effort.
What this student found interesting was the correlation between the Oracles and the Spiritual Experience of Hod (the “Vision of Splendor”), which is dramatically portrayed within the Practicus Initiation of the Golden Dawn. It is this ceremony which plants the seeds for the eventual realization of the glory of God manifesting in the created world. As a result, the candidate is inspired to look behind the appearance of created things, behold the Creator in the splendor of Nature and perceive the spiritual forces constructing, preserving and maintaining manifestation — the Magic of the Light.
* The Chaldean Oracles.
** The Practicus Ceremony, (Regardie, The Golden Dawn, Llewellyn Publications)
***Cicero and Cicero, Self-Initiation into the Golden Dawn Tradition, Llewellyn Publications,
Copyright ©1997 – 2021 by Jayne Gibson