Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Proclus on the Sacred Art [closer to Dionysius than Pico]

Working in this way, the masters of the Sacred Art attracted some things through Sympathy and repelled others through Antipathy. For instance [as an example of antipathy], sulphur and bitumen (asphaltos) purify through the sharpness of their smell, and one sprinkles seawater because it partakes of the empyrean (or fiery) power And so in their Initiations [or Consecrations] and other Divine Ceremonies (tais teletais de kai tais allais peri tous theous therapeias) they would choose the appropriate animals and other materials.

Longing to go beyond these and similar things [that is, they wanted to go beyond the powers inherent in physical objects], they came to know the Daemonic Powers which are essentially linked to the activities of nature and physical bodies, and by this means they drew down (epêgagonto) these Powers in order to communicate (sunousian) with them. From the Daemonic Powers they moved straight up towards the actual Doings of the Gods (autas…tas tôn theôn…poiêseis), instructed in some matters by the Gods themselves, but in others moved by their own efforts to an accurate conception of the appropriate symbols. And so, leaving nature and physical operations below, they came to directly experience (echrêsanto) the Primordial (prôtourgois) and Divine Powers.

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