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Hans Yohanan Lewy – About The Supreme Being in the ‘Chaldaean Oracles’

M31: The Andromeda Galaxy
Image Credit: Subaru (NAOJ), Hubble (NASA/ESA), Mayall (NSF);
Processing & Copyright: R. Gendler & R. Croman.


Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is another excerpt from the ‘must have’ posthumous publication of classical philologist Professor Hans Yohanan Lewy’s ‘Chaldaean Oracles And Theurgy, Mystic Magic and Platonism in the Later Roman Empire’, published in 2011 by professor Michel Tardieu at the ‘Institut d’Études Augustiniennes’ in Paris. From Chapter II, ‘The Chaldaean System of the Intelligible World’, paragraph 2 and 3- from page 76 to 83.


2. The Supreme Being.—The Chaldaean hierarchy is headed by a Supreme God, whose mythical predicates are: “Father“, “Great Father“, “All-Father“, “Father of the Fathers“, “Only Father of the mortals and of the blessed immortals“, “Father of men and of gods” ,”Supreme King of the blessed“, “Great God“, “Lord“. But all these appellations are merely descriptive, not positive designations, for His real name is “ineffable“.

The “Father” is enthroned in solitary majesty above the starry spheres, in the intelligible world, which encloses the eight spheres (those of the seven planets and the zone of the fixed stars), and is composed of pure fire. Considered as the source of this spiritual substance, He is also called: “First transcendent Fire“, “Holy Fire”. “The uniquely Transcendent“. The ‘intelligible’ space is named in the Oracles “the Father’s Depth” or “Silence‘.

3. Power, Intellect and Will of the Supreme Being.-The Supreme Being is said to be “withdrawn” from the inferior entities; but He “does not enclose His Fire in His Power“; that is to say the personality of the “Father” remains transcendent, but His action unfolds itself through His Power. Power, δύναμις (dynamis), is the sum of the noetic potencies included Supreme God; and as these fill the whole Empyrean, the term is also used to designate the Mundus Intelligibilis. The “Father” himself has no direct external activity; He uses intermediaries.

These intermediaries are His faculties who in their virtuality are identical with the Supreme Being, but acquire in the state of actuality a particular existence. The action of the transcendent God is thought, consequently the first entity that issues from Him is His Intellect, the πατριχος νους (patrichos nous-the paternal mind). His Will (βουλή, vouli) acts in harmony with this entity; for His volition is thought, and His thought is action. Intellect, Will and Power constitute as the immediate faculties of the “Father“, the “Paternal Monad“. This recognition of the various attributes of the “Father” is a corollary to the principle of the absolute transcendence of the Supreme Being, taught in Chaldaean theology. The “Father“s’ external activity is conditional upon His detaching from Himself those of His aspects that are destined to create and rule the lower orders of the hierarchy. For this reason, He makes His Will and His Intellect cooperate in the unfolding of His Power.

Every act of thought of the Paternal Intellect brings forth new noetic orders, described as procreations, effluences and divisions of the Supreme Principle. They constitute the “intelligible world“, “begotten” of Him. Their powers and entities, which issue forth in a certain order, fill the noetic universe, which at the same time is nothing but the Supreme Being, the Father. “All things descend from one Fire“, and “The Father is everything, but noetically“, are the two principal statements that describe the nature and the action of the Supreme Being Who is also called “He Who cannot be dismembered“, because He is an indivisible unity.

The sequence in which the noetic orders become manifest is set forth in the ‘Hymn of the Angels’ figuring in the Theosophy. After the “Father” and the “Mother“, “The children’s tender flower” is mentioned that is to say, the Ideas generated by the Intellect, viz. the Power of the Father. After these comes Psyche, the World-Soul, last of the noetic entities. Beneath the Intellect, and close to Psyche, perhaps in her sphere, we may situate Aion, whose exact position in the hierarchy will be discussed further on. Notwithstanding the above-mentioned sequence of the noetic entities, we shall examine the conceptions of Psyche and of Aion before treating of the Ideas. This inversion of the order of the emanations is due to practical reasons: for the exposition of the theory of Ideas leads us by natural transition to the discussion of cosmogony and cosmology.

As “Power” is the transmitter of the “Father” ‘s’ activity, she constitutes, as it were, a reservoir of all the powers enclosed in Him. Accordingly, He is called the “Connective of all Sources“, and she “The Source of Sources“, and “Womb connecting all things”. As, “Power” belongs in Greek to the feminine gender, this entity, considered as the hypostasis of the Supreme Father, is addressed in the ‘Hymn of the Angels’ figuring in the Tübingen Theosophia (1-27, 28, 29)a as “The Mother’s radiant Form“. The Supreme Being constitutes in conjunction with Power an androgynous primordial principle.

Power, the “primordial Source“, conveys the thoughts of the Paternal Intellect to the lower orders of the hierarchy. An allusion to this process to be found in the phrase: “All of them spring from one Source“. This effluence of the supreme thoughts is sometimes also called “Paternal Source“, and the “First, self-produced Source of the Father“. As the First Intellect is the originator of all the potencies which fill the “womb” of Power, the terms “Source of Sources“, etc. apply also to him.

‘The Pillars of Creation’- These towering tendrils of cosmic dust and gas sit at the heart of M16, or the Eagle Nebula, featured in this stunning Hubble image, are part of an active star-forming region within the nebula and hide newborn stars in their wispy columns. Credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA).


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Hans Yohanan Lewy – About The Supreme Being in the ‘Chaldaean Oracles’

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