Magic and the Neoplatonic Academy of Athens

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Neoplatonism is a funny word. It generally refers to the writings of Plotinus, the third century AD Hellenistic philosophy who crafted a mystical Platonism. Neoplatonism via Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola also is known as the philosophical underpinning of Renaissance art and culture. This Renaissance Neoplatonism mutated later into German idealism and Romanticism and its bastard child Theosophy and Occultism of the early 20th century and finally into the New Age Movement of today.

As your humble author has been uncovering, Neoplatonism after Plotinus took a magical form when Iamblichus and Proclus introduced Orphic teaching (already latent in some of Plato’s writing) but more importantly Chaldean (or Babylonian) and Egyptian magic known as theurgy.

However, while I had known that magic was taught in the Platonic academy, I have just discovered that the (Neo?) Platonic academy in the fourth century had the teaching of Orpheus (magical chants, etc.) and the Chaldean Oracles (chanting, shamanism, possession, meditation, etc) as the culmination  of the schools curriculum. That is to say, it was not that magic had infected the Academy; rather, magic became the highest art and teaching of the school that had birthed Western thought.

If magic continued as the culmination of or at least was a central aspect of NeoPlatonic teaching (and there is even some reason to believe that it was the culmination of earlier Platonic teaching), then all of the many references to magic in Renaissance thought and Romanticism (and they are many) are not simply literary allusions, but are indications of the direct and literal presence of magic in these works.

Thus Renaissance paganism and Romanticism (or at least certain currents in these schools of thought) acted as vessels for Egyptian and Babylonian magic, which were later opened and developed by occultists in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Julian the Apostate and Theurgic Magic

Julian the Apostate is often upheld as a beacon of Greek rationalism and tolerance resisting the flood of superstitious Christianity.

However, as John P. Anton notes in his article “Theourgia-Demiourgia: A Controversial Issue in Hellenistic Thought and Religion,” Julian was primarily interested in replacing Christianity not with a highly rationalistic Platonism or Aristotelianism but with a magical Neoplatonism. In fact, he was warned by Christians like Eusebius to avoid the company of wizards.

Moreover, Anton notes that Julian learned his magic from his “education in Athenian Neoplatonism.” What we see here is that the Platonic Academy was teaching magic not rationalist and agnostic Platonism.

Thus, when Christians would later expel the Platonic Academy, it was done in order remove the practice of magic not to get rid of philosophy.

Perhaps the biggest question is where this magic teaching went when it was suppressed by Christian emperors.

I wonder if Alexander Dugin knows….

The Medici, the Camaldolese and the Birth of Modernism

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It has long been one of my contentions that the Medici family was one of the conduits through which NeoPlatonic natural magic as well as theurgy and even the tenets of Gnoticism entered into the West in the Renaissance. In fact, the accumulation of magical texts from the East was a top priority of the Medici who even made Marsilio Ficino halt his translation of Plato’s Opera to translate the Gnostic-occultic work Corpus Hermeticum.

It is further my contention that Gnostic and Neoplatonic magical teaching incubated in the West not only in Jewish communities and radical Protestant sects (especially in England and Germany), but in Catholic religious orders as well. We know of Johannes Trithemius, the German Benedictine Abbot who corresponded with the noted magus Cornelius Agrippa in a manner that seemed to indicate a network of magicians in the 16th century.

Such views have been confirmed by some of my recent reading. In his essay “The Camaldolese Academy: Ambrogio Traversari, Marsilio Ficino and the Christian Platonic Tradition,” Dennis F. Lackner points out that the Ambrosian order of Florence was integral in the birth of the Platonic academy in Florence and helped to seed the thoughts of famous Renaissance Neoplatonist Marsilio Ficino. The General of the Camaldolese order, Ambrogio Traversari, also had the Theophrastus of Aeneas of Gaza, a work that attempted a synthesis of Platonism and Christianity and seems to contain some shards of occult teaching (this is not to say Aeneas was himself an occultist) translated. Ambrogio was further part of an attempt to unite the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodoxy at the Council of Florence  and revive a “primitive Christianity.” Such ideas would later surface in the magus John Dee as well as Protestant reformers.

The Florentine Camaldolese also possessed copies of magic works such as the Orphic Hymns and Iamblichus’s De mysteriis Aegyptiorum (one of the most seminal magical works).

Lackner also points out some details in regard to the Medici accumulation of the works of Plato. Cosmio de’ Medici had received the dedication to Diogenes Laertius’s Vitae Philosophorum, translated by a Camaldolese monk, and the first summary of Plato’s thought to appear in the West in a thousand years. The Medici also loaned Ambrogio Traversari fifty florin to help pay for the transportation of Greek manuscripts.

What are we to make of all of this?

Although there is some evidence to suggest that the Medici were Jewish or even a front for Jewish bankers, I personally believe the Florentine banking family, for the most part, considered themselves devout Catholics. Nonetheless, there was clearly some concerted effort to get magical texts in the hands of expositors in the West by the Medici who may have been pressured or influenced by an unidentified party.

Moreover, I do not know for sure that the Camaldolese under Ambrogio were necessarily occultists, but there methods and ideas were later emulated by Renaissance occultists.

Finally, if the Renaissance was marked by a combination of Christian theology and pagan teaching and culture (including occultism), then the Renaissance witnessed the seeds that later birthed of the heresy of modernism, which reared its head in the late 19th and early 20th century. Just like much of Renaissance philosophy, modernism is defined as a combination of both orthodox Christian teaching as well as heresy, including New Age teaching (the great grand child of Renaissance occultism).

What is more, if some chapters of religious orders were infected with cells of magi, why couldn’t later religious orders in the 20th and the 21st centuries also serve as cells? The general argument given by Novus Ordo conservatives is that some nuns merely dabbled in magic or some “liberal” priests and brothers entertained heretical ideas. The idea that there is active, maybe even generational, occultism practiced in religious orders is usually derided.

However, the existence of such cells may explain a lot of the concerted and deliberate efforts to destroy the Church by members of religious orders who clearly knew what they were doing.

 

Neoplatonism, Theurgy, Gnosticism and Charismatic Babbling

 

It is common knowledge among scholars of Neoplatonism that the magical process of theurgy or literally “god working” was practiced by the NeoPlatonic philosopher Iamblichus. However, it is often forgotten that this process was derived from the Chaldean Oracles, a series of mysterious texts commenting on an ancient Babylon mystical poem (yes, reader there is a connection with the Kabbalah and Talmud).

What’s more as Dylan Burns points out in his work Apocalypse of the Alien God, theurgy was also practiced by gnostics. Dylan notes some of the characteristics of theurgy:

  1. Alphabet mysticism
  2. Purification
  3. Hymns
  4. Prayers
  5. Animation of statues (interestingly a common theme of horror movies, actual demonic possession, and there is a clear link with AI and robotics here)
  6. Possession
  7. Conjuring of spirits
  8. Mystical contemplation

What is especially interesting is that one of the marks of gnostic theurgy was what more rational Neoplatonists like Plotinus called “meaningless babbling.” This babbling included all kinds of ecstatic praise of “God” as well as gods and demons and was meant to induce a communal ecstasy during gnostic rituals.

This, my friends, sounds a lot like praise and worship and the charismatic movement.

True Christian worship is always calm and contemplative, and if there is any ecstatic activity, it is instituted by God not by the one in prayer.

When a worshipper conjures the ecstatic feeling him or herself, it is called magic.

Bishop Fulton Sheen and the Four Signs of the Demonic

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I am currently reading through Desmond A. Birch’s Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph: Before, During, and After Antichrist. Even though the book contains very strong elements of Novus Ordo Conservative “Modernism Lite,” there are a number of valid, traditional points in the book.

One of the sober points that Birch makes is to remind us of Bishop Fulton Sheen’s “Four Signs of the Demonic,” which the late American bishop drew from the story of the Gadarene Demonic. They are as follows:

  1. Nudity
  2. Violence
  3. Split personality
  4. Hatred of the cross

I want to provide a brief a reflection on each of these points

Nudity.

Obviously this point is especially pertinent to the absolutely disgusting and degenerate manner in which males and females dress in the West today, but I would like to explore this point further.

Even in sophisticated Classical pagan cultures men and women would not exercise or bathe together. Thus, when defenders of “Western values” attack Islam for being too strict in their separation of the sexes for certain events, they are actually attacking the beliefs of their own pagan and Christian ancestors.

Moreover, male and female slaves in most societies are designated by nudity or being forced to wear more revealing clothes than their owners. This is something to think about especially when we examine the sort of people who run the fashion industry.

Finally, even though many Catholics celebrate the triumphant display of human flesh in the Renaissance as something decidedly Catholic, the paintings are loaded with pagan symbolism and their painters were often crypto pagans themselves. Thus, while such works of art should be preserved and studied, Protestants are not so wrong in wanting to avoid taking children on field trips to certain sections of art galleries.

Violence.

Reader, I will readily admit that I am a retired video gamer and used to revel in first person shooters. I also am one of the many Christians who will look away when an impure image comes on the screen but does not feel as bad watching violence.

However, it is quite clear that such sadistic enjoyment of human carnage and suffering is clearly demonic, and like impurity, a means for Hollywood to degrade and animalize us.

Split personality.

One of the oddities I have noticed with my investigations of many leaders in the post Vatican II church is the phenomenon of split personalities, that is, those who pose as deeply pious individuals but then have closets full of skeletons.

I don’t think in all of these cases that the people involved are “life time actors” (necessarily). Rather, I think that they really were or at least thought of themselves as deeply pious individuals who either participated in or at least allowed all kinds of degeneracy and scandal in the Church.

Hatred of the cross.

On the surface level, this obviously includes hatred of the physical symbol of the cross, but it also includes hatred of suffering and penance.

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Where is your cross, Cardinal Dolan?

Those who hate the image of Our Lord’s suffer are not just “liberals” or “bigots” but rather servants of the devil.

Furthermore, those priests especially those Novus Ordo conservative and charismatic priests who dismissal penance are at least unwitting servants of evil.

 

 

 

Gnosticism, The Sethian Tradition, and the Luciferian Ur-Religion Revisited

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Dear Reader,

I am currently making my way through Apocalypse and the Alien God: Platonism and the Exile of Sethian Gnosticism by Dylan M. Burns, and I have noticed some reoccurring themes in the Gnostic tradition that prop up in various Western religions throughout the Christian Era. The traits are as follows.

  1. A belief in a chosen, master race descended from an Old Testament patriarch (usually Seth) whose master race qualities are often hidden.
  2. The idea that a secret teaching was left behind by some avatar of Seth or the divine human (usually on tablets, which are usually bronze or golden).
  3. The notion that this  teaching is passed down, again, in secret.
  4. The notion that Christ was just one of many avatars of the divine man.
  5. The notion that only the ascended ones can understand the secret teaching.

These ideas are clearly found in National Socialism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Islam, the New Age, especially Talmudic Zionism.

Zionism seems especially Gnostic because of its claim that its adherents are a master race or chosen people; however, this master race quality is hidden behind the seeming docile and unattractive or weak or friendly appearance of the people. The Talmudic element of Zionism is also especially Gnostic because of the claim that the rabbis are not only the true teachers of the Law, but even supersede God Himself with their teaching.

The idea of a hidden teaching that is recorded some where but passed down also jives well with my theory that Gnosticism was passed down through cells in the Eastern Orthodox Church as well as the belief among witches and occultists today that there movement was merely underground when the Church had power.

Some Reflections on Spiritual Warfare

Dear Reader,

I would like to offer herein some personal thoughts in regard to spiritual warfare. I am not a psychologist or anyone’s spiritual director, so these comments should be taken as my opinion only.

It always sounds creepy and crazy when people on the internet go into detail in regard to their experience with diabolical phenomenon, and there are a number of panhandling “converts” from Satanism who often embellish their experiences with some exaggerations. So, for now at least, I will forego any detail on my experiences with evil.

However, I will share what has and hasn’t worked in ridding the pronounced presence of demonic from my life. Furthermore, some of my comments and sources will be drawn from the writings and podcasts of Fr. Chad Ripperger, whom I have found to be a very helpful resource.

What Has not Worked

I want, in the strongest words possible, to discourage people from seeking help from charismatic healers, prayer teams, etc. There is no question in my mind that these people are channeling demonic spirits in order to temporarily heal people of mental and physical elements.

The phenomenon of “praying in tongues” is either gibberish, or has been suggested, an ancient Semitic language  in which the speaker is actually blaspheming and cursing God under demonic influence.

The festival of praise and praise and worship practice is nothing more than a Dionysian worship ritual in which demonic entities are summoned to possess or at least affect the spirits of those in the ground.

Finally, the phenomenon of praying over someone is simply a lay person commanding a demon into someone as opposed to casting one out.

This does not mean that everyone involved in this practices is knowingly acting as a Shaman. In fact, I think that most of these people think their are honestly calling down the Holy Spirit and healing others.

What Has Worked

  1. Praying the traditional breviary in Latin (especially Compline).
  2. Receiving Holy Communion frequently.
  3. Avoiding almost all secular culture (especially impure movies, music, etc.).
  4. Attending the Traditional Latin Mass.
  5. Confession (especially a general confession).
  6. Penance, fasting, etc. (under the authority of a spiritual director).
  7. Avoiding drinking immoderately.
  8. Joining the Auxilium Christianorum.
  9. Learning the traditional and authentic teaching of the Church and developing a disgust for Modernism and even the Modernism Lite of Novus Ordo conservatives.
  10. Total Consecration to Our Lady (renewed yearly).
  11.  Daily meditative prayer.
  12. Purity (even in the married state).
  13. Renunciation of my own will and attempt to follow Our Lord’s (in everything).

Again, this not guaranteeing a cure, but these things, over time, may help.