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….
As I have pointed out earlier, members of the Alt Right such as Matt Heimbach have used symbols of the chaos magic of Aleister Crowley via Alexander Dugin to strengthen their movement.
Another important symbol of the Alt Right is the black sun (which can be used interchangeably with the Swastika, by the way). There something especially notable about the black sun.
It is a very ancient symbol for not only the sun, but for the fires of Hades, which are integrally intertwined with the fire of the sun in pagan theology.
In his Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and the Pythagorean Tradition, Peter Kingsley writes, “in late antiquity, the sun seen in a vision could meaningfully be described as ‘Tartarus-like’…; and it was entirely in the spirit of this ‘underground’ tradition about the sun and its affinities that early Islamic cosmology presented the sun as ‘created from the fire of the earth’, related the heat of the sun to the heat of hell-fire, and could speak in one breath of the fire of which the sun and the devils are made.”
Thus the Alt Right expression of the “fire rising” could be reference to bringing the apocalyptic fires of hell to earth via chaos magic and marching under the black sun of hell.
The more I research the Alt Right, the weirder they appear.
As I have stated before, there is significant evidence to suggest that the “high magic” or theurgy practiced by NeoPlatonists and Gnostics hid within Eastern Orthodoxy and was reintroduced to the West during the Council of Florence and the great exodus of Eastern thinkers and texts during the fifteenth and sixteenth century.
I have found further evidence to confirm this theory in the collection of essays bundled together as Neoplatonism and Gnosticism and edited by Richard T. Wallis.
In his essay “Synesius, the Hermetica, and Gnosis,” Jay Bregman discusses the Neoplatonic hermeticist who became a Christian bishop, Synesius of Cyrene. As Bregman notes, Synesius never seemed to convert fully to Christianity and some of his sermons were full of Gnostic and Hermetic teaching.
What is especially interesting is that Bregman suggests that some pagans by the fifth century had “put aside the standards of emperor Julian, at least in part because they thought that the victory of the new religion was already a fait accompli.”
Thus, some pagans stopped actively resisting Christianity and attempted a “syncretism of Hellenism and Christianity.”
It has been suggested that these educated pagans went underground or dissolved into the Eastern (and maybe Western clergy). Clearly some of the Eastern Orthodox prelates were de facto pagans in the Renaissance (as were some Westerners!) and even today the witch like Mariana Abramovic, although allegedly ethnically Jewish, is grand niece of a Serbian Orthodox Patriarch. Did her uncle teach her her magic?
We are thus left with some interesting questions.
- Was there a continuous tradition of closet paganism in the East?
- If so, how organized was it?
- How much of Gnostic and NeoPlatonic thought has affected Eastern Orthodoxy theology?
- What is the relationship of this sect to the West? Was it influential in affecting the ostpolitick and Vatican II?
- What role does this sect have in the new Russia?
- Is Alexandre Dugin a member?