In the previous article, we saw the basics of pathworking, and as we are on a website on Hekate's...
Platonic theology is a difficult subject. The contribution of the Goddess is necessary, so let's pray to have Her blessing on something that concerns the existence, the positioning, the role and the influence of the Cosmic Soul.
Platon (Πλάτων) was born in classical Athens around 428 b.C. He lived till his '80's. His father was Ariston (Αρίστων) and his mother Periktione (Περικτιώνη). His initial name was Aristocles, but his gymnast changed it, either because he had wide forehead or wide chest. He had three brothers and a sister.
He was an aristocrat of a fine Athenian lineage tracing back to king Kodros and the lawmaker Solon. His family cared for the education of young Plato, as it had all the preconditions to become a politician. He received higher education. He taught gymnastics, wrestling, music, painting, grammar, philosophy. He was a student of Kratylos, a student of Heracletos. Though he had met Socrates, he was drawn by his teachings, when he was 20 and he stayed with his teacher for 8 to 9 years, being his best student. Like Socrates, so Plato, fought in three battles and was honored for his bravery in the battlefield.
Plato tasted many disappointments on his life. He lost his father when he was a child. He saw two of his uncles (tyrants) to be killed by the democrats, he saw the corrupted backstages from the inside, he stopped poetry and he witnessed the trial of Socrates (caused by a political party) and learnt the death of his very favorite teacher, model of justice and human. He abandoned any kind of political carrier, but he had the duty to form a better political situation for the citizens, by writing books which helped on moving to that directions, from laws, dialogues on virtues, on sophists, on philosophy, on science, on bravery, on friendship etc. He was personally involved in the political situation of southern Italy, more than once, educating the tyrants and their young politicians, but those movements failed due to refusal of change of the old politicians. Nevertheless, Plato's students were invited as lawmakers to create constitutions for other cities in Hellas.
Plato travelled in south Italy to meet the Pythagoreans, Cyrene and maybe Egypt. He was an initiate of the mysteries of the ancient world. He had no problem to observe any cultural knowledge, magick or science and he was willing to pay a lot of money to learn, as he was willing to travel and live in adventure. In one of his political journeys, Plato got in serious trouble and he was sold in Aigina (political enemy of Athens) as a slave. A rich man from Cyrene, named Annikeris, met him and recognized him, so he bought him and immediatelly he set him free. Plato returned to Athens. His students gathered money to pay back this stranger, but he strongly refused. The amount was used to buy a field, where Academia was built. The creation of the first university of the world is the most important thing in the history of science. Academia was alive for 1000 years and produced two types of philosophers: politicians/rhetors and mathematicians/physicists. Some of the courses were: gymnastics, zoology, biology, mathematics, physics, astronomy, botany etc.
People from all over Hellas came to study under Platon. Some of his well known students were: Aristotle from Pella, Heracleides from the Black Sea, Philiston from Sicily, Philippos from Opountioi Locroi, Speusippos, Eudoxos etc. Plato invited philosophers from all over Hellas to become teachers in Academia. He spent a lot of time in organization of the courses, and in discussions, lectures etc. ...to a point he saw writing dialogues as something not of great importance. His books were sold in the market and from those, he became even more famous.
Platonism combined different theories of previous philosophical schools under a new view, the view of Plato or Socrates. So, we see theories of Parmenides, Heracletus, Pythagoras, Leukippos and of many pre-socratic philosophers. Master Platon introduced the theory of the two worlds, one mental and one sensible, which are interconnected. The mental world is the model of the sensible world, pre-existed and is unchanging. The sensible world participates in the mental world. Humans, using logic, dialectic and science, participate on Ideas of the mental world through their actions and they have the ability to obtain knowledge from the mental world, for the things of their sensible world. This knowledge is the only true knowledge and the desire for obtaining that knowledge is called philosophy.
The mental world consists of mathematical beings and Ideas. It has the objects as images where the soul seeks the truth based in hypothesis and goes to the end. Mathematical beings don’t change, as numbers provide one true solution. In the Ideas it is lead by a non hypothetical principle out of hypothesis and without the looseness of images, following the ideas and through them, the truth.
The sensible world consists of phenomena, alive creatures and things created. Those entities can participate in the Ideas.
The mental world is called the upper world and the lower world is called the lower world. The theory of the two worlds or the existence of the worlds of Ideas, is something we see in all platonic dialogues.
The theory of Ideas provided an answer to the battle of philosophers and sophists. Before Socrates, sophists taught that truth is not one, but many, one for each one, that changes rapidly and there is no reason to find the truth. They based those conclusions on the senses. With dialectic and philosophy, there is a way to subdivide the subject, analyze and find one conclusion that is true in many different situations. This is how we use the senses under logic, or under the logistikon part of the soul, to uplift our thinking to the mental world and participate on the Idea, examining and finding the one truth.
The theory of Ideas and our participation to the analogous species or Ideas, is groundbreaking. As we have two worlds that aren’t same, neither opposite, there would be something in between to connect them.
Divine Plato supported that the (one part of the) human soul is a light from God, the One. It is human’s divine part, which exist now in the sensible world. This part doesn’t really belong to the lower world, as it is divine, it comes from the upper world. But from where exactly? Not from the mathematical beings, but neither from Ideas. It comes from the Cosmic Soul, the source of the souls, the ultimate entity who animates everything in the universe.
The Mind or Nous is the Creator-God and the One who gives order on everything in the universe. In Phaidon we read that the soul governs the body and this is logical to support because the soul is higher in hierarchy than the body, not to mention that the soul was created before the body (Timaios and Laws XII). The soul is also higher because she is immortal. Not only she governs the body, she moves it too. She keeps the body alive. As we have in mind the theory of the two worlds and the participation of the entities of this world to the higher world, we should have a body and a soul in the mental world. This body that we seek is the body of the universe, and the soul we seek is the Cosmic Soul. As the universe has laws, order and harmony, it should have logical thinking, thus Mind/Nous. But Nous cannot exist in an entity without the Soul, so it has Mind and Soul. Both combined they are preconditions of knowledge.
As we saw some basic thoughts and prοofs on the Mind/Nous and Soul/Psyche let's move to the three platonic dialogues we are going to see briefly. In Philebos, Socrates prooves the existence of the Cosmic Soul and explains why the universe has a body. In 29 b Socrates says that the universe consists of four elements. Of course those are types of energy, not building blocks or elements of chemistry. As we are living bodies of nature, we also have those elements inside. The universe has them on a pure and clear and authentic form, as we have them in a much lower and weaker form. The elements of the universe send to us energy or food as Socrates teaches, and we absorb that type of energy from the higher element, which exist in the universe. Considering the four elements as the substance of the universe, we can say that they consist the body of the universe. We, who also have a body, have those elements inside. As our body has a soul, the universe should also have a soul, but a much better and pure than our own, a Soul that will feed our soul, just like the fire of the universe feeds the fire of our body or the fire in nature. Socrates make a complicated thought connecting wisdom with the soul due to the ability of movement and says that there is no wisdom without the mind and the soul (30 c). We can see that the soul combined with mind give knowledge of logical thinking.
The second book we are going to see is the tenth book of Laws, where Socrates proves the existence of the Gods through the Cosmic Soul. In 892 a the Athenian who expresses Plato, states tha the soul was created before nature and that the soul is older than matter (892 c). Master Plato will continue with astronomy, to numerate the types of movements. The last and higher type is when something can move itself and other things or objects (894 e - 895 b). As it can move itself, it is alive. This is the type of movement that originates in the Cosmic Soul, as She is the ruler of the events, she is higher than matter.
If we combine the conclusions of the two dialogues, the Cosmic Soul/Cosmike Psyche pre-exists any born thing, like the universe, rules the events of the universe, is created by Mind/Nous as the perfect of all things and moves-animates the things in which She enters. The Cosmic Soul is also the source and the factor of knowledge and has a great role in change and evolution.
Master Aristotle expresses the platonic ideas on the Cosmic Soul making a synopsis of things we told:
him on the subject of the roles of the Cosmic Soul. In his work On Soul we read
"He (Platon) even said that the mind is one and science is two, because she reaches unity motivating by the one, opinion is a number οf the level/plane and sense is the number of solid. Because he taught that numbers are ideas and ideas are the principles of things and they are consisted by the elements. The things can be understood with the mind and others with science and opinion and senses. The ideas of things are numbers.
Because the Soul is considered that is something that moves and knows, some connected those two characteristics and made a conclusion that the soul is a number which moves herself." (1, 2 404b)
In the last paragraph, Master Aristotle states that the Cosmic Soul, in Platonism has two roles:
She is the cause of movement and the source of knowledge, exactly our conclusion from the two dialogues.
Constantinos with the two teachers: Plato and Aristole. Photo from the Archaeological Museum of Athens
The next -and my favorite- dialogue is Timaios, where master Platon expresses his theological teachings through the mouth of the headmaster of pythagorean school of southern Italy. First he states that the world was created by the one Creator-God, because He is completely good and he made this world from his providence (30 b). The universe has logic (mind) is animated (soul) and has body (body). He characterizes the world as alive visible (30 d). Generally speaking, in Platonism, the Creator-God or Nous/Mind gives order to the universe. We see that not only in Timaios but also in Politikos/Politician (273 d). Nous/Mind is the governor of the universe. Here we see Nous to be the creator of the Cosmic Soul, who has been created before the universe as we also see in the 12th book of the Laws (966 e).
Platon denotes the importance of the Cosmic Soul, because of Her, the universe is alive and logical. Of course we need Mind/Nous for the logical part. He proposes a geometrical symbol for the universe. A sphere, because each point of the periphery has equal distance from the center and it can move circularly. This is the body of the universe. The Mind/Nous put the Cosmic Soul in the center and expanded Her to the edges, covering also the periphery (34 b). With that, Nous animated the universe. After that geometrical explanation we have a better understanding for the role of the Cosmic Soul. If you see the ancient mycenean symbol of Strophalos, notice the center of the symbol and then you will see an image similar with the one that Plato describes on 34 b.
The analysis of the substance of the Cosmic Soul is also important to understand why She knows all things both of the mental world and of the sensible world. This is a subject of another article as it is complicated and extended. But we can say that the Cosmic Soul knows everything, every cause and relation on every thing in the universe. She participates in logical thinking and harmony of mental and eternal beings (36 e - 37 a). She is also connected both with the beliefs and with science (37 c) and this is something we expect as the beliefs and opinions belong to the sensible world, knowledge and mind belong to the mental world. Those teachings can be seen in Politeia / Country (509-510).
As the Cosmic Soul exists between the mental and the sensible world, animates the universe, moves all things, moves Herself, governs the universe and has the knowledge of all things, is the source of wisdom and is connected with Mind of God Creator, it is very important for those who follow the platonic theology, thus the platonic and the neoplatonic current. We, as devotees should dedicate our time in obtaining not only virtue but knowledge of the mental world, thus science. The right education is a mean that will form our soul to a pure state and will make the inner daimon, which has been given to us by the God, very happy. This divine part of our soul, is our true self, the only true self we have in the sensible world. The body is just a vehicle to our passing on earth. But we should use equally good the body and the soul to spend our time here creativelly making immortal thoughts, guiding our body from the logical part of the soul, which will eventually lead to application of philosophy, a pure life of justice to the unification with the One, that exists beyond Nous, as Nous is just a mirror of One and the Soul the medium.
Devotees of Hekate who see the Goddess the ways She was seen in later antiquity (Roman to Byzantine Period), as the Cosmic Soul, the power that animates the world, is ultimatelly good, moves, rules, knows everything etc. should have a basic understanding of the platonic, mesoplatonic (middle-platonic) and neoplatonic theology Of En/One, Einai/Is, Nous/Mind, Psyche/Soul and on the human soul. Under that prism, their belief system will have a new basis, the platonic philosophy and their practice in magick will be lead by the application of the platonic virtues and the teachings on piety. Life is much better when you know that the Cosmic Soul gave birth to your soul and you can choose to cultivate that part or you can choose to ignore it and let it starve. In any case, you have a personal daimon (what we call today guardian angel) and the freedom of choice, given freely to you by the gods and goddesses.
Image: pencil sketch by Eirini Tsotsou, Thumbnail: Handmade statue from Georgi Mishev image belong to Florian Schlie, Image of Plato: Hellenic Wikipedia
I feel very sad when I see a devotee of the Goddess mixing imagination and modern ideas on such an ancient teaching that is traced in Hellas even before Platon. This isn't something new, as there are devotees who describe Hekate with qualities She never had. Misinformation and propaganda belong to the sensible world and as all things that are born, will become wear and they will vanish. Don't waste time on illusions, when there are so many beautiful things to do. Let's drink from the immortal and strong wine of the ancient hellenic world.
In January of 2018 Sorita and I had a discussion on the Cosmic Soul. After the discussion, she decided to announce that February will be the month of the Cosmic Soul for the Covenant of Hekate. That means, members of the Covenant of Hekate will have to write articles, create art, and share their work in the community of the Goddess Hekate. In the COH's website there is a webpage with the contributions. On facebook just use the hashtag #hekateworldsoul to see articles, photos, music and paintings.
I was very happy that my favorite subject would become a famous subject for other devotees too. This article is a small synopsis of the article I have written a magazine. So, if you liked it, buy the issue when it will be printed ...around summer. Check our facebook page for more information or subscribe to our newsletter to get a notification.
Of course more articles will follow on the subject, because both Eirini and I consider this work as very important for the community of the Goddess and a service towards the Goddess.
Φίληβος, Πλάτων, απόδοση: φιλολογική ομάδα εκδόσεων, Κάκτος
Θεαίτητος, Πλάτων, απόδοση: Απόστολος Τζαφερόπουλος, Γεωργιάδης
Αλκιβιάδης, Πλάτων, απόδοση: φιλολογική ομάδα εκδόσεων, Κάκτος
Νόμοι, Πλάτων, απόδοση: Αθανάσιος Κουτρούμπας, Γεωργιάδης
Τίμαιος, Πλάτων, αποδοση: Δημήτριος Κουτρούμπας, Γεωργιάδης
Τίμαιος, Πλάτων, εισαγωγή, σχόλια, απόδοση: Βασίλειος Κάλφας, Εστία
Πολιτεία, Πλάτων, απόδοση: Ιωάννης Αθανασόπουλος, Γεωργιάδης
Παρμενίδης, Πλάτων, απόδοση: φιλολογική ομάδα εκδόσεων, Κάκτος
Φαίδων, Πλάτων, απόδοση: Ι.Κ. Αθανασόπουλος, Γεωργιάδης
Φαίδρος, Πλάτων, απόδοση: φιλολογική ομάδα εκδόσεων, Κάκτος
Πολιτικός, Πλάτων, απόδοση: φιλολογική ομάδα εκδόσεων, Κάκτος
Περί Ψυχής, Αριστοτέλης, απόδοση: Απ. Παπανδρέου, Γεωργιάδης
Πλάτων, ο Άνθρωπος και το Έργο του, ΜΙΕΤ 1990 / The Man and his Work, A.E. Taylor, Methuen & Co Ltd, London 1978
Πλάτων, Ulrich Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Κάκτος 2005 / Plato, Ulrich Von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff
Φιλοσοφία του Πλάτωνος, Κωνσταντίνος Δεσποτόπουλος, Ακαδημία Αθηνών 1997
Πλάτωνος Ακαδημία, Κωνσταντίνος Μπέης, Ανοικτή Βιβλιοθήκη
Πλάτων, Abel Jeanniere, Παπαδήμας 2008 / Platon, Abel Jeanniere, Editions du Seuil 1994
Ιστορία της Ελληνικής Φιλοσοφίας, Τσελλέρ-Νεστλέ, Εστία 2008 /Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy, Eduard Zeller, Wilhelm Nestle, Thoemmes Pr
Το Όνειρο της Λογικής, Anthony Gottlieb, Ενάλιος 2004 / The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance, Anthony Gottlieb, W W Norton & Co Inc 2001
Ο Πλάτων για τον Θεό ως Νου, Steven Menn, Πανεπιστημιακές Εκδόσεις Κρήτης 2015 / Plato on God as Nous, St. Augustine’s Press
Theurgy and Philosophy are two different methods which lead to the union with God.