Position of the Cosmic Soul

On the work of Proclos, Commentaries on Timaios, we read a comment about a platonic teaching concerning the positioning of the soul. Porphyrios, Iamblichos and Proclos give their views. Read the following text having in mind that the Goddess Hekate is the cosmic soul, the soul of the universe, putting the soul of the universe in the middle between the mental and the tangible world.

Plato, Timaios 34b

“He positioned the soul in its middle and spread it all over the world and he covered the outside with the body.”

Neoplatonic Commentaries

On the commentary Porphyrios considers that the soul that is mentioned is the soul of the visible universe and he explains that she is in the middle between the mental and the sensible things. By mental, Porphyrios means the Ultimate En-One, Ultimate Nous-Mind and by sensible he means the world of matter. Proclos continues the thought by writing that the universe is completed by mind, soul and body as a living entity with soul and mind, then “in that system the soul will be found in the middle”. Proclos using this thought he is explaining the original part of Timaios and continues “the soul of the world has been expanded everywhere, because it took the middle position in the order (of the world), because every time the lower things partake to their previous things, as exactly the body to the soul, which is the last(the body) partakes in the soul and as the soul partakes in the mind, which is before her.”

Iamblichos sees the soul as superempirical, unearthly, independent, ultimate and having authority over everything, because he thinks that Plato is not referring to the cosmic soul but to the soul which is One higher than all world souls, the first soul. He puts that soul on the middle because she has no body and she gives souls to everything, yet she is in no body, neither she belongs to any body, she abstains equally from everything, yet not everything is way from her. (Iamblichos, Proclos Commentaries on Plato, Timaios 50 D)

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Theurgy and Philosophy are two different methods which lead to the union with God.


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