Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

Post by Smaragd »

This is a comparative study group on the subject of divine hierarchies.

We will have one main source to compare to others. Anyone can add more angelic systems and sources to their reading list that can be studied, interpreted and made comparisons to the angelical hierarchies of other systems.

1. A Neoplatonic text: On the Celestial Hierarchy, Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite.
2. Additional sources picked up individually (these could range from Kabbalistic systems to the Enochian system and Gnosticism of Pistis Sophia to inverse demonic hierarchies etc. Do not hesitate to pick up same sources as other participants, for everyone will anyway have their individual perceptions regarding the sources so it is an enriching thing to have multiple pairs of eyes looking in to the same sources.)

We will go through the main book in a systematic pace in order to carry the reading group to its completion. On the Celestial Hierarchy is about 66 pages divided in to 11 chapters and each of these chapters are divided in to sections varying in length from a small paragraph to couple of pages. I would suggest we'd read from one to three sections per week. A slow pace because the text is not that vast and we have other sources to dwell in on the side. If it feels too slow or quick we can try to alter the pace, yet keeping to the decided rhythm.

Starting point is set to the 26th of September, New Moon.

Studying the divine hierarchies would presumably help the students to gain better understanding of traditional systems of magic, incorporating something out of them in to one's own and collective working, and possibly creating something new out of it. Angelic systems seems to have been one of the most constant structures behind Western occultism and one could argue that to take the responsibility of the direction of Western occultism today, one is, at least to a degree bound to look in to these systems and metaphysical ideas and see what one could make out of it.
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Re: Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

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Thus far interest towards the study group has been expressed by SanatKumara, Nefastos, Utthavat and me. Nefastos has expressed his will to participate when his time allows so we will not give him any of the organized weight-carrying of this group, for example the possible introductory turns etc.

We have two options on how we go on with the study:
1. Participants will write notes on the portions of the text that has caught their interest and share them with us collectively (possibly with additional comparative notions brought in from other sources).

2. Each of the active participants will have their turn to introduce a section or two after which we go through discussing it with our individual notions on the text and comparisons to other sources.

Any preferences which one we should pick?

***

When it comes to additional sources, I'm picking up Henry Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, on the third book of which there is alot about angelic systems: how they relate to other metaphysical structures, how the Kabbalistic names have been dug up etc. I think I saw him mention Pseudo-Dionysos as I was leafing through the book yesterday, so his text seems to already pull from Neoplatonic as well as Kabbalistical sources. It is thus already intervowen with our main source text and some comparative theories. This book I will have as my basic toolkit in this group.

Additionally I might briefly look in to the Enochian system, but I think the points of views of Kabbala and Judaism in general is going to take most of my time and capacity for now. Thank you, Nefastos, for suggesting Adam McLean's A Treatise on Angel Magic, in the other topic. I might look it up as an additional support for Agrippa's book.

[21.9. Edited an expression to be more accurate.]
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Re: Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

Post by Nefastos »

Very interesting and important study subject, for sure.

The first thing a student of occultism and/or comparative religion will notice when reading the different (original) sources will be that they share a lot of common.

The second thing that one will notice is that they are still mostly incompatible. Trying to make everything fit (like in "777") will demand much Procrustian forcing, resulting in severely mutilated appendages of the patient. Such practical works which make a system of one's own can still be of use, but they are basicly just one MORE system. For this is also how most of the older different systems have been born: different people have used in different ways the material they have had in their hands. It is completely impossible to deduce one true angelic system.

The Star of Azazel has its own system too, of course. I have written of it in several places, like in The Demons' Cube. Glimpses of this system can be seen also in the Celestial Hymns (of Fosforos), and so on. But I think that it is important not to force such a system as a whole to aspirants, but rather let everyone put together what they think is best. To those working practical spirit working in my own lodges, the thing is a little bit different. But only a little.

The basic point where to start is once again the familiar 3+(3+1+3) model – the extended Hieroglyphic Key – meaning that:

(a) Behind the seen universe is completely abstracted Spirit, which however can be beheld from three different points of view (the first TRINITY), and –

(b) From this trinity are emanated SEVEN divinities, which we know as Celestial or Planetary spirits or archetypes.

Thus, we have sequences of seven or sometimes ten primary archetypes or cosmocrators. In the Christian exotericism these are the Trinity of God and the seven archangels. In Judaism (Qabbalah) these are ONE GOD seen from ten points of view, or working in ten different ways; and these "workings" of God are the so-called angels. (One can see that all the familiar angelic names end with "'-el", which means the Lord. "El" is also one of God's names in Qabbalah. So, GABRI-EL which we know as the "angel of Moon" for a true monotheist is "STRENGTH [GABRI-] OF GOD [-EL]," stemming from the sephiroth of Geburah which is Strength (a counter-force of Mercy!). Such names are used also for the emanations and permutations of these first angelic powers. Thus Michael is called Machiel in the Star of Azazel's Gospel of Abaddon, meaning the Strife or Fight of God; Metatron is often known as Metraton, et cetera. All these permutations change a little the aspect of the power of God in question.)

I will most likely have time only to make a stray comment like this every now and then to contribute – I am already falling behind in our Salome reading group of Feuerstein's Tantra. But I wish you luck and inspiration on this project. I have tried to form a reading group for the Celestial Hierarchy a few times in the past, so this is very welcome!
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Re: Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

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Nefastos wrote: Fri Sep 16, 2022 10:11 am
The second thing that one will notice is that they are still mostly incompatible. Trying to make everything fit (like in "777") will demand much Procrustian forcing, resulting in severely mutilated appendages of the patient.
[...]
Thus Michael is called Machiel in the Star of Azazel's Gospel of Abaddon, meaning the Strife or Fight of God; Metatron is often known as Metraton, et cetera. All these permutations change a little the aspect of the power of God in question.)
For this reason the comparative aim might be most sharp at its aim to recognize the emphases given by the differing systems. Thank you for the overview, I'm sure it helps us alot going through the jungle ahead.
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Re: Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

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Smaragd wrote: Tue Sep 13, 2022 3:44 pm We have two options on how we go on with the study:
1. Participants will write notes on the portions of the text that has caught their interest and share them with us collectively (possibly with additional comparative notions brought in from other sources).

2. Each of the active participants will have their turn to introduce a section or two after which we go through discussing it with our individual notions on the text and comparisons to other sources.
Because people are quite busy with other things we will choose the first option and welcome everyone interested to participate according to their time and energy. So those who have not expressed their interest are also free to drop a comment to the reading circle whenever they want.

For those who have not found the book from anywhere, here it is turned in to a webpage format and yet another version scanned from an actual book (in the latter On the Celestial Hierarcy starts from p. 229):
https://www.tertullian.org/fathers/areo ... rarchy.htm
https://archive.org/details/theworksofd ... 8/mode/2up

We will start on the 26th of the current month going through Caput I, sections I & II. We will have one week to go through them before moving on to section III.

3rd - 9th: Section III
The rest of October's schedule will focus on Caput II with the following schedule:
10th - 16th: Section I
17th - 23rd: Section II
24th - 30th: Section III
31st - 6th: Section VI

EDIT: If you need more time for inspecting the additional sources feel free to suggest slowing down our schedule. I'm personally going to take quite a laid back leafing through kind of attitude to the additional sources and see if some interesting ideas rise in the midst of those and the text of Pseudo-Dionysius.
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Re: Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

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I really like how the text is structured. Clear leading idea of the chapter is presented in the beginning which is followed by more elaborate theory.

Reading briefly about Pseudo-Dionysos' influence over the Alexandrian School, it seemed positively gathering ideas from paganism and Christian theology and finding a bridge between them from Pseudo-Dionysos' work. A somewhat encouraging notion.

On the Celestial Hierarchy

CAPUT I.
"That every divine illumination, whilst going forth lovingly to the objects of its forethought under various forms, remains simplex. Nor is this all. It also unifies the things illuminated."

The chapter arrives at a very basic and foundational idea of the Logos emitting rays of light, which from their own archetypal sphere ”warms” (and reveals) the outer – objective – world. Like basic geometrical angles or shapes, they remain on their own archetypal sphere as simplex – whole – principles while their outer various forms (created by variations of multiple rays forming more complex forms) is found from the motions of the more dualistic sphere of objective reality. The ⅄-shape illustrates the idea: the I-shape is a symbol of the simplex principle, while the V-shape is a symbol of the illuminated – revealed – visible and concrete object brought to the temporal sphere of dualism by division in to opposing poles. These poles are two in number when we look at them from the perspective of inner and outer existence, but the division in the world we sense and know is more complex, for it comprises the polarities of the various principles or archetypes overlapping each other. Metatron’s Cube is just one example of this idea where there is not one, but three pairs of polarities plus the center point, wherefrom the rays emit, conjuring a three dimensional cube in to a visible form.

The relation of objects – things illuminated – can be found from their shared archetypal sources and their simple geometry. We may see different archetypes emphasised more in some objects, say the sword or the chalice, and then further understand their shared dynamism. This dynamism can then be worked towards their shared archetypal sphere symbolized by the I-shape.

The ⅄-shape hinted, also marks the basic idea of hierarchy of a host embodying lesser entities the latter forming dynamic poles to their respective pairs in the division. Such hierarchy is not limited to the idea of a greater entity over its descendants, but it’s also the point of transcendence where dualism turns in to union, where meaning between things is realized and where substance is elevated towards the greater entity.


Here is a start for our study group. I have read a bit of Agrippa and A Treatise on Angel Magic, but it might be that the most juicy comparative notions will wait until we get to chapter 7. Feel free to comment, make notions or write a more elaborate commentary.

Tomorrow I will probably continue on the Section I, as I only got to look at the leading idea of the chapter for now. Please, feel free to comment on this weeks sections on any day of the week.
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Re: Divine Hierarchies - A Comparative Study Group

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CAPUT I.
Section I.
On the Celestial Hierarchy wrote:"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights."
Again, covering the basics with an obvious one. The closer we approach to the absolute, the more perfect our ability to live becomes. Thus the entities higher in the celestial hierarchy are the most alive beings i.e. not conditioned or at the mercy of repetitive patterns. Rather they ”embody” the splendorous abilities to answer any kind of problem. Demons, on the contrary as entities are the very repetitive patterns, completely unable to transcend the vicious circle without the celestial splendor interrupting it with more alive ways of being. We have vampire myths where the demonic beings lust for blood from somewhere else, because they are completely lost their ability to choose any other option but the same old pattern which they themselves are and to which human beings are lured to in their vices. From here we can see how this Light corresponds to the ethical focus point, (keeping within it all the ”gifts”, all creativity, all non-cemented virtues), in the human experience.

By harnessing these perfect gifts in to action we could see human beings starting to elevate and to know these spheres more closely, becoming close workers with them. This will, in theory, reclaim the fallen substance as the human carrying it draws nearer to the absolute, in the perfect equilibrium of which the polarized magic substance of maya vanishes. ⅄. Jacob climbs the ladders – the celestial hierarchies. Pistis Sophia has also Christ appearing from below (ascending instead of descending) through all the hierarchies, much to the surprise of all the angels of the different spheres. This surpise is the very same depicted in the countenance and words of Satan who is tempting Jesus in Gibson’s film of the Passion: ”Who is your Father? Who are you?”.
Pistis Sophia wrote:'How hath the lord of the universe passed through us without our knowing?'
On the Celestial Hierarchy wrote:Further also, every procession of illuminating light, proceeding from the Father, whilst visiting us as a gift of goodness, restores us again gradually as an unifying power, and turns us to the oneness of our conducting Father, and to a deifying simplicity. For all things are from Him, and to Him, as said the Sacred Word.
It seems I already repeated these matters above by the idea of becoming a co-worker with the entities in the celestial hierarchy. Also my take on elevating substance could be seen as an interpretation of ”turning us to the oneness of our conducting Father”.

The deifying simplicity points to the knowledge of the foundations of all – the celestial hierarchy –, and from this state of untanglement, the messy world is seen simple and understandable. All problems are solvable to the individual adept. The problem which remains is that every individual has to get there by themselves and the adepts can only try to support and guide others towards the basic principles in order to help the students to understand the world and the invisible foundations which the universal occult school has been found to reveal.
"Would to God that all the Lords people were Prophets"
- William Blake
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