A Note Regarding Kitab al-Aflak

Ghayat al-hakim Sigils

Septenary Sigils: Ghayat al-ḥakim

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A Note Regarding Kitab al-Aflak

A study of Order of Nine Angles texts reveals that, from the 1970s on, their ‘nine angles’ refer to the nine combinations – the “numinous symbols of cliology” (qv. the 1990s text ‘Aeonic Magick: A Basic Introduction’) – of the three basic alchemical substances (Mercury, Sulphur, Salt) which are represented in the pieces of the 1970s vintage O9A Star Game. These nine angles/combinations were first outlined in the 1974 text Emanations of Urania, and which nine combinations can be used to symbolize how the the causal and the acausal are manifest to us, as for instance in our psyche (in the nexion of causal/acausal that we are) via archetypes, ‘personality types’, and the esoteric correspondences of the O9A Tree of Wyrd.

Furthermore, according to Anton Long his inspiration for this 1970s theory of cliology – of nine alchemical combinations or emanations – was an ancient Arabic manuscript, of a few folios, he read while travelling and studying in the Middle East and Asia in 1971, and to which MS some scribe had added some scholia and the title Al-Kitab Al-Alfak – which translates as The Book of The Spheres {1} – for in ancient Muslim alchemy and cosmology there are nine cosmic or ‘supernatural’ realms consisting of seven named planetary spheres and two regions of “immortal” existence.

The most distant of these realms is falak al-aflak, the ‘primary of the spheres’. Below this (and thus nearer to us) is al-kawakib al-thabitah, the realm of the heavenly fixed stars. Next is Zuhal, the planetary sphere of Saturn. Then there is Mushtari, the sphere of Jupiter, followed by Marikh (Mars); Shams (the Sun); Zuhrah (Venus); Utarid (Mercury); and finally Qamar, the sphere of the Moon.

The seven planetary spheres are much in evidence in the Arabic Ghayat al-hakim (c.1050 CE) which preserves the ancient Greco-Roman, pagan and hermetic {2}, system of seven named planetary spheres and which spheres are according to the Poemandres tract of the Corpus Hermeticum a means whereby mortals can ascend to the two regions beyond them to thus become immortal.

Which ‘nine realms’ were described by Cicero {3} long before Ghayat al-hakim was written.

According to O9A aural tradition there are three interesting facts about the Arabic MS that Anton Long described. First, the title which has Al-Kitab rather than the more usual Kitab. Second, that the original MS was untitled and consisted of only a few folios intimating that it may once have formed part of a larger work, which work was perhaps contemporaneous with or earlier or later than Ghayat al-hakim. Third, that the title had obviously been added later as it was in a different hand and which later addition may well explain the use of Al-Kitab rather than Kitab.

Whatever the place and date of composition it is relevant that an ancient Arabic alchemical text was one of the sources that Anton Long used in the 1970s when formulating the esoteric philosophy of the Order of Nine Angles.

In 2011 Anton Long was asked a question about Al-Kitab Al-Alfak by Professor Connell Monette, which question and the reply are worthy of being quoted in full.

In terms of sources of the tradition and the dark gods, you’d hinted at Islamic sources. My guess is that the 7FW draws partly on the Picatrix. Unless you’re using Shams-l-maarif, I can’t think of any other grimoires that could be Kitab-i-aflak

In terms of sources of the tradition and the dark gods, you’d hinted at Islamic sources. My guess is that the 7FW draws partly on the Picatrix. Unless you’re using Shams-l-maarif, I can’t think of any other grimoires that could be Kitab-i-aflak. Am I near the mark?

No, but that is an interesting comparison nonetheless which no one before has made (kudos to you). The alchemical MS I had access to – consisting of only a small number of folios – has never, to my knowledge, been published or even catalogued, but does bear some comparison to parts of the MS you refer to [i.e. Shams-l-maarif ] which I was fortunate enough to study (with the then necessary help of a gay [female] friend I had met at University) in the early 1970’s CE on various travels to certain Muslim lands (one of which lands was the homeland of my friend who accompanied me on those travels).

It is therefore possible [although not in my view probable] that the author of Al-Kitab al-Aflak used that grimoire partly as a source.

As I have explained to several people who have privately enquired about this, there are, as no doubt you are aware, thousands of uncatalogued Arabic MSS in libraries and madrasahs throughout the lands of the Muslims. {4}

R. Parker
2013 ev
Revised 2018 ev

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{1} The Arabic MS Kitab al-Aflak (Book of the Spheres) should not be confused with a book with a similar name – Kitab Ta’dil hayʾat al‐aflak – written by Sadr al-Sharia al‐Thani in 1346 or 1347 CE.

{2} qv. Myatt’s commentaries in his Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. Translation and Commentary. 2017. ISBN 978-1976452369.

{3} qv. the Somnium Scipionis of Cicero and Commentarii in Somnium Scipionis by Macrobius.

{4} https://lapisphilosophicus.wordpress.com/presencings-of-a-hideous-nexion/

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Ghayat al-hakim, Picatrix, And The O9A

Order of Nine Angles

O9A

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The Latin Picatrix, The Arabic Ghayat al-ḥakim, And The O9A Septenary System

Those who have studied the Renaissance Latin text known as the Picatrix, and those who have studied the more ancient Arabic text – Ghayat al-ḥakim – on which it is based, will be aware of three things.

First, that describing either book as an “astrological” text is a mistake, given (i) what the term astrology now denotes, such as the making of natal charts, and the writing of horoscopes based on Zodiacal constellations; and given (ii) that the classical Latin term astrologia denoted the Art (scientia) of knowing and understanding celestial objects – the stars and planets – and how these objects might affect mortals given that for ancient Greek and Roman philosophers we mortals were considered as connected to, as part of, the cosmic order, κόσμος.

Second, that the subject of Ghayat al-ḥakim – and thus of the Picatrix – is this connection and how a knowledge and understanding of the seven planets, of the Zodiacal constellations, and the relation between them, was a means whereby wisdom – an understanding of the cosmos, and of ourselves – could be attained. Which understanding was of The Unity, the Monas, behind all things.

Third, how a septenary system permeates those two books. Thus, and for example, the Latin manuscript whose scholarly designation is M – Sloane MS 3679 in the British Library – provides a useful summary of the text, a table of contents, listing the seven planets, while in Liber II, chapter X, their sigils are illustrated as follows,

Picatrix Sigils

Picatrix

which sigils, however, differ in many respects from those of the much earlier Ghayat al-ḥakim, and which difference will be discussed later.

Ghayat al-hakim Sigils

Ghayat al-ḥakim

The Picatrix sigils are followed, some pages on, by their Zodiacal associations, with Saturn for instance, associated with Aquarius (facias in hora Saturni tercia Aquarri ascendente) and Jupiter with Sagittarius (facias in hora Iovis secunda Sagittari ascendente) followed by descriptions of other, more human, planetary and Zodiacal associations and in which descriptions a certain Hermes Trismegistus is mentioned.

Liber III provides detailed descriptions of other esoteric correspondences between these seven planets and the twelve constellations of the Zodiac, including their respective Decans. For example, “Mercurius est minera virtutis intellective. Et habet aspectum ad sciencias addiscendum et sapiencia et dialecticam, grammticam, philosphima…” and “Luna est que recipit virtutes planetarum et infundit eas in mundo virtutis naturalis…”

Liber IV is divided into nine chapters, and concerns “de proprietatibus spirituum, et de his que necessaria sunt in ista arte, et qualiter imaginibus et suffumigicanibus et aliis adiuvantur.” That is, it concerns the animated principles – the ‘spirits’, angelus – associated with the seven planets and what is required, in terms of such things as incenses, sigils, names, and human-made objects – imago {1} – for those planets to be understood as symbolic of the workings of the cosmos and of ourselves.

In Liber IV various sigils are illustrated of a kind now familiar from much later ‘grimoire’ texts together with the names of the various ‘spirits’ – angelus – associated with the seven planets. For instance, Zemeyel with Mars, and Yebil with Sol.

The incenses associated with each planet, and their recipes, are described with that of Sol involving “florum spice nardi, sandali crocei et rubei ana 3x, ciperi, thymi…”

In chapter VII of Book IV it is stated that “deinde scribe in eo nomina septem stellarum, septem figuras earum et nomina septem angelorum et septem ventorum. Nomina autem septem stellarum sunt hec Zohal, Musteri, Marrech, Xemz, Zohara, Hotarid, Alchamar.” The sigil of each is then illustrated.

            While more quotations from the Picatrix could be included, sufficient have been provided to illustrate that the work concerns a septenary system and the esoteric correspondences of the seven planets including their relation to the Zodiacal constellations, and the incenses, sigils, tinctures, objects, and names of the respective animating principles, necessary to acquire an understanding of the whole system and thus achieve the goal that is wisdom.

There is thus a direct link to the septenary tradition described in the esoteric and typewritten 1980s O9A text Naos {2} and which O9A system is independent of the post-Picatrix qabalistic system, with its ten-fold Otz Chim, which all other, non-O9A, modern Occultists use and which later, Hebrew influenced, ten-fold system, has since the formation in the 19th century of the Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn, formed the basis of the ‘magic’ of Crowley, Levey, and Aquino, and which thus has mistakenly come to be regarded as an integral part of Western Occultism.

Differences, Influences, And Translations

The difference between the sigils given in the Picatrix and those in Ghayat al-ḥakim is indicative of two things. First, how the medieval and Renaissance scribes of the Picatrix (c.1300 – c.1459), not having access to the Arabic text (c.1050) sought to translate the Spanish translation of the Arabic text that they had access to, with differences between extant manuscripts of the Picatrix suggesting that various passages of the Spanish text were interpreted in different ways.

Second, how the later sigils – and the names of certain animating principles, ‘spirits’ or ‘angels’ – in the Picatrix may have evolved in the centuries between Ghayat al-ḥakim and the Picatrix, with the sigil of Mercurii for example obviously influenced by the Western alchemical symbol for Mercury.

In regard to modern English translations of the Picatrix, the word magicus is invariably mistranslated as ‘magic’ whereas as Anton Long has explained in his essay Sorcery In Virgil’s Aeneid {3} it correctly refers to an ancient Art, a particular Craft, and not to what is now associated with the words ‘magic’ and ‘magick’. Also, the first paragraph of Liber II of the Picatrix explains in some detail what is meant:

Sapientes qui naturali sensu sunt dotati numquam cess ant nec deserunt petere et inquirere ut sapientum secreta sciant et intelligant, que incluserunt in suis libris et scripserunt verbis occultis. et qui predicta invenerunt sollicitis inquisicionibus quousque attigerunt que voluerunt; sed homines imbecilles et intellectu carentes ad predicta attingere nequeunt vel venire.

Sed motus mee voluntatis processit ad inquisiciones magice et pravitatum tempore quo iuventute ftorebam. Et studebam in Centiloquio Ptolomei, in quo dicitur quod omnia huius mundi celestibus obediunt formis. Et manifestum est quod omnes sapientes in hoc sunt concordati, quod planete habent influencias et vires in hoc mundo quibus omnia fiunt in eo et alterantur motu planetarum in signis; qua de causa cognoverunt quod radices magice sunt motus planetarum.

In addition, the translation of the Latin imago by the 17th century English word talisman is a mistake since the Latin implies “a semblance”, a crafting of something which of itself presenced, was a semblance of, what was ‘higher’, numinous, by something which was ‘lower’, material, with such a presencing well-expressed by Marsilii Ficini in his De Vita Coelitus Comparanda,

“Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona.”

“How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.” {4}

Which is one of the axioms of the Hermetic weltanschauung, and as noted in the essay An Esoteric Note On The Somnium Scipionis Of Cicero {3} is a more philosophical restatement of the phrase “quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius” (what is above is as what is below) from the Hermetic text Tabula Smaragdina.

            Hence, to obtain a knowledge of what is one ancient source for the O9A septenary tradition, the student of the Occult and those interested in O9A esotericism should study the Arabic text of Ghayat al-hakim in preference to the Latin Picatrix, and also compare that text to Renaissance works such as those by Marsilii Ficini, as well as study the alchemical texts which mention or which allude to a septenary system. {5}

R. Parker
August 2018 ev

A pdf version of this essay is available here:
https://omega9alpha.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/o9a-picatrix-ghayat.pdf

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{1} The Latin term imago as used in the Picatrix is usually translated as “talisman”. I describe why that is a mistake in the Differences, Influences, And Translations section.
{2} A facsimile of the 1980s O9A typewritten text is available, as of August 2018, at https://lapisphilosophicus.wordpress.com/naos/
{3} The essay is included in The Eludent Order of Nine Angles, available at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2018/08/24/the-eludent-order-of-nine-angles/
{4} The translation is by David Myatt, from his Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. Translation and Commentary. 2017. ISBN 978-1976452369
{5} Many of these alchemical texts are described in Alchemical And Hermetic Antecedents Of The Seven Fold Way, available as of August 2018, from https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/ἀρρενόθηλυς/

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Related:

O9A: Change Of Perspective
(pdf)

The Eludent Order Of Nine Angles
(pdf)


The Eludent Order Of Nine Angles

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The Eludent Order Of Nine Angles
(pdf)

This O9A compilation conveniently brings together some recent articles which, as explained in the Introduction, manifest aspects of O9A tradition hitherto neglected by both other Occultists and by academics who have studied or who are studying Western Occultism and/or the O9A.

Which aspects are (i) Occult knowledge – esoteric and pagan traditions, Greco-Roman, Arabic, and Persian – absent from other manifestations of modern Western Occultism; (ii) the link which the O9A has through this knowledge to those ancient traditions; and (iii) the erudition shown by the authors of such O9A texts.

The compilation thus compliments the O9A texts in Aρρενόθηλυς: Alchemical And Hermetic Antecedents Of The Seven Fold Way, issued in 2016. {1}

For those interested the English word eludent is from the Latin eludo and when used as in the title implies something that ‘eludes’ and thus which is elusive and which may ‘befuddle’ or baffle others and which may also suggest some game, qv. ludere as in Cicero, M. Antonivm Oratio Philippica, II, 23, 56.

TWS Nexion
2018 ev

{1} The Aρρενόθηλυς text is available from https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/ἀρρενόθηλυς/

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Contents:

° Preface
° Introduction
° Esoteric Note On The Somnium Scipionis Of Cicero
° A Note On The Picatrix
° The Avenging Alastoras
° Sorcery In Virgil’s Aeneid
° Baphomet – An Esoteric Signification
° Afsana, Yusra, And The Green Damask Room
° The Rounwytha Rite Of The Abyss


The Rounwytha Rite Of The Abyss

Order of Nine Angles

O9A

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The traditional, the Rounwytha, rite of the Abyss, although never named or described as such in the past, was the second part of the practical ancestral training of the Rounwytha, the first being spending three to six months alone in the wilderness and which solitary ordeal the O9A inherited and evolved into the Rite of Internal Adept.

As with the Rite of Internal Adept, the Camlad Rite of The Abyss – as described in the text Enantiodromia: The Sinister Abyssal Nexion {1} – is the O9A’s somewhat updated version of the traditional rite. The aim of both rites – the traditional Rounwytha ones and the O9A ones – is the same; to aid the development in the individual of empathy and the development of a wordless understanding of themselves, of Nature, and of the cosmos.

In the particular case of The Abyss there is also a symbolic – and ancient, pagan – journey into and a living in ‘the darkness’ followed by an esoteric rebirth with the person having faced and dealt with their fear or dread or their lack of experience of the chthonic. In modern terminology, there is after that month-long living a return to the world with them having integrated their dark/sinister/Shadow persona with their light/numinous persona.

Aural tradition relates that, centuries ago, a certain place near what is now the town of Bridgnorth in Shropshire was occasionally used. Another such place once existed near Little Wenlock, while old mine workings near the Stiperstones were also sometimes, in the past hundred or so years, used.

The Traditional Rite

The traditional rite has no structure, and simply involves the candidate living alone in a particular location for a lunar month and trusting a member of their family kindred or their mentor (if they have one) to inform them when the rite is over.

The rite begins at the first full moon following the beginning of a propitious alchemical season – in the Isles of Britain this was traditionally the first rising of Arcturus in the Autumn. The rite, if successful, concludes on the night of the next full moon.

The rite ideally occurs in an isolated underground cavern where or near to where water flows, and in which location the candidate dwells alone for the whole lunar month, taking with them all that is required for the duration of the rite. Ideally, the water should be suitable for drinking. If such an underground cavern cannot be found, then a suitable alternative is an isolated dark cave – with, if necessary, its entrance suitably screened to avoid an ingress of light.

The only light is from candles (housed in a lantern) and the only food is bread and cheese. The food and/or the water required for the duration can be either brought by the candidate at the beginning of the rite, or provided and left (without any contact being made) on a weekly basis by a chosen member of their family kindred or by their mentor if they have one.

No means of communication with the outside world should be brought; no timepiece, mechanical or otherwise, is allowed; and no (in these modern days) means of reproducing music nor any other means of personal entertainment or communication are allowed.

The candidate should arrange for a trusted person to enter the cavern at the next full moon to return them to the world of living mortals.

The rite is as simple, as difficult, and as dangerous as that.

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{1} The text is included in the Complete Guide To The Order of Nine Angles available at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2014/04/09/the-definitive-guide-to-the-order-of-nine-angles/


The Hidden Order Of Nine Angles

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Order of Nine Angles

O9A

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The Hidden Order Of Nine Angles

Several post-2012 Order of Nine Angles texts hint that there is a hidden “esoteric O9A” which perhaps only the most persistent will discover or appreciate, as perhaps was intended.

For such O9A texts not only deal with and provide information about various Occult topics which the modern literature – academic and otherwise – about modern Occultism, about Satanism, and about the Western Left Hand Path, have ignored, but also deal, in a measured and rational way, with the philosophical and Occult roots of the O9A giving as they do copious references to (and sometimes illustrations from) medieval, renaissance and Greco-Roman texts, more often than not in the original language of those texts such as Latin and Hellenistic Greek.

These texts therefore serve to distinguish the O9A from all other modern Occult groups be such groups described as Occult, Satanist, or of the Western Left Hand Path.

That these texts have been ignored by O9A critics and by academics is perhaps indicative.

Indicative, in the case of O9A critics, because such critics – be they journalists, authors, self-proclaimed Satanists, self-proclaimed Occultists, or self-proclaimed practitioners of the Western Left Hand Path – either lack the required academic background to appreciate such texts or, more often than not, because of some pre-existing prejudice regarding the O9A.

Indicative, in the case of academics, because of what seems to be their fixation on – in the case of modern Satanism – Howard Stanton Levey (alias Anton LaVey) and – in the case of modern Occultism and the Western Left Hand Path – on Aleister Crowley and Michael Aquino and Aquino’s Temple of Set. For there seems to have developed an academic orthodoxy in which Levey, Crowley, and Aquino, are of paramount importance, and in which the O9A is at best “a minor group” and at worst based on the ideas and ritual propounded and popularized by that modern triumvirate.

Thus, in one example of many, both academics and others continue to propagate the canard that the “nine angles” of the O9A derive from Aquino’s Ceremony of Nine Angles (with its Euclidean angles) despite the fact that the O9A “nine angles” are – as many post-2012 O9A texts have explained – the nine combinations of the three fundamental alchemical substances (salt, sulphur, mercury) and are represented by the pieces of the O9A’s 1970s Star Game. {1}

Similarly, and to provide another example, the O9A septenary Tree of Wyrd has been dismissed by an academic as merely “a replacement for the Kabbalah […] a non-Semitic version of the Kabbalistic Sepherot” {2} whereas many O9A texts have established that the septenary system historically pre-dated the Kabbalah and was not only part of Western Occultism {3} but was also part of the Greco-Roman mysticism explained in the Pymander tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum {4}.

Revealing The Hidden O9A

Two recent – 2018 ev – O9A texts should suffice to not only reveal the hidden “esoteric O9A” but also serve to illustrate just how different the O9A is from all other modern public manifestations of modern Occultism, be such Occultism the modern Satanism of Howard Stanton Levey, the Western Left Hand Path of Aquino and the Temple of Set, or the egoistic, Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn indebted, “Thelema” of Aleister Crowley.

These recent texts are An Esoteric Note On The Somnium Scipionis Of Cicero, {5} and A Note On The Picatrix. {6}

The Esoteric Note On The Somnium Scipionis provides references to ancient texts – in Latin and Greek, together with translations – and places the esoteric philosophy of the O9A, and its praxises (such as its Seven Fold Way and its Code of Kindred Honour) into the correct historical perspective; that is, as part of a Greco-Roman pagan tradition.

The Note On The Picatrix references ancient Arabic texts, and reveals the influence of such texts on the O9A; why the original Western grimoire tradition derived from such Arabic sources, and that the later Hebrewesque and Kabbalah influenced grimoire tradition was – as the O9A have maintained for decades – a much later distortion of ancient Western Occultism.

                   Such texts serve to illustrate just how different the O9A is because those texts – like seminal O9A texts such as The Geryne of Satan {7} and Baphomet, An Esoteric Signification {8}- are based on primary, ancient, sources, with their authors able to read such sources in their original language.

Such language skills, such academic knowledge, are entirely absent in Howard Stanton Levey, in Michael Aquino, and in the likes of Aleister Crowley. {9} A fact that O9A critics, and academics, have – so far – failed to appreciate.

Morena Kapiris
August 2018 ev

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{1} Refer for example to (i) the texts at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/the-star-game/ and (ii) to the Appendix An Alchemical Signification of the O9A text Azoth: Western Alchemy And The Seven Fold Way Of The Order Of Nine Angles.

The Azoth text is included – together with other relevant post-2012 texts – in the pdf compilation available at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/the-esoteric-hermeticism-of-the-order-of-nine-angles/

{2} Jacob Senholt. Secret Identities In The Sinister Tradition, in The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity. Oxford University Press, 2012, p.253

{3} For example (i) Alchemy And The Sinisterly-Numinous Tradition, (ii) Lapis Philosophicus, Isaac Newton, And The Septenary System, and (iii) The Hermetic Origins Of The O9A.

{4} qv. David Myatt’s translation of and commentary of that tractate in his Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. Translation and Commentary. 2017. ISBN 978-1976452369.

{5} https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2018/08/09/a-note-on-the-somnium-scipionis/

{6} https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/a-note-on-the-picatrix/

{7} https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/geryne-of-satan/

{8} https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/baphomet/

{9} qv. Traditional And Modern: The Two Types Of Satanism, available at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/two-types-of-satanism/


A Note On The Somnium Scipionis

Order of Nine Angles

O9A

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A pdf version of this text is available here: https://omega9alpha.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/esoteric-note-cicero-v1a.pdf

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An Esoteric Note On The Somnium Scipionis Of Cicero

The Somnium Scipionis Of Cicero {1} is regarded by the Order of Nine Angles (O9A, ONA) as a primary source of the Western (Greco-Roman) pagan tradition which the O9A, with its septenary system, represents in this day and age.

From an esoteric point of view, one of the most notable passages in the Somnium Scipionis is that describing a system of “nine orbs” which connect the whole cosmic order, with Cicero toward the end mentioning that

“Now, the noblest concerns and exertions are the well-being of the community with a psyche exercised by these moving more swiftly toward its dwelling.” {2}

Given the philosophical discussion which precedes this “moving more swiftly toward its dwelling” – its restful abode – this suggests something similar to the hermetic anados with its journey upwards through the seven spheres.

In his commentary on section 17 of the Pymander (Poemandres) tractate – which describes how the seven spheres came into being – Myatt {3} draws a parallel with Cicero’s nine orbs, quoting Cicero’s text and providing his own translation:

Novem tibi orbibus vel potius globis conexa sunt omnia, quorum unus est caelestis, extimus, qui reliquos omnes complectitur, summus ipse deus arcens et continens ceteros; in quo sunt infixi illi, qui volvuntur, stellarum cursus sempiterni. Cui subiecti sunt septem, qui versantur retro contrario motu atque caelum. Ex quibus summum globum possidet illa, quam in terris Saturniam nominant.

Nine orbs – more correctly, spheres – connect the whole cosmic order, of which one – beyond the others but enfolding them – is where the uppermost deity dwells, enclosing and containing all. There – embedded – are the constant stars with their sempiternal movement, while below are seven spheres whose cyclicity is different, and one of which is the sphere given the name on Earth of Saturn.

In respect of the Hermetic ogdoadic physis, ὀγδοατικὴν φύσιν, Myatt connects these “nine orbs” to the septenary system writing in his commentary on section 26 of the Pymander tractate that there are

“seven plus two fundamental cosmic emanations […] the seven of the hebdomad, plus the one of the ‘ogdoadic physis’ mentioned here, plus the one (also mentioned here) of what is beyond even this ‘ogdoadic physis’.

[As the Poemandres] text describes, there are seven realms or spheres – a seven-fold path to immortality, accessible to living mortals – and then two types of existence (not spheres) beyond these, accessible only after the mortal has journeyed along that path and then, having ‘offered up’ certain things along the way (their mortal ethos), ‘handed over their body to its death’.

Ontologically, therefore, the seven might somewhat simplistically be described as partaking of what is ‘causal’ (of what is mortal) and the two types of existence beyond the seven as partaking of – as being – ‘acausal’ (of what is immortal). Thus, Pœmandres goes on to say, the former mortal – now immortal – moves on (from this first type of ‘acausal existence’) to become these forces (beyond the ogdoadic physis) to thus finally ‘unite with theos’: αὐτοὶ εἰς δυνάμεις ἑαυ τοὺς παραδιδόασι καὶ δυνάμεις γενόμενοι ἐν θεῷ γίνονται.”

The Nine Angles And The Code Of Kindred Honour

In terms of the ontology and the Occult philosophy of the O9A the “nine orbs” are the “nine angles” – the nine combinations of the three fundamental alchemical substances {4} – which represent (via such Dark Arts as The Star Game) – the nexion between causal and acausal that we human beings are, with the seven spheres – represented by the seven classical planets – the septenary Tree of Wyrd, surrounded as the Tree of Wyrd is by the ‘ogdoadic physis’ and then by the formless acausal itself: the acausal existence, described in the Pymander tractate as “the theos”, which awaits those mortals who via their anados have found Lapis Philosophicus and thus progressed to the last stage of the Seven Fold Way, that of Immortal.

In terms of Cicero’s statement that “the noblest concerns and exertions are the well-being of the community”, Myatt – in his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua {5} – draws attention to a somewhat neglected aspect of Greco-Roman paganism and quotes from the Corpus Hermeticum:

εἰ δύνασαι νοῆσαι τὸν θεόν, νοήσεις τὸ καλὸν καὶ ἀγαθόν […] ἐὰν περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ ζητῆις, καὶ περὶ τοῦ καλοῦ ζητεῖς μία γάρ ἐστιν εἰς αὐτὸ ἀποφέρουσα ὁδός, ἡ μετὰ γνώσεως εὐσέβεια. Tractate VI, 5

If you are able to apprehend theos you can apprehend the beautiful and the noble […] Thus a quest for theos is a quest for the beautiful, and there is only one path there: an awareness of the numinous combined with knowledge.

He goes on to write that

“as stressed by Cicero in many of his writings, and as indicated by the quotation from tractate XIII of the Corpus Hermeticum – “the sixth influence invoked for us, against Coveter, is community” – an aspect of the paganus, Greco-Roman, apprehension of the numinous, of καλὸς κἀγαθός, is an awareness and acceptance of one’s civic duties and responsibilities undertaken not because of any personal benefit (omni utilitate) that may result or be expected, and not because an omnipotent deity has, via some written texts, commanded it and will punish a refusal, but because it is the noble, the honourable – the gentlemanly, the lady-like, the human – thing to do.”

Which ancient pagan concept – or rather tradition – of concern for and duty to one’s community, the O9A continue manifest as it is in their Code of Kindred Honour with its emphasis on one’s own O9A nexion being one’s community: a modern extended family, tribe, or clan.

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

A succinct expression of the ancient Hermetic weltanschauung, as well as of what Cicero expressed in the Somnium Scipionis, occurs in the heading of chapter twenty-six of De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini and which book was published in 1489 CE.

The chapter heading is:

“Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona.”

Which translates as “How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.”

The translation is by Myatt, from his commentary on section 2 of tractate IV of the Corpus Hermeticum. {3} As Myatt writes regarding his translation of part of that section:

a cosmos of the divine body sent down as human beings. κόσμον δὲ θείου σώματος κατέπεμψε τὸν ἄνθρωπον. That is, human beings re-present, presence, the ‘divine body’ and are, of themselves, a reflection of the cosmic order itself. This, and the preceding line, express a fundamental part of ancient and Renaissance hermeticism: human beings as a microcosm of the cosmic order and the divine.

For Ficini philosophically re-expressed a phase – quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius (what is above is as what is below) – from the Hermetic Tabula Smaragdina, and – both in respect of Ficini’s philosophical statement and the topic of the O9A and the Somnium Scipionis – a section of the text ONA Esoteric Notes XLVII, published in 2016 ev, is worth quoting in full, with the comments in square brackets [ ] part of that O9A text:

“As Ficini goes on to explain – Est igitur non solum corporeus, sed vitae insuper et intelligentiae particeps. Quamobrem praeter corpus hoc mundi sensibus familiariter manifestum latet in eo spiritus corpus quoddam excedens caduci sensus capacitatem – the world (mundus) and by extension we ourselves as part of the world are not only material (corporeal) but also imbued with the vitae [Life; Being; ψυχή] and the intelligentiae [apprehension] of that which is above; and that beyond obvious outer appearances there is a hidden, an inner, animating [spiritus] aspect which our ‘lower’, more mundane, senses are unaware of.

All of which, based as it is on the writings of earlier authors such as Iamblichus, is a rather succinct summary of one of the fundamental principles of the weltanschauung that underlies ancient esoteric arts such as alchemy, astrology, and magick. That – as Ficini explained in earlier chapters, such as in chapter sixteen in respect of images/objects/talismans – the animating forces of the cosmos, as symbolized by the seven classical planets and the twelve classical heavenly constellations, not only affect us but can be consciously presenced, drawn down in a beneficial way, into objects and into ourselves.

That the Order of Nine Angles has the same underlying ancient weltanschauung is obvious if the above is restated using the modern terminology of the O9A.

Thus, (a) how when what is causal is touched by what is acausal [when a nexion is opened], the acausal is presenced within the causal thus producing changes in the causal; (b) the septenary Tree of Wyrd – with its planetary, stellar, and other esoteric correspondences as outlined in text such as Naos – since it is imbued with the acausal [is a nexion] is a beneficial presencing of those acausal energies that non-initiates are unaware of or disdain.

This ancient – essentially Greco-Roman – weltanschauung formed an essential part of the European Renaissance, as the life and writings of people such as Marsilii Ficini attest. Thus one might well suggest that the Order of Nine Angles embodies – at least in part – the spirit that animated that European Renaissance. An embodiment in the O9A manifest in their elitist and cultured ethos; a cultured ethos which neglected O9A texts such as (i) Culling As Art, (ii) The De-Evolutionary Nature of Might is Right, and (iii) The Gentleman’s and Noble Ladies Brief Guide to The Dark Arts, explain.” {6}

In other words, the cultured ethos which the O9A manifests – when, that is, the O9A is esoterically and philosophically understood beyond its exoteric polemics, beyond the causal forms used, and beyond its Labyrinthos Mythologicus {7} – is the same ethos as is found in the philosophical writings of Cicero, in the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum, and in ancient and renaissance hermetic writings. It is the culture of reason, of a personal learning through practical, scholarly, and esoteric means; means which form the basis of the O9A Seven Fold Way, of its decades-long esoteric anados.

Which is why Anton Long wrote:

“One of the main reasons for the existence of esoteric groups such as the Order of Nine Angles is to be a living hereditary repository of a certain type of knowledge – kunnleik – and to personally, directly, encourage some individuals to acquire the culture, the habit, of learning – practical, scholarly, esoteric – and thus enable them to move in the traditional esoteric manner toward the goal of discovering and thence acquiring wisdom; and which wisdom is a balanced personal judgement and a particular knowledge of a pagan, Occult, kind to do with livings beings, human nature, Nature and ‘the heavens’. This involves possessing/developing certain esoteric faculties/skills; acquiring an honest knowing of one’s self, one’s character; possessing an Aeonic understanding; and thus discovering Reality beyond, and sans, all causal abstractions.

Being a living hereditary repository of a certain type of knowledge, esoteric and otherwise – that is, being akin to an ancestral, communal, pathei-mathos – the O9A grows and slowly develops as more knowledge and understanding are obtained, as more individuals undergo pathei-mathos, and as newer Dark Arts are developed. But the Occult essence – the ethos, the internal alchemy of individual change during the life of the individual, the individual discovery of lapis philosophicus, the Adeptus way, the Aeonic perspective – remains.” {8}

R. Parker
August 2018 ev

Note: This text is a companion to my recent essay Some Notes On The Picatrix.

°°°

{1} The Latin text is, as of August 2018 ev, available at http://www.thelatinlibrary.com/cicero/repub6.shtml

While several accessible English translations exist they tend to translate particular Latin words by English words which – as Myatt noted in the Preface to his Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates – may impose modern meanings on the text.

For example, the caelum of Cicero is translated not as referring to what is celestial, nor to use Myatt’s striking term – in his translation of chapters 1-5 of the Gospel of John, qv. https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/gospel-according-to-john/ – expressed by Empyrean, but instead as “heaven” which English word brings with it much non-pagan, post-Roman, iconography and theology.

Similarly, and to present another example, “et ut mundum ex quadam parte mortalem ipse deus aeternus, sic fragile corpus animus sempiternus movet” is interpreted with deus as “God” and animus as “soul” thus imposing a non-pagan theological meaning and iconography on the text, whereas Deity and Psyche (ψυχή) are more appropriate, more redolent of Greco-Roman paganism.

{2} Sunt autem optimae curae de salute patriae; quibus agitatus et exercitatus animus velocius in hanc sedem et domum suam pervolabit.

{3} David Myatt, Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. Translation and Commentary. 2017. ISBN 978-1976452369

{4} qv. the O9A text Alchemical And Hermetic Antecedents Of The Seven Fold Way, available as of August 2018 ev, from https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/ἀρρενόθηλυς/

{5} David Myatt, Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, 2017. ISBN 978-1982010935

{6} The text is, as of August 2018 ev, available at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/2016/03/26/o9a-esoteric-notes-xlvii/

{7} In respect of Labyrinthos Mythologicus, qv. https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/labyrinthos-mythologicus/

{8} Anton Long. Knowledge, the Internet, and the O9A. e-text, 122 yfayen.


Related:

A Note On The Picatrix