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Re: VMs: Demons, Daimones, Daemones...
I tried to send an email earlier, but I think there
was a problem with delivery. Where are those daemons
when you need them?
So, another day, another philosopher. . .eh? Smile.
Iambliucs was of the Syrian school. He lived from
280-330 AD. He wrote _Theurgia_, also called _On The
Egyptian Mysteries_. He speaks of several
techniques to find the daemon using a horoscope of the
person's birth. He was describing Egyptian astrology
practiced prior to the Hellenistic period, so "houses"
of the chart were not used. He describes methods
involving the Sun, Moon, and Ascendant to derive the
Part of Spirit (Daemon). He derides the belief that
knowing the identity of the natal guardian frees one
from his own fate. Then he goes on to state:
>From Part XI, Nativities and Guardian Daemons:
"For whether these arts are knowable or beyond
comprehension, yet the aura or emanation from the
stars brings the daemon to us, whether we ourselves
are cognizant of it or not."
His point is that we are guided by the emanation of
the stars (via daemonae) with or without consciousness
of the identity of the daemon. But he is not denying
that the daemon has a connection with a particular
star, or stars (the Latin word often used at this
point meant both constellation and star,
interchangeably) and he specifies that it is the aura
or emanation from the star or stars that brings the
daemon to each individual.
Perhaps you could find some interesting political
reasons for Iamblicus' treatment of astrology in this
matter and for his choice to devote an entire section
of _on Egyptian Mysteries_ to "Nativities and Guardian
Daemons". He was probably using and melding the
entire system of Egyptian beliefs to his own agenda.
Something like Ficino did with Plato, and Agrippa did
with Ficino, right?
I agree that the study of the historical background of
a document (when it was written, by whom, to whom, for
what purpose) is indeed all-important to correct
analysis of the text. But all that is still beside
the point that these beliefs were uniformly held in
certain circles--those that practice astrology--and
they go far, far back into antiquity.
I don't blame you, Nick, for not being aware that
these teachings were well known in times past. Most
modern authors don't pay much attention to what the
ancients wrote about astrology. Astrology is a
discredited science, and no one has time for it. It
takes a lot of work to try to understand what was
being said about astrology, especially when we don't
ever use it. And these highly technical, rather
incomprehensible materials were written in Latin or
Greek, adding another barrier to modern scholarship.
If I may say so with a reasonable degree of
objectivity, this is one little advantage I bring to
the study of the subject: I use the art of astrology
everyday. I do understand to a great extent what the
authors of these ancient sources are saying because
these technniques are familiar to me through use. The
language barrier sometimes may still present a
problem, but at least I find the authors of these
works treading familiar territory. But I realize this
gives me a perspective everyone does not share in
So, for the rest of us, what is the point in
understanding the basis of astrology when it has no
meaning for us?
Unless we are studying a document that is thought to
bear on astrology, or use astrology, or may even
contain astrology as vital subject matter.
Now, I wonder if we should look for an Egyptian
philosopher quoting the Persians on this subject?
Are we far enough back yet? Smile.
--- Pamela Richards <spirlhelix@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hi, Nick!
> The agathos daemon is a teaching of Plato. The
> Discourse on the Eighth and Ninth, from the Nag
> Hammadi Library, dated to the fourth century AD,
> discusses the belief that the stars produce spirits
> which inhabit and accompany humans in this life. In
> fact, the belief in spirits of stars guiding humans
> predates Plato and can be found as early as Persian
> I smiled when I read your post. I have been
> presenting materials derived from source documents.
> With more research, I can go older and older. How
> do my sources need to be to satisfy you? My point
> been that we all would benefit from reading actual
> source documents on these matters, but this is not
> your approach. You prefer to read what more modern
> authors think of their predecessors. I observe a
> certain irony in you warning me to avoid
> versions of ancient beliefs.
> Many such Renaissance beliefs hark back to
> hermeticism. Hermeticism relies in a large part on
> gnosticism. Gnosticism. . . back to Plato, and
> that to Hermes Trismigestus (assumed to be) in Egypt
> and before that to Abraxas and the Persians. The
> message has not been identical over time, but the
> threads are nevertheless interwoven. All of these
> cultures practiced and valued astrology, in part
> because of their faith in the star spirits
> guiding humankind. To oversimpllify, if we can
> predict the doings of the stars through astrology,
> human beings are bound to the stars, then we can
> predict the behavior of human beings.
> So how far back would you like to go? Smile.
> The agathos daemon is on the cusp of the eleventh
> house, not the tenth. The cusp of the eleventh is
> known since antiquity as the place of the "good
> daemon". The tenth is the place of an earthly
> authority or ruler, among other things.
> --- Nick Pelling <nickpelling@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > Hi Pamela,
> > At 16:13 21/09/2004 -0700, Pamela Richards wrote:
> > >Yes, in traditional astrology, the daemon is the
> > >"spirit" or "angel" to whom we are bound. We are
> > said
> > >to have a "good" one, the "Agathos daemon", which
> > we
> > >find on the cusp of the eleventh house, and an
> > "evil"
> > >one, "Cacodaemon", (really!) for "Dogma" fans,
> > found
> > >on the cusp of the twelfth or sixth. When Ficino
> > >speaks of the spirit of a star being bound to a
> > human
> > >being, he uses the term daemon, which may be
> > loosely
> > >translated "guiding spirit". Guiding for good
> > for
> > >bad, either way, the spirit is thought to guide
> > to
> > >live out our fate. The good one could be thought
> > of
> > >as a "guardian angel". See also Arippa, below.
> > I suppose I'm developing a quite different
> > appreciation of the roots of
> > Quattrocento humanism from the picture painted by
> > most books. It was less a
> > time of appreciating the classics than
> > them - of myth-making
> > rather than demystification. Think postmodernism
> > rather than logical
> > positivism (if you want to think about either
> > :-
> > Agrippa and Ficino both operated within that
> > humanist research programme:
> > and as such, played fast and loose with their
> > sources, in their attempts to
> > construct (as had Alberti) fake modernist
> > takes on
> > politically-charged issues of the moment. That is,
> > they constructed
> > mythological frameworks, rather than reported them
> > humanism's central
> > myth is its own internal decorum and
> > to its sources, whereas
> > in fact it had little or none of either.
> > I don't know of any evidence of any prior text
> > linking named fixed stars to
> > named d[a]emons: daemons, as Apuleius described,
> > were typically thought to
> > occupy the sub-lunary space, well below the stars.
> > suppose all I'm saying
> > is beware of relying on authors like Ficino and
> > Agrippa, whose approach
> > involved a large degree of myth-making - a careful
> > analysis of the
> > intellectual history supporting their frameworks
> > would be required, and I'm
> > not sure any books currently do that (but please
> > tell me if I'm wrong on
> > that count).
> > BTW, did you mean that the agathos daemon is on
> > cusp of the tenth and
> > eleventh house?
> > Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
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> > with a body saying:
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> "I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing, than to
> teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
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