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Re: VMs: Demons, Daimones, Daemones...

Hi, Nick!

This material is an excerpt from the Epinomis of
Plato.  There is some disagreement as to the
authorship; some have attributed authorship to one of
Plato's students, but generally speaking, the work is
attributed to Plato or one of his school.  The work
would have been written near the time of Plato,
427-347 BC.

This work is written as a dialogue between several
people.  In this excerpt, the correspondence between
an individual's daemon and his nativity (birth) is not
the subject of emphasis, but rather the nature of the
living "souls" of stars, planets, the luminaries, the
from The Epinomis of Plato

"We must likewise assert, that the earthly genus is
moved in a disorderly manner, but that which consists
from fire, in perfect order. It is proper, therefore,
to <982b> consider that which is moved without order,
as stupid. But it is requisite to establish this as a
great argument, that the natures which revolve in the
heavens are endued with intellect, - I mean, that they
always proceed according to the same and in a similar
manner, and both do and suffer the same. But the
necessity of a soul possessing intellect is by far the
greatest of all necessities. [note 2] For it
promulgates laws governing and not governed. But when
soul, which is a thing of the <982c> most excellent
nature, deliberates according to the most excellent
intellect, then that which is perfect according to
intellect takes place in reality, nor can an adamant
be more firm and inconvertible than such a soul.
Indeed, the three fates preserve perfect that which is
deliberated by each of the Gods with the best counsel.
It is requisite, therefore, men should be convinced
that the stars, and the whole of this progression, are
endued with intellect, from this circumstance, that
they <982d> always perform the same things. For in the
past time they have deliberated for a wonderfully
extended period respecting their actions. But they are
not, in deliberating, agitated upwards and downwards,
nor do they wander and revolve in a disorderly manner,
acting differently at different times. The contrary of
this, however, appears to many of us, - I mean, that
because they perform the same things, and in a similar
manner, they are without a soul. The vulgar, too,
embracing this insane opinion, conceive that the human
genus is intellectual and vital, <982e> because it is
moved, but that the divine genus is destitute of
intellect, because it abides in the same lations. But
it becomes the man who attributes to the Gods things
more beautiful, more excellent, and more friendly to
their natures, to conceive that it is necessary to
consider them as possessing intellect, because they
always accomplish the same things, according to the
same, and in a similar manner. And that this is the
nature of the stars, most beautiful to the sight, and
which by a progression and musical dance, the most
beautiful and magnificent of all choirs, produces in
all animals every thing that is proper and becoming.
But that we justly consider them as animated, may, in
the first place, be <983a> evinced by their magnitude.
For they are not in reality so small as they appear to
be; but it deserves to be believed, that each of them
is of an immense magnitude, as this may be shown by
sufficient demonstrations. For we may rightly think
that the whole sun is larger than the whole earth; and
that all the stars possess a wonderful magnitude. We
should consider, therefore, after what manner so great
a bulk can be made to <983b> revolve by a certain
nature perpetually in the same time. I say, therefore,
that Divinity is the cause of this, and that it cannot
in any other manner be accomplished. For it can no
otherwise become animated than through a God, as we
have evinced. As Divinity, therefore, is the cause of
its animation, and all things are easy to a God, in
the first place, he generated every body and every
bulk in the heavens an animal; and, in the next place,
he caused it to move in that manner which he
conceived, by a dianoëtic energy, to be the best. And
now, respecting all these particulars, we shall make
one true assertion, viz. It <983c> is impossible that
earth, heaven, all the stars, and all the bulks
composed from these, could subsist, unless a soul is
either present with each, or resident in each,
enabling them to revolve with such accuracy according
to years, and months, and days, and thus procuring for
all of us every good."

Food for thought.



--- Nick Pelling <nickpelling@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> Hi Pamela,
> Perhaps I'm wrong, but ISTM that we may be sitting
> either side of the 
> fault-line that runs through the history of
> astrology: on one side, the 
> idea that astrology as practised today arises from a
> continuous tradition 
> going back millennia - and on the other, the idea
> that modern psychological 
> astrology (essentially, Ficinian astrology) is a
> quite different beast from 
> the pre-1500 stuff.
> Even though, just like you, I have read plenty of
> primary sources from all 
> eras, it should be clear that my sympathies lie with
> the latter position 
> rather than the former - basically, I'm with Bob
> Zoller all the way on this 
> one. There really was a cataclysmic change of
> astrological ideology and 
> practice circa 1480-1520, and I think you have to
> make a judgment call as 
> to whether you think the VMs pre-dates, is
> concurrent with, or post-dates 
> that time - I believe that's a question any
> historian of astrology looking 
> at the VMs shouldn't try to fudge around. My own
> answer is (as you know) 
> that what little there is of the VMs' astrology
> seems to be based firmly in 
> the Middle Ages, but doubtless there is plenty of
> room for other answers. :-)
> AFA the whole fixed-stars-thread goes: "astrology"
> is (literally) "the 
> study of the (fixed) stars" (as opposed to, say,
> "planetology"), so you 
> really don't have to scratch the surface long to get
> back to primary 
> sources' (say, Iamblichus talking about Egyptian
> astrology) mentioning the 
> fixed stars. However, I don't think any of your
> quotes so far  - though 
> moderately suggestive - do directly link individual
> demons with individual 
> fixed stars as convincingly as you would wish them
> to, especially on a 
> careful re-reading. The names of fixed stars remain
> angelic or 
> astronomical, while the names of demons remain
> necromantic: two quite 
> separate traditions AFAICT.
> FWIW, I think your assertion that astrology is a
> discredited science is 
> perhaps a little out-of-date: one has only to look
> at the brilliant insight 
> of people like Owen Gingerich, David Pingree, etc to
> see that a powerful 
> comprehension of astrology (both practically and
> conceptually) can add a 
> vital dimension to historians' work. Really, my
> opinion is that any view of 
> pre-1600 European history uninformed by astrology is
> probably foolish: it 
> should be clear that my particular interest in
> astrology here is trying to 
> understand the intellectual & social context that
> gave birth to the VMs.
> Sorry for yet another slightly disjointed email, but
> "time eludes us" etc. :-o
> Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....
> To unsubscribe, send mail to majordomo@xxxxxxxxxxx
> 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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