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Re: VMs: Demons, Daimones, Daemones...
Here is another excerpt from the Theurgia. Porphyry
is asking questions of Iamblichus about the natal (the
form of astrology which uses a birth chart)
determination of the daemon. They have a rather
heated disagreement, the tone of which will sound not
entirely unfamiliar to readers of egroup lists. Grin.
It's a little technical, but I thought Porphyry's
questions were of interest because they bear on
commonly held views of the time:
1) That the daemon may be determined through natal
astrology; hence in many people's minds to "know the
daemon" is to know the name of a wandering star, fixed
star, or constellation to which the daemon
2) That knowing the daemon may permit a person to
live a life "favored by divinity" and "liberated from
These beliefs might have kept quite a few astrologers
busy during this historical period. Some interesting
arguments about the nature of fate ensue.
>From the Theurgia of Iamblichus:
"Here, in turn, thou askest in relation to one single
subject under consideration (the personal daemon),
"how the Lord of the House assigns it: according to
what purpose, or what quality of emanation, or life,
or power, comes from it to us." Thou also puttest the
question in regard to "the calculating of nativities,
whether it (the daemon) actually exists, or not," and
in regard to the finding of the Lord of the House,
"whether it is impossible or possible." What
importance have these questions about the domination,
in relation to the daemon? For it is evident that our
knowing as to how he exists makes no difference in
regard to such matters as his essence and cause. For
in respect to things having an origin in the realm of
nature, even though we do not chance to know, it
happens all the same, that all and each of them have
their own stability of essence in the universe. Thus,
therefore, we will meet thy difficulties generally;
but we will direct our attention specifically to what
thou askest and endeavor in respect to them to give
thee the solutions.
FATE AND THE PERSONAL DAEMON.
Thou also declarest that "the person who has learned
the scheme of his nativity, and so knowing his own
daemon, is liberated from fate, is truly favored by
divinity." Thou dost not seem to me, however, to be
saying these things altogether in harmony, either with
themselves or with the truth. For if the daemon has
been assigned to us from the scheme of nativity, and
we may find him from that, how are we released from
fate through the knowledge that the daemon was given
to us according to fate? But if, as thou dost declare,
we are really set free from necessity through the
daemon, how was it allotted to us by Fate?"
"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing, than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
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