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Towards the paternal Harbour

Proclean theurgy and the contemplation of the Forms

Robert van den Berg

1. Introduction
2. The paternal harbour
3. The Demiurge and the leader-gods
4. Theurgical hymns to the leader-gods
5. Other forms of theurgy
6. Conclusions

1. Introduction

Is there such a thing as progress in philosophy? Even a short introduction in its history will probably convert the greatest optimist to pessimism. True, new generations often manage to point out the shortcomings of their predecessors. However, this only leads to new problems and new answers, which do not necessarily constitute an improvement. Take for example the rejection of Plotinus' doctrine of the undescended soul by almost all later Neoplatonists. They may have had good reason to criticize him, [2] but all the same they paid dearly for it. By denying themselves unmediated access to Nous, it had become an a priori impossibility to contemplate the transcendent Forms directly, for to do so one needs to have nous. As Proclus explains, transcendent Forms are by their very nature not in us:

T.1 What is not in us is not on the level of our knowledge; what is not on the level of our knowledge is unknowable by our faculty of knowledge; so then the transcendent Forms are unknowable by our faculty of knowledge. They may, then, be contemplated only by divine Nous. This is so for all Forms, but especially for those that are beyond the noeric gods; for neither sense-perception, nor cognition based on opinion, nor pure reason, nor noeric cognition of our type serves to connect the soul with those Forms, but only illumination from the noeric gods renders us capable of joining ourselves to those noetic-and-noeric Forms, as I recall someone saying under divine inspiration. The nature of those Forms is, then, unknowable to us, as being superior to our intellection and to the partial conceptions of our souls. And it is for this reason, indeed, that the Socrates of the Phaedrus, as we said before, compares the contemplation of them to mystic rites and initiations and visions, ... [3]

Thus, by rejecting Plotinus, the later Neoplatonists faced a new problem: how can we contemplate the Forms if our souls do not somehow remain connected with Nous? Their answer to the problem is well-known: they took refuge to magical rituals known as theurgy to bridge the gap between the human souls and the Forms. [4]

So far, so good, but exactly how was theurgy supposed to remedy our inherent intellectual incapacity to contemplate the Forms according to Proclus? Most scholars remain vague about the question and get around it by making some short remarks about divine illumination brought about by these rites based on the principle of sympatheia [5] Moreover, what were these theurgical rites like? We know that at least part of it involved all kinds of mysterious invocations of gods by means of statues stuffed with plants, stones and animals which were supposed to be sympathetic to the gods invoked. Then again, it has been argued from Rosán [6] onwards that in Proclus we have to distinguish between a higher and a lower type of theurgy. The lower kind would involve real ritual, whereas the higher one would not. Anne Sheppard has contributed much to that question in an enlightening article on Proclus' attitude to theurgy. [7] She distinguishes between three kinds of theurgy in Proclus: a kind of white magic which is about rainmaking, preventing earthquakes, healing the sick and the like, and which would involve lots of hocus-pocus; a supreme theurgy which brings about mystical union of the Plotinian kind in which no ritual is involved; and a kind of theurgy between these two extremes, which makes our soul intellectually active and unifies it at the level of Nous. This seems to me to be the kind of theurgy that leads up towards the contemplation of the Forms. It is unclear what the rituals of this type are. Sheppard guesses that these are purificatory rites. [8] In that case, the role of occult ceremonies in the actual practice of philosophy would be very limited.

In this contribution, I shall argue (1) that the treatment of the so-called leader-gods in the first part of Theol. Plat. VI sheds light on the question how, according to Proclus, theurgy is supposed to lead us towards the contemplation of the Forms, (2) that this theurgical ritual involved entails more than just purification, and (3) that at least some of Proclus' hymns were part of that ritual.

2. The paternal harbour

In the Timaeus-commentary, Proclus discusses Plato's remark in Timaeus 28c3-4 that it is quite a task to find the maker and father of this universe, i.e. the Demiurge. [9] However, the soul which manages to find him will be most fortunate. To quote a clearly somewhat moved Proclus:

T.2 For after the wanderings in the world of becoming and the purification and the light of knowledge (epistème), the noeric light finally shines out and so does nous in us, which moors (hormizoon) the soul in the Father and establishes it in a pure way in the demiurgical intellections (enidruoon autèn achrantoos en tais dèmiourgikais noèsesi) and links light with light, not something like the light of knowledge (epistème) but an even more beautiful, more noeric and simpler light than that. For this is the paternal harbour (ho patrikos hormos), finding the Father, the pure unification with him. [10]

For a good understanding of this text it is important to note that Proclus equates the Demiurge to the divine Nous. To some readers this may perhaps appear as a matter of course. After all, the Demiurge in the Timaeus contemplates the Forms in order to cause the universe. The appropriate mental faculty to contemplate the Forms is nous. Thus it is reasonable to suppose that the contemplator par excellence of the Forms is also the divine Nous. However, among the ancient commentators on the Timaeus the nature of the Demiurge was a bone of contention. The Demiurge had been located virtually anywhere between the hypercosmic soul (Porphyry) and the Good (Atticus), as we learn from the doxography Proclus offers us in the course of his discussion of the issue. [11] As usual, Proclus sides with his adored master Syrianus, who had interpreted the Demiurge as the divine Nous.

As we have seen in the Parmenides-commentary (T. 1), it is divine Nous only, which is capable of contemplating the Forms. If we then somehow manage to attain "pure unification" with the divine Nous, we will be part of it and thus be able to contemplate the Forms ourselves. This is what Proclus means when he says that our light is linked with a light that is more beautiful, more noeric and simpler than the light of epistème. For epistème, discursive knowledge, is the kind of knowing that belongs to our souls. Since it is discursive it is of no use for the contemplation of the Forms, which can only be contemplated as a whole. Once we have become noeric, we gain, according to the text, a place "in the demiurgical intellections." These are the intellections of the Forms the Demiurge needs in order to create the world.

Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the image of a harbour which Proclus employs to describe our union with the divine Nous. Nous in us "moors" (hormizoon) the soul in the Demiurge, the Maker and Father of the universe, who is therefore called "the paternal harbour" (ho patrikos hormos). The image of safely reaching harbour after a troublesome journey, in this case the "wanderings in the world of becoming", is a common one to express the idea of reaching ones goal after a lot of hardship. [12] Since the One is the ultimate goal of the ascending soul, Proclus can for example call the One "the safe harbour for all beings" (hormos asphalès) in Theol. Plat. I 111, 25. In the same sense it can be said of the soul reaching a higher state of existence in Nous and thus leaving the world of genesis behind itself. To put it in the words of the Parmenides-commentary, which echo those of the Timaeus-commentary: "Only life according to nous is free from wandering, and this is the mystical harbour of the soul, to which the poem brings Odysseus after the many wanderings in life." [13] I will come back to this image at the end of this paper, when discussing the hymns.

3. The Demiurge and the leader-gods

Until this moment, we have only seen under what circumstances we are able to contemplate the Forms, namely when we are in Nous. The problem, however, is how to reach that state. As we have seen, Proclus, in the wake of his master Syrianus, interprets the Demiurge as the divine Nous, an opinion not shared by everyone. Aristotle, for one, upholds the theory that the divine Nous is an unmoved mover, the causa finalis of the universe, but certainly not its causa efficiens, i.e. its Demiurge. Proclus vehemently attacks the Aristotelian position. [14] His motivation for this criticism is that, in his theory of causation at least, things revert upon their cause, not upon things that are completely alien to them, [15] as the Aristotelian Nous would be to the human soul. In that case reversion would be impossible and the divine Nous could never act as a causa finalis. Furthermore, the Aristotelian Nous would not exercise providence towards its inferiors, for there would no activity at all coming from him towards our world. The unwelcome result of all this is that the road to Nous would be inaccessible to us. Therefore, the Proclean divine Nous does not just contemplate the Forms, he is filled with them as the causes according to which the things in the cosmos are created. He is thus identical with the Demiurge of the Timaeus. Because this demiurgical Nous is our cause, we revert upon it, helped by its providence that every cause is bound to exercise towards its inferior products. If we manage to complete our return to the Demiurge, we shall have returned again to the divine Nous, be harboured in it, be part of it and thus, as part of that Nous be able to contemplate the Forms. As Proclus puts it in Theol. Plat. V 70, 21ff.: "All immortal souls that obtained their procession from the Demiurge are filled with the unified and noeric providence that comes from him, because everywhere the offspring depending on its causes participates in the perfection that comes from them."

However, as we all know, the Demiurge in the Timaeus does not create this material universe himself directly but leaves the work to the younger gods. In Proclus' system, this means that the divine Nous is not our direct cause and thus we do not revert upon him directly but through the intermediate causes, which are themselves gods. He discusses these gods in Theol. Plat. VI. Proclus appears to interpret the gradual creation of the universe according to the Timaeus in terms of his own analysis of causation. In this analysis, a cause is always superior to its products and hence possesses a greater degree of unity. The Demiurge, as the supreme cause of this universe, has a high degree of unity and contains the causes of it in a unified manner. The process of creation requires, however, that this unity is split up. [16] This is the task of the leader-gods (hoi hègemonikoi theoi), to whom the first part of Theol. Plat. VI is dedicated. Since the Demiurge contains the causes in an unified manner, he is characterized by sameness (tauton). [17] The leader-gods, on the other hand, are characterized by likeness (homoiotès), because by causing different things from the same principle, they cause things that have something in common and are thus like each other and their cause but not the same. [18] The leader-gods "fasten themselves through likeness to their causes, which are contained in the Demiurge, and lift up and unfold all things it in this demiurgical unity," [19] including "the blessed souls among us, who are lifted up away from the wanderings in the world of becoming towards their own source," [20] by means of this likeness. For it is a general principle that "all processions and all conversions are accomplished because of likeness (dia tèn tès homoiotètos aitian)." [21]

It is here that theurgy comes in. Proclus declares that what has just been said is in accordance with the teachings of the experts about the divine, who Saffrey-Westerink identify as the theurgists. [22] In the chapter that follows, Theol. Plat. VI c. 4 p. 20, 20-25, 13, Proclus goes at length to explain exactly how the leader-gods lift us up to the Demiurge by means of their characteristic likeness. References to theurgy are omnipresent: All products of a leader-god have the same sign (sunthèma) of their own monad. Moreover, the likeness that all products share with their cause leads to sympathy, by means of which the loftiest terms are in the lowest because of participation, whereas the least perfect are in the most perfect because of the causal contaiment. [23] Proclus refers to the series of Helios, to which belong not only beings that are superior to us, but also souls, animals, plants and even stones. [24] This chapter recalls Proclus' little treatise De sacrificio et magia in which he explains how theurgy is supposed to work, as Saffrey-Westerink rightly remark. [25] He explains that wise men, after they had seen that the very last things in the order of causation are in the very first and the other way around, [26] used this observation to direct the divine powers towards the place of the mortals and attracted them through likeness (dia tès homoiotètos). "For this likeness (homoiotès) is enough to join the beings together." [27] The theurgist does so by means of plants, stones and animals which contain the innate sunthèmata of a god and thus have a relation of sympatheia with him. Proclus once more gives the example of animals, plants and stones that are symbols of the sun, he now even works it out in greater detail by actually giving examples of specific plants (the lotus), stones (a stone called "the eye of Bèlos") and animals (a lion and a cock). [28]

4. Theurgical hymns to the leader-gods

So far, I have not yet proven my point that the return to Nous does actual involve theurgical ritual. For, as I noted at the beginning of this paper, scholars tend to distinguish between a higher type of theurgy which does not involve ritual and a lower one which does. In both cases likeness and sympatheia play their role, but in the former case no ritual seems to be involved. It is commonly understood to be an internal process, in which we link innate symbols to a higher reality. The digression about stones, plants and animals which are sympathetic to the sun in Theol. Plat. VI c. 4 would then only serve to explain how the lower kind of theurgy works. How it is possible, for example, to attract a sun-demon by means of a sun-stone and in that way practice the white magic that Anne Sheppard identifies as the lowest kind of theurgy. I will thus have to come up with a clear example of a rite in which a leader-god is invoked in order to place us in Nous.

When we compare the gods invoked in Proclus' hymns with the names of the leader-gods mentioned in Theol. Plat. VI, we notice that three of the seven hymns are directed to leader-gods: the first hymn to Helios, whom Proclus equates with Apollo, who himself constitutes the triad of the anagogic leader-gods, [29] the sixth to Hecate and Zeus and the seventh to Athena. Hecate and Athena belong to the same triad of the life-giving leader-gods. [30] I interpret Zeus as the Demiurge to whom we get access through the mediation of Hecate, but it would take us too far to discuss that matter now and I intend to do it on another occasion. Both Hecate and Helios traditionally play an important role in theurgy, even before the Neoplatonists embraced and adapted it.

In both the hymn to Hecate and Athena Proclus prays that he may be brought to a harbour. In the case of Hecate and Zeus, this is to the "harbour of piety" (H. VI 12 hormon es eusebiès), in case of Athena this is "the blessed harbour" (H. VII 32 olbion hormon). This is not literally the same as the paternal harbour of the Timaeus-commentary (T. 2), but in case of Athena we can be quite sure that this "blessed harbour" is the paternal harbour of the divine Nous. Let me explain this briefly. In his treatment of Athena in Theol. Plat. VI, Proclus refers to the fact that Plato calls Athena a "lover of war and wisdom" in the Timaeus. [31] In his commentary on the Timaeus, Proclus, inspired by his sympathy for the subject, [32] dwells at considerable lenght on the exegesis of these names. In the course of it, he remarks: "we call her Saviour, because she establishes every partial intellect in the total intellections of the Father" (enidruousa tais holikais noèsesi tou patros). [33] Humans have a partial intellect, and to be established in the intellections of the Father recalls the formulation in T. 2 where the human soul was said to be established in a pure way in the demiurgical intellections (enidruoon autèn achrantoos en tais dèmiourgikais noèsesi). Proclus refers once more to the fact that Athena establishes us in the divine Nous in the Cratylus-commentary, again referring to the Timaeus, when he writes that Athena "establishes us in the harbour of the Father" (enidruousa tooi hormooi tou patros). [34] Moreover, four verses later, Proclus prays for a love so strong that it drags him "back again from the vaults of matter to Mt. Olympus, into the abode of your (i.e. Athena's) father." From the Timaeus-commentary, we know that, according to Proclus, this Zeus on the Olympus, an image taken from Orpheus, is the Demiurge. [35]

So we have, at least, three hymns to the leader-gods and in case of one we may be absolutely sure that Proclus asks a leader-god to lift him up to the paternal Nous. Hymns are prayers, and according to Proclus, theurgy underlies the efficiency of prayers that aim at the reversion towards our causes. In his well-known treatment of prayer in his Timaeus-commentary, [36] Proclus explains that we have received signs in us, sunthèmata, from the gods, which enable our reversion towards our cause. [37] This is not only the case for human souls, but also for inanimate objects, which also revert upon the gods to who they belong, take for example inanimate things that belong to the sun or to the moon because of bonds of sympathy. [38] This is a clear indication that Proclus has the same synthèmata in mind here as in Theol. Plat. VI c. 4. It is because of these innate signs that prayer contributes greatly to the conversion of the soul: it unifies us with the gods to who we pray and moves them to give us abundantly of the goods they possess. [39]

My claim has been that, in case of Proclus, hymns are part of a ritual aiming at the elevation of the soul towards the vision of Forms. Do we have indications that this was indeed the case? Yes, we have. Let us first turn to Marinus' Life of Proclus. His biography of Proclus is modelled after the Neoplatonic scale of virtues. Amongst these virtues are the so-called purifying ones. According to Marinus, Proclus advanced through these purifying virtues to the result that by "simple intuitions and noeric activities he contemplated the Forms in the divine Nous." Marinus stresses that this is a state not of ordinary thought (phronèsis) but wisdom (sophia). [40] Fortunately, he elaborates on what these virues consisted of. Part of it is the celebration of all kinds of religious festivals, in which Proclus partook with great zeal. This, thus Marinus, is proved by the contence of his own hymns, which he composed for such occassions. [41]

Proclus himself refers in his fourth hymn to such purificatory rites which lead up to wisdom and for which he composed hymns. In this hymn he addresses gods who are called "the leaders to bright-shining wisdom" (vs. 14 sophiès erilampeos hègemonèes). These gods, which Saffrey equates with the gods of the Chaldaean oracles, [42] are said to elevate the human souls to the gods, once they have been purified by the "mystic rites of the hymns" (vs. 4: humnoon arrètoisi ... teletèisi). [43] Proclus prays these gods for divine wisdom with the following words: "bring to light the rites and initiations of the holy mythoi "(vs. 15: orgia kai teletas hieroon anaphainete muthoon). Let me remind here that in T. 1, Proclus compared the visions of the Forms to the initiations of the Phaedrus . This at least suggests that these mythoi could be the Phaedrus, although other options, like the Chaldaean oracles, cannot be ruled out. However, the point I wish to make here is that both Marinus and Proclus testify of the role of hymns in rites aiming at obtaining divine wisdom.

5. Other forms of theurgy

One final question: If my thesis is accepted, do "the mystic rites of the hymns" exclude other forms of theurgical ritual, notably those which involve material symbola, like stones, plants and animals? I think not. Take for example the "intellect-awaking rites" (H. VI 7: egersinooisi teletèisi), which Proclus mentions in his hymn to Hecate and Zeus. From Marinus Life of Proclus, we know that Proclus benefited from luminous appearances of Hecate, thanks to his mastery of the theurgic art, [44] so it is only logical to suppose that these rites refer to real theurgy. Or take the hymn to Helios. Helios, like Hecate, played a central role in theurgy. [45] In the Theologia Platonica as well as the Timaeus-commentary as well as De sacrificio et magia Proclus mentions the bond of sympathy between the sun and plants animals and stones. Since in the latter writing, he says that the theurgist puts them to use to attract the gods, I think it likely that Proclus used these symbols in the same way as he used the innate symbols of the same gods in prayers to the same end, i.e. elevation towards the divine Nous. [46] I do not intend to offer here a full discussion of the different testimonies of theurgical ritual in relation to Proclus' philosophy. This would be material for another, probably quite extensive, paper. I will however end by offering one last, and I think rather spectacular, example.

In the hymn to Athena, Proclus invokes Athena thus:

You, who obtained the Acropolis on the high-crested hill,
a symbol (sumbolon), mistress, of the top of your great series,

What has this to do with theurgy? Just as animals, plants and stones can be symbola to which a certain god may feel sympatheia, so it is for whole regions, as Proclus explains in the Timaeus-commentary when commenting on Ti. 23d6-7, where Athena is said to have received the cities of Athens and Saïs by lot. [47] The Neoplatonic Academy, the place where Proclus lived and worked was situated at the very foot of the Athenian Acropolis and it seems to me very likely that it was at the same spot that the hymn to Athena was recited. If this was the case, Proclus was not attracting Athena by means of just a small stone but by means of a rock the size of a mountain.

6. Conclusions

To conclude. According to Proclus, only divine Nous is capable of contemplating the Forms. Since the divine Nous is identical with the Demiurge, i.e. the Father of the universe, and since every effect strives after reversion to its cause, the human soul can contemplate the Forms if it manages to return to the Demiurge, which may be referred to as reaching the paternal harbour. The leader-gods discussed in Theol. Plat. VI play an important role in the return of the human soul, because they are the intermediate causal principles between us and the Demiurge. They are characterized by likeness, which is mirrored in all their products. This likeness that causes and products share is the basis sympatheia, the driving force behind theurgy. Proclus uses theurgical ritual, based on this sympatheia, to attract the leader-gods in order to be elevated towards the divine Nous. At least some of Proclus' hymns were part of these rituals.

R. M. van den Berg,
Faculty of Philosophy,
Leiden University,
The Netherlands.



[1] Paper read at the International Colloquium Theologia Platonica May 13-7 1998, Leuven (Belgium), a final version is due to appear in the proceedings of the colloquium.

[2] For Iamblichus' and Proclus' criticism on Plotinus, see Proclus In Ti. III 333, 28ff., for Proclus' criticism, see also TP V71, 16ff. with Saffrey-Westerink's aditional note 4 to p. 71 on p. 185 and In Parm. 948, 12-38.

[3] In Parm. 949, 14ff., trans. Morrow/Dillon 1987: 300. (slightly adapted).

[4] See, e.g., Lloyd 19702: 295ff.; Steel 1978: 37-8; Saffrey 1984: 165-6, Shaw 1995: 11ff.

[5] Saffrey 1984: 165-6 offers a more substantial explanation based on In Parm. 948, 12-38. In this passage, Proclus first criticizes Plotinus' doctrine of the undescended soul. He then continues that it is still very well possible to have some sort of knowledge of the Forms without adhering to the Plotinian position. "But we must rather say that it is while remaining at our own rank and possessing in our essence images (eikonas) of all beings, that we turn to them by means of these images and think all beings from the tokens (sunthèmatoon) of them that we possess, not coordinately, but on a secondary level and in a manner corresponding to our own worth." (trans. Steel 1997: 307). Saffrey interprets these tokens as the famous theurgical synthèmata by means of which we must ascend towards the Forms or gods, "avec les rites qui leur sont propres, pour nous unir au dieu." (o.c. p. 166). Although synthèmata are admittedly often theurgical symbols, this is not what Proclus has in mind here, for we are supposed to "remain at our own rank" and think the Forms "on a secondary level". This excludes unification with god, because this would entail that we leave our rank and no longer contemplate him on a secondary level, but that we are, quite on the contrary, one with the object of our contemplation. Steel 1997: 307 offers the correct interpretation of this passage. The images and tokens are the innate logoi in the soul. Proclus uses them to account for the fact that we have a concept of, e.g., "man"-which we cannot derive from a consideration of what is common in all individual men-without having to take resort to the Plotinian theory that we remain somehow on the level of Nous (thus while "remaining at our own rank").

[6] Rosán 1949: 213-5

[7] Sheppard 1982

[8] Sheppard 1982: 217

[9] In Ti. I 300, 28-302, 25.

[10] In Ti. I 302, 17-25.

[11] In Ti. I 303, 4-310, 2.

[12] On this image, see Campbell Bonner, "Desired Haven", in Harvard Theological Review 34 (1941) 49-67.

[13] In Parm. 1025, 32-36

[14] For a discussion of Proclus' criticism on Aristotle's divine Intellect as only a causa finalis, see Steel 1987: 213-225 and 1996: esp. 242-247.

[15] Cf. El. prop. 35.

[16] Theol. Plat. VI 16, 7ff.

[17] Theol. Plat. VI 15, 26-7: kata tauton tooi dèmiourgooi to einai parestin

[18] Theol. Plat. VI 16, 7-18

[19] Theol. Plat. VI 19, 24-30

[20] Theol. Plat. VI 16, 26-27

[21] Theol. Plat. VI 17, 1-2.

[22] Theol. Plat. VI 20, 5: for the identification of these experts as the theurgists, see Saffrey-Westerink Theol. Plat. VI, n. 1 to p. 20 on p. 133.

[23] Theol. Plat. VI 24, 29-25, 2.

[24] Theol. Plat. VI 23, 27-30

[25] Saffrey-Westerink Theol. Plat. VI n. 3 to p. 23 on p. 136.

[26] Proclus De sacrificio 148, 8f.

[27] ibid. 148, 23f.

[28] ibid. 149, 12ff.

[29] For Proclus' treatment of the triad of Apollo/Helios, see Theol. Plat. c. 12, pp. 56,1-65,3.

[30] For Proclus' treatment of the life-giving goddesses, see Theol. Plat. c. 11, pp. 48, 1-55, 27.

[31] Theol. Plat. VI 52, 24ff.

[32] In Ti. I 169, 9-11.

[33] In Ti. I 168, 29-30.

[34] In Crat. § 185, p. 113, 2.

[35] In Ti. I 317, 11ff.

[36] In Ti. I 206, 26-214, 12.

[37] In Ti. I 210, 213.

[38] In Ti. I 210, 14-26.

[39] In Ti. I 210, 30-211, 8

[40] Marinus VP c. 22

[41] Marinus VP c. 19

[42] Saffrey 1981

[43] The text is disputed. Editors of the hymns like Cousin and Vogt follow the reading humnoon of hyparchetypus alpha. Wilamowitz 1907: 276 n. 1, however, finds fault with this reading: "aber wer kann sich bei "unsprechlichen Mysterien" von Gedichten etwas denken?" Saffrey 1981: 299 subscribes to Wilamowitz' s criticism ("car il est absurde de parler des "initiations indicibles des hymnes", les hymnes sont faits précisément pour être dits.") reading humeoon, but in his translation (1994: 37) he seems to have changed his mind in favour of humnoon. In fact, there is nothing absurd about the expression, because arrètos is not only used to designate things about which one is not capable to speak, but also things about one is not allowed to speak. See, e.g., In RP I 205, 22-3, where Proclus declares that his teachings about Homer should not be diffused ouside the circle of his students: emoi men onta rhèta pros humas (sc. Proclus' students), humin de arrèta pros tous pollous.

[44] Marinus Vita Procli § 28, cf. Saffrey-Westerink n. 1 to Theol. Plat. VI p. 54.

[45] See, e.g., Lewy 19782: 195ff.

[46] Thus, I do not follow the suggestion in Sheppard 1982: 221 that the kind of theurgy described in the De sacrificio is solely concerned with white magic.

[47] In Ti. I 136, 9ff., see especiallly In Ti. I 139, 17-142, 10: The god to whom an area belongs exercises providence and care towards that region. This divine care takes the form of illumination. The extent of illumination depends on the fitness of the region to receive it. This fitness is determined by the course of the celestial bodies and the "universal nature, who places divine symbols (sunthèmata theia) in each of the illuminated regions, by means of which they partake spontaneously in the gods (for inasmuch as nature depends on the gods, she places different images (eikonas) of them in different things)." So the same principle of symbolism by means of sunthèmata/eikones/sumboloi that underlies theurgic practice is put to work in the case of entire regions.

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