For over a hundred years, from Reitzenstein’s Poimandres published in 1904, to Fowden’s The Egyptian Hermes published in 1986, the question of Egyptian influence on the fourteen Greek texts – tractates {1} – collectively known as the Corpus Hermeticum has been much debated. The opinions of scholars, and of translators, have ranged from little influence (Festugiere) to insignificant influence (Myatt), to much influence (Mahé), to the more recent one (Fowden) of hermeticism being syncretic, combining elements of Hellenic culture with elements of Egyptian culture in various and still disputable proportions.

What, however, is often not explicitly defined is what ‘Egyptian’, and Egyptian culture, mean in the context of where and when the Greek texts of the Corpus Hermeticum were written; which was, to give the widest parameters, sometime between the end of the first century CE and the end of the third century CE when Egypt was a province of the Roman Empire and where cities like Alexandria were places where Hellenic culture thrived and where people of Greek and of Roman descent lived in large numbers, some of whom no doubt had an interest in and knowledge of native Egyptian – ‘Pharaonic’ – culture and history. For centuries before that, most of Egypt had – following the conquests of Alexander the Great – been a Greek colony ruled by a succession of people of Greek origin such as the Macedonian Ptolemaios Soter who established what became known as the Ptolemaic dynasty (or Kingdom) whose last ruler was Cleopatra, herself of Greek origin, who desired that the native Egyptians of her time consider her as an embodiment of their native goddess Isis.

Thus for some three centuries before the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum were written Egypt was a thriving outpost of Greek culture; a place where the likes of Aristotle and Archimedes lived and flourished for many years.

It is therefore necessary to make a distinction between the ruling, Greek, elite – and the Greek aristocracy of people such as Aristotle and Archimedes – and native Egyptians; a cultural and an ancestral distinction. A relevant comparison is the British Raj in India who were British by heritage and culture and who, even if they were born and spent most of their life in India, could not – should not – be described as ‘Indian’.

Considered thus the relevant context of the Greek texts of the Corpus Hermeticum was the centuries-long Greek culture of such an aristocracy combined with the relatively recent culture of Rome from the time of Caesar to praefectus Statilius Aemilianus (270 CE). What is not particularly relevant is the culture of the natives, the ancestors of the fellaheen, some or many of whom no doubt continued to revere or at least remember the divinities of ancient Egypt such as the goddess Isis and most of whom would not have been able to read let alone write Greek.

Given the centuries-long Greek and Roman heritage of the ruling elite and the aristocracy – who could speak and read Greek and who were probably acquainted with the writings of Plato and Aristotle – and given why rulers such as Cleopatra desired, for the benefit of her subjects, to be identified with an ancient Egyptian divinity such as Isis, it is most probable that the authors of the Greek texts of the Corpus Hermeticum, resident as they were in the then Roman province of Egypt, sought to give their metaphysical speculations some local, Egyptian, colour by – among other things – naming the son (or the pupil) of the Greek Hermes after the Egyptian god Thoth.

As Myatt noted in the introduction to his translation of tractate IV of the Corpus Hermeticum:

“In respect of Τάτ, while there is no disputing that Thoth is meant, what may or may not be implied by the name Thoth is whether or not there is a primarily Egyptian genesis for the metaphysics and the cosmogony of this particular tractate. For what does ‘Egyptian’ mean in the context of the Corpus Hermeticum, written when Egypt was a post-Ptolemaic Roman province where Hellenism still thrived? That is, is the text propounding a metaphysics and a cosmogony primarily redolent of indigenous, pre-Alexandrian, times, with Hermes Trismegistus simply a Hellenic name for the ancient Dynastic deity Thoth, and thus with the Greek Hermes possibly being a son of that ancient Egyptian deity? Or is the text redolent of a classical metaphysics and a cosmogony; or of a Hellenic metaphysics and cosmogony; or of some syncretism of Egyptian (pre-Alexandrian) weltanschauungen with Hellenic mysticism? Or has the author (or authors) of Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς simply used the name of an ancient deity – Thoth – in order to appeal to an audience of Hellenized Egyptians, or Greeks/Romans dwelling in Egypt, or because it seemed to add some esoteric gravitas to the text? Or, as the title might be taken to imply – of Hermes to Thoth – is it a text intended to inform Egyptians (Hellenized or expatriate Greeks/Romans, or otherwise) about Greek/Hellenic metaphysics and cosmogony, with Thoth thus regarded, symbolically, esoterically, or otherwise, as the son of the Greek divinity Hermes?

In this matter, I incline toward the view – based on some forty years of study of the Corpus Hermeticum and similar mystical and esoteric texts, classical, Hellenic, medieval, Arabic and otherwise – that what is imparted in this tractate, as with the Poemandres and Ιερός Λόγος, is primarily a mystical, and – for centuries – aural, Greek tradition, albeit one possibly influenced, over time and in some degree, by the metaphysical speculations of later philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.”

I therefore find myself in agreement with Myatt regarding the question of native Egyptian influence on those texts. That the texts present us with a Greek/Hellenic metaphysics and cosmogony, not with some Greek and Egyptian syncretion, and certainly not with a native Egyptian metaphysics and cosmogony slightly influenced by Hellenism.

For it is essentially a question of terminology: of what ‘Egyptian’ means in cultural and in ancestral terms. Of a perhaps an inhibition on the part of some modern scholars to differentiate between the ancestry and the culture of ‘the natives’ and the ancestry and culture of a ruling elite and aristocracy.

R. Parker
2017

{1} Tractate is derived from the classical Latin tractatus meaning a discussion, ‘concerning’, a treatise; and was used by writers such as Cicero and Pliny. It was later assimilated into ecclesiastical Latin – qv. Augustine – where it denoted a homily or sermon. It is the basis of the modern English word tract.

°°°°°°°

List of works cited

A-J. Festugiere. La Révélation d’Hermès Trismégiste. 4 volumes. Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 1946-1954.

G. Fowden. The Egyptian Hermes. Princeton University Press, 1993

J-P. Mahé. Hermes En Haute Egypte. Tome I, 1978. Tome II, 1982. Presses de l’Université Laval.

D. Myatt. Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. CreateSpace. 2017.

R. A. Reitzenstein. Poimandres: Studien zur griechisch-ägyptischen und frühchristlichen Literatu. Teubner, Leipzig, 1904

R. A. Reitzenstein & H. H. Schaeder. Studien zum antiken Synkretismus aus Iran und Griechenland. (Studien der Bibliothek Warburg), Teubner, Leipzig, 1926


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Re-discovering Western Paganism

Whenever the term ‘western paganism’ is written or heard, in our contemporary societies, there is tendency for many readers or listeners to conjure up either images of ancient ‘superstitious barbarians’ offering sacrifices to various gods such as Odin, or images of modern devotees – of what has been termed ‘contemporary paganism’ and ‘neopaganism’ – in robes conducting or attending romanticized rituals and ceremonies such as those now associated with the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge.

In this essay, however, in referring to Western paganism we are referring to a particular and spiritual ethos – to a distinguishing character, or nature, or ‘spirit’ – germane to European lands and thus to ‘the West’, where by ‘spiritual’ is meant concerning what is considered to be, intuitively or otherwise, numinous, and/or concerning those forces or powers which are believed to be, or which may, determine our fate, wyrd, destiny and thus which may bring good fortune or misfortune to us, our family, and to our communities.

Hence, when writing about ‘the West’ we are not writing about the nations of the modern West and the life-styles and politics evident in such modern nations as the United States and Britain. What is meant is the culture and the civilization of and associated with European lands (and with what are now our former colonies or émigré lands) embodied and manifest as that culture and civilization was and is in the paganism of classical Greece and Rome; in the ritual practices and beliefs of North European lands such as Scandinavia and ancient Britain; in Greco-Roman art; in classical – and European folk – music; in the philosophy of the likes of Aristotle; in allegories such as those of Faust and myths such as King Arthur, Wotan, and the Valkyries; in the Greco-Roman mysticism of the Corpus Hermeticum, and in modern science and technology.

That is, we are writing about a particular culture of a particular people; of indigenous Europeans, among whose descendants are people of such lands as are now named Greece, Italy, Britain, Germany, Spain, France, Scandinavia, Poland, Russia, etcetera.

Part of this ancestral Western, this ancestral European, culture is a particular and spiritual ethos, and one which the term Western paganism correctly describes, with this particular paganism having its roots in Ancient Greece and Rome and thus being different, in ethos and in practise, from what is currently known concerning, for example, such religious practices and beliefs as that of ancient Germanic tribes. This ‘Greco-Roman’ paganism is the paganism of Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Aristotle, Seneca, and Cicero; a paganism that is pragmatically spiritual whose foundation is the rationalization that certain deeds were wise and certain other deeds unwise, with such unwise deeds – such hubris, ὕβρις – upsetting that natural balance of the Cosmos (κόσμος) and thus liable (according to ancestral tradition) to cause misfortune. Thus did Sophocles express a truth of this tradition when he wrote that “hubris is the genesis of tyrants” since tyrants invariably bring misfortune upon the people and, eventually, upon themselves and – quite often – on their descendants. In addition, and importantly, elegance, the beautiful (τὸ καλόν) as well as excellence (arête, ἀρετή) and nobility (τὸ ἀγαθόν) were all associated with those who did what was considered wise and balanced (μέσος, in Aristotle).

This is the ethos, the pragmatic spirituality, and the notion of balance, harmony, elegance, and of beauty, which infuses the culture and the civilization of Ancient Greece and Rome, and which culture so enthused those Europeans – artists, scholars, educators, potentates, and others – who from the 14th century on brought about the Renaissance and which Renaissance, which re-discovery of the culture of ancient Greece and Rome, gave birth to and infused our Western ‘Faustian’ civilization.

A Pagan Renaissance

This Renaissance, however, did not in any significant way include a practical return to classical paganism. Instead of giving rise to a new, an evolved, pagan ethos – and thus dispensing with the notion of anthropomorphic deities interfering in the lives of human beings – it resulted in only minor changes to the governing religious ethos manifest as that was in Christianity with its quite un-classical, rather stark, notions of Hell-Fire, Damnation, Sin, and Prudery. In other words, the governing spirituality continued to be Hebraic, derived from the Old Testament as amended by the ‘new covenant’ of Jesus of Nazareth.

While laudable, the attempt in recent times by some Europeans to rediscover the pagan ethos of their ancestors – exemplified in certain (but not all) neopagan groups and weltanschauungen – and thus distance themselves from Hebraic spirituality, is not and never can be, in our view, effective in reconnecting us to the ethos of the West for two reasons. First, because such attempts (at least so far) do not exemplify, do not manifest, the spiritual ethos of the West, founded as that is on the culture and spirituality of ancient Greece and Rome. Second, because they generally do not take into account how the ethos of the West has itself been distorted by a Hebraicism that is not only spiritual but is now, and has been for over a century, cultural.

This cultural Hebraicism is a mode of thinking and action in which Hebrews – ancient and modern – and their beliefs, and those of their followers and disciples, are taken as the type, the moral ideal, to be aspired to and lauded. In the case of ancient Hebrews and their beliefs, the type, the ideal is evident in the Bible (both Old and New Testaments), and in latter-day interpretations of the Bible. In the case of modern Hebrews and their disciples, the type, the ideal, derives from (a) the dogma of ‘equality of races’ – ultimately derived from Marxism, sociology, and what has been termed ‘social anthropology’, with the belief being that all ethnicities have the same abilities, intelligence, potential, and human character – and from (b) the religious-like remembrance of and compulsory teaching regarding the Shoah, together with a hypocritical championing of ethnic awareness and ancestral traditions for all ethnicities except native European (‘White’) peoples, which ethnic awareness of, and its promotion among, native European peoples is considered ‘hatred’, ‘racist’, ‘extremist’ and is increasing censored and outlawed in the lands of the West with the Hebraic reasoning being that such ethnic awareness of, and its promotion among, native European peoples gave rise to colonialism, to fascism and National Socialism and thus to the Shoah – which must “never be forgotten” – with no Western country ever allowed to again make ancestral European beliefs, and the Western ethos, the raison d’être of a nation-State.

In respect of rediscovering the pagan spirituality of the West a fundamental problem has been a lack of knowledge among those interested in what, exactly, that spirituality is. A problem exacerbated by pre-existing translations of some of the ancient works knowledge of which is necessary in order to understand that spirituality. Works such as the Oedipus Tyrannus and the Antigone by Sophocles, the Agamemnon by Aeschylus, and the mystical texts of the Corpus Hermeticism.

Which problem of translation is why, for example, the Antigone of Sophocles has become to be regarded (by all but a handful of scholars) as some kind of ancient morality tale or as just a drama about a conflict between two strong and different characters, Antigone and Creon; why Oedipus Tyrannus is regarded (by all but a handful of scholars) as a morality tale about “incest”, and why the texts of the Corpus Hermeticism are regarded as imbued with a Christian-like mysticism and as having been influenced by both the Old and New Testaments.

Yet properly understood in the necessary cultural context, the Antigone, as one translator noted in the Introduction to his translation,

“deals with the relation between mortals and gods. The work is an exploration and explanation of the workings of the cosmos, and the answers given express the distinctive ancient Greek ‘outlook’ or ethos. This ethos is pagan, and its essence may be said to be that there are limits to human behaviour; that some conduct is wise, some conduct is unwise. Unwise conduct invites retribution by the gods: it can and often does result in personal misfortune, in bad luck.” {1}

Ditto in respect of the Oedipus Tyrannus, and the Agamemnon of Aeschylus. Regarding the Corpus Hermeticism, as we have previously mentioned, certain new translations restore

“these texts to the Western pagan tradition and make them relevant to our times when Western culture and our classical, Greco-Roman, and pagan heritage is increasingly subsumed in schools and elsewhere by other, non-Western, cultures and religions, with it now being politically incorrect to point out that Western culture with its Greco-Roman pagan heritage has profoundly changed the world for the better and is arguably superior to all other cultures past and present.” {2}

That is, translations of important classical texts are now available which, when studied together, enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself. {3}

Which understanding might – probably should – lead us, or someone, to develop a new, an evolved, pagan weltanschauung which does not involve anthropomorphic deities but instead is based on a new ontology regarding our relation, as sentient beings, to Being, to the Cosmos, rather than to ‘God’ or to some ‘gods’. Something perhaps prefigured in Greek texts such as these with their reasoned, pragmatic, and often quite warrior-like, spirituality:

The Muse shall tell of the many adventures of that man of the many stratagems
Who, after the pillage of that hallowed citadel at Troy,
Saw the towns of many a people and experienced their ways:
He whose vigour, at sea, was weakened by many afflictions
As he strove to win life for himself and return his comrades to their homes.
But not even he, for all this yearning, could save those comrades
For they were destroyed by their own immature foolishness
Having devoured the cattle of Helios, that son of Hyperion,
Who plucked from them the day of their returning. {4}

°°°°°

You should listen to [the goddess] Fairness and not oblige Hubris
Since Hubris harms unfortunate mortals while even the more fortunate
Are not equal to carrying that heavy a burden, meeting as they do with Mischief.
The best path to take is the opposite one: that of honour
For, in the end, Fairness is above Hubris
Which is something the young come to learn from adversity. {5}

°°°°°

This person, whom I praise, never ceased to believe that the gods delight in respectful deeds just as much as in consecrated temples, and, when blessed with success, he was never prideful but rather gave thanks to the gods. He also made more offerings to them when he was confident than supplications when he felt hesitant, and, in
appearance, it was his habit to be cheerful when doubtful and mild-mannered when successful. {6}

°°°°°

Clytaemnestra:

Because of these grievous things, no one should invoke a fatal curse upon
Nor turn their wroth toward, Helen
As if she was some man-killer who alone destroyed
The lives of those many Danaan men
By having wrought such a festering wound […]

The wife of this corpse presents herself here
As that most ancient fierce Avenger.
It is Atreus, he is of that cruel feast,
Who, in payment for that, has added to his young victims
This adult one […]

But do not suppose that his killing was ignoble
For did he not by his cunning set Misfortune upon this family? {7}

°°°°°

Creon:

So even then you dared to violate these laws?

Antigone:

It was not Zeus who proclaimed them to me,
Nor did she who dwells with the gods below – the goddess, Judgement –
Lay down for us mortals such laws as those.
Neither did I suppose that your edicts
Had so much strength that you, who die,
Could out-run the unwritten and unchanging
Customs of the gods: for the life of these things
Is not only of yesterday or today, but eternal,
No one remembering their birth. {8}

All of which explains why we love to also quote what a certain English poet wrote in 1873 CE: “the separation between the Greeks and us is due principally to the Hebraistic culture we receive in childhood.” All those tall tales from the Bible about various Hebrew folk…

Rachael & Richard Stirling
Shropshire
Autumnal Equinox 2017 ev

°°°°°

{1} Antigone. Translated by David Myatt.

{2} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/27/an-insight-into-pagan-mysticism/

{3} These translations – dating from between 1991 and 2017, and all of which are independent of his own mystical – if pagan – ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’ – are by David Myatt, and include the following important classical texts:

° The Agamemnon of Aeschylus. ISBN-13: 978-1484128220

° Sophocles – Oedipus Tyrannus. ISBN-13: 978-1484132104

° Sophocles – Antigone. ISBN-13: 978-1484132067

° Homer – The Odyssey: Books 1, 2 & 3. ISBN-13: 978-1495402227

° Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. A compilation containing translations of and commentaries on tractates I, III, IV, VI, VIII, XI, XII, XII. ISBN-13: 978-1976452369.

The commentaries on the tractates are of especial interest in elucidating the paganism of the texts.

His Greek translations are available here: https://perceiverations.wordpress.com/greek-translations/

{4} The Odyssey. Translated Myatt.

{5} Hesiod. Translated Myatt, and quoted (with the Greek text) in his commentary on Tractate III.

{6} Xenophon. Translated Myatt, and quoted (with the Greek text) in his commentary on Tractate I.

{7} Agamemnon. Translated Myatt.

{8} Antigone. Translated Myatt.


David Myatt

°°°°°

A welcome addition to the published works by Myatt is his Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates which brings together in one volume his eight translations and commentaries of hermetic texts, chapters 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12 and 13 of the Corpus Hermeticum.

The compilation is available as a pdf document {1} and as a 190 page printed book {2} and contains a Preface which outlines his translation methodology, and from which this is an extract:

{Begin quote}

This work collects together my translations of and commentaries on the eight tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum which were published separately between 2013 and 2017. From the fourteen Greek tractates that have been traditionally referred to as the Corpus Hermeticum, I chose the eight (the ogdoad) whose texts I considered were the most metaphysical and mystical and thus which can provide an understanding of what came to be termed hermeticism […]

The methodology of using some transliterations, some relatively obscure English words, and some new term or expression (such as noetic sapientia) results in a certain technical – an ‘esoteric’ – vocabulary which requires or may require contextual, usually metaphysical, interpretation. Often, the interpretation is provided by reference to the matters discussed in the particular tractate; sometimes by reference to other tractates; and sometimes by considering Ancient Greek, and Greco-Roman, philosophy and mysticism. Occasionally, however, the interpretation is to leave some transliteration – such as physis, φύσις – as a basic term of the particular hermetic weltanschauung described in a particular tractate and, as such, as a term which has no satisfactory English equivalent, metaphysical or otherwise, and therefore to assimilate it into the English language. All of which make these translations rather different from other English versions, past and present, with these translations hopefully enabling the reader to approach and to appreciate the hermetic texts sans preconceptions, modern and otherwise, and thus provide an intimation of how such texts might have been understood by those who read them, or heard them read, in the milieu of their composition.

One of the intentions of these translations of mine of various tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum is provide an alternative approach to such ancient texts and hopefully enable the reader without a knowledge of Greek (and of the minutiae of over a century of scholarly analysis of the Greek text) to appreciate the texts anew and understand why they have – in the original Greek – been regarded as important documents in respect of particular, ancient, weltanschauungen that have, over the centuries, proved most influential and which can still be of interest to those interested in certain metaphysical speculations and certain esoteric matters.

{end quote}

The publication of this work also marks a milestone, since Greek translations now account for well over half of Myatt’s published – printed – output. His printed works alone currently amount to almost 1,000 pages, and given that most of these books are large print format (11 inches x 8.5 inches) then were they published in the standard paperback format (6 inches by 9 inches) the total would in the region of 1,200 pages.

The RDM Crew
September 2017 ev

{1} Available here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/myatt-eight-tractates-print.pdf

The pdf document is published under the Creative Commons (Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0) License, which allows for non-commercial copying and redistribution provided no alterations are made to the text and the document is attributed solely to the original author.

{2} David Myatt, Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates, 2017, ISBN 978-1976452369, BISAC: Philosophy / Metaphysics. The 190 page book is priced US$10, and is available direct from a well-known ‘internet publisher’ and from other book outlets such as Barnes & Noble. Like most of Myatt’s printed works it is idiosyncratic given its large size (8.5 x 11 inches). If printed in the standard paperback size (9 x 5 inches) it would amount to around 220 pages but, given the amount of Greek text, would probably be less readable.


David Myatt

°°°°°

Selected Essays Of David Myatt

Edited by Rachael Stirling

Such Respectful Wordful Offerings As This
(pdf)

Contents

° Editorial Preface
° Bright Berries, One Winter
° The Leaves Are Showering Down
° Perhaps Words Are The Problem
° A Non-Terrestrial View
° Musings On Suffering, Human Nature, And The Culture of Pathei-Mathos
° Blue Reflected Starlight
° A Slowful Learning, Perhaps
° Toward Humility – A Brief Personal View
° A Catholic Still, In Spirit?
° Some Personal Perceiverations
° Twenty Years Ago, Today
° Some Questions For DWM, 2017
° Cantio Arcana
Appendix I – A Note On Greek Terms In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos
Appendix II – On Translating Ancient Greek
Appendix III – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum
Appendix IV – Cicero On Summum Bonum
Appendix V – Swan Song Of A Mystic

From the Editorial Preface

This compilation of essays arose out of some enquiries sent or forwarded to us following our re-publication of Some Questions For DWM, 2017 and of Ms Stirling’s article – titled Swan Song Of A Mystic – commenting on those questions and answers. Included here are all of the Myatt texts enquired about, plus a few others for context including those 2017 questions and answers and Swan Song Of A Mystic.

Most of the texts are extracts from David Myatt’s correspondence with friends or academics or enquirers, often in response to particular questions asked. All the items included here have previously appeared on his personal ‘website’ or his ‘weblog’ and were published by him under the liberal Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives License which allows for copying and re-publication. All of the translations, quotations, and footnotes are by Myatt and were included when previously published on his website or on his weblog.

The texts date from between 2010 and 2017 and are not in any particular order, chronological, by subject, or otherwise. Given the date range there is inevitably some overlap of content and/or of quotations. Considering the development of his weltanschauung between the aforementioned dates, readers may notice how some of his views have evolved; and why – as he noted in one of the more recent texts here – there will be no more personal writings from him

“because I have become ever more aware of the consequences of words, of my own fallibility; of the depth of my uncertitude of knowing; of how words – including mine – can and often do obscure the wordless empathic essence; and especially aware of how such essays can be, and in my case seem to have been, manifestations of vanity and occasionally of hubris, [with their being] a renewed acceptance of such greater solitude as will hopefully prevent me from any further pontifications public and private, with my translations, slowly proceeding as they are, becoming my only occasional vainful presence in the outer world, for such translations are somewhat other-worldly, and neutral at least in respect of opinions about matters which I now accept are beyond my purview, with my much self-vaunted ‘diverse experience over decades’ no longer seeming to me to be a viable excuse for inflicting my presumptions and intimations on others.”

The title of the compilation is taken from Myatt’s translation of the Cantio Arcana of tractate XIII of the Corpus Hermeticum and which ‘Esoteric Song’ we include here.

Three Wyrd Sisters
2017 ev


David Myatt

In the Spring of this year (2017) David Myatt released his versions – translations and commentaries – of several more Corpus Hermeticum texts to complement his existing, published, versions of tracts I, III, IV, VIII, XI {1}. The new additions were tracts VI, XII, and the Cantio Arcana part (sections 17 and 18) of tract XIII. {2}

The latest additions – bringing his translations of Hermetica texts to seven – follow the same methodology as previous versions. That is, his penchant for transliterating certain Greek words, his use of often unusual English words in place of the standard translations and meanings given in Greek-English lexicons such as LSJ {3}, and the terms and expressions he invents or digs up from usually very old books of English literature. All of which combine to make his translations idiosyncratic and remarkably different from all previous translations into English, antique and modern. To his credit, he explains in his commentary – sometimes in pedantic detail – his choices, citing his reasons and often providing some quotation in Greek, Latin, or English.

In regard to his translations of hermetic texts, this results in two things. In translations with a technical vocabulary relating to hermeticism, and in translations which transports the reader to an ancient world. Both of these combine to breathe new life into the texts and thence into hermeticism itself. Thus, far from, as Myatt writes in his introduction to tract VI, giving the impression “of reading somewhat declamatory sermons about god/God and ‘the good’ familiar from over a thousand years of persons preaching about Christianity,” the hermetic texts he has translated give the impression of reading about a pagan mysticism that most readers will probably be unfamiliar with.

Thus while other translators write moralistically about god, righteousness, truth, and ‘the good’, Myatt previews a world of divinities, of respecting the customs of the gods, of honesty, and nobility. A good example of the difference is in Myatt’s rendering of part of the Cantio Arcana. Copenhaver – who follows the proto-Christian interpretation of earlier translators and whose recent translations of the Corpus Hermeticum are regarded as “the definitive versions”, has:

“Holy knowledge, you enlightened me; through you, hymning the intellectual light, I take joy in the joy of Mind. Join me, all you powers, and sing me the hymn. You also, continence, sing me the hymn. My justice, through me hymn the just. My liberality, through me hymn the Universe. Truth, hymn the truth. Good, hymn the good.” (4}

Myatt has:

Numinous knowledge, from you a numinal understanding:
Through you, a song of apprehended phaos,
Delighted with delightful perceiverance.
Join me, all you Arts, in song.
You, mastery, sing; and you, respectful of custom,
Through me sing of such respect.
Sing, my companions, for All That Exists:
Honesty, through me, sing of being honest,
The noble, sing of nobility.

In Myatt’s version there are the two previously mentioned things. A technical vocabulary – such as numinal, phaos, perceiverance, Arts – requiring interpretation, and nothing reminiscent of Christianity, such as ‘hymn’ and ‘holy’ and being ‘good’. As Myatt writes in his commentary on the Cantio Arcana in respect of his use of the terms song, honesty and Arts:

Song. ὕμνος. Not a ‘hymn’ in the Christian sense (which the word hymn now so often imputes) but rather celebrating the numinous, and theos, in song, verse (ode), and chant.

Honesty. ἀλήθεια. Given that those who are urged to sing are personifications, this is not some abstract, disputable, ‘truth’ but as often elsewhere in classical literature, a revealing, a dis-covering, of what is real as opposed to what is apparent or outer appearance. In personal terms, being honest and truthful.

Arts. As at Poemandres 31 – which is also a traditional doxology (δοξολογία) to theos – the sense of δυνάμεων [here] is not ‘powers’, forces (or something similar and equally at variance with such a laudation) but ‘arts’; that is, particular abilities, qualities, and skills. Here, these abilities and skills – the craft – relate to esoteric song; to be able to be an effective laudator in respect of theos and “every Physis of Kosmos.”

His reference to every Physis of Kosmos is to the beginning of the ode:

Let every Physis of Kosmos favourably listen to this song
πᾶσα φύσις κόσμου προσδεχέσθω τοῦ ὕμνου τὴν ἀκοήν

which Copenhaver translates as “let every nature in the cosmos attend to the hearing of this hymn.”

The commentaries which accompany the translations deserve a mention. Each of them not only occupies far more pages than the actual translation but they reveal the author as erudite with pages of quotations from ancient Greek and Latin works – for most of which Myatt provides his own translation – and the occasional quotation from English literature. In the case of English literature usually to explain the meaning of the unusual English words of phrases he uses, quoting the likes of Chaucer, Coleridge, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Chapman, and others.

        In effect what Myatt does in his translations is paint of picture of classical – and of Hellenic – culture and especially of Hellenic mysticism; a culture and a mysticism which is pagan and based on individuals, on tangible things such as honesty, and not on moralistic and religious and impersonal abstractions. That is, he reveals the Greco-Roman ethos – the pagan ethos – underlying the hermetic texts and which is in contrast to that of Christianity with its later, medieval and Puritanical, impersonal moralizing. He incidently leaves us with an interesting question. Which is whether such pagan Hellenic mysticism influenced Christianity in a positive way. In academia the assumption has always been that Christianity and earlier Judaic monotheism influenced hermeticism despite the fact of evidence from papyrus fragments indicating the opposite and despite the fact that the earliest texts of the Old Testament were written in Greek and not in Hebrew. {5}

Myatt himself is of the opinion that parts of ancient Greek mysticism and cosmogony – as described for instance in tract III of the Corpus Hermeticum – have influenced both Judaism and Christianity. {6}

Such controversial matters aside, his translations of tracts from the Corpus Hermeticism are decidedly iconoclastic and – when compared to those of other translators such as Copenhaver – idiosyncratic and as such are not and probably never will be mainstream at least in academia. They may therefore never gain widespread acceptance among established academics. Does that matter? Probably not because his actual and potential audience is much greater. Which audience is of those interested in Western mysticism, in Western paganism, and in Greco-Roman culture in general, and for such interested parties Myatt has done a great service since he places the hermetic texts firmly into those milieux.

One other thing about the translations and commentaries deserves a mention. As well a being available in printed form he has not only made all of them available as free downloads from the internet {7} but also issued them under a liberal Creative Commons license which allows others to freely copy and distribute them.

Rachael Stirling
Shropshire
2017

{1} D. Myatt. Corpus Hermeticum I, III, IV, VIII, XI. 2017. ISBN 978-1545020142
{2} Tracts VI, XII, and the Cantio Arcana, are available at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/tractates-vi-xii-v3.pdf [Accessed May 2017].
{3} H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. S. Jones. A Greek-English Lexicon. Oxford University Press, 1996.
{4} B. Copenhaver. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press. 1992.
{5} The earliest written texts of the Old Testament – papyrus fragments found in Egypt – are in Hellenistic Greek and date from around 250 BCE and precede by over a century the earliest fragments written in Hebrew (some of the Dead Sea Scrolls) which date from 150 BCE to around 50 BCE.
{6} See Myatt’s introduction to his translation of tract III.
{7} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/corpus-hermeticum/


David Myatt

In his most recent article, published on his blog on the 24th of March 2017 and dealing as it does with the ancient texts of the Corpus Hermeticum {1}, David Myatt expounds on his decision to translate the ancient Greek term ἀγαθός not by the conventional English term ‘good’ but by – according to context – honourable, noble, nobility. In support of his translation of ἀγαθός he quotes Seneca: “summum bonum est quod honestum est. Et quod magis admireris: unum bonum est, quod honestum est, cetera falsa et adulterina bona sunt.” {2}

This choice – and his unconventional translations of other particular ancient Greek words such as νοῦς – really does give, as he notes in his article, an “impression about ancient Hermeticism which is rather different from that conveyed by other translations.”

The difference, as other commentators on Myatt’s Hermetica translations have noted {3} and as Myatt shows in his article, is between taking those texts as expressing a Christian ethos and taking them as expressing a pagan – a classical, Greco-Roman – ethos.

For those interested in Western esotericism in general and Hermeticism in particular this is a profound and important difference. It restores these texts to the Western pagan tradition and makes them relevant to our times when Western culture and our classical, Greco-Roman, and pagan heritage is increasingly subsumed in schools and elsewhere by other, non-Western, cultures and religions, with it now being ‘politically incorrect’ to point out that Western culture with its Greco-Roman pagan heritage has profoundly changed the world for the better and is arguably superior to all other cultures past and present.

Although Myatt in his article provides three illuminating examples of the difference between his ‘pagan’ (authentic) versions and the ‘Christian’ interpolations of other translators, I will provide two other examples.

The first is from tract XI which Myatt entitles From Perceiverance To Hermes.

“Indulging the body and rotten, you are unable to apprehend the beautiful, the noble. To be completely rotten is to be unaware of the numinous, while having the ability to discover, to have volition, to have expectations, is the direct, the better – its own – way to nobility.”

Copenhaver, hitherto extolled as providing the ‘definitive translation’, has:

“While you are evil and a lover of the body, you can understand none of the things that are beautiful and good. To be ignorant of the divine is the ultimate vice, but to be able to know, to will and to hope is the straight and easy way leading to the good.” {4}

The second example is from tract IV, which Myatt entitles Chaldron Or Monas.

Since that Being is honourable, the desire was to entrust solely to that Being such a cosmic order on Earth […] What is apparent can please us while what is concealed can cause doubt with what is bad often overt while the honourable is often concealed having as it has neither pattern nor guise.

Copenhaver translates as:

“Because he is good it was not for himself alone that he wished to make this offering and adorn this earth […] Visible things delight us but the invisible causes mistrust. Bad things are more open to sight but the good is invisible to what can be seen. For the good has neither shape nor outline.”

It is easy to see which translation echoes a pagan ethos – as the likes of Seneca and Cicero understood classical paganism – and which is redolent of a Christian or a pseudo-Christian ethos.

In summary, Myatt in his translations of five of the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum provides the ordinary reader with an insight into a neglected Western mystic tradition. A neglected tradition because all the other translations available impart – in Myatt’s words – “the sense of reading somewhat declamatory sermons about god/God and ‘the good’ familiar from over a thousand years of persons preaching about Christianity.”

Richard Stirling
Shropshire
2017

{1} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/24/concerning-ἀγαθός-and-νοῦς-in-the-corpus-hermeticum/
{2} Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, LXXI, 4.
{3} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/a-review-of-myatts-monas/
{4} B. Copenhaver. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press. 1992


orphic3

David Myatt, Corpus Hermeticum I, III, IV, VIII, XI. 126 pages.
Second Edition, 2017.
ISBN-13: 978-1545020142

This book is a welcome addition to the works of Myatt available in print bringing together as it does his translation of five of the chapters (tracts, tractates) of the ancient Corpus Hermeticum together with his extensive commentary on each of those chapters.

It is apparent that a lot of thought, study, and erudition has gone into the translation. Instead of choosing the conventional English equivalent of particular Greek terms – such as might be found in lexicons such as LSJ or as taught in those few, select, schools which still teach Greek and Latin, and such as are found in other English translations, from Everard to Mead to Copenhaver, and in the French translation of Nock {1} – Myatt has opted for alternatives (including transliterations) in order, in his words, to avoid reading into the texts such modern – non-Classical – meanings as particular English words now might suggest to the reader. Obvious examples are theos instead of ‘God’, perceiverance instead of ‘Mind’, logos instead of ‘Word’, phaos instead of ‘light’, and physis instead of ‘nature’. Not so obvious examples – from among dozens – include envoy instead of ‘herald’, elden instead of ‘ancient’, geniture instead of ‘genesis’, all of which divergences Myatt explains in his commentary.

Of his choice of the term envoy, for example, he writes:

“While the conventional translation here of κῆρυξ is ‘herald’, I consider it unsatisfactory given what that English term now often denotes: either the type of herald familiar from the New Testament or the herald of medieval literature and stories (qv. Morte Arthure, and The Knights Tale by Chaucer). Given the Greco-Roman context (Hermes, Thoth) and classical antecedents (such as Hermes as the protector of mortal envoys and messengers) then ‘envoy’ is more accurate especially given that this is an envoy from the artisan-creator assigned to impart information to mortals.”

Myatt’s thoughtful choice of English words as well as his transliterations sets his translation apart from all other translations of those four tracts, making them not only more interesting but also more esoteric and mystical as befits texts which are themselves esoteric and mystical. That is, Myatt’s has managed to express in English something of the hermetic, esoteric, and rather pagan nature and pagan mysticism of the original Greek text whereas other translations read either like epistles about the God of the early Christians or like pious sermons.

Three examples will illustrate the difference between Myatt’s translation and two of the most widely read translations.

The first example is from the Poemander (Pymander) tract.

Mead translates:

And I say: Whence then have Nature’s elements their being? To this He answer gives: From Will of God. Nature received the Word and gazing on the Cosmos Beautiful did copy it, making herself into a cosmos, by means of her own elements and by the births of souls. And God-the-Mind, being male and female both, as Light and Life subsisting, brought forth another Mind to give things form, who, God as he was of Fire and Spirit, formed Seven Rulers who enclose the cosmos that the sense perceives. Men call their ruling Fate.

Copenhaver:

The elements of nature – from whence have they arisen, I asked. And he answered from the counsel of god which, having taken in the word and seen the beauty of the cosmos, imitated it, having become a cosmos through its own elements and its progeny of souls. The mind who is god, being androgyne and existing as light and life, by speaking gave birth to a second mind, a craftsman, who as god of fire and spirit crafted seven governors; they encompass the sensible world in circles, and their government is called fate.

Myatt:

So I asked from what place, then, the parsements of physis? To which he answered, from the deliberations of theos, who, having comprehended the logos and having seen the beauty of the cosmic order, re-presented it, and so became a cosmic order from their own parsements and by the birth of Psyche. Theos, the perceiveration, male-and-female, being Life and phaos, whose logos brought forth another perceiveration, an artisan, who – theos of Fire and pnuema – fashioned seven viziers to surround the perceptible cosmic order in spheres and whose administration is described as fate.

The second example is from the beginning of the fourth tract, which Myatt titles Chaldron Or Monas, which Copenhaver titles The Mixing Bowl or Monad, and Mead The Cup Or Monad.

Mead translates:

With Reason, not with hands, did the World-maker make the universal World; so that thou thus shouldst think of Him as everywhere and ever-being, the Author of all things, and One and Only, who by His Will all beings hath created. This Body of Him is a thing no man can touch, or see, or measure, a Body inextensible, like to no other frame. ‘Tis neither Fire nor Water, Air nor Breath; yet all of them come from it.

Copenhaver:

Since the craftsman made the whole cosmos by reasoned speech, not by hand, you should conceive of him as present, as always existing, as having made all things, as the one and only and having crafted by his own will the things that are. For this is his body, neither tangible nor visible nor measurable nor dimensional nor like any other body; it is not fire nor water nor spirit, yet all things come from it.

Myatt:

Because the artisan crafted the complete cosmic order not by hand but through Logos, you should understand that Being as presential, as eternal, as having crafted all being, as One only, who by thelesis formed all that is.

That Being has no body that can be touched or seen or measured or which is separable or which is similar to any other body: not of Fire or Water or of Pneuma even though all such things are from that Being.

The third example is from the end of tract eleven which Myatt titles From Perceiverance To Hermes, Copenhaver Mind To Hermes, and Mead Mind Unto Hermes.

Mead:

But if thou lockest up thy soul within thy body, and dost debase it, saying: I nothing know; I nothing can; I fear the sea; I cannot scale the sky; I know not who I was, who I shall be;—what is there [then] between [thy] God and thee? For thou canst know naught of things beautiful and good so long as thou dost love thy body and art bad. The greatest bad there is, is not to know God’s Good; but to be able to know [Good], and will, and hope, is a Straight Way, the Good’s own [Path], both leading there and easy.

Copenhaver:

But if you shut up your soul in your body and abase it and say ‘I understand nothing,I can do nothing; I fear the sea, I cannot go up to heaven; I do not know what I was; I do not know what I will be,’ then what have you to do with god? While you are evil and a lover of the body, you can understand none of the things that are beautiful and good. To be ignorant of the divine is the ultimate vice, but to be able to know, to will and to hope is the straight and easy way leading to the good.

Myatt:

But if you enclose your psyche in your body and lessen it, saying “I comprehend nothing; have no power; fear the sea; am unable to go up into the heavens; do not know who I was and cannot know what I will be,” then what is there with you and also with the god?

For, indulging the body and rotten, you are unable to apprehend the beautiful, the noble. To be completely rotten is to be unaware of the numinous, while having the ability to discover, to have volition, to have expectations, is the direct, the better – its own – way to nobility.

All the unusual words and terms Myatt uses, such as presential, thelesis, and “parsements of physis”, he explains in his commentary, with his approach making his translation the one most suitable for those interested in ancient esotericism and mysticism in general and those with a special interest in hermeticism; and suitable because it, together with his detailed commentary, allows the reader to decide for themselves matters such as whether ‘theos’ in these texts means ‘god’ in the Christian sense or ‘the god’ – the primary divinity – of an ancient paganism, and whether or not νοῦς in these texts really is ‘Mind’ and thus a definite philosophical principle distinguishable from ‘the body’ or whether it simply means, as Myatt suggests, a perceiveration – an insight or an awareness – by the individual.

Finally, it is worth mentioning that Myatt – in his introduction to the fourth tractate, Chaldron Or Monas – makes an interesting if currently unfashionable point about the culture, the society, and the people, originally associated with the texts of the Corpus Hermeticum, and although he does not spell it out, he means those of Greco-Roman descent and of Greco-Roman culture who, as ancient colonials, lived in Egypt as opposed to what colonials might have called the ‘natives’, the indigenous peoples of Egypt with their very different culture and language. Myatt writes that,

In this matter, I incline toward the view […] that what is imparted in this tractate, as with the Poemandres and Ιερός Λόγος, is primarily a mystical, and – for centuries – aural, Greek tradition, albeit one possibly influenced, over time and in some degree, by the metaphysical speculations of later philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. That is, that in Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς and Ιερός Λόγος and Ποιμάνδρης, we have an intimation of the metaphysics and the cosmogony taught to initiates of that (or those) ancient and aural and paganus Greek mystical tradition(s) mentioned by writers such as Herodotus. And an intimation that is not – a few borrowed illustrative terms notwithstanding – in any significant and metaphysical manner deriving from or influenced by Biblical stories or by early Christian theology or by indigenous Egyptian culture.

This view contrasts with that of Copenhaver, et al, with Copenhaver for instance writing – confusingly, and perhaps in a ‘politically correct’ and certainly populist way {2} – about the ‘north African’ and Egyptian context and origin of the Corpus as if the authors were north African natives of Egypt rather than European (Greco-Roman) colonials speaking and writing Latin and Greek.

In conclusion, this book despite its idiosyncratic large size (8.5 x 11 inches) is a valuable resource for those interested in ancient esotericism and mysticism in general and for those with a particular interest in hermeticism.

R. S.
2017

{1} (a) Everard, J. The Divine Pymander. London, 1650. (b) Mead, G.R.S. Thrice Great Hermes. Theosophical Publishing Society, 1906. (c) Copenhaver, B. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press, 1992. (d) A. D. Nock and A.-J. Festugière. Corpus Hermeticum, Volume I. Societe d’Edition “Les Belles Lettres”, Paris, 3rd edition, 1972.

{2} Copenhaver, Introduction, op.cit.


Image credit: Gold funerary tablet (c. 200 BCE) found at Eleutherna, Crete


David Myatt

David Myatt

The link below is to a pdf file which contains David Myatt’s translations of and commentaries on five tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum which he published separately between 2013 and 2017.

Corpus Hermeticum I, III, IV, VIII, XI
(pdf)

Contents:

Tractate I. Ποιμάνδρης. Poemandres.
Tractate III. Ιερός Λόγος. An Esoteric Mythos.
Tractate IV. Ἑρμοῦ πρὸς Τάτ ὁ κρατῆρ ἡ μονάς. Chaldron Or Monas.
Tractate VIII. Ὅτι οὐδὲν τῶν ὄντων ἀπόλλυται. That No Beings Are Lost.
Tractate XI. Νοῦς πρὸς Ἑρμῆν. From Perceiverance To Hermes.
Appendix I. Some Examples Regarding Translation and Questions of Interpretation.
Appendix II. On Ethos And Interpretation.
Appendix III. Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum.

°°°°°

The compilation is also available as a 126 page printed book: David Myatt, Corpus Hermeticum I, III, IV, VIII, XI, 2017. ISBN 978-1545020142 (BISAC: Philosophy / Metaphysics).


Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/03/08/corpus-hermeticum-i-iii-iv-xi/


David Myatt 1998

David Myatt

Perhaps Words Are The Problem

Of the many metaphysical things I have pondered upon in the last five or so years, one is the enigma of words. More specifically, of how nomen – a name, a term, a designation – can not only apparently bring-into-being abstractions (and their categories) but also prescribe both our thinking and our actions, with such abstractions and such prescription so often being used by us, we mortals, to persuade, to entreat, to manipulate, to control, not only ourselves but through us others of our human kind. Whence how denotatum can and so often does distance, distract, us from the essence – the physis – that empathy and its wordless (acausal) knowing can reveal and has for a certain mortals so often in past millennia revealed.

For we seem somehow addicted to talk, to chatter – spoken and written – just as we assume, we believe, so often on the basis of nomina that we expand our pretension of knowing beyond the local horizon of a very personal wordless empathy breeding thus, encouraging thus, such hubris as has so marked our species for perhaps five thousand years. With such hubris – such certitude of knowing – being the genesis of such suffering as we have so often inflicted on others and, sometimes, even upon ourselves.

Would that we could, as a sentient species, dispense with nomen, nomina, and thus communicate with others – and with ourselves – empathically and thus acquire the habit of acausal wordless knowing. There would then be no need for the politics of propaganda and the rhetoric of persuasion; no need – no ability – to lie or pretend to others. For we would be known – wordlessly revealed – for who and what we really are. And what a different world that would be where no lie, no deception, would work and where guilt could never be concealed.

For some, a few mortals, such a wordless knowing is already, and has been for centuries, the numinous reality, born as such a personal reality is either via their pathei-mathos or via their innate physis. Which is perhaps why such others often secrete, or desire to secrete, themselves away: an isolated or secluded family – rural, or island – living, perhaps, and perhaps why Cistercians, some mystics, some artists, and others of a similar numinous kind, have saught to dwell, to live, in reclusive or communal silence.

There is – or so there seems to me to be according to my admittedly, fallible, uncertitude of knowing – a presencing of the essence of almost all religions here in such a knowing of the value, the mysterium, of silence. Of that which we so often in our hubris forget, have forgotten, or never known: that wordless, that empathic, that so very personal acausal knowing, that personal grief and personal suffering – that the personal awareness of the numinous – so often engenders, so often breeds, as has been so recounted for millennia in our human culture of pathei-mathos.

Given this culture – so accessible now through institutions of learning, through printed books, through art, memoirs, and music, and via this medium of this our digital age – shall we, can we, learn and apply the learning of that culture to significantly change our lives, thus somehow avoiding that periodicity of suffering which for millennia our hubris, our certainty of knowing born of nomen and nomina and the resultant abstractions, has inflicted and continues to inflict upon us?

I do so wish I had an answer. But for now, all I can do is dwell in hope of us en masse so evolving that such empathy, such wordless knowing, has become the norm.

David Myatt
2016

Extract From A Letter To A Friend


Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/perhaps-words-are-the-problem/


David Myatt

David Myatt

David Myatt: Relict

How, will, should, David Myatt be remembered? Premature and recent rumors of his death struck a chord with some of us who – whatever our age, whatever our place of dwelling, and whatever our political inclinations – have somehow in some manner (positive or negative) been affected by his life and by his writings.

But someday, and perhaps soon – give or take a few months, a few years, or perhaps a decade or more – he, now a reclusive uncommunicative mystic, will most assuredly be gone from this our mortal realm. So how should, will, Myatt best be remembered?

For myself I choose his poetry. Or rather that compilation of his poems – titled Relict – which he himself compiled. For there is humanism, a numinosity, the ethos of our Western civilization, presenced in such semi-autobiographical poems as are collected there. As well as the quintessence of what, post-2012, became his mystical, his very personal, his decidedly Western, ‘philosophy of pathei-mathos’.

Thus if he is to be remembered it should, perhaps, be for such so very human, so very civilized, poems. For such poems are such an eloquent rebuke to those who have attempted – or who for private or for political reasons may well continue to attempt – to besmirch him.

Relict
(pdf)

RS
2016


Related:

° Four Forgotten Poems


David Myatt

David Myatt

The Mystic Philosophy of David Myatt
(pdf)

Contents:

I. A Modern Mystic: David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos
II. A Modern Pagan Philosophy
III. Honour In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos
IV. An Overview of The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos
Appendix. A Note On Greek Terms In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos


David Myatt

David Myatt

The pdf file below contains Myatt’s fourteen page essay Exegesis and Translation, first published in 2013. In the essay Myatt asks pertinent questions about revealed religions and the reliance the majority of believers of such revelations have on translations of their ‘sacred texts’ and the exegesis of others, writing in one memorable passage how

“there seems to be, in revealed religions and most conventional spiritual ways, a rejection of pathei-mathos in favour of the wisdom said to be contained in the texts and thus in the teachings of the founder(s) of the religion/spiritual way, and – in the case of revealed religions – in the writings/edicts of those who have been vested with or who have acquired a certain religious authority, and – also in the case of revealed religions – how such pathei-mathos, to be accepted at all, has to be judged by criteria developed from such texts and/or developed from interpretations of such texts.”

This essay therefore has relevance to Myatt’s philosophy of pathei mathos. It reveals also Myatt’s erudition, with quotations in their original language from the New Testament, the Koran, and Boethius – together with Myatt’s translations – as well as quotations from Beowulf, John Gower, and Morte Arthure.

While Myatt incorporated parts of the essay into some of his book-length works – for instance part of the Translation and Al-Quran section of the essay was added to the appendix of his Poemandres translation {1} – it is informative to read the complete essay, with his comments under the Ontology, Exegesis, and Pathei-Mathos heading in Part One of particular interest.

Exegesis And Translation
(pdf)

 

°°°

{1} David Myatt. Poemandres, A Translation and Commentary. Third Edition, 2014. ISBN 978-1495470684.


 

A pdf version of this article is available here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/03/myatt-strange-life-v2.pdf

David Myatt

David Myatt

The Strange Life Of David Myatt

One of the interesting things about the strange life of David Myatt is that there are several different interpretations of both his motives and his personality. The three most common interpretations – advanced and commented on by academics, by journalists, and others – are:

(i) That he is Anton Long, founder of the Occult group the Order of Nine Angles (ONA, O9A), and an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual” {1} who is “paramount to the whole creation and existence of the ONA,” {2} whose “Nazism and Islamism are merely instruments for the ONA’s underlying sinister esoteric plots.” {3}

(ii) That his somewhat itinerant adult life has been a Faustian, experiential, quest, with him drifting toward an unknown destination.

(iii) That he has been on a life-long ‘sinister-numinous’ quest, both Occult and practical (esoteric and exoteric), and has now discovered the wisdom and the self-understanding that is the goal of such a quest.

According to the first interpretation, his poetry {4}, his published private letters {5} and post-2011 writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos are either a clever ploy by a real-life Trickster to disguise his real ‘sinister’ nature or were written by someone else, or some others, as a deception.

According to the second interpretation – advanced by Myatt himself and some of his supporters – such writings are genuine and document the interior struggles, the vacillation, and the learning from experience, that occurred from around 2002 until 2010; struggles, vacillation, and a learning that he makes mention of in both his autobiography Myngath and in his essay The Development Of The Numinous Way.

According to the third interpretation – advanced by some supporters of the O9A – such writings document the feelings and the understanding germane to someone who, questing for decades along the O9A Seven Fold Way, has entered and passed beyond the Abyss and thus discovered Lapis Philosophicus.

In respect of which interpretation of Myatt’s life is the most plausible, it is my contention that Myatt’s poetry, his published private letters, and his post-2011 writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, can provide the answer: that they hold all the clues necessary to arrive at a satisfactory and rational solution.


The Necessary Research

What is most surprising about those who advance and write about and believe one of the above explanations is that it appears that none of them have actually studied, in detail, and critically commented upon, Myatt’s poetry, his published (pre-2009) private letters and his post-2011 writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos.

For among the questions that should be asked, in relation to such works, are the following. (i) What do they express in terms of personal feelings and weltanschauung?  (ii) What do they reveal about the writer and his style of life? (iii) Are they internally – and over the time span under consideration (2002-2011) – consistent? (iv) How do they relate to Myatt’s life at the time they were written? (v) Are they all consistent with Myatt’s own explanation of his life as described in his autobiography Myngath {6} and in his post-2011 essays such as The Development Of The Numinous Way? (vi) Could someone who faked the letters – for whatever reason – maintain a consistency of feelings for so many years? {7}

Is what Myatt explained in Myngath the truth of his life or the sly words of a trickster? He wrote:

“For the reality of my past nine or so years is not that of some sudden life-changing revelation, but rather of a profound inner struggle whose genesis lay years before – in my experiences with and passion for women; in my time in a monastery; in my ever-growing love for Nature and my involvement with English rural life; in Sue’s illness and her tragic death.

This intense struggle was akin to an addiction, and I an addict addicted to abstractions. A struggle between my empathy, my understanding, my pathei-mathos, and my life-long belief, itself an abstraction, that somehow in some way I could make a positive difference to the world and that such abstractions as I adhered to, or aided or advocated were or could be a beginning for a better world, and that to achieve this new world certain sacrifice were, unfortunately, necessary.

A struggle which gave rise to what became – refined, and extended, year after year – The Numinous Way, and which struggle was an interior war to change myself, to actually live, every year, every month, every week, every day, suffused with an empathic awareness and a desire not to cause suffering; the struggle to abandon abstractions.

For nine years or so this interior struggle wore me down, until it gradually faded away. It was akin to cycling up a long steep mountain climb in mist and drizzly rain, struggling on against one’s aching body and against the desire to stop and rest; and not being able to see the end, the summit, of the climb. And then, slowly, the drizzle ceases, the mist begins to clear, the road becomes gradually less steep, and one is there – in warm bright sunshine nearing the summit of that climb, able to see the beautiful, the numinous, vista beyond, below, for the first time, and which vista after such an effort brings a restful interior peace, the silent tears of one person who feels their human insignificance compared to the mountains, the valleys below, the sky, the Sun, and the vast Cosmos beyond: the wyrdful nature of one fleeting delicate mortal microcosmic nexion which is one’s own life.”

Post-2009 Letters And Writings

In 2012 Myatt was contacted, via e-mail, by a journalist employed by the BBC and, over subsequent months, they exchanged correspondence via that medium. In 2013 Myatt published edited extracts from some of this correspondence in Part Three of his book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination (ISBN 9781484854266). He also included some of this correspondence – and some other correspondence with a few other individuals around the same time (2011-2012) – in a posting on his weblog under the title Just My Fallible Views, Again. {8}

This correspondence is not only quite remarkable, given the various assumptions made about Myatt since at least the 1980s, but also is a significant development of the feelings expressed in his pre-2009 private letters. In those pre-2009 letters a certain lofty (even an arrogant) presumption of knowing – of having understood himself and the world – emerges time and time again, as well as certain pontifications based on various abstractions, while the later letters are replete with a certain humility. For instance, in one of these 2011-2012 letters he writes:

“The problem in the past had been me, my lack of understanding of myself and my egoism. It was my fault: not the place, not the time, not the people, for I so desired with that arrogance of youth to exchange this paradise, here, for those ideas, the idealism, the abstractions, I carried around in my prideful hubriatic head. Seldom content, for long, since happiness came with – was – the pursuit, or the gratification of my personal desires. So destructive, so very destructive. So hurtful, inconsiderate, selfish, profane […]

In a letter sent to the BBC journalist he wrote:

[My] recent propensity to be somewhat subsumed with a certain sadness [arose] from not only pondering on such questions as pathei-mathos, the causes/alleviation of suffering, and the nature of religion, expiation, and extremism, but also from understanding, from feeling, just how much suffering I personally have caused during my extremist decades and knowing that had it not been for the tragic death of a loved one some six years ago I would most probably have continued my career as a suffering-causing extremist.

He was even more explicit in another letter to a different correspondent and dated November 2012:

“The reason why I now do not – and have no desire to – “get involved with social change” (or to “go out into the world and try to give something back” as another correspondent recently expressed it) is the reality of me having made, and knowing and feeling I made, so many mistakes, shown such poor judgement, been so arrogant, so selfish, for so many decades – for most of my adult life. Given this reality, I simply do not trust myself anymore not to cause suffering, not to make even more mistakes, not to show poor judgement again. Just as I know my responsibility, my blame, for those my past mistakes and their human consequences. Thus, why would I want to inflict myself on the world anymore? […]

For the simple honest truth is that I now feel, in my very being, that I have no right to, can find no justification for me to – beyond that necessitated by personal honour in the immediacy of the moment – interfere in the lives of others, in however small a way even if my initial motives might be (or seemed to me to be) good. For who I am to judge, decide, things beyond the purvue of empathy and a very personal honour? I am just one fallible exceedingly error-prone human being with a long proven history of impersonal interference, of hubriatic, suffering-causing, and selfish, deeds. Someone who does not trust himself anymore and who values and tries to cultivate wu-wei.”

In a rather remarkable letter dated December 2nd 2012, he explained that:

“In respect of religion, there seems to have grown within me, this past year, a feeling regarding prayer, especially contemplative prayer, or rather that quiet way of being when – with no expectation of or belief in God – no words are desired or required and one is aware of the numinous in such an unaffected way that there is a calmness emanating not from within – not caused by our knowing or feeling of self – but from that ineffable vastness beyond which includes us and all the life that seeps into us, there in our stillness: emanations, of not only the dreams, the hopes, the love, the sadness, the sorrow, the grief, the pain, the joy, the tragedy, felt, known, experienced by we humans millennia after millennia, but also of the being, the essence, of the other life around us, here as Nature, and elsewhere, which, as we, ‘hath but a short time to live’.

A feeling, an intimation, of perhaps in some small way now understanding the Latin Opus Dei – Officium Divinum – as a needful daily reminder of our needful humility, as the plaintive cry Miserere Mei, Deus so reminds, and as the Namaz of Islam also so reminds with its Ruku, Sajdah, and recitation of Subhana Rabbiyal a’la. A needful daily reminder that we are transient beings, prone to dishonour, selfishness, and hubris, but who can be loving and kind, and beings prone to the charisma, the temptation, of words, either our own or those spoken or written by others. A reminder that we can so easily forget, have so often forgotten, that gentleness, that modest demeanour, that understanding, which derives from an appreciation of the numinous and also from one’s own admitted uncertainty of knowing and one’s acknowledgement of past mistakes. An uncertainty of knowing, an acknowledgement of mistakes, that often derive from πάθει μάθος.”

All these sentiments, these feelings, are so consistent over so many years, chime so well with his poetry, with the feelings that run through his pre-2009 letters, with his autobiography Myngath, and with post-2011 writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, that it seems inconceivable to me that they are artful constructions – fakes – by someone else (or some others) or the product of some ‘sinister trickster’ who has consciously adopted a certain persona in order to try and fool people. Also, what they express is a mysticism, a reverence for and an appreciation of the numinous, so at odds with the ethos and the practice of Satanism – of whatever variety – that it is also inconceivable that they were written by a Satanist or even by a practising Occultist.

My conclusion, therefore, is that his somewhat itinerant adult life has been a Faustian, experiential, quest, with him drifting, stumbling, toward an unknown destination, which destination he has finally reached and which destination he in his post-2011 writings and letters has striven to describe.

JRW
2016

Notes

{1} Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014.

{2} Senholt, Jacob. The Sinister Tradition. Paper presented at the international conference, Satanism in the Modern World, Trondheim, 19-20th November, 2009.

{3} Per Faxneld: Post-Satanism, Left Hand Paths, and Beyond in Per Faxneld & Jesper Petersen (editors) The Devil’s Party: Satanism in Modernity, Oxford University Press. 2012, p.207

{4} DW Myatt. Relict: Some Autobiographical Poems. 2014. ISBN 9781495448386.

{5} Letters dating from 2002 to 2009 are currently (September 2016) available at https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/selected-letters/ with a few of these (and other) letters included in Part Two of Myatt’s book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination, published in 2013, ISBN 9781484854266.

Some letters dating from 2011 were included in Part Three of the aforementioned book.

{6} David Myatt. Myngath: Some Recollections of a Wyrdful and Extremist Life. 2013. ISBN 9781484110744.

{7} While those who believe the ‘fakery theory’ might object that there is no proof the letters were written on the dates given – that is, they might all have been faked within a relatively short period of time – the evidence indicates otherwise. For many of the letters were published on the website of a Myatt supporter from 2005 onwards, as the following link reveals: http://web.archive.org/web/20050205011512/http://www.geocities.com/davidmyatt/

The letters that are in the pdf compilation {5} and also available in that web archive, and in some subsequent archives, include the following: (i) Preco preheminencie, (ii) A Fine Day in Middle June, (iii) One Hot Sunny Day, Almost Mid-July; (iv) The Buzzards Are Calling Again; and so on.

{8} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/about/just-my-fallible-views-again/

°°°°°°°

Appendix

Some Quotations From The Letters of David Myatt (2002-2009)

[Untitled] February 2003

How foolish, to forget my own understanding: to forget the remembering, the pain, that shaped, changed, evolved such empathy as I possessed so much that – when alone as now in such places as this – I knew the past, felt the future, and, burdened by such knowing, tried hard to keep away the tears of so many centuries of sorrow, so little insight lived.

So hard, it seems, to renounce the passion of a life, as when a relationship of lovers falters, stalls, restarts to stall again; seldom a clean and sudden leaving. Feelings, memories, linger. And there is guilt. Let us not forget the guilt, the hope; the guilt of a duty abandoned […]

Tomorrow, I could have been elsewhere, in a teeming city, talking words of war as if my old hope of inspiring noble deeds to aid those far less fortunate than me was still real in a modern urban world too tired of silence, patience, and too afraid of numinous stillness. I choose not to go; not to speak, and instead will – the goddess permitting – sit here again suspended in time between brown, green and blue […]

If I have anything real to leave in remembrance, let it be such words as these: not the strife; not the anger; not the deaths; not the agitation for action. These are the words of a Spring, newly born between Sun and earth, bringing joy to a man whose hands, back and face have borne the cold toil of outdoor work in Winter.

I hope I do not forget this warmth, this beauty, again…

°°°°°°°

One Week Beyond Mid-Spring, 2003

It was hope – and another lost love – which took me, once and a decade or more ago, to Egypt to travel in the desert as if such traveling might bring a forgetful peace. It did not work, despite the grim toil of that long journey, and it was only when I returned to Cairo that I forgot. I remember it so well: I had gone, out of politeness, to a concert to see and listen to some singer which some Egyptian I had met enthused about. And there was such beauty there, in her, her voice, in the music, as she sang of many things. Such sadness; such joy, such an embracing, for me, of another world, another culture. I was at home there, listening, feeling, with the audience as the beautiful Samira Said sang, and ever since – in times of personal sadness, rejection, such as this – I remember her concert, or listen to her songs {1}, reminding me of how I am not alone, of how others have, and do, suffer, and have cried, and laughed, and sang of their problems, personal, political, social and otherwise. But most of all I remember that there is another world out there of different, vibrant, cultures, of good people striving in their daily mostly toiling lives with hope for a better more honourable world for themselves, their family, their children, their land.

1) In a recent letter Myatt added: “In the past few years she has changed her style somewhat, less Arabic, more Western. While this new style is interesting, some – myself included – prefer her earlier songs and recordings.”

 

°°°°°°°


[Untitled] April 2003

There is, of course, peace here, while the warm Sun lasts and there is some physical tiredness from the hours of physical work, and the very early, Dawn, start. But there is also not only an undercurrent of sad loneliness – for she whom I love has gone, to another – but also an intimation of the past when action, violence, in the world to change the world, brought that exhilaration which true, honourable, warriors know and often seek and which is an end to such loneliness…..

So, to be honest, there is temptation, even here, amid this quiet rural splendour: the temptation to be again what I was when action, a goal, a seeking, an assignment, made me a harmony of body, mind, soul, and life became suffused with a glory redolent of the gods because life was lived on a different, higher, level. There were then no obstacles that could not be overcome; no doubts; not even any self- reflexion.

Is this, then, just one of those periods in my life – of months, maybe a year – when I quietly drift, suffused with the numen, before returning to that other world, of duty, of exploration, of challenges, where lives the honourable warrior? I do not believe it is one of these periods, but I could be wrong; I have been wrong in the past.

°°°°°°°

We Have Been Led Astray, May 2003

How many times have I myself known the simple, gentle, warmth of a love shared? And how many times have I turned away from that toward what I assumed or believed or felt was a duty, thus hardening myself? So much lost, for so little. So much suffering and sadness created by me, in others, in the world: and for what? So much sadness and suffering caused within myself by such a loss.

The truth I have painfully, slowly, discovered in this, the fifth decade of my strange wandering life, is that there is no noble, no good, no honourable duty to anything or anyone which can contradict such love, or reject it, or place it second. What honourable, noble, duty there is can only arise from such love or join with that love in a natural, dwelling, way as when two people, a family, settle to dwell on the land and through their dwelling, their labour, their toil, their love, they create a way of life which is in harmony with all other life, with Nature, and especially with their own loving, rational, honourable, human nature.

This is the quiet numinous way of restraining ourselves by concentrating on what is beyond words, beyond ideas: the way that some of the beautiful music of the past several hundred years is an intimation of, reminding us as it can of the greatest suffering, the greatest joy, and of our own place among Nature, in the Cosmos.

This is the quiet return that is needed – beyond all rhetoric; beyond all propaganda; beyond all ideas, political, religious, otherwise – and beyond all the forms that constrain and try to mould our human nature to some abstract theory or construct. For what is human is this love, this symbiosis between such love, such dwelling, such a gentle seeking yearning born of our questioning nature. All else – all other types of yearning, seeking, striving, duty – detract us and distance us from, or even destroy and negate, our true human nature, and from that evolution of this nature of ours which great music, great Art, great literature, rational ethical Science itself, provide us with an intimation of, a gentle yearning for.

°°°°°°°

The Buzzards Are Calling Again, 2004

Many times, like the growing tree, there by that breeze, I have been swayed – swayed by the sleeping warrior within, who, awakened, has tempted me. So much dishonour in this world; so much I had to again strive to avoid involvement, ready as I was to go to defend the oppressed against the ignoble oppressor. It was, for me, the battle against dishonour that mattered, that called, that awoke – the living of the life of a warrior.

It was not the ideology, not the ideas, not the cause, or even the goals, for these were and are mere causal forms which do not, cannot, contain the essence itself even though, sometimes, they may presence part of it, as a Buzzard, circling, presences one small part of Nature’s life. What mattered then was the striving – the exhilaration of living which presenced honour in a moment, in an explosion of moments, so raising life up, upwards, towards a new living, a new way, nexion as it was to the essence itself, manifest as this essence was, is, can be, in the honour of a warrior. What mattered, then, was such a presencing by someone to redress the balance and bring some honour back into this world. Thus was I, am I, through such diverse presencing, such diverse involvement, a mystery to some, but not to myself… So I was swayed, tempted, and several times became alive again, a different alive as I forsook this quiet reclusive peace to travel, to engage, to live for a while a different way. And now, my work here having ended, I strain again against myself, feeling, feeling the presencing of that past, of those moments of life’s ecstasy.

What of my words, this past year, born of such peace, of such silent wisdom as has kept me here in this place? Have they changed anything, anyone? I do not think so. Are they then as flowers thrusting forth in Spring, born only to die each year, seeding themselves with the hope of rebirth in some future? I do not know, and shall lay this pen aside to close my eyes to I lie on my old coat upon the growing greening grass of one more burgeoning beautiful English Spring.


 

David Myatt

David Myatt

Reading Myngath
The Apologia of David Myatt

If the reader of Myngath expects a conventional autobiography then they will be either disappointed or consider the work somewhat bizarre.

Many – perhaps most – autobiographies appear to be consciously crafted in order to project, through the medium of words, a particular image of the author and an image which appears to be consistent because past events in the life of the author are often made to appear as if they were the genesis of, or support, what the authors wants the reader to believe about who the author is and why the author has done what they have and/or now has the beliefs or the opinions that they do.

The lives, however, of most notable individuals are not so simple as many of them would like us – via such self-penned deliberate, cause-and-effect, narratives – to believe.

In the case of Myatt what we get is – as the sub-title of Myngath and the introductory brief Apologia inform us – “some recollections of a wyrdful and extremist life” which were a “concise aural recollection to a friend, recorded and then transcribed” and which conciseness was because, according to Myatt “it is the essence of this particular life, recalled, that in my fallible view is or rather may be instructive, and I have tried to present this essence in a truthful way and thus be honest about my failings, my mistakes, my past activities, and my feelings at the time.”

The important phrases here are “aural recollection”, “some recollections”, and “honest about my feelings at the time.” For Myngath is a brief explanation, hastily given to someone, of how Myatt himself felt at certain times of his life, how he believes he finally came to reject the extremism that dominated his adult life and develop his philosophy of pathei-mathos, and which explanation is also an apology for both his extremist deeds and the selfishness so evident in his recollections of his private life. Which may explain why he chose a brief Apologia in preference to a lengthy Introduction, why he inserts some of his poems into the text, and why he added three appendices, with the poems for example expressing his feelings in a way that a wordy explanation would not.

What all this amounts to is that Myngath is not an ordinary autobiography but rather a series of impressions of Myatt at various times in his life. The enthusiastic unconventional schoolboy; a rather naive teenager getting involved in right-wing politics; the violent fanatic setting up a criminal gang to fund a political cause; the rather amoral convict running rackets from his prison cell; the selfish lover; the romantic dreamer and poet; the rather boyish somewhat mischievous Catholic monk; and the extremist turned humanist philosopher for whom “a shared, a loyal, love between two people is the most beautiful, the most numinous, the most valuable thing of all.”

What emerges was succinctly expressed a few years ago by an academic: an impression of an “extremely violent, intelligent, dark, and complex individual.” {1}

Understood as a series of impressions of the life of an individual with rather interesting and diverse experiences – from childhood on – Myngath is a worthwhile read, if only because it places the opinions of so many others about Myatt, from anti-fascists to journalists to various academics, into perspective: as being very simplistic. For such a complex man with such a diversity of experiences cannot be so easily pigeon-holed and as two-dimensional as they have made him out to be.

Myngath was, for me, also somewhat annoying, in that beneficial way that annoyance can sometimes be, since it intrigued me sufficiently to read more of David Myatt’s later (post-2011) writings and left me wanting to find a well-researched, objective, and detailed biography of him. The writings were easy to find, but such a biography has yet to be written.

J.B.
July 2016

Myngath is available (i) as a pdf document from Myatt’s weblog: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/myngath-2/
and (ii) as a printed book published in 2013, ISBN 978-1484110744

 


{1} Raine, Susan. The Devil’s Party (Book review). Religion, Volume 44, Issue 3, July 2014.


David Myatt
A Review Of Myatt’s Monas
Corpus Hermeticum IV

David Myatt’s translation of and commentary on the fourth tract of the Corpus Hermeticum continues the style of his two previous translations of Hermetic texts: transliterations of some Greek words (such as logos and theos) and not giving some other Greek words (such as κακός and μῖσος) there usual meanings such as are found, for instance, in the standard Greek-English Lexicon of Liddell, Scott, and Jones {1}. As with his other Hermetic translations this results in Myatt’s version reading like an ancient pagan text rather than one infused with Christian or ascetic ideas, as the following examples illustrate.

The 1906 Mead translation:

Unless thou first shalt hate thy Body, son, thou canst not love thy Self. But if thou lovest thy Self thou shalt have Mind, and having Mind thou shalt share in the Gnosis.

The 1992 Copenhaver translation, which is quite similar to Mead’s:

Unless you first hate your body, my child, you cannot love yourself, but when you have loved yourself, you will possess mind, and if you have mind, you will also have a share in the way to learn.

The 2016 Myatt translation:

My son, primarily, unless you have a prejudice about the body
You cannot have affection for yourself, and when you have affection for yourself
You can acquire perceiverance and, having perceiverance,
You can participate in episteme.

Regarding episteme, Myatt writes in his commentary:

A transliteration of ἐπιστήμη, which could be – and has been – accented thus: épistémé. The meaning is ‘a way’, or a means or a method, by which something can be known, understood, and appreciated. In this case, perceiveration, which the artisan-creator has positioned “half-way between psyches, as a reward.” Episteme, therefore, should be considered a technical, esoteric, term associated with some of the weltanschauungen that are described in the Corpus Hermeticum. Thus, in the Poemandres tractate, the anados through the seven spheres is an episteme.

A Contentious Choice

One of the most contentious aspects of Myatt approach is his view, described in his Introduction, of the relation of the text to ancient Egyptian beliefs; of the texts being in essence representative of the Greek world-view with only few passing Egyptian references such as using the name Thoth.

While this is also the view of the Dominican priest André-Jean Festugière – the Greek scholar who with Professor Arthur Nock edited the standard edition of the text used by Myatt and others – many modern scholars have veered toward the view of there being some Egyptian, and probably Christian, influence.

The other contentious aspect is how Myatt, in this tractate, defines ἀγαθός. As ‘honourable’ instead of the more usual ‘good’. In defence of his choice he quotes a passage, in Greek, from the Corpus Aristotelicum and provides his own translation, arguing that this expresses the pagan Greek view and is apposite given what the English term good often implies due to the legacy of Christianity.

Myatt’s choice here completely changes the tone of the whole work, as evident in the following passage:

The 1906 Mead translation:

But they who have received some portion of God’s gift, these, Tat, if we judge by their deeds, have from Death’s bonds won their release; for they embrace in their own Mind all things, things on the earth, things in the heaven, and things above the heaven,—if there be aught. And having raised themselves so far they sight the Good; and having sighted It, they look upon their sojourn here as a mischance; and in disdain of all, both things in body and the bodiless, they speed their way unto that One and Only One.

The 1992 Copenhaver translation:

But those who participate in the gift that comes from god, O Tat, are immortal rather than mortal if one compares their deeds, for in a mind of their own they have comprehended all things on earth, things in heaven and even what lies beyond heaven. Having raised themselves so far, they have seen the good and, having seen it, they have come to regard the wasting of time here below as a calamity. They have scorned every corporeal and incorporeal thing, and they hasten toward the one and only.

The 2016 Myatt translation:

And yet, Thoth, those who parten to that gift from theos become,
When set against their deeds, immortal instead of mortal
For they with their perceiverance apprehend the Earthly, the Heavenly,
And what is beyond the Heavens.
Having gone so far, they perceive what is honourable, and, having so perceived,
They regard what preceded this as a delay, as a problem
And, with little regard for whatever is embodied and disembodied,
They strive toward the Monas.

Also notable here is Myatt’s choice of Thoth for Τάτ, and Monas for μονάς. Certainly the choice of Tat by both Mead and Copenhaver is unfortunate given what ‘tat’ means in British English.

Conclusion

Once again Myatt has provided a refreshingly different translation of an important Hermetic text, and one which as with his previous translations of tracts I and III {2} both reads well and offers a different, if iconoclastic and controversial, interpretation most suitable to students of Hermeticism and – perhaps especially – to students of the Occult given how such hermetic texts formed and form one of the foundations of Western Occultism, both during the Renaissance and in our modern times.

As with his other translations and Myatt’s support of ‘copyleft’, it is available both as a free (pdf) download {3} and as a printed book {4}.

R. Parker
July 2016

{1} Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1996. ISBN 9780198642268.

{2} His two previous Hermetica translations were of the Poemandres and the Ιερός Λόγος tracts.

{3} https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/corpus-hermeticum-iv.pdf

{4}  David Myatt: Corpus Hermeticum IV: A Translation Of And A Commentary On The Fourth Tractate Of The Corpus Hermeticum. 2016. ISBN 978-1535245784


Botticelli-Madonna-del-Magnificat-3

Editorial Note: The following extract is from Myatt’s 2012 essay Fifty Years Of Diverse Peregrinations and which essay he included in his 2013 book Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos: Essays and Letters Regarding Spirituality, Humility, and A Learning From Grief available as that book is both as a free e-text (myatt-religion-and-pathei-mathos.pdf ) and as a printed book, ISBN 9781484097984.

°°°

In fifty years of diverse peregrinations – which included forty years of practical involvement with various religions and spiritual ways, practical involvement with extremisms both political and religious, and some seven years of intense interior reflexion occasioned by a personal tragedy – I have come to appreciate and to admire what the various religions and the diverse spiritual ways have given to us over some three thousand years.

Thus have I sensed that our world is, and has been, a better place because of them and that we, as a sentient species, are en masse better because of them. Thus it is that I personally – even though I have developed my own non-religious weltanschauung – have a great respect for religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism; for spiritual ways such as Buddhism, Taoism; for older paganisms such as (i) θεοί and Μοῖραι τρίμορφοι μνήμονές τ᾽ Ἐρινύες, and (ii) άγνωστος θεός, and for the slowly evolving more recent paganisms evident for instance in a spiritual concern for the welfare of our planet and for the suffering we have for so long inflicted on other humans and on the other life with which we share this planet.

Unsurprisingly, therefore, I disagree with those who, often intemperate in words or deeds – or both – disrespectfully fail to appreciate such religions and spiritual ways and the treasure, the culture, the pathei-mathos, that they offer, concentrating as such intemperate people so often do on what they perceive to be or feel to be are the flaws, the mistakes, of such religions and such spiritual ways while so often ignoring (as such people tend to do) their own personal flaws, their own mistakes, as well as the reality that it is we humans beings – with our ὕβρις, with our lack of humility, our lack of appreciation for the numinous, and with our intolerance and our often arrogant and harsh interpretations of such religions – who have been the cause and who continue to be the cause of such suffering as has blighted and as still blights this world.

As Heraclitus mentioned over two thousand years ago:

ὕβριν χρὴ σβεννύναι μᾶλλον ἢ πυρκαϊὴν 

Better to deal with your hubris before you confront that fire

David Myatt
2012


Order of Nine Angles

O9A

 

The Occult And Academia

In respect of the subject now often denoted by the term Western esotericism, can a lecturer or a faculty member at an established, mainstream, university or college be relied upon to present a well-researched, unbiased, scholarly, article or book?

Consider, for example, a recent (2016) book published by the prestigious Oxford University Press, Children of Lucifer: The Origins of Modern Religious Satanism, written by Ruben Van Luijk. This book devotes several pages (371-373) to the Order of Nine Angles (ONA, O9A) and to Anton Long, making various unsubstantiated claims while in the process getting almost every fact about Myatt wrong. That such an author, published by such an academic press, could make so many unsubstantiated claims and so many mistakes in so few pages – mistakes arising from a lack of research using primary sources – does not inspire confidence in the rest of the book nor in the process of academic peer review.

The mistakes by Van Luijk about David Myatt include:

1) That Myatt joined the ‘British National Socialist Movement’ in 1968. Myatt in fact joined Colin Jordan’s British Movement that year, Jordan having disbanded his short lived ‘National Socialist Movement’ earlier in the year.

2) Van Luijk writes that Myatt’s pamphlet A Practical Guide To Aryan Revolution “included detailed instructions for the manufacture of explosives and the incitement of racial war.”

It seems that Van Luijk has not bothered to find and read that pamphlet, for while it does “incite racial war” (in the Racial War section) it does not contain detailed instructions about making bombs, with it being apparent that Van Luijk has confused that pamphlet with another similar one also attributed to Myatt {1}, the 15-page printed document circulated in the 1990s which announced the formation of The White Wolves and which document did indeed contain instructions on how to make home-made bombs, complete with diagrams.

That the pamphlet A Practical Guide To Aryan Revolution – attributed to Myatt – has never in its entirely been republished (on the internet or otherwise) and is not available in easily accessible academic libraries, surely makes it incumbent upon accredited scholars who wish to comment upon it to seek out and read it in its entirely in such few places as it can still be found.

3) Van Luijk repeats the claim made by certain other authors that Myatt is Anton Long without (i) providing any evidence from his own research using primary sources that Myatt is indeed Anton Long, and without (ii) referencing any academic sources which, on the basis of scholarly research using primary sources, have proven that Myatt is Long. {2} Furthermore, that there are no such academic sources which, on the basis of scholarly research using primary sources, have proven that Myatt is Long, is never mentioned by Van Luijk.

4) Van Luijk writes that Myatt was “initiated in 1968 by the female leader of a Wicca coven.” Nowhere, in the writings of Anton Long, is there any claim to have been initiated either in 1968 or by someone from a wicca coven. Rather, the claim made by the pseudonymous Anton Long is of being initiated in the early 1970s and by the daughter of a lady associated with a pagan, occult, tradition.

The unsubstantiated claims of Van Luijks about the O9A include:

1) That the name ‘Order of Nine Angles’ suggests inspiration from the ‘satanism’ of Howard Stanton Levey and his Church of Satan, whereas a reading of (i) basic O9A texts such a The Order of Nine Angles Rite of The Nine Angles: A Comparison with the Ceremony of Nine Angles by Aquino And A Brief Study of The Meaning of The Nine Angles, and (ii) of Professor Monette’s conclusion that “it is clear despite claims that the term ‘nine angles’ was introduced in the twentieth century, the term is centuries older, especially in esoteric or cosmological discourse,” {3} would have revealed there was no such inspiration.

Myatt himself even makes a comparison with the ancient Somnium Scipionis described by Cicero, in De Re Publica, Book VI, 17, which mention of ‘nine’ pre-dates Levey and his Church of Satan by over a thousand years.

2) That the O9A accept the Judaeo-Christian version of Satan, whereas a reading of basic O9A texts such as The Geryne of Satan would have revealed that the O9A do not accept that version of Satan, giving rise to the O9A understanding of a satanist as a person who – ‘diabolically’ or otherwise – is opposed to those who believe  themselves to be God’s chosen people; that is, someone opposed to the Jews.

3) That the O9A is just a development of the ‘satanism’ of Howard Stanton Levey, whereas a study of the O9A corpus, from the 1980s on, and O9A works such as the compilation The Esoteric Hermeticism Of The Order Of Nine Angles, would have revealed that the O9A represent an occult, essentially pagan, tradition wholly different from the qabalistic-centred occult tradition used by Crowley, Levey, Aquino, and other modern occultists. A difference evident in the O9A’s Seven Fold Way and their occult septenary system.

4) That the O9A Star Game is just a ‘board game’, whereas a reading of basic O9A texts such as Naos would have revealed its three-dimensional and unique nature, a uniqueness derived from the transformation of each piece when it is moved and the alchemical combinations and occult associations of each piece.

The lack of detailed, scholarly, research and the mistakes made by Van Luijk are unfortunately typical of many of the books and articles written by academics about modern Satanism in particular and the Western, occult, Left Hand Path in general, with many authors of recent works relying for instance on the opinions of others (and, sometimes, even relying on anonymous persons communicated with by means of e-mail) rather than undertaking their own years-long research using primary sources.

Thus, in respect of Western esotericism, can a lecturer or a faculty member at an established, mainstream, university or college be relied upon to present a well-researched, unbiased, scholarly, article or book? The answer, more often than not, is no, for so many such books and articles are written by those who, despite being accorded the status of academics, are not scholars because their approach to the subject they write about it is quite unscholarly. {2}

R. Parker
2016

This a revised version of an article previously circulated under the title More Unscholarly Research.

Notes

{1} Searchlight, July 2000.

{2} Correctly understood, a scholarly approach means undertaking a meticulous, unbiased, research into a specific subject over a period of some years using, wherever possible, primary sources; formulating an opinion based on such learning, such knowledge, as results from such research, and in respect of writing academic papers and books about the subject providing copious, accurate, references to the source material. Primary sources include direct evidence such as original documents dating from the period under study, and accounts and works (written, verbal, published or unpublished) by such individuals whose life or whose writings or whose works form part of the research. In addition, if such sources – documents or accounts or writings – are in another language, then it is incumbent upon the scholar to have knowledge of that language and thus be able to translate such documents themselves, for a reliance upon the translations of others relegates such sources from the position of primary ones to secondary ones.

Hence, if the author of an academic book or academic paper writes about a person and/or about their works, or about an event, using only secondary sources – sources containing the opinions, the interpretations, or the conclusions of others – then the opinion, the interpretation, the conclusions of that author about such a person and/or about their works, or about an event, are unauthoritative because unscholarly.

{3} Monette, Connell (2013). Mysticism in the 21st Century. Sirius Academic Press. p.105.



clytemnestra_kills_cassandrared_figure-c-430bce
Honour In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos

Along with the faculty of empathy and pathei-mathos, central to David Myatt’s philosophy {1} is what he terms the virtue of honour, writing that

“personal honour – which presences the virtues of fairness, tolerance, compassion, humility, and εὐταξία – [is] (i) a natural intuitive (wordless) expression of the numinous (‘the good’, δίκη, συμπάθεια) and (ii) of both what the culture of pathei-mathos and the acausal-knowing of empathy reveal we should do (or incline us toward doing) in the immediacy of the personal moment when personally confronted by what is unfair, unjust, and extreme.

Of how such honour – by its and our φύσις – is and can only ever be personal, and thus cannot be extracted out from the ‘living moment’ and our participation in the moment.” {2}

Thus, like both empathy and pathei-mathos, Myatt conceives of honour not as an abstraction {3} – not in any idealistic way – but as “an expression of our own φύσις; and a person either has this ‘faculty of honour’ or they do not.” {4} Myatt goes on to suggest that such a faculty – like the faculty of empathy – can be consciously developed; that

“through such things as a personal study of the culture of pathei-mathos and the development of the faculty of empathy that a person who does not naturally possess the instinct for δίκη can develope what is essentially ‘the human faculty of honour’, and which faculty is often appreciated and/or discovered via our own personal pathei-mathos.” {2}{5}

Myatt is at pains to point out, several times, not only that honour, empathy, and pathei-mathos, are related:

“What, therefore, is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? It is the knowing manifest in our human culture of pathei-mathos. The knowing communicated to us, for example, by art, music, literature, and manifest in the lives of those who presenced, in their living, compassion, love, and honour. Germane to this knowing is that – unlike a form [ἰδέᾳ, εἶδος] or an abstraction – it is always personal (limited in its applicability) and can only be embodied in and presenced by some-thing or by some-one which or who lives. That is, it cannot be abstracted out of the living, the personal, moment of its presencing by someone or abstracted out from its living apprehension by others in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot become ‘an ideal’ or form the foundation for some dogma or ideology or supra-personal faith.” {6}

but also that what is revealed, known, and understood, and sometimes acted upon, is always personal; with empathy, pathei-mathos, and honour emphasizing

“the importance of living in the “immediacy of the personal, living, moment”, sans the pursuit of some ideal or of some assumed perfection; with what is ‘good’ being not some abstraction denoted by some faith, dogma, ideal, ideology, or by some collocation of words, but rather is a function of, a wordless revealing by, our personal, our individual, empathic horizon, by our pathei-mathos, and by the collected human pathei-mathos of millennia manifest as that is in the culture of pathei-mathos. Which revealing is that what-lives is more important that any ideal, than any abstraction or form, with ‘the good’ simply being that which does not cause suffering to, or which can alleviate the suffering of, what-lives, human and otherwise.

Thus the ‘meaning’ of our physis, of our living, so revealed, is just that of a certain way of living; a non-defined, non-definable, very personal way of living, only relevant to us as an individual where we – appreciating our human culture of pathei-mathos, and thus appreciative of art, music, literature, and other emanations of the numinous – incline toward not causing suffering and incline (by means of empathy, compassion, and honour) toward alleviating such suffering as we may personally encounter in the “immediacy of the personal, living, moment”. {6}

Honour In Practice

What all this amounts to, in respect of honour, is that there can be no supra-personal ‘code of honour’ or ‘code/theory of ethics’ – written or oral – which an individual seeks to uphold and live by, since honour in Myatt’s philosophy is not an ideal to be followed or aspired to. A person thus does what is honourable – in the “immediacy of the personal, living, moment” – because it is their nature, a wordless part of their way of life, to do so; to behave in such a manner that there is, in such a moment, a natural balancing of Life itself, since the personal virtue of honour is

“a practical, a living, manifestation of our understanding and appreciation of the numinous; of how to live, to behave, as empathy intimates we can or should in order to avoid committing the folly, the error, of ὕβρις [hubris], in order not to cause suffering, and in order to re-present, to acquire, ἁρμονίη [balance, harmony].” {7}

That is, the judgement regarding when and how to act is and can only be an individual one, in and of the moment. In addition, Myatt emphasizes several times that compassion – and the desire not to cause suffering – should be balanced, and are balanced, by and because of honour:

“This balancing of compassion – of the need not to cause suffering – by σωφρονεῖν [discernment] and δίκη is perhaps most obvious on that particular occasion when it may be judged necessary to cause suffering to another human being. That is, in honourable self-defence. For it is natural – part of our reasoned, fair, just, human nature – to defend ourselves when attacked and (in the immediacy of the personal moment) to valorously, with chivalry, act in defence of someone close-by who is unfairly  attacked or dishonourably threatened or is being bullied by others, and to thus employ, if our personal judgement of the circumstances deem it necessary, lethal force.

This use of force is, importantly, crucially, restricted – by the individual nature of our judgement, and by the individual nature of our authority – to such personal situations of immediate self-defence and of valorous defence of others, and cannot be extended beyond that, for to so extend it, or attempt to extend it beyond the immediacy of the personal moment of an existing physical threat, is an arrogant presumption – an act of ὕβρις – which negates the fair, the human, presumption of innocence of those we do not personally know, we have no empathic knowledge of, and who present no direct, immediate, personal, threat to us or to others nearby us.

Such personal self-defence and such valorous defence of another in a personal situation are in effect a means to restore the natural balance which the unfair, the dishonourable, behaviour of others upsets.” {7}

Honour therefore, in my view, humanizes Myatt’s mystical philosophy, making it an individual and quite practical and a decidedly pagan way of life {8} where the development of and the use of individual judgement – in respect of others and situations – is paramount. A development – a cultivation of discernment – by means of empathy, personal pathei-mathos, and learning from our human culture of pathei-mathos.

That Myatt has framed his philosophy in terms of Greco-Roman culture – so evident for instance in his use of Greek terms and his copious quotations from Greek and Roman authors – makes it a distinct modern philosophy which has not only “continued and creatively added to the classical – that is, Western, pre-Christian – pagan and mystical traditions” {9}, but has also, through the centrality of personal honour, of the muliebral virtues {10}, and of humility {11}, restored the Western ethic of gallantry.

R. Parker
2016

{1} The philosophy of pathei-mathos is described by David Myatt in the following four collections of essays:

i) The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1484096642.
ii) Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1484097984.
iii) One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings. 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1502396105.
iv) Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays. 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1512137149.

{2} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. The essay is included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings.

{3} Myatt, in his Towards Understanding Physis (included in Sarigthersa), defines an abstraction as “a manufactured generalization, a hypothesis, a posited thing, an assumption or assumptions about, an extrapolation of or from some-thing, or some assumed or extrapolated ideal ‘form’ of some-thing. Sometimes, abstractions are generalization based on some sample(s), or on some median.”

In later essays, such as Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions, he explains that denotatum – which he uses in accord with its general meaning, which is “to denote or to describe by an expression or a word; to name some-thing; to refer that which is so named or so denoted” – and abstractions both conceal physis and thus prevent us from understanding our own being, our nature as mortals.

{4} Some Questions For DWM (2014). Included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{5} Myatt, in his essay Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos, included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods, defines ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’ as “the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by ‘art-forms’ such as films and documentaries.”

Of δίκη, Myatt, in his The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos, writes:

“Depending on context, δίκη could be the judgement of an individual (or Judgement personified), or the natural and the necessary balance, or the correct/customary/ancestral way, or what is expected due to custom, or what is considered correct and natural, and so on. A personified Judgement – the Δίκην of Hesiod – is the goddess of the natural balance, evident in the ancestral customs, the ways, the way of life, the ethos, of a community, whose judgement, δίκη, is “in accord with”, has the nature or the character of, what tends to restore such balance after some deed or deeds by an individual or individuals have upset or disrupted that balance. This sense of δίκη as one’s ancestral customs is evident, for example, in Homer (Odyssey, III, 244).”

However, in several of his essays – such as Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis, included in Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays, Myatt also uses δίκη to mean ‘fairness’, quoting Hesiod and providing his own translation and which translation mentions both honour and a learning from adversity:

σὺ δ ̓ ἄκουε δίκης, μηδ ̓ ὕβριν ὄφελλε:
ὕβρις γάρ τε κακὴ δειλῷ βροτῷ: οὐδὲ μὲν ἐσθλὸς
215 ῥηιδίως φερέμεν δύναται, βαρύθει δέ θ ̓ ὑπ ̓ αὐτῆς
ἐγκύρσας ἄτῃσιν: ὁδὸς δ ̓ ἑτέρηφι παρελθεῖν
κρείσσων ἐς τὰ δίκαια: Δίκη δ ̓ ὑπὲρ Ὕβριος ἴσχει
ἐς τέλος ἐξελθοῦσα: παθὼν δέ τε νήπιος ἔγνω

You should listen to [the goddess] Fairness and not oblige Hubris
Since Hubris harms unfortunate mortals while even the more fortunate
Are not equal to carrying that heavy a burden, meeting as they do with Mischief.
The best path to take is the opposite one: that of honour
For, in the end, Fairness is above Hubris
Which is something the young come to learn from adversity.

In his footnotes to his translation Myatt explains:

δίκη. The goddess of Fairness/Justice/Judgement, and – importantly – of Tradition (Ancestral Custom). In [Ἔργα καὶ Ἡμέραι], as in Θεογονία (Theogony), Hesiod is recounting and explaining part of that tradition, one important aspect of which tradition is understanding the relation between the gods and mortals. Given both the antiquity of the text and the context, ‘Fairness’ – as the name of the goddess – is, in my view, more appropriate than the now common appellation ‘Justice’, considering the modern (oft times impersonal) connotations of the word ‘justice’ […]

δίκαιος. Honour expresses the sense that is meant: of being fair; capable of doing the decent thing; of dutifully observing ancestral customs. A reasonable alternative for ‘honour’ would thus be ‘decency’, both preferable to words such as ‘just’ and ‘justice’ which are not only too impersonal but have too many inappropriate modern connotations.

{6} Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions. 2015. Note that here, as elsewhere in other quotations from Myatt’s writings, I have provided – in square brackets [ ]  – a translation of some of the Greek terms Myatt uses.

{7} The Numinous Balance of Honour. Included in The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos.

{8} I have outlined the pagan nature of Myatt’s philosophy in A Modern Pagan Philosophy.

{9} R. Parker. A Modern Pagan Philosophy. e-text, 2016.

{10} See the Masculous And Muliebral section of my A Modern Pagan Philosophy.

{11} Humility is one of the personal virtues of Myatt’s philosophy. Myatt in his 2012 essay Pathei-Mathos – A Path To Humility explains that he uses the term

“in a spiritual context to refer to that gentleness, that modest demeanour, that understanding, which derives from an appreciation of the numinous and also from one’s own admitted uncertainty of knowing and one’s acknowledgement of past mistakes. An uncertainty of knowing, an acknowledgement of mistakes, that often derive from πάθει μάθος.

Humility is thus the natural human balance that offsets the unbalance of hubris (ὕβρις) – the balance that offsets the unbalance of pride and arrogance, and the balance that offsets the unbalance of that certainty of knowing which is one basis for extremism, for extremist beliefs, for fanaticism and intolerance. That is, humility is a manifestation of the natural balance of Life; a restoration of ἁρμονίη, of δίκη, of σωφρονεῖν – of those qualities and virtues – that hubris and extremism, that ἔρις and πόλεμος, undermine, distance us from, and replace.”


cc  R. Parker 2016
Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license.
Can be freely copied and distributed under the terms of that license
(First Edition)


Image credit: Klytemnestra Kills Cassandra. Red figure vase, c 430 BCE



David Myatt

David Myatt

A Modern Pagan Philosophy

It is my contention that the philosophy – the weltanschauung – advanced by David Myatt between 2012 and 2015 {1}, and named by him as ‘the philosophy of pathei-mathos’, is not only a modern expression of the Western mystical tradition {2} but also a pagan philosophy.

In respect of mysticism, a mystic is a person (i) who by means such as contemplation desires a selfless awareness of God or of Reality, ‘the cosmic order’, or (ii) who accepts that there is a spiritual apprehension of certain truths which transcend the temporal. This apprehension certainly applies to Myatt’s philosophy, based as it is on what Myatt terms ‘the acausal knowing’ resulting from empathy and pathei-mathos {3}.

In respect of paganism, it is generally defined – from the classical Latin paganus, and ignoring the modern re-interpretation of the word by self-described contemporary pagans – as meaning “of or belonging to a rural community” in contrast to belonging to an urban or a more organized community (such as a religious Church), from whence derived the later (c. 1440 CE, post Morte Arthure) description of a pagan as a non-Christian, a ‘heathen’ (Old English hǽðen), and thus as describing a person who holds a religious belief which is neither Christian, Jewish, nor Muslim.

Myatt however provides his own, rather more philosophical, definition, relating as his definition does to the paganism of the Western, Greco-Roman, tradition. Thus Myatt – paraphrasing a passage from Cicero’s De Natura Deorum and quoting the original Latin – defines paganism as

“an apprehension of the complete unity (a cosmic order, κόσμος, mundus) beyond the apparent parts of that unity, together with the perceiveration that we mortals – albeit a mere and fallible part of the unity – have been gifted with our existence so that we may perceive and understand this unity, and, having so perceived, may ourselves seek to be whole, and thus become as balanced (perfectus), as harmonious, as the unity itself: Neque enim est quicquam aliud praeter mundum quoi nihil absit quodque undique aptum atque perfectum expletumque sit omnibus suis numeris et partibus […] ipse autem homo ortus est ad mundum contemplandum et imitandum – nullo modo perfectus, sed est quaedam particula perfecti.” {4}

Which apprehension of the κόσμος certainly describes Myatt’s philosophy where

“there is a perceiveration of our φύσις; of us as – and not separate from – the Cosmos: a knowledge of ourselves as the Cosmos presenced (embodied, incarnated) in a particular time and place and in a particular way. Of how we affect or can affect other effluvia, other livings beings, in either a harmful or a non-harming manner. An apprehension, that is, of the genesis of suffering and of how we, as human beings possessed of the faculties of reason, of honour, and of empathy, have the ability to cease to harm other living beings. Furthermore, and in respect of the genesis of suffering, this particular perceiveration provides an important insight about ourselves, as conscious beings; which insight is of the division we mistakenly but understandably make, and have made, consciously or unconsciously, between our own being – our ipseity – and that of other living beings, whereas such a distinction is only an illusion – appearance, hubris, a manufactured abstraction – and the genesis of such suffering as we have inflicted for millennia, and continue to inflict, on other life, human and otherwise.” {5}

Furthermore, there is an emphasis in Myatt’s philosophy on balancing within ourselves ‘the masculous’ with ‘the muliebral’ in order that we may not only perceive the unity beyond what Myatt terms ‘the illusion of ipseity’ {6} but also become as harmonious as that unity; a unity achievable – according to Myatt – be developing and using our faculty of empathy and by cultivating the virtue of personal honour, which virtue manifests, ‘presences’, that self-restraint – that moderation – described by the Greek term εὐταξία {5}.

Masculous And Muliebral

One of the unique features of Myatt’s philosophy, and thus of his paganism, is the distinction he makes between the masculous and the muliebral aspects of our human nature. In Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis he writes of the necessity of the muliebral virtues

“which, combined, manifest an enantiodromiacal change in our human physis and which change, which balancing of the masculous with the muliebral, consequently could evolve us beyond the patriarchal ethos, and the masculous societies, which have been such a feature of human life on this planet for the past three thousand years, genesis as that ethos and those societies have been of so much grieving.” {7}

For according to Myatt

“it is the muliebral virtues which evolve us as conscious beings, which presence sustainable millennial change. Virtues such as empathy, compassion, humility, and that loyal shared personal love which humanizes those masculous talking-mammals of the Anthropocene, and which masculous talking-mammals have – thousand year following thousand year – caused so much suffering to, and killed, so many other living beings, human and otherwise.” {8}

In effect Myatt is suggesting that the solution to the problem of suffering – the answer to the question of ‘good and evil’ – lies not in politics, nor in religion, nor in supra-personal social change, and certainly not in revolutions, invasions, and wars, but in ourselves by us as individuals valuing and cultivating the muliebral virtues. What this means in practical terms – although Myatt himself does not directly spell it out but rather implies it – is men appreciating women, treating them honourably and as equals, and cultivating in their own lives muliebral virtues such as εὐταξία, empathy, and compassion.

This emphasis on the muliebral, and thus on internal balance, distinguishes Myatt’s philosophy from other philosophies, ancient and modern, most of which philosophies are imbued with a decidedly masculous ethos; and none of which emphasize personal virtues such as honour and empathy, and the ethics derived therefrom; and none of which have an ontology of causal and acausal being.

Which Myattian ontology is crucial to understanding such an emphasis on the muliebral and the enantiodromiacal change in our physis resulting from us perceiving and understanding (via empathy and pathei-mathos) the unity beyond the unnecessary division between the masculous and the muliebral and the other divisions we make based on abstractions, denotatum, and ipseity.

As Myatt explains,

“empathy and pathei-mathos incline us to suggest that ipseity is an illusion of perspective: that there is, fundamentally, no division between ‘us’ – as some individual sentient, mortal being – and what has hitherto been understood and named as the Unity, The One, God, The Eternal. That ‘we’ are not ‘observers’ but rather Being existing as Being exists and is presenced in the Cosmos. That thus all our striving, individually and collectively when based on some ideal or on some form – some abstraction and what is derived therefrom, such as ideology and dogma – always is or becomes sad/tragic, and which recurrence of sadness/tragedy, generation following generation, is perhaps even inevitable unless and until we live according to the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal.” {9}


A Modern Paganism

Contrary to contemporary neo-pagan revivalism – with its made-up beliefs, practices, romanticism, rituals, and lack of philosophical rigour – Myatt has not only produced a modern pagan philosophy with a unique epistemology, a unique ontology, and a unique theory of ethics {10} but also continued and creatively added to the classical – that is, Western, pre-Christian – pagan and mystical traditions.

For Myatt has asked

(i) if Being – whether denoted by terms such as acausal, born-less, θεός The One, The Divine, God, The Eternal, Mονάς – can be apprehended (or defined) by some-things which are causal (denoted by terms such as spatial, temporal, renewance), and (ii) whether this ‘acausal Being’ is the origin or the genesis or ‘the artisan’ or the creator of both causal being (including ‘time’, and ‘change’) and of causal living beings such as ourselves.

That is, (i) has causal spatially-existing being ’emerged from’ – or been created by – acausal Being, and (ii) are causal beings – such as ourselves – an aspect or emanation of acausal Being? {9}

His answer:

“formulating such a question in such terms – causal/acausal; whole/parts; eternal/temporal; ipseity/unity; emergent from/genesis of – is a mis-apprehension of what-is because such denoting is ‘us as observer’ (i) positing, as Plato did, such things as a theory regarding ‘the ideal’, and/or (ii) constructing a form or abstraction (ἰδέᾳ) which we then presume to project onto what is assumed to be ‘external’ to us, both of which present us with only an illusion of understanding and meaning because implicit in such theories and in all such constructed forms are (i) an opposite (an ‘other’) and (ii) the potentiality for discord (dialectical or otherwise) between such opposites and/or because of a pursuit of what is regarded as ‘the ideal’ of some-thing.” {9}

Which led Myatt to suggest that Being, and our own physis, can be discovered – known and understood – by empathy and pathei-mathos which both by-pass abstractions, denotatum, and opposites, and enable us to appreciate the numinosity of Being.

What therefore is the wordless knowing that empathy and pathei-mathos reveal? According to Myatt

“it is the knowing manifest in our human culture of pathei-mathos. The knowing communicated to us, for example, by art, music, literature, and manifest in the lives of those who presenced, in their living, compassion, love, and honour. Germane to this knowing is that – unlike a form or an abstraction – it is always personal (limited in its applicability) and can only be embodied in and presenced by some-thing or by some-one which or who lives. That is, it cannot be abstracted out of the living, the personal, moment of its presencing by someone or abstracted out from its living apprehension by others in the immediacy-of-the-moment, and thus cannot become ‘an ideal’ or form the foundation for some dogma or ideology or supra-personal faith.” {9}

Which is a rather succinct description of the essence, the ethos, of the Western pagan and mystic traditions where each individual acquires a personal, non-dogmatic, apprehension of certain truths which transcend the temporal.


R. Parker
2016

{1} David Myatt’s philosophy is outlined in four collections of essays published between 2013 and 2015. The works – available both as printed books and as pdf files from his website via the following link, https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/writings-concerning-the-philosophy-of-pathei-mathos/ – are as follows:

i) The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1484096642.
ii) Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN-13: 978-1484097984.
iii) One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings. 2014. ISBN-13: 978-1502396105.
iv) Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays. 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1512137149.

{2} The words ‘mystical’ and ‘mysticism’ are derived from the term mystic, the etymology and English usage of which are:

i) Etymology:

° Classical Latin mysticus, relating to sacred mysteries, mysterious;
° Post-classical Latin, in addition to the above: symbolic, allegorical;
° Ancient Greek μυστικός, relating to sacred mysteries;
° Hellenistic Greek μυστικός, initiate; plural, μυστικόι; also: symbolic,
allegorical, spiritual, esoteric, mysterious, occult;
° Byzantine Greek (5th century CE ) μυστικόν, mystical doctrine.

ii) English usage:

° noun: symbolic, allegorical (c. 1350);
° noun: an exponent or advocate of mystical theology;
° noun: a person who by means such as contemplation desires a selfless awareness of God or ‘the cosmic order’ (mundus), or who accepts that there is a spiritual apprehension of certain truths which transcend the temporal;
° adjective: esoteric, mysterious, [equivalent in usage to ‘mystical’]
° adjective: of or relating to esoteric rites [equivalent in usage to ‘mystical’]

{3} As Myatt writes, the following articles, “a few caveats notwithstanding, provide a reasonable summary of the main points” of his philosophy: JR Wright, A Modern Mystic: David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos, 2015. [https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2015/11/dwm-modern-mystic-v7b.pdf] and R. Parker: An Overview of David Myatt’s Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos, 2014. [https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/overview-myatt-philos-pathei-mathos-v2.pdf]

{4} Education And The Culture Of Pathei-Mathos. The essay is included in Myatt’s One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{5} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. qv. Myatt’s One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{6} Myatt discusses ‘the illusion of ipseity’ in several of his essays, including Towards Understanding The Acausal (qv. One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods) and Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions (qv. Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays).

{7} qv. Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays.

{8} Some Questions For DWM (2014). Included in One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods.

{9} Personal Reflexions On Some Metaphysical Questions. qv. Sarigthersa: Some Recent Essays.

{10} His ontology, ethics, and epistemology are described by Myatt in The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis (qv. One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods) and also discussed in the two articles mentioned in footnote {3}.


David Myatt

David Myatt And The Way of Pathei-Mathos
(pdf)

David Myatt

David Myatt

DW Myatt: Some Rejected Poems
(pdf)

From the intro by JRW:

{quote} In [his] Introduction to his published slim volume of poetry – One Exquisite Silence (ISBN 978-1484179932), later republished under the title Relict (ISBN 978-1495448386) – David Myatt wrote that:

“My poetry was composed between the years 1971-2012, and is of varying quality. Having undertaken the onerous task of re-reading those poems that I still have copies of, there are in my fallible view only around a dozen that I consider may possibly be good enough to be read by others. This collection contains these few poems, and most are autobiographical in nature.”

I include here those of his rejected poems which in my view are indeed “good enough to be read by others”. {/quote}


David Myatt
A Review of David Myatt’s ‘Good, Evil, Honour, and God’

Introduction

Controversial, iconoclastic, and much maligned as David Myatt is, and metaphysical as his philosophy of pathei-mathos appears to be, it is my contention that Myatt’s 2013 text Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God {1} can provide some valuable insights regarding – and a new moral perspective in relation to – current events, especially given the comments and dehortations made, for well over a decade, regarding religious extremism and terrorism.

Such comments and dehortations – by government officials, the Media, and others – have intensified following recent attacks on Western interests, and citizens, in Tunisia, France, and elsewhere, with several government officials, and journalists, repeatedly using the word ‘evil’ to describe both such attacks and the individuals responsible for them, and with the consensus being that governments, police forces, intelligence agencies, other government institutions and even the armed forces, need to ‘”do more – and have more resources – to tackle and counter terrorism and extremism and prevent radicalization,” which often means in practice the introduction of more legislation, the arrest and imprisonment of those proven to be or suspected of being “supporters of terrorism”, de-radicalization programmes, mass surveillance by intelligence agencies, and supporting or facilitating or directly engaging in military action against “extremists and terrorists” in certain foreign countries.


A Different Perspective

In his Introduction, Myatt asks a rhetorical question:

“Can we as a species change, sans a belief in some reward or the threat of punishment – be such karmic, eschatological, or deriving from something such as a State – or are we fated, under Sun, to squabble and bicker and hate and kill and destroy and exploit this planet and its life until we, a failed species, leave only dead detritic traces of our hubris?”

He then goes on to offer his own answer, or rather provides a perspective which, as described in Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, is different and possibly unique, for it is – as he admits in his Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination – the result of his

“forty years as a practical extremist [and] forty years of practical experience of extremism and of other extremists; a practical experience that began in 1968 and ranged from fascism, and the racism of National-Socialism, to radical Islam and which practical experience included founding and leading a political organization; producing propaganda, organizing activities and demonstrations, some of which ended in violence; speaking in public and participating in marches, demonstrations, and brawls; formulating extremist ideology; imprisonment for racist and other violence; participating in and recruiting for paramilitary activities; inciting hatred, violence and prejudice; engaging in criminal activities to fund extremist causes; encouraging and supporting terrorism; and so on.

My conclusions regarding extremism resulted from some years of moral, personal, and philosophical questioning and reflexion; a questioning whose genesis was a personal tragedy in 2006, and which questioning led me a few years later to reject all forms of extremism and develope my own weltanschauung – the philosophy of pathei-mathos – based on the virtues of empathy, compassion, and humility.” {2}

Given this experience, and given the erudition evident in his Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, his views certainly merit serious consideration.

Thus, in respect of Islam, he writes that

“the problem with jurisprudence, Muslim and Christian, is and was our fallible, human, understanding of the revelation, of the original message; a problem classically understood in Islam by the distinction made by Muslim scholars between fiqh – our fallible understanding and attempts at interpretation – and Shariah, the divine and perfect guidance given by Allah, based as fiqh (classical Islamic jurisprudence) is on the principles of acceptance of diversity (of scholarly opinion), on custom [لعادة محكمة], and on reasoned deductions by individuals that are stated to be fallible and thus not immutable. A distinction that allows for reasoned change, accepts the necessity of diverse opinions, the necessity of individual independent scholarly judgement in trials, arbitrations, and determining penalties, and manifests both the non-hierarchical nature of the religion of Islam and the original understanding of the good and the bad.

In modern times, in the Muslim world, this necessary distinction between fiqh and Shariah, this allowance for reasoned change based on diverse scholarly opinion, and the necessity of individual independent scholarly judgement in trials, arbitrations, and determining penalties, often seems to be overlooked when attempts are made by governments in Muslim lands to introduce ‘Shariah law’ with the result that inflexible penal codes and immutable penalties are introduced backed by the claim, contrary to fiqh, that such governments have a mandate to impose and enforce such dogmatical interpretations as are an inevitable part of such government-sponsored codified law.”

Which presents an informed, a reasoned, view – based on personal experience, and learning – on how to possibly counter the extremism currently evident in groups such as ad-Dawlah al-Islamiyyah fī al-Iraq wa ash-Sham, commonly but incorrectly referred to as ‘Islamic State’. Which informed view is of supporting, in Muslim lands and elsewhere, classical Islamic jurisprudence and thus the independence, the authority, the learning, of the Qadi.

After analysing how Christianity, Islam, and the modern State, and their respective jurisprudence, view and have viewed ‘good and evil’ – an analysis complete with quotations in Ancient Greek and Arabic and occasionally in Hebrew, together with his own translations – Myatt presents his alternative: what he terms ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’, which he defines – in several of his writings, such as his Education And The Culture of Pathei-Mathos – as

“the accumulated pathei-mathos of individuals, world-wide, over thousands of years, as (i) described in memoirs, aural stories, and historical accounts; as (ii) have inspired particular works of literature or poetry or drama; as (iii) expressed via non-verbal mediums such as music and Art, and as (iv) manifest in more recent times by ‘art-forms’ such as films and documentaries. The culture of pathei-mathos thus includes not only traditional accounts of, or accounts inspired by, personal pathei-mathos, old and modern – such as the With The Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, and the poetry of people as diverse as Sappho and Sylvia Plath – but also works or art-forms inspired by such pathei-mathos, whether personal or otherwise, and whether factually presented or fictionalized. Hence films such as Monsieur Lazhar and Etz Limon may poignantly express something about our φύσις as human beings and thus form part of the culture of pathei-mathos.” {3}

In a memorable passage from Good, Evil, Honour, and God, he writes that:

“Gandhi, motivated by a desire for communal change and a vision of the future, more recently wrote that civilization, correctly understood, does not mean and does not require cities and centralized government and vast industries – and thus a modern State – but rather means and requires a certain personal moral conduct, a “mastery over our mind and our passions”, non-violence, the simplicity of village life, and communities voluntarily cooperating together in pursuit of collective, and personal, development.”

For he argues that the culture of pathei-mathos – to which Gandhi made a significant contribution – is an alternative to these two influential but similar ontologies of (a) The State, and (b) conventional religions such as Christianity and Islam, both “with their powerful entities, their guidance, their punishments and rewards, and the progression of individuals toward some-thing which the powerful entity asserts or promises it can provide.”

In effect, Myatt suggests that the answer to religious and political extremism and to terrorism lies not with governments and their laws, their police and armed forces, and their institutions, all of which he describes, in the perspective of our human ‘culture of pathei-mathos’, as transient. Rather, that it lies in the wisdom evident in that thousands of years old ‘culture of pathei-mathos’ whose different ontology is:

“the ontology of the illusion of self and of the unity, sans denotatum, of all living beings; of how we – presenced as human beings – can and do affect, and have affected, other life including other humans, often in ways we are not aware of; and of how our perception of I and of ‘them’ (the separation-of-otherness) has often led to us affecting other life in a harmful way, thus causing or contributing to or being the genesis of suffering, for that other life and often for ourselves. The ontology where there is no distinction, in being, between us – the emanations – and what emanates; there is only the appearance of difference due to our use of a causal-only perception and of denotatum.”

This necessitates a moral reformation of ourselves as individuals, for:

“there is in this culture of pathei-mathos a particular ethos: the tone of harmony, ἁρμονίη; of a natural balance, or rather of how certain human actions are hubris – ὕβρις – and not only disrupt this needful harmony but also cause or contribute to suffering. Of the importance, and perhaps the primacy, of human love; of how Eris is the child of Polemos and Hubris, and of how a lovelorn Polemos follows Hubris around, never requited. Of how the truths of religions and spiritual ways are, in their genesis, basically simple, always numinous, and most probably the same: guides to living in such a way that we can rediscover the natural balance, appreciate the numinous, and avoid hubris.

All of which lead to an understanding of (i) how good and bad are not ‘out there’ and cannot be manifest or assumed to be manifest in some form, by some ideation, or in ‘them’ (the others), without causing or contributing to or being the genesis of suffering, but instead are within us as individuals, a part of our nature, our character, our φύσις, and often divergently expressed; and (ii) of how, in my view at least, personal honour and not a codified law, not a jurisprudence, is the best, the most excellent, way to define and manifest this ‘good’, with honour understood, as in my philosophy of pathei-mathos, as an instinct for and an adherence to what is fair, dignified, and valourous. An honourable person is thus someone of manners, fairness, reasoned judgement, and valour; with honour being a means to live, to behave, in order to avoid committing the folly, the error, of ὕβρις; in order try and avoid causing suffering, and in order to rediscover, to acquire, ἁρμονίη, that natural balance that presences the numinous (sans denotatum and sans dogma) and thus reveals what is important about life and about being human.

For, in effect, the truths concerning honour and dishonour, and of our propensity for both honour and dishonour, are the essence of what we can learn from the supra-national, the living, and the thousands of years old, human culture of pathei-mathos.”

Importantly, he writes that what he is suggesting is just

“an alternative way that compliments and is respectful of other answers, other choices, and of other ways of dealing with issues such as the suffering that afflicts others, the harm that humans do so often inflict and have for so long inflicted upon others. The personal non-judgemental way, of presumption of innocence and of wu-wei, balanced by, if required, a personal valourous, an honourable, intervention in a personal situation in the immediacy of the moment.”

Personal Honour

In practical terms, the reformation that the culture of pathei-mathos suggests is, according to Myatt, simply an acceptance of personal honour, and thus it is:

“for each of us to gently try to carry that necessary harmony, that balance, of δίκη, wordlessly within; to thus restrain ourselves from causing harm while being able, prepared, in the immediacy of the moment, to personally, physically, restrain – prevent – others when we chance upon such harm being done. This, to me, is Life in its wholesome natural fullness – as lived, presenced, by the brief, mortal, consciously aware, emanations we are; mortal emanations capable of restraint, reason, culture, and reforming change; of learning from our pathei-mathos and that of others […] The answer which is to live in hope – even need – of a personal loyal love; to live with empathy, gentleness, humility, compassion, and yet with strength enough to do what should be done when, within the purvue of our personal space, we meet with one or many causing suffering and harm, no thought then for the fragility of our own mortal life or even for personal consequences beyond the ἁρμονίη we, in such honourable moments, are.”

However, Myatt clearly states that he is only offering his “own fallible answer to the question of how to deal with the suffering that blights this world.”

Conclusion

What Myatt has thoughtfully and from experience proposed here is an alternative way of living, a new philosophy, deriving from ‘the culture of pathei-mathos’. That is, from the wisdom of centuries, and – although Myatt himself has said {4} that he is not expressing anything new “only re-express[ing] what so many others, over millennia, have expressed as result of (i) their own pathei-mathos and/or (ii) their experiences/insights and/or (iii) their particular philosophical musings” – my own view is that it is not only new but also radical.

New, and radical, because at its core – as a way of life, and as what he terms ‘the philosophy of pathei-mathos’ with its own ontology and epistemology {5} – is the virtue of personal honour, defined by a specific code of personal, ethical, behaviour. A practical virtue which – so far as I know – has not occupied a pre-eminent place in the thought of, or been the foundation of the philosophy of, those who, over centuries, contributed to the culture of pathei-mathos.

When Myatt’s Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God is considered in the context of his writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, and recent essays by him such as Some Conjectures Concerning Our Nexible Physis and Extremism, Terrorism, Culture, And Physis: A Question Of Being {6}, then it is clear that what he is suggesting is that both the problem and the solution lie in us as individuals, in our nature as human beings; and that it is our responsibility as individuals – not, for example, the responsibility of some State – to “do what should be done when, within the purvue of our personal space, we meet with one or many causing suffering and harm.” That the solutions proposed and implemented by temporal States, and by political and religious ideologies and their followers, only – in the perspective of centuries and millennia – contribute to suffering because they do not and cannot change en masse (and have not changed, en masse) our nature as human beings. That an acceptance – by us as individuals – of, and a living by us according to, the virtue of personal honour is such a means to change our nature, and thus to break the cycle of suffering and hubris.

As Myatt wrote in 2014, he believes not only that

“it is the muliebral virtues which evolve us as conscious beings, which presence sustainable millennial change. Virtues such as empathy, compassion, humility, and that loyal shared personal love which humanizes those masculous talking-mammals of the Anthropocene, and which masculous talking-mammals have – thousand year following thousand year – caused so much suffering to, and killed, so many other living beings, human and otherwise,” {7}

but also that it is

“the personal virtue of honour, and the cultivation of wu-wei, [which] are – together – a practical, a living, manifestation of our understanding and appreciation of the numinous; of how to live, to behave, as empathy intimates we can or should in order to avoid committing the folly, the error, of ὕβρις, in order not to cause suffering, and in order to re-present, to acquire, ἁρμονίη. For personal honour is essentially a presencing, a grounding, of ψυχή – of Life, of our φύσις – occurring when the insight (the knowing) of a developed empathy inclines us toward a compassion that is, of necessity, balanced by σωφρονεῖν and in accord with δίκη.” {8}

R. Parker
Shropshire
2015
v.1.03


Notes

{1} Myatt’s text is available from his site as a pdf file – Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God. It is also included in his book Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos. 2013. ISBN 978-1484097984.

{2} Understanding and Rejecting Extremism, 2013. It is available in pdf format here – Understanding and Rejecting Extremism – and as a printed book, ISBN 978-1484854266.

{3} The text Education And The Culture of Pathei-Mathos is available here – https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/education-and-the-culture-of-pathei-mathos/

{4} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis (2014).

{5} Myatt’s philosophy is described in the books, texts, and essays mentioned on his site at https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2014/10/07/writings-concerning-the-philosophy-of-pathei-mathos/ with many of the texts and essays freely available there as pdf files.
{6} In Extremism, Terrorism, Culture, And Physis: A Question Of Being, Myatt writes:

“The reality – the truth – of our being is that we humans can always find, and have always found – century after century, millennia after millennia – some cause or some ideology or some ideation or some interpretation of some religion or some dogma or some leader to allow us to express, to live, what is solely masculous […]

[For] a harsh modern interpretation of a particular religion hallowed what is masculous to the detriment of what is muliebral, making such a basal, such an unbalanced, masculous physis an ideal to be imitated and strived for, and which masculous ideal included the notion of a personal immolation, via kampf and a dishonourable disregard for the innocency of others, as a means to some posited goal. An unbalanced masculous physis also evident in – and idealized by – the ideologies of communism, nazism, and fascism, and in and by the ‘puritanical’ and inquisitorial interpretations of Christianity centuries before.”

He then goes on to suggest – as he also does in some other of his recent writings – that a solution to the problem of extremism (whether religious or political) is to balance, in the individual, the masculous with the muliebral by:

“the development by individuals of empathy and the cultivation of the virtue of personal honour; and, in terms of society, Studia Humanitatis: that is, education to form, to shape, the manners and the character, of individuals by not only acquainting them with such topics as are, and were traditionally, included in that subject, but also of them being educated in such knowledge concerning our physis as our thousands of years old human culture of pathei-mathos has bequeathed to us.”

{7} David Myatt: Some Questions For DWM (2014, e-text). The text is included in a collection of his essays published under the title One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings, ISBN 978-1502396105.

{8} The Natural Balance of Honour, 2012.  The text is an extract from Myatt’s The Way of Pathei-Mathos – A Philosophical Compendiary.


A pdf version is available here – review-myatt-good-evil.pdf


Covert surveillance photograph of David Myatt by the BBC, 2000 AD
A Review of David Myatt’s Ιερός Λόγος, An Esoteric Mythos

Following on from his translation, from the ancient Greek, of the Pymander chapter of the Corpus Hermeticum, published in 2013 {1}, Myatt has now (January 2015) published his translation of the third chapter of that Corpus, conventionally entitled either A Sacred Discourse or A Holy Sermon. Continuing the iconoclasm prominent in his Pymander translation, Myatt has entitled it An Esoteric Mythos, in justification for which he quotes Herodotus.

In his introduction, Myatt – in reference to his Pymander translation {2} – explains that he has:

“retained the transliterations, and some of the English phrases, used and explained there, such as physis, phaos, theos. I have also, as there, occasionally used some particular, or some quite obscure English words – or forms of them – in order to try and elucidate the meaning of the text or to avoid using, in what is a metaphysical text, some commonplace term with various connotations (contemporary or otherwise) that may lead to a misunderstanding of the text. I have endeavoured to explain such obscure words in the commentary. There is thus in this translation, as in my translation of Pœmandres, a certain technical – or rather, esoteric – vocabulary.”

This results, as with his Pymander, in a text that is quite different from the other translations available, as the following excerpts illustrate.

Mead:

“And every soul infleshed by revolution of the Cyclic Gods, for observation of the marvels of the Heaven and Heaven’s Gods’ revolution, and of the works of God and energy of Nature, for tokens of its blessings, for gnosis of the power of God, that they might know the fates that follow good and evil [deeds] and learn the cunning work of all good arts.” {3}

Copenhaver:

“And through the wonder-working course of the cycling gods they created every soul incarnate to contemplate heaven, the course of the heavenly gods, the works of god and the working of nature; to examine things that are good; to know divine power; to know the whirling changes of fair and foul; and to discover every means of working skillfully with things that are good.” {4}

Myatt:

“Thus, every psyche – embodied in flesh – can
by the mirificence of the circumferent deities coursing the heavens, apprehend the heavens, and honour, and physis presenced, and the works of theos; can understand divine influence as wyrdful change, and thus, regarding what is good and what is bad, discover all the arts of honour.”

Myatt’s translation is more fluid, but also more esoteric and metaphysical requiring as it does of the reader a suspension of certain assumptions and a certain effort; that is, an understanding of the technical – the esoteric, philosophical – terminology used. In the case of the above excerpt, for example, the difference between mirificence and wonder/marvels (and naturally an understanding of the meaning and etymology of the word mirificence);  an understanding of the difference between theos and the term god; and why Myatt has chosen ‘honour’ in preference to ‘good’. Differences and choices which Myatt usually (but not always) explains in his commentary.

Which returns us to Myatt’s iconoclasm in respect of ancient Greek texts. For so often as to be iconoclastic he not only eschews the accepted, the conventional, rendering – into English – of many Greek terms (as in rendering ἅγιος not as the conventional ‘holy’ or ‘sacred’ but as ‘numinous’), but also on occasion ignores interpretations of Greek sentences based on strictly applying accepted rules of Greek grammar and syntax, his reason – explained by him in various writings over the years – being that ancient writers such as Aeschylus, Sappho, and Heraclitus, were not grammarians strictly applying certain rules to what they wrote (or who rewrote their texts to conform to ‘correct’ grammar and syntax), but rather were dramatists, poets, philosophers, sometimes (as in the case of Aeschylus) coining new words or “omitting the article”, and – in the case of the authors of texts such as Ιερός Λόγος – were transcribing as best they could an ancient mythos, or metaphysical speculations, that had a long history of aural (and possibly esoteric) transmission, and which transmission may have caused, intentionally or otherwise, a certain obscurity of meaning in certain passages, and which meaning could not always be adduced by strictly applying rules of grammar and syntax but might be ascertained by understanding – without presumptions, without “retrospective re-interpretation” – the underlying (usually pagan) weltanschauung or metaphysics, and the pagan ethos, of the society of the time.

For all the Greek translations of Myatt – from his Sappho, his Aeschlyus, his Homer, his Sophocles, to quotations from the likes of Heraclitus and Empedocles and his more recent Ιερός Λόγος – present us with a flavour, an intimation, of ancient Greece (classical and Hellenic) that is in many respects quite different from the flavour, the intimation, found in other translations, and nowhere is this more apparent that in his Pymander and his Ιερός Λόγος. A flavour, an intimation, that not only reminds us of personal virtues such as honour (over and above abstract concepts such as good and evil), but which is also most decidedly pagan.

Consider the beginning and the end of A Sacred Discourse.

In respect of the beginning, Mead has:

“The Glory of all things is God, Godhead and Godly Nature. Source of the things that are is God, who is both Mind and Nature, yea Matter, the Wisdom that reveals all things.”

Copenhaver has:

“God is the glory of all things, as also are the divine and the divine nature. God, as well as mind and nature and matter, is the beginning of all things that are.”

Myatt has:

“The numen of all beings is theos: numinal, and of numinal physis. The origin of what exists is theos, who is Perceiveration and Physis and Substance.”

At the end, Mead has:

“For that whereas the Godhead is Nature’s ever-making-new-again the cosmic mixture, Nature herself is also co-established in that Godhead.”

Copenhaver has:

“For the divine is the entire combination of cosmic influence renewed by nature, and nature has been established in the divine.”

Myatt has:

“The divine is all of that mixion: renewance of the cosmic order through Physis, for Physis is presenced in the divine.”

There is here, in Myatt’s interpretation, an intimation of something different and downright metaphysical and mystical if not esoteric. Something to possibly engage the imagination, and some things to discover through study or otherwise. Such as, at the beginning, “what are physis and numinal physis?” and what is perceiveration in respect of Physis? Such as, at end, the meaning of ‘mixion’ (and thus if there is a possible early intimation of alchemy or at the very least some connection to enantiodromia or a mystic hierosgamos?) and the difference there may be between “physis presenced” and “nature established”.

Thus, what Myatt in my view has done, especially with his Ιερός Λόγος and his Pymander – and with many of his other Greek translations – is to bring them alive; made them interesting again, thus possibly piquing the interest of a whole new generation. He has also made such texts as the Ιερός Λόγος and the Pymander seem somewhat strange – if not quixotic – in these our rather material modern times; strange because redolent of an ancient pagan, quite mystical, view of the world that (except possibly in a few people) no longer exists.

But whether he is or will be commended for doing such things is entirely another matter.

R. Parker
2015

Myatt’s Ιερός Λόγος is available (i) as a free pdf download from https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/hermetica-an-esoteric-mythos-v2.pdf and (ii) as printed booklet, An Esoteric Mythos: A Translation Of And A Commentary On The Third Tractate Of The Corpus Hermeticum. 2015. ISBN-13: 978-1507660126

Footnotes

{1} David Myatt, Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander: A Translation and Commentary. 2013. ISBN 9781491249543. Note that this a large format book, 11 inches x 8.5 inches.

The work is available in a more conventional trade paperback size under the title Poemandres, A Translation and Commentary. 2014. ISBN 9781495470684.

{2} Myatt’s Pymander translation is reviewed at https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/myatts-the-divine-pymander/

{3} G.R.S. Mead. Thrice Greatest Hermes, volume 2. Theosophical Publishing Society, London, 1906.

{4} Copenhaver, B. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press, 1992.


 

orphic3

A Translation Of And A Commentary On The Third Tractate   
Of The Corpus Hermeticum

Ιερός Λόγος: An Esoteric Mythos
(pdf)


Source:

An Esoteric Mythos


David Myatt

David Myatt

A Review of Myatt’s The Divine Pymander

In July of this year (2013) David Myatt issued the first pre-publication draft of his complete translation of and commentary on the Pymander section of the Corpus Hermeticum – ‘The Divine Pymander’ {1}. The work, translated from the ancient Greek, is also available as a book – ISBN 978-1495470684.

The Divine Pymander is one of the standard Hermetic and Gnostic texts, outlining as it does Hermetic philosophy, and, in Mead’s 1906 translation, has been used by the Theosophical Society and occult groups such as The Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn, who weaved part of it into an occult ritual. The text was also used, again in translation, by the British occultist Aleister Crowley, as part of a conjuration involving ‘the holy guardian angel’.

Myatt’s translation differs in almost every respect from the other translations available, the most scholarly of which is probably that of Copenhaver published in 1992 {2}. One of the obvious differences is Myatt’s use, in his translation, of particular transliterations, especially his use of ‘theos’ instead of ‘god’, logos instead of ‘Word’, and ‘physis’ instead of ‘nature’, the later of which is an important principle in Myatt’s own and somewhat gnostic philosophy of pathei-mathos. Another difference is his translation of certain Greek terms, translations which he himself in his Introduction describes as idiosyncratic, although I would go so far as to say they are iconoclastic. For instance, he translates ‘agios’ not as the conventional ‘holy’ but as ‘numinous’, explaining his reasons in a long note in his commentary, writing that,

“Correctly understood, numinous is the unity beyond our perception of its two apparent aspects; aspects expressed by the Greek usage of ἅγιος which could be understood in a good (light) way as ‘sacred’, revered, of astonishing beauty; and in a bad (dark) way as redolent of the gods/wyrd/the fates/morai in these sense of the retributive or (more often) their balancing power/powers and thus giving rise to mortal ‘awe’ since such a restoration of the natural balance often involved or required the death (and sometimes the ‘sacrifice’) of mortals. It is the numinous – in its apparent duality, and as a manifestation of a restoration of the natural, divine, balance – which is evident in much of Greek tragedy, from the Agamemnon of Aeschylus (and the Orestia in general) to the Antigone and the Oedipus Tyrannus of Sophocles.” David Myatt – Mercvrii Trismegisti Pymander de potestate et sapientia dei: A Translation and Commentary (2013)

Other differences include Myatt’s use of obscure English words, such as artisements – all of which he explains in his commentary – and his coining of unusual and striking terms to translate an important Greek expression, such as ‘quidditas of semblance’ for what is usually translated (both by Mead and Copenhaver) as ‘archetype of form’, with Myatt writing in his commentary that,

“The transliteration ‘archetype’ here is, unfortunately, unsuitable, given what the term archetype now suggests and implies (vide Jungian psychology, for example) beyond what the Greek of the text means. Appropriate words or terms such as ‘primal-pattern’ or ‘protoform’ are awkward, clumsy. Hence quidditas (11th/12th century Latin), from whence came ‘quiddity’, a term originally from medieval scholasticism which was then used to mean the natural (primal) nature or form of some-thing, and thus hints at the original sense of ἀρχέτυπον.”

A Greek Not Christian Text

All these differences give a decidedly different tone to the work. So much so that Myatt’s translation comes across as a decidedly Greek, almost pagan, work about metaphysics in contrast to the other available translations which make it appear to be if not some sort of early Christian text then a text heavily influenced by and expressing Christian ideas. Part of this is down to what many will undoubtedly see as Myatt’s controversial choice of English words, a choice which he often explains in his commentary as avoiding imposing “after nearly two thousand years of scriptural exegesis and preaching, various religious preconceptions on the text”.

Two sets of quotations from four different translations should illustrate this. The first set is from the very end of the text.

The 17th century Everard translation:

Holy is God the Father of All Things.
Holy is God Whose Will is Performed and Accomplished by His Own Powers.
Holy is God, that Determineth to be Known, and is Known of His Own, or Those that are His.
Holy art Thou, that by Thy Word hast established all Things.

The 1906 Mead translation:

Holy are you, O God, the universals’ Father.
Holy are you, O God, whose Will perfects itself by means of its own Powers.
Holy are you, O God, who willeth to be known and art known by your  own.
Holy are you,who did you by Word make to consist the things that are.

The 1992 Copenhaver translation:

Holy is god, the father of all.
Holy is god, whose counsel is done by his own powers.
Holy is god, whom wishes to be known and is known by his own people.
Holy are you, who by the word have constituted all things that are.

The 2013 Myatt translation:

Agios o Theos, father of all beings.
Agios o Theos, whose purpose is accomplished by his own arts.
Agios o Theos, whose disposition is to be recognized and who is recognized by his own.
Agios es, you who by logos form all being.

It should be explained that Myatt in his commentary writes,

“I have given, as an intimation, a transliteration of the first part, as these are doxologies, similar to the Kyrie eleison [Κύριε ἐλέησον], and much (if not all) of their numinous/sacred/mystical/esoteric quality and meaning are lost when they are translated into plain – or into archaic, KJV type – English. Although they are best read/recited in the original Greek, the Latin preserves much of the numinosity of these and other such doxologies [….] ἅγιος ὁ approximates to ‘Numinous is’ [theos].”

Myatt then proceeds to give the Latin translation of the Greek.

The second set of quotations are from the middle of the text.

The 17th century Everard translation:

“Hear now the rest of that speech, thou so much desirest to hear. When that Period was fulfilled, the bond of all things was loosed and untied by the Will of God; for all living Creatures being Hermaphroditical, or Male and Female, were loosed and untied together with Man; and so the Males were apart by themselves and the Females likewise. And straightway God said to the Holy Word,. Increase in Increasing, and Multiply in Multitude all you my Creatures and Workmanships. And let Him that is endued with Mind, know Himself to be Immortal; and that the cause of Death is the Love of the Body”

The 1906 Mead translation:

“Now listen to the rest of the discourse which you dost long to hear. The period being ended, the bond that bound them all was loosened by God’s Will. For all the animals being male-female, at the same time with Man were loosed apart; some became partly male, some in like fashion [partly] female. And straightway God spake by His Holy Word: Increase ye in increasing, and multiply in multitude, ye creatures and creations all; and man that hath Mind in him, let him learn to know that he himself is deathless, and that the cause of death is love.”

The 1992 Copenhaver translation:

“Hear the rest, the word you yearn to hear. When the cycle was completed, the bond among all things was sundered by the counsel of god. All livings things, which had been androgyne, were sundered into two parts – humans along with them – and part of them became male, part likewise female. But god immediately spoke a holy speech: ‘Increase in increasing and multiply in multitude, all you creatures and craftworks, and let him (who) is mindful recognize that he is immortal, that desire is the cause of death.”

The 2013 Myatt translation:

“Now listen to the rest of the explanation you asked to hear. When the cycle was fulfilled, the connexions between all things were, by the deliberations of theos, unfastened. Living beings – all male-and-female then – were, including humans, rent asunder thus bringing into being portions that were masculous with the others muliebral. Directly, then, theos spoke a numinous logos: propagate by propagation and spawn by spawning, all you creations and artisements, and let the perceiver have the knowledge of being deathless and of Eros as responsible for death.”

The Septenary System

While Myatt’s commentary is often dense and sometimes obscure, it is notable for two reasons.

First, its scholarly nature, for his quotations, in the commentary and in Greek or Latin and with his own translations, range from the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, to Sophocles, to Xenophon, to Cicero and the New Testament, and include what to most people will be obscure works from the ‘fathers of the Christian church’, including Maximus the Confessor, Irenaeus, and Cyril of Alexandria. Occasional gems are to be found, such as Myatt’s translation from the Greek of a passage from the Discourses of Epictetus:

“Neither a tyrannos nor some Lord shall negate my intent; nor some crowd although I be just one; nor someone stronger although I be weaker, since such unhindrance is a gift, to everyone, from theos.”

Second, and of interest to many, the commentary explains much about not only ‘the septenary system’ – the hebdomad – which forms an important part of the hermetic Pymander text, but also about the ‘anados’, the journey through the spheres to the final goal of immortality. There are esoteric gems aplenty here, and it is worth ploughing through the commentary just to find these. For example, in a comment on part 26 of the Pymander text, Myatt writes,

” [It is] easy to understand why some considered there were, or represented their understanding/insight by, ‘nine’ (seven plus two) fundamental cosmic emanations, or by nine realms or spheres [qv. the quote from Cicero in section 17] – 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’. However, as this 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 mortals 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.”

An Iconoclastic Work

Although already known as “a British iconoclast” {3} for his strange and past involvements and peregrinations, as well as known for his idiosyncratic translations of Sappho and Heraclitus, David Myatt’s translation of and commentary on ‘The Divine Pymander’ will undoubtedly confirm that iconoclasm and that idiosyncrasy.

His translation is most decidedly iconoclastic, bringing as it does a new insight into the text, and breathing as it does new life into its hermeticism, thus making it far more accessible to, and understandable, by students of gnosticism, hermeticism, and the occult; and although – given Myatt’s (not always deserved) reputation, and his past involvements and peregrinations – it will undoubtedly be ignored by the academic establishment, its appeal will be to such students and to others interested in the arcane. It also serves to compliment Myatt’s own philosophy of pathei-mathos, elucidating as it does some of the more obscure points of Myatt’s ontological speculations.

R. Parker
July 2013

{1} Myatt’s translation and commentary, in pdf format, is available here – dwmyatt-pymander-hermetica.pdf

{2} Copenhaver, B. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press, 1992. There is a major issue with Copenhaver’s book in that in his notes he gives not the actual Greek text (using the Greek character set) but transliterations (using the Latin character set) which is annoying for those who can read Greek. Myatt in his notes and commentary, and to his credit, eschews this ‘populist’, dumbing-down, approach, and – in accord with hundreds of years of scholarship – provides the Greek text.

{3} Jon B. Perdue: The War of All the People: The Nexus of Latin American Radicalism and Middle Eastern Terrorism. Potomac Books, 2012. p.70

ΔΔΔ

Editorial Note: Given numerous requests over the years for interviews, for personal meetings, for contact details, and for information about Reichsfolk other than what has already been made publicly available, RS has submitted the following statement to clarify the matter. Until recently Reichsfolk maintained an irregularly monitored contactable e-mail address which was sometimes relayed to those who displayed an interest and which was primarily used to explain the nature of Reichsfolk, as described in the following statement. This e-mail address, however, was suspended by the e-mail provider for ‘violation of their terms of service’ and, in the foreseeable future, Reichsfolk will remain publicly un-contactable.

°°°°°

While Reichsfolk is “a social, educational, cultural, and spiritual, movement based upon and dedicated to disseminating the noble principles of ethical, non-racist, National-Socialism,” {1} it is not a movement – political or otherwise – seeking to publicly recruit members or to continually distribute propaganda or to have a public face. Its commitment is to personally, directly, introduce individuals to the civilized reality of National-Socialism, and to strive to implement the idealism of National-Socialism in practical ways. The former means being clandestine; the latter means individuals and families, on their own or in very small numbers, living in a way consistent with National-Socialist ideals with no outward show of or profession of National-Socialist beliefs, and with this sometimes involving a family, or a few families, living in a usually rural environment as a ‘family community’ or as a kindred of two or more families. In both cases intrusion by ‘outsiders’ – for whatever reason, political or otherwise, and from whatever motive – is considered undesirable.

In regard to Reichsfolk literature, sufficient has been produced {1}{2} for others to understand what has been termed ‘non-racist National-Socialism’ and to, if inspired, form their own ‘family community’ or kindred. Which independent, unconnected, formations and their growth over the years and the generations is how Reichsfolk envisages its ideals – and thus a modern National-Socialism – will be gradually implemented in these times of overt persecution of those publicly espousing National-Socialism and of those who either question the veracity of what has become known as ‘the Shoah’ or who believe it is a myth.

Richard Stirling
September 2017 ev

{1} An Introduction To Reichsfolk (pdf)

{2} https://cosmicreich.wordpress.com/ethical-national-socialism/


Order of Nine Angles

O9A

It Can Sometimes Be Informative To Chastise

It can sometimes – in a dialectical sort of way {1} – be informative for our readers, as well as mildly amusing for us, to polemically {2} chastise when someone publicly makes statements about the O9A, and about themselves, which reveal (a) just how silly and ill-informed that ‘someone’ is, and (b) just how they, in their silliness and ignorance, contribute albeit unwittingly to the O9A mythos and thus to its Labyrinthos Mythologicus {3).

Exhibit 1.

In the case under consideration, a silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ wrote: “I am proud of my religion, the Left Hand Path celebrates liberty, life and responsibility.”

In that one short sentence, there are two falsities, indicative of ignorance. First falsity is that the Left Hand Path (LHP) – more correctly, the Western, Occult, Left Hand Path – is a religion; second, that it celebrates some causal (some supra-personal, and social and/or political) abstraction denoted by the term ‘liberty’.

Correctly understood, through a scholarly perusal of Western esotericism, the LHP means: (a) antinomianism, that is (i) the rejection of the morality, and the zeitgeist, of contemporaneous society or societies, and (ii) a rejection of the laws established and enforced by others and in particular by supra-personal entities such as governments; and (b) rejection of religion and of the religious attitude, with the essential attributes of both religion and of the religious attitude being “belief in and (often uncritical) obedience to” what someone or some entity has codified, and “acceptance of being part of” some hierarchical group, community, or organization.

This understanding leads and has led to various modern LHP practices, from those redolent of anarchy and nihilism to those ‘extreme practices’ such as exemplified by the Order of Nine Angles who have defined ‘their’ LHP as a personal Occult way where:

“there is nothing that is not permitted; nothing that is forbidden or restricted. That is, the LHP means the individual takes sole responsibility for their actions and their quest. This makes the LHP both difficult and dangerous – its methods can be used as an excuse for anti-social behaviour as they can be used to aid the fetishes and weaknesses of some individuals as well as lead some into forbidden and illegal acts. However, the genuine Initiate of the LHP is undertaking a quest, and as such is seeking something: that is, there is a dynamic, an imperative about their actions as well as the conscious understanding and appreciation that all such actions are only part of that quest; they are not the quest itself. This arises because the LHP Initiate is seeking mastery and self-knowledge – these being implicit in such an Initiation. Accordingly, the LHP Initiate sees methods as merely methods; experience as merely experience. Both are used, and then discarded.

Because of this the LHP is by its nature ruthless – the strong of character win through, the weak go under. There are no ‘safety nets’ of any kind on the LHP […] The LHP breeds self-achievement and self-excellence, or it destroys.” {4}

In other words, the essence of the O9A LHP is practical, esoteric and exoteric, pathei-mathos {5}.

Exhibit 2.

In the case under consideration, a silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ wrote: “I earned the hatred of the ONA…my lone LHP voice did significant damage to the ONA.”

In that one short sentence, there are two falsities, indicative – in this case – both of ignorance and self-aggrandizement.

a) First falsity. Since the Order of Nine Angles, correctly understood (by means of detailed study of the entire O9A corpus over many months) is an esoteric philosophy presenced in three Occult praxises – and thus rather akin to “a movement, a subculture or perhaps metaculture that its adherents choose to embody or identify with” {6} – then “it” cannot “hate” anybody, no more than Nietzsche’s philosophy can “hate” a person.

b) Second falsity. Since the Order of Nine Angles is an esoteric philosophy presenced in three Occult praxises, an internet-based “voice” or internet-based “voices” cannot do any damage to such a philosophy, significant or otherwise, especially given that such a “voice” or “voices” is or are unscholarly and has not, or have not, presented any formalized philosophical, and mainstream published, written rebuttal of that philosophy in terms of its ontology, epistemology, and theory of ethics.

It seems to have escaped the notice of this particular silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ – and others of that ilk – that (a) a rant or rants, via the internet, about the ONA, (b) making unsubstantiated allegations about the ONA, and (c) spreading rumours about the ONA, do not amount to a philosophical rebuttal of ONA ontology, epistemology, and ethics; and as such are only and will only ever be taken seriously by such silly and ill-informed persons and others of their (mostly internet-bound) ilk.

Which exposure of such falsities will, in all probability, not prevent this particular silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ – and others of that ilk – from continuing to propagate such falsities about the ONA in the future. For no doubt their, apparently necessary, self-belief that their “voices” can make a difference will motive them to continue making unsubstantiated allegations and continue spreading rumours, strengthened as that self-belief no doubt has been, is and will be by what is, for them, an apparently convincing delusion that they possess a detailed, esoteric, and philosophical, knowledge of the ONA.

Exhibit 3.

In the case under consideration, a silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ wrote: “fanatics such as David Myatt (Order of Nine Angles) promote murder in the name of religion.”

In that one short sentence, there are three falsities, indicative – in this case – of that someone giving voice to the zeitgeist of contemporaneous Western society. Or, in less abstruse terms, parroting Magian propaganda {7} about a particular person in some apparent attempt to discredit and demean him.

a) First falsity. Since Mr Myatt, over seven years ago now, (i) has publicly distanced himself (theoretically and practically) from all types of extremism, (ii) was and is engaged only in academic pursuits, such as translations, (iii) lives and has lived as a recluse, and (iv) has developed a personal philosophy of life based on virtues such as empathy, humility, and compassion, he is most certainly not a ‘fanatic’.

b) Second falsity. Since neither the silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ nor anyone else has provided probative evidence that Mr Myatt is or was connected to the Order of Nine Angles, associating him with the ONA amounts to using ‘weasel words’ in order to create a misleading, propagandistic, impression of Mr Myatt.

b) Third falsity. Since the silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ used the present tense (promote) and does not provide any details as to where and when this current promotion of murder – in the name of religion or otherwise – occurred, then the accusation is at best a misleading, propagandistic, one, and at worst is a malicious, libellous, allegation.

Given that the silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ is giving voice to the zeitgeist of contemporaneous Western society by simply parroting Magian propaganda about a particular person – disliked, even hated, as that person is by the savants of the Magian status quo – then the silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ is most certainly not, as they believe, “of the Left Hand Path.”

Conclusion

What this particular case illustrates, once again, is how the majority view by individuals – be they self-professed Occultists or ‘satanists’ – of both the Order of Nine Angles and of Mr Myatt is simply a parroting of Magian propaganda about a particular person and about a particular esoteric philosophy.

In the matter of the Order of Nine Angles, it is disliked – even loathed – because of its opposition to the “Ayn Rand with trappings” Magian ‘satanism’ of Howard Stanton Levey, its opposition to the foreign influenced (the non-Western) cult of Aquino’s ‘Setianism’, and of course because of the O9A’s antinomian, ‘heretical’, support of National Socialism, holocaust revisionism, and of Muslim Jihad.

In the matter of of Mr Myatt, he is disliked – even hated – by the savants of the Magian status quo (which savants include followers of the ‘satanism’ of Howard Stanton Levey as well as anti-fascists) not only because of his alleged links to, and his alleged founding of, the Order of Nine Angles, but also because his experiential life is one of practical opposition to everything Magian, from his thirty years as a neo-nazi activist and as a “principal proponent of contemporary neo-Nazi ideology and theoretician of revolution,” {8} to his decade as an active supporter of Muslim Jihad {9}{10}, to his Western, ineluctably pagan, philosophy of pathei-mathos {11}, and his recent translations of Western texts about hermeticism {12} which restore them to the Western, pagan, mystical tradition.

Our silly and ill-informed ‘someone’ is therefore simply following what has become something of an established Magian tradition of demeaning and trying to discredit both the O9A and Mr Myatt.

T.W.S.
2017 ev

°°°°°°°

{1} Being pedants by inclination and occupation, we shall explain what we mean by various terms. Dialectical/dialectic:

(i) Having premises which are merely probable as opposed to demonstrably true; based on probable opinions rather than on demonstrable fact. (ii) Characterized by the existence or operation of opposing forces, tendencies, opinions, etcetera; the tension and disputes produced by the clash of such forces, opinions, etcetera; and the revealing of truth (the insight) that can result from such tension, disputes, and clashes. (iii) A disputant who disputes to be transgressive and/or to engender a dialectical response.

(ii) Polemic/polemical:

“Of the nature of, exhibiting, given to, or relating to dispute or controversy; contentious, disputatious, combative. a diatribe. A controversial argument; a strong verbal or written attack on a person, opinion, or doctrine. An aggressive debate or controversy; the practice of engaging in such debate. A person who argues or writes in opposition to another, or who takes up a controversial position; a controversialist.”

{3} The Labyrinthos Mythologicus of the O9A is explained here: https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/labyrinthos-mythologicus/

{4} The LHP – An Analysis. 1991. Published in Hostia, volume III.

{5} Refer to Notes On The Esoteric Learning Presenced Through Pathei-Mathos, available at https://omega9alpha.wordpress.com/pathei-mathos/

{6}Monette, Connell. Mysticism in the 21st Century. Sirius Academic Press. 2013. p. 89.

{7} The O9A use the term Magian to refer to the hybrid ethos of Yahoud and of Western hubriati, and to those individuals who are Magian by either breeding or nature. The essence of the paternalistic Magian ethos is inherent in Judaism, in Nasrany, and in Islam.

Two of the most prominent manifestations of the Magian ethos, in the modern world and in Western societies in particular, are (i) the State sponsored religion of holocaustianity (with the attendant demonizing of Hitler, the Third Reich, National Socialism, and the demonizing of ‘White’ – but not of non-White – ethnic awareness) and (ii) causal abstractions deriving from materialism, with the attendant cults of (a) usury and capitalism, and of (b) hubris and egoism such as the “Ayn Rand with trappings” so-called ‘satanism’ of Howard Stanton Levey.

Hubriati: The O9A use the term hubriati to refer to that class of individuals, in the West, who have been and who are subsumed by the Magian ethos and the delusion of (causal) abstractions, and who occupy positions of influence and/or of power. Hubriati include politicians, Media magnates and their savants, military commanders, government officials, industrialists, bankers, many academics and teachers, and so on. The oligarchy (elected and unelected) that forms the controllers of Western governments are almost excursively hubriati.

{8} Michael, George. The New Media and the Rise of Exhortatory Terrorism. Strategic Studies Quarterly (United States Air Force), Volume 7 Issue 1, Spring 2013.

{9} Simon Wiesenthal Center. Response. Summer 2003, Vol 24, #2

{10} Mark Weitzmann, Anti-Semitism and Terrorism, in Dienel, Hans-Liudger (editor), Terrorism and the Internet: Threats, Target Groups, Deradicalisation Strategies. NATO Science for Peace and Security Series, vol. 67. IOS Press, 2010. pp.16-17.

{11}Refer to The Philosophy of Pathei-Mathos .

{12} David Myatt. Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates. Translations and commentaries. 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1976452369


Source: https://wyrdsister.wordpress.com/2017/09/18/it-can-sometimes-be-informative-to-chastise/


David Myatt

David Myatt has now made available (in pdf format) his completed translation of and commentary on tract XIII of the ancient Corpus Hermeticum. A printed version is scheduled for publication in October 2017.

This complements his previously published translations of and commentaries on tracts I, III, IV, VI, VIII, XI, and XII, totalling some 220 pages.

°°°°°

Tractate XIII: Translation and Commentary
(pdf)


Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/09/13/corpus-hermeticum-xiii


O9A. One Image, Ten Thousand Words

O9A Insight Role

°°°°°
The Avenging Alastoras

 

We read an awful lot, these days, in books, articles, and via the internet, about ‘sorcery’ and invokations, almost all of which books and articles describe or rely on the Magian influenced goetic ‘tradition’ as exemplified by the misnamed Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn.

Thus it is refreshing to once again revisit actual Western pagan sources {1} dating from centuries before The Magian Distortion; that is, before the ‘grimoire’ tradition with its summoning forth of Hebrew, and Hebrewesque, ‘demons’ and entities, as beloved by the likes of Creepless Crowley and Howard – the Yahoudi – Levey.

This visit of ours is to Tractate 13 – an evocative name by itself – of the ancient, Greco-Roman, Corpus Hermeticum, as brought to life by the recent translation of Mr David Myatt {2}. The tractate itself deals with palingenesis and Greco-Roman (Western) mysticism – a Western mysticism perhaps relevant to the ‘sinisterly-numinous’ way of the Order of Nine Angles – and our extract below deals with both palingenesis and those avenging deities, the Alastoras, mentioned by Klytemnestra after she, in revenge, had honourably killed her husband and his mistress Cassandra and, covered in blood, stands over the body of her husband:

     Do not add to those words that it was me who was the mistress of Agamemnon
Since the wife of this corpse presents herself here
As that most ancient fierce Avenger.
It is Atreus, he is of that cruel feast,
Who, in payment for that, has added to his young victims
This adult one. {3}

It is probably just coincidence that one of the Alastoras is named by Myatt as Vengerisse, given that in his Mythos Of Vindex he named the female Vindex as Vengerisse.

Alastoras and The Vengeress

An extract from sections 7-11 of tractate 13.

{begin quote}

     Go within: and an arriving. Intend: and an engendering. Let physical perceptibility rest, and divinity will be brought-into-being. Refine yourself, away from the brutish Alastoras of Materies.

Alastoras are within me, then, father?

Not just a few, my son, but many and terrifying.

I do not apprehend them, father.

My son, one Vengeress is Unknowing; the second, Grief. The third, Unrestraint; the fourth, Lascivity. The fifth, Unfairness; the sixth, Coveter. The seventh, Deceit; the eighth, Envy. The ninth, Treachery; the tenth, Wroth. The eleventh, Temerity; the twelfth, Putridity.

In number, these are twelve but below them are numerous others who, my son, compel the inner mortal – bodily incarcerated – to suffer because of perceptibility. But they absent themselves – although not all at once – from those to whom theos is generous, which is what the Way and Logos of Palingenesis consists of […]

To us: arrivance of Knowledge of Theos. On arrival: Unknowing is banished. My son, to us: arrivance of Knowledge of Delightfulness: on arriving, Grief runs away to those who have the room.

The influence invoked following Delightfulness is Self-Restraint: a most pleasant influence. Let us, my son, readily welcome her: arriving, she immediately pushes Unrestraint aside.

The fourth invoked is Perseverance who is influxious against Lascivity. Which Grade, my son, is the foundation of Ancestral Custom: observe how without any deliberation Unfairness was cast out. My son, we are vindicated since Unfairness has departed.

The sixth influence invoked for us – against Coveter – is community. With that departed, the next invokation: Actualis, and thus – with Actualis presenced – does Deceit run away. Observe, my son, how with Actualis presenced and Envy absent, the noble has been returned. For, following Actualis, there is the noble, together with Life and Phaos.

No more does the retribution of Skotos supervene, for, vanquished, they [all] whirlingly rush away […]

With a quietude, father, engendered by theos, the seeing is not of the sight from the eyes but that through the noetic actuosity of the capabilities. I am in the Heavens; on Earth; in Water; in Air. I am in living beings, in plants; in the womb, before the womb, after the womb. Everywhere.

{end quote}

As a certain English poet wrote in 1873 CE, “the separation between the Greeks and us is due principally to the Hebraistic culture we receive in childhood.”

T.W.S., 2017

°°°°°

{1} Our first visit is described here: https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2017/06/30/western-pagan-curses/

{2} An extract from Myatt’s translation is available, together with his comprehensive scholarly commentary, here: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/tractate-xiii/

{3} Aeschylus, Agamemnon, as translated by DW Myatt.


Source: https://wyrdsister.wordpress.com/2017/09/09/the-avenging-alastoras/


David Myatt

David Myatt

Editorial Note. Republished here is an archive item by David Myatt, originally published on his blog, and dating from the early part of 2010. That is, before he refined his ‘numinous way’ into his philosophy of pathei-mathos, writing as he did in his 2012 article The Development Of The Numinous Way, that

{quote}

Given that the essence of The Numinous Way is individual empathy, an individual understanding, the development of an individual judgement, and the living of an ethical way of life where there is an appreciation of the numinous, the more I reflected upon this ‘numinous way’ between 2011 and Spring 2012, the more I not only realized my mistakes, but also that it was necessary to remove, to excise, the detritus that had accumulated around the basic insights and the personal pathei-mathos that inspired me to develope that ‘numinous way’. Mistakes and detritus because for some time, during the development of that ‘numinous way’, I was still in thrall to some abstractions, still thinking in terms of categories and opposites, and still fond of pontificating and generalizing, especially about The State. I therefore began to re-express, in a more philosophical manner, the personal, the individual, the ontological, the ethical and spiritual nature, of The Numinous Way, and thus emphasized the virtues of humility, love, and of wu-wei – of balance, of tolerance, of non-interference, of individual interior (spiritual) reformation, of non-striving, of admitting one’s own uncertitude of understanding and of knowing.

The year-long (2011-2012) process of refinement, correction, and reflexion resulted in me re-naming what remained of my ‘numinous way’ the philosophy of pathei-mathos.

{/quote}

Given the topics covered by Myatt in his reply we feel it will be of interest to our readers even though it is dated and therefore probably does not represent Myatt’s current views on the topics in question.

RS,
2017


The following extracts are from my correspondence, in the Spring of 2010 CE, with a young Western gnostic residing, at the time, in India. I have slightly revised the text in order to correct typos and, in a few place, to clarify the meaning.

Toward Understanding The Numinous

I was most interested to receive your reply, since it seems that both you and I have been on somewhat similar quests among the Ways of Life of this world.

You wrote that:
“Political action without the element of the sacred seems futile to me (or at least doomed to failure).”

Something I certainly agree with – and what attracted me, at quite a young age, to NS was that I felt there was something numinous about the life, and the NS, of Adolf Hitler. Many years ago, now, I had the wonderful fortune to meet someone who knew him personally, and he – and another comrade of his (also a personal friend of The Chief) – amply confirmed my initial intuition.

But what I, in my youthful arrogance, failed to understand was that, essentially, National-Socialism was Adolf Hitler – as those two individuals told me, and it was only after several decades of fighting for NS, that I gradually came to realize my error. Which was that my [political] attempt – and all such attempts – to revive NS were doomed because they lacked the numinous, which numinous had to be, for our still unenlightened times, embodied in a living person. Hence, I suppose, my mythos of Vindex: an attempt (perhaps a vain one) to prefigure a new charismatic leader who might, by his (or her) very life presence the numinous, in the modern world, and possibly by the medium, the causal form, of politics.

Yet I have also come to understand that AH may have made some mistakes, through elevating a particular abstraction over and above the numinous, and through occasionally striving to make real his vision by using certain un-numinous – that is, dishonourable – means, such as modern impersonal warfare.

You wrote:
“do you still consider yourself to be a Muslim?”

Possibly, but only in the sense that I understand authentic Islam as an apprehension, one presencing, of the numinous, in our dishonourable times; and in the sense that being Muslim means (at least according to my rather limited understanding) acknowledging our human fallibility before, and dependence and reliance upon, The One, named Allah (as we are but mortal travellers in the realm of the causal).

This, perhaps, is veering toward a rather Sufi-esque view, where there is the understanding of how various Ways may also be, or can sometimes be, a path, a Way, toward The One.

Again, I was perhaps fortunate in having been able to spend some time in the Middle East and Iran, talking to Muslims, both Shia and Sunni, and especially during one trip in Egypt into the desert where I felt I came close to feeling and understanding the simple beauty, the numinous purity, behind the label “Islam” which as been assigned to that Way – a simple beauty, a purity, I had also felt during my time as a Christian monk.

You wrote:
“I’m still very much interested in NS and Islam, however, as well as the Numinous Way”

What I have called The Numinous Way are simply my own tentative answers to questions which have perplexed me for decades, and/or which I have been seeking answers to, as well as being the result of my learning from my errors, my mistakes, my arrogance. I am quite aware that my answers, my conclusions, may be incorrect or somehow incomplete, and that they are not, nor can ever be, definitive, or even adequately describe our (and my own) apprehension of the numinous.

In a sense, I seem to have found something lacking in all the many and various Ways I have experienced and lived, over the decades; found myself in some way or other dissatisfied with the answers which seem to have accumulated around such Ways over the centuries.

Thus my Numinous Way is just my own perspective, my own view, of the numinous, and does not seem to me to necessarily contradict the essence of many other Ways, when such Ways are considered sans dogma, sans the abstractions, they have acquired over the centuries.

So, for the moment, at least, I am reasonably happy with such personal answers of mine, which answers seem to have taken me to what appears to be the essence behind many Ways, such that, in one sense, I am (and yet am not) Muslim, and Catholic, and Taoist, and pagan, and Buddhist, and so on. Such terms – such -isms – just seem to get in the way of living one’s life in a numinous, empathic, manner.

You wrote:
aspects of [life here] can be difficult for a Westerner to adjust to…

In many if not most ways your experiences there [in India] seem to be the opposite of mine in Muslim lands. When I lived for a while in the Middle East – and whenever I travelled to such lands – I found acceptance and friendship. Indeed, sometimes, I found it rather overwhelming and occasionally embarrassing – still having something of an archetypal old-fashioned English demeanour. For instance, I can remember on many occasions going into a Mosque somewhere (almost always the only White person there) and being greeted with genuine warmth and asked to sit in the front row for Namaz (a position of honour normally) and afterwards being invited into people’s homes.

You wrote:
If I’ve understood your notion of the numinous correctly, then I believe you’d agree that the problem with the Right is that it keeps trying to put abstraction in front of the Real

Certainly – and this means a rejection of all conventional politics. It seems to me that the solution is two-fold. First, that one has to go beyond the old, un-numinous, abstraction of the nation-State, and instead establish new communities based upon tribes and clans and thus upon a new, emerging, living – numinous – tradition. Second, that one has to make personal honour not only one of the foundations of one’s own life, but also the only basis for the ethics of, and law and justice in, such new communities.

My understanding of a living tradition is that it arises naturally from a small community or some collection of such small communities, with the individuals often bound together by bonds of kinship and the sharing of toil and of hardship overcome. These individuals dwell in a specific area which they have an affinity to and which provides them with sustenance and a means of living. That is, there is a direct and necessary relationship to the land, to Nature, in a specific, small, local area.

Personally, I do not believe that it is possible to resurrect, and certainly undesirable to try and resurrect, some dead tradition, even if it be of one’s ancestors, one’s own folk. Rather, one has to plant the seeds of a new numinous tradition and nurture the growth of that tradition.

Having spent a great deal of my adult life living and working in the English countryside, and having some experience of politics and religions, I am acutely aware of what native Europeans have not only lost but also need to acquire, and develope.

What has been lost – in the pursuit of materialism, through technology, and an increasing urbanization – is that numinous connexion to Nature, to a certain small area which we personally know and where we dwell, and a living in a way we are not bound by the modern abstraction of Time or swayed and manipulated by abstractions in general (and politics and all un-numinous religions are abstractions), but rather where the horizon of our daily lives and thus our concerns are set by what we know, and those whom we know, personally, directly.

What needs to be acquired and developed is, in effect, a new personality – a new type of human being.

You wrote:
you always write something original, rather than just developing a new synthesis of other men’s words

Well, during my second term of imprisonment I decided that I would henceforward write only about what I personally felt, had experienced, or concluded as the result of my own thinking – mostly because I then perhaps rather arrogantly believed that no one hitherto had fully understood the problem or conceived of a viable solution (relating to the problems of the West) or even answered in a way I found satisfying the fundamental questions about our own existence as human beings.

Prior to this, I had spent almost a decade in reading the views, and answers, the writings, of others – ranging from Homer to TS Eliot, from Aristotle to Nietzsche and Heidegger; from Norse myths to Buddhism to Savitri Devi; and so on.

My early NS writings were mainly derived from my own youthful idealistic vision and my passion to remake my own land into a better, more noble, place, and to counter what then I understood as the machinations, the “social engineering” of the Magian, and others. My writings about Islam were often inspired by what I felt was a certain insidious Western influence so that for example the simple submission and guidance that was Al-Islam came be viewed and understood and re-interpreted through certain Western abstractions, philosophical and political, for even the use and acceptance of the term “religion” by Muslims in relation to their own Way of Life was such an error.

But it took me several decades, in the case of NS and such things as Christianity and Buddhism, and almost a decade in the case of Islam, to acquire the practical experience, the theoretical (academic) knowledge, and thence the direct personal understanding, that led me to form certain conclusions about such forms, ideas, and Ways, and which drew from within me my own, individual, refined and complete, answers to the fundamental questions about our human existence.

In respect of NS, I came to understand that the problem was not the simple “us and them” concept that the biological notion of the folk, the concentration on the machinations of the Jews, and the concept of eternal struggle, created. That is, the belief that we had been somehow led astray, and needed to return to some idealized notion of some past we have lost, to re-connect ourselves with “our true identity” and “purify” our land and folk.

Instead, I concluded that we ourselves – native Europeans – were an integral part of the problem; that it was necessary for us to fundamentally change ourselves, and that this change had to arise from within each one of us, directly, numinously, and could not be achieved by the imposition of or the striving for some political, some social, ideology or by adherence to some pre-existing religious world-view. It certainly could not be achieved by trying to resurrect some dead – and often some idealized – past tradition.

Thus, as you wrote:
the fixation on the biological view of race is one such symptom

In respect of Islam, I came to understand that for all its benefits, for all its intimations of the numinous in this materialistic modern world of ours, it was – had become – an abstraction, which individuals imposed upon themselves and mightily strove to follow and adhere to in the hope of Jannah, and that, and unfortunately, even a desire to return to the perceived, the original, fundamentals – as manifest for instance in the modern awakening that was Ahlus Sunnah wal Jamaah – was not and never could be the numinous, the evolutionary, the ethical, the correct philosophical, answer, just as what one might described as the more natural, the less abstract, the less dogmatic, perhaps the more human, approach of Sufism was not, ultimately, the answer either.

Which answer, for me, is the simple one of empathy, compassion, personal honour, and of ourselves as one nexion, one fragile connexion to all Life, with there being no need for the abstraction of some biological folk, no need for some suffering-caused concept of struggle and dominance, no need to project blame on others for our own failings, no need for assumptions such as Jannah, no need to strive to adhere to some rigid principles or rules laid down by someone else in some past. Instead, there is a being-human in a natural way – a knowing of each moment of life in its immediate personal reality (sans abstractions), and a gentle acceptance of just living empathically, honourably, within that immediate and personal reality.

Philosophically, this is the knowledge that our life – our conscious human life which we possess the ability, the faculties, to change – is no longer and of necessity bound to what Heraclitus described as polemos; to some interminable dialectic of conflict and thence to some abstraction, some ideal, some linear concept, named “progress”. The knowledge that one of the most common causes of suffering – and of the loss of the numinous, in our lives – is the assumption of linearity, of causal Time (linear cause-and-effect), implicit in all our human manufactured abstractions, and which abstractions we impose upon ourselves, which we project onto and impose on other human beings, and on the life with which we share this planet.

David Myatt
May 2010


David Myatt

°°°°°

Swan Song Of A Mystic?

The latest effusion from Mr David Myatt, titled Some Questions For DWM 2017, is interesting for a variety of reasons not least of which is that it is permeated – as is his philosophy of pathei-mathos – with references to the classical culture of ancient Greece and Rome. It is also – perhaps unintentionally – revealing about Myatt’s character providing as it does facts about his life and how he now views his philosophy of pathei-mathos, which philosophy he has previously described as his weltanschauung, his own outlook on life.

The overall impression is of a man steeped in Western culture who is still ineluctably part of that culture but who – even though already withdrawn from the world – desires as a mystic might to cut what few ties still bind him to the world of vanity and materialism.

The Philosophy of Pathei Mathos

One of these ties appears to be his philosophy of pathei-mathos. This is a philosophy which is not only clearly pagan and part of the Western philosophical tradition {1} but also one which provides we Westerners with a cultured – a philosophical – paganism relevant to the modern world which is completely different from and even at odds with what has been termed both “contemporary paganism” and “neopaganism” with its invented rituals and ceremonies, its belief in and revival of ancient deities, and its lack of philosophical rigour. In effect, Myatt has continued, refined, and evolved the Western paganism – the ancient, the classical, paganism – evident in the works Homer, Hesiod, Aeschylus, Cicero, the Corpus Hermeticum, and Marcus Aurelius, stripping away the old idea of gods and goddesses and replacing them with a modern mysticism centred around philosophical concepts such as Being and physis {2}, and virtues such as personal honour, pathei mathos, and empathy. Such a philosophical approach also conveniently does away – sans polemics – with conventional religions such as Christianity. {3}

Why then – given this gift to those seeking a Western alternative to the likes of Christianity who are unable to take “contemporary paganism” and “neopaganism” seriously – does Myatt in his latest effusion seem, as some have commented, to reject his own pagan philosophy? For among other things he writes,

“All that ‘philosophy’ seems to be to me now is a rather wordy and a rather egoistic, vainful, attempt to present what I (rightly or wrongly) believed I had learned about myself and the world as a result of various experiences.”

My own view is that he is not rejecting that philosophy, only moving on, as a composer of musical works – finding themselves unsatisfied with their creations – moves on to other things, to new compositions. In other words, Myatt is only re-expressing what he said some years ago, which was that the philosophy of pathei-mathos was

“simply my own weltanschauung, a weltanschauung developed over some years as a result of my own pathei-mathos. Thus, and despite whatever veracity it may or may not possess, it is only the personal insight of one very fallible individual.” {4}

In Myatt’s case he is simply moving on to concentrate on translations, and to live as his conscience dictates, or rather as his own pathei mathos informs him he should, which is life as a modern recluse and a learned mystic.

That he is not rejecting his own philosophy but instead is just not going to write anymore about it – or as he says, is not going to “pontificate” about it anymore – is evident in two of his replies. For in one reply he writes “I would suggest the tentative answers expressed by my weltanschauung,” while in another that such philosophical essays “can be, and in my case seem to have been, manifestations of vanity.”

But whether he will really write no more philosophical essays remains to be seen for there have been many writers, artists and musicians who, having forsworn their craft, nevertheless return to it at some stage.

A Western Heritage

In his latest effusion Myatt acknowledges his Western heritage, writing that as a schoolboy he read in Greek the likes of Thucydides, Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and Herodotus, and in a rather remarkable admission that what he

“imbibed in those early years from such books of Ancient Hellas was nothing particularly philosophical but instead martial, and I could not but help admire those ‘thinking warriors’, those ‘perspicacious inventive gentlemen’ (περιφραδὴς ἀνήρ as Sophocles described them, cunning in inventive arts who arrive now with dishonour and then with honour, τι τὸ μηχανόεν τέχνας ὑπὲρ ἐλπίδ ̓ἔχων τοτὲ μὲν κακόν, ἄλλοτ ̓ ἐπ ̓ ἐσθλὸν ἕρπει) nurtured as I was then and had been for years by and in various colonies and outposts of what was still the British Empire. Thus it was natural that when, a short time later, I first learned about the Third Reich and about the loyalty of a soldier such as Otto Ernst Remer and the heroic actions of warriors such as Leon Degrelle I admired such men and intuited that something of the warrior ethos of ancient Hellas and Sparta may have manifested itself in our modern world.”

He also admits that

“some aspects of some of the tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum have influenced my thinking, just as Aristotle, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Marcus Aurelius, and other classical and Hellenistic Greek and Latin writers have.”

That he does not mention any non-Western literature I find indicative.

Thus it is my view that Myatt – despite some of his past peregrinations or perhaps because of some of those peregrinations – is still rooted in and still contributing to the ethos of the West, a fact evident in his philosophy of pathei-mathos and also in his on-going translations of texts from the Corpus Hermeticum and his on-going translation of the Gospel of John, both of which are important for understanding the past and the current ethos of the West itself particularly as Myatt notes, in one of his replies, that his presumption is “of early Christianity probably being influenced by the diverse hermetic traditions which existed and flourished during the Hellenistic period.”

This rootedness in the culture of the West is also evident in another of his replies, with Myatt lamenting that

“for so many in the modern West there is no longer an ancestral culture of which one is a living, dwelling, part – a connexion between the past and the future and a connexion with a rural place of dwelling – and which culture preserves the slowly learned wisdom of the past.”

Like a few others, my view is that his philosophy of pathei-mathos as well as his translations provide some of the links we need to reconnect ourselves with our Western ancestral culture.

Rachael Stirling
August 2017

{1} See https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2016/01/14/a-modern-pagan-philosophy/
{2} In one of his replies Myatt writes that in his philosophy “the apparent parts of the unity are expressed by descriptors such as masculous and muliebral, with that unity – The One, μονάς – not designated by terms such as theos (God, god) or theoi (gods) but rather metaphysically, as Being and the emanations/effluvia of Being such as ourselves, Nature, and the Cosmos itself.”
{3} A detailed analysis of Myatt’s philosophy is given in the 2016 book The Mystic Philosophy Of David Myatt, which is available as a free download – https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/a-modern-mystic – and as a printed book, ISBN 978-1523930135
{4} The Way Of Pathei-Mathos – A Précis. The essay is in the 2014 compilation titled One Vagabond In Exile From The Gods: Some Personal and Metaphysical Musings.