A Pre-Socratic Fragment: Empedocles

David Myatt

A Pre-Socratic Fragment: Empedocles

Text

ἔστιν Ἀνάγκης χρῆμα, θεῶν ψήφισμα παλαιόν,
ἀίδιον, πλατέεσσι κατεσφρηγισμένον ὅρκοις·
εὖτέ τις ἀμπλακίηισι φόνωι φίλα γυῖα μιήνηι,
νείκεΐ θ’ ὅς κε ἐπίορκον ἁμαρτήσας ἐπομόσσηι,
δαίμονες οἵτε μακραίωνος λελάχασι βίοιο,
τρίς μιν μυρίας ὧρας ἀπὸ μακάρων ἀλάλησθαι,
φυομένους παντοῖα διὰ χρόνου εἴδεα θνητῶν
ἀργαλέας βιότοιο μεταλλάσσοντα κελεύθους.
αἰθέριον μὲν γάρ σφε μένος πόντονδε διώκει,
πόντος δ’ ἐς χθονὸς οὖδας ἀπέπτυσε, γαῖα δ’ ἐς αὐγὰς
ἠελίου φαέθοντος, ὁ δ’ αἰθέρος ἔμβαλε δίναις·
ἄλλος δ’ ἐξ ἄλλου δέχεται, στυγέουσι δὲ πάντες.
τῶν καὶ ἐγὼ νῦν εἰμι, φυγάς θεόθεν καὶ ἀλήτης,
Νείκεϊ μαινομένωι πίσυνος.

Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker, Diels-Kranz, B115

Translation

There exists an insight by Ananke, an ancient resolution
Of the gods, immutable and sealed by vows,
Regarding when one of the daimons – those whose allotted portion of life is long –
Has their own hands stained from murder
Or who, once having sworn an oath, because of some feud breaks that oath.
For they shall for ten thousand tripled seasons wander away from the beautified,
Begotten during that period in all manner of mortal form
And exchanging during that voyage one vexation for another:

The fierce Ætherials chase them to the Sea,
The Sea spits them out onto dusty ground,
Gaia hurls them to the burning light of the Sun
Who flings them back to those swirling Ætherials.
Moved from one to the other, all detest them.

I am one of those, a vagabond in exile from the gods
Who has to rely on strongful Disagreement.

Notes

Ananke (Ἀνάγκης) is the primordial goddess of incumbency; that is, of wyrd – of that which is beyond, and the origin of, what we often describe as our Fate as a mortal being.

The usual translation of “necessity” – as for example by Copenhaver in section 1 of tractate III of the Corpus Hermeticum [1] obscures both the subtle esotericism evident in that ἱερός λόγος and what Empedocles wrote centuries earlier about Ἀνάγκης. [2]

Disagreement (νεῖκος) is – according to what we can adduce of the philosophy of Empedocles from the fragments of his writings that we possess – a fundamental principle, and one understood in relation to another fundamental principle, Φιλότης, expressive as they both are of the logos (λόγος) by which we can possibly apprehend the workings of the cosmic order (κόσμος). However, the common translations – of ‘strife’ and ‘love’ respectively – do not in my view express what Empedocles seems to be trying to convey, which is ‘disagreement’ and ‘fellowship’ (a communal or kindred working-together in pursuit of a common interest or goal). For while disagreement sometimes disrupts fellowship, it is often necessary as the genesis of productive change.

Thus, just as Odysseus had to rely on the support of Athena, who disagreed with how Poseidon treated Odysseus, so does the ‘vagabond in exile from the deities/the gods’ have to rely on disagreements among the immortals to end their own exile.

Which expression of how the immortal deities (θεοὶ) often differ and of how the Fate of mortals depend on those deities and, quite often on disagreements between them, exemplifies the ethos of Ancient Greece.

David Myatt
2017

This is a slightly revised version of a comment published in my 2015 translation of and commentary on the ἱερός λόγος tractate of the Corpus Hermeticum.

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[1] B. Copenhaver. Hermetica. Cambridge University Press. 1992.

[2] The Greek text of tractate III:1 is

Δόξα πάντων ὁ θεὸς καὶ θεῖον καὶ φύσις θεία. ἀρχὴ τῶν ὄντων ὁ θεός, καὶ νοῦς καὶ φύσις καὶ ὕλη, σοφία εἰς δεῖξιν ἁπάντων ὤν· ἀρχὴ τὸ θεῖον καὶ φύσις καὶ ἐνέργεια καὶ ἀνάγκη καὶ τέλος καὶ ἀνανέωσις. ἧν γὰρ σκότος ἄπειρον ἐν ἀβύσσωι καὶ ὕδωρ καὶ πνεῦμα λεπτὸν νοερόν, δυνάμει θείαι ὄντα ἐν χάει. ἀνείθη δὴ φῶς ἅγιον καὶ ἐπάγη <ὑφ’ ἅμμωι> ἐξ ὑγρᾶς οὐσίας στοιχεῖα καὶ θεοὶ πάντες <καταδιερῶσι> φύσεως ἐνσπόρου.

A.D. Nock & A-J. Festugiere, Corpus Hermeticum, Paris, 1972

In my translation I have endeavoured to express something of the classical mysticism which this tractate, in particular, embodies:

“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:
The sapientia which is a revealing of all beings.
For the numinal is the origin: physis, vigour, incumbency, accomplishment, renewance.

In the Abyss, an unmeasurable darkness, and, by the influence of the numen,
Water and delicate apprehending Pnuema, there, in Kaos.
Then, a numinous phaos arose and, from beneath the sandy ground,
Parsements coagulated from fluidic essence.
And all of the deities <particularize> seedful physis.”

My commentary on the text – in Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates, 2017, ISBN 978-1976452369 – explains my interpretations of words such as δόξα, νοῦς, σοφία, ἐνέργεια, and δύναμις.


Source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/empedocles/


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A Very Different Perspective

odal3

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A Very Different Perspective
(pdf)

The compilation conveniently gathers together articles published in late 2017 and early 2018 all but one of which discuss or which review some of David Myatt’s recent books and essays. The articles draw attention to or explain various aspects of Mr Myatt’s philosophy and metaphysical writings such as his usage of terms such as “the numinous” and the “new pagan metaphysics” which he has proposed.

The one exception is the article titled Decoding The Life Of Myatt which provides an overview of Mr Myatt’s controversial life.

As the authoress of one of the articles included notes, “there is a cultural revolution in the truths embedded in the book Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism and in the [Myattian] texts referenced therein. But whether such truths can replace the prevalent and mistaken belief that Christianity is somehow the embodiment of Western culture remains to be seen.”

As noted in another article also included, recent works by Myatt provide “an intellectual basis for a new, an enlightened, paganism firmly rooted in an understanding of our debt to Greco-Roman, pagan, culture.”


Azoth Sumor

Richard Moult, Azoth Sumor

There is an apocryphal story circulating among the O9A cognoscenti that when Richard Moult, decades ago, successfully emerged from the three month ordeal of The Rite of Internal Adept his then partner on meeting him exclaimed that in appearance and demeanour he had morphed into a certain ‘Anton Long’.

A story which Moult’s later painting Azoth Sumor might be taken to represent, for here is an older Adept – similar in appearance to both his aged self and his then paternal mentor – fishing (perhaps in some remote Scottish glen) by “the living water” (Azoth) and which flowing water is full of faces, of masks reminiscent of one part (Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy) of the “comedy and tragedy theatrical masks” that have for decades been adopted by Western theatres and which, as Sock and Buskin, go back centuries to Greco-Roman times.

Overseeing the Azoth Sumor scene is a smiling “man in the moon” perhaps in intimation of how feeble we mere mortals are in believing in our mortal endeavours and quests.

Yet whatever interpretation we may impose on the image it remains something of a mystery: an archetypal (and a sinisterly-numinous) presencing which words almost invariably fail to describe but which one of our own dreamscapes may, one day, remind us of.

As such, the image is a powerful archetypal presencing and an example of the superb sinisterly-numinous artistry of Mr Richard Moult, an artistry exemplified in his book of Tarot archetypes titled Non Est Secundus Quia Unus Est. {1}

R.S.
2018 ev

{1} See https://starred-desert.com/non-est-secundus-quia-unus-est/

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Image credit: Azoth Sumor, by Richard Moult
A high resolution version is available at https://starred-desert.com/paintings/


Related:

Atu XX

Quod Superius Est Sicut Quod Inferius

7FW: A Modern Guide


Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

odal3

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Western Paganism And Hermeticism:
Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

A printed version of the Third Edition of this 2018 work, edited by Rachael Stirling, is now available: ISBN-13: 978-1986027809.

A gratis Open Access pdf file of the Third Edition is also available:

Western Paganism And Hermeticism
(pdf)

The following “politically incorrect” quotation, from the chapter titled Re-discovering Western Paganism by R. Parker, sets the context for the contents of the book.

“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.”

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Contents:
Preface
Re-discovering Western Paganism.
An Insight Into Pagan Mysticism.
Regarding Myatt’s Hermetica.
The Divine Pymander.
Myatt’s Monas – A New Translation of Corpus Hermeticum IV.
On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum.
Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West.
A New Pagan Metaphysics.
Appendix I – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum.
Appendix II – A Review Of Myatt’s ‘Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos’.


Anachronistic Copyright

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In an interesting but perhaps not unexpected development {1} David Myatt has made several of his works – the most popular ones, according to our research – available under a ‘creative commons’ license which allows for royalty-free commercial publication by others.

The works so licensed are:

° Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos
° Tu Es Diaboli Ianua
° Corpus Hermeticum: Eight Tractates
° The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos
° The Gospel According To John: A Translation And Commentary
° The Agamemnon of Aeschylus
° Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos

A not so unexpected development because, according to Myatt himself, he considers “the abstractions denoted by the terms ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright’ to be anachronistic.” {2}

Rumour has it that he plans to make other works of his available under the same commercial license. Coincidently – perhaps? – this would bring his works into almost the same category as O9A works all of which are distributed and classified as being “in the public domain”.

RDM Crew
March 2018 ev

{1} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/david-myatt-opera-omnia/

{2} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/09/the-numinous-way-of-pathei-mathos/


A Different Perspective

odal3

The essays which make up the document titled Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism {1} seem to me to point to a truth which is both relevant and controversial.

The document is relevant because of how our Western culture is mis-understood even by many native Europeans, and also because that culture is under attack by those – now often government supported – advocates of a ‘multi-cultural society’ with public advocacy of one’s own native culture being (if, that is, one is of European descent) frowned upon and even in some European lands outlawed because deemed by certain governments to be “hate speech”.

The document is controversial because it describes a culture which most modern political advocates of Western culture – of Western ‘civilization’ – will be unfamiliar with, fixated as so many of such political advocates seem to be with the mistaken belief that Christianity is the embodiment of that culture.

However, as described in that document – and in the texts referenced therein – Western culture is essentially pagan and derived from the culture of ancient Greece and Rome with Christianity thus understood as a Hebraic intrusion.

The document thus provides an entirely new – perhaps even a heretical – perspective on Western culture as well as referencing texts, such as David Myatt’s Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and his Tu Es Diaboli Ianuas which, with their focus on such things as καλὸς κἀγαθός, metaphysically evolve Western paganism beyond “mythoi and anthropomorphic deities (theos and theoi) to an appreciation of the numinous sans denotatum and sans religion.” {2}

There is a cultural revolution in the truths embedded in Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism and in the texts referenced therein. But whether such truths can replace the prevalent and mistaken belief that Christianity is somehow the embodiment of Western culture remains to be seen.

June Boyle
2018 ev

{1} The work is available here: Western Paganism And Hermeticism (pdf).

{2} David Myatt (2018). From Mythoi To Empathy. The essay is included in https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/two-essays-v1a.pdf


This work is issued under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-ND 4.0) license
and can be freely copied and distributed, under the terms of that license.


Western Paganism And Hermeticism, Third Edition

De Vita Coelitus Comparanda

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The third edition of the compilation Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism is now available. It includes two additional articles On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum, and A New Pagan Metaphysics.

The compilation is of recent articles about Western paganism and hermeticism, indebted as those articles are to Myatt’s translations of texts from the ancient Corpus Hermeticism and his post-2013 writings such as his book Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos. Myatt’s thesis in that book is that Western paganism is essentially the classical paganism of Ancient Greece and Rome and represents the ethos of the culture of the West, which ethos the Hebraic religion of Christianity supplanted. It is our view that those translations, the associated commentaries, and such books enable an insight into, and thus the evolution, of Western culture.

Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism
(pdf)

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Contents:

° Preface
° Re-discovering Western Paganism
° An Insight Into Pagan Mysticism
° Regarding Myatt’s Hermetica
° The Divine Pymander
° Myatt’s Monas – A New Translation of Corpus Hermeticum IV
° On Native Egyptian Influence In The Corpus Hermeticum.
° Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West
° A New Pagan Metaphysics

Appendix I – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum
Appendix II – A Review Of Myatt’s ‘Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos’

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All the articles included in the book were issued under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International license, which license allows for both commercial and non-commercial republication under the terms of that license.


Image credit:

The beginning of the twenty-sixth chapter of the book De Vita Coelitus Comparanda by Marsilii Ficini published in 1489 CE. Quomodo per inferiora superioribus exposita deducantur superiora, et per mundanas materias mundana potissimum dona. [How, when what is lower is touched by what is higher, the higher is cosmically presenced therein and thus gifted because cosmically aligned.]