A Modern Pagan Philosophy

David Myatt

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Reproduced here in full is the conclusion – Epilogos, the last part – of Myatt’s scholarly monograph Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos {1} in which conclusion he outlines a new pagan, and importantly a Western, weltanschauung (philosophy/worldview) derived from his study of Greco-Roman and Hermetic texts.

Central to this pagan philosophy is the principle of καλὸς κἀγαθός which Myatt in chapter three of that monograph explains concerns:

“those who conduct themselves in a gentlemanly or lady-like manner and who thus manifest – because of their innate physis or through pathei-mathos or through a certain type of education or learning – nobility of character. Which Greek phrase expresses the ethics, the high personal standards, of the ancient paganus weltanschauung we have been discussing, and which standards naturally resulted in two things. First, in only a minority of individuals in a particular πόλις or civitas – community, tribe, clan, or society – manifesting such standards in their daily lives, with such a minority often forming a natural, and ruling, aristocracy. Second, that it was often a person who lived (and was prepared to die) by such high standards who, because of their character or based on a reputation established through valourous and noble deeds, became or was chosen as the leader or the chieftain of some community, tribe, clan, or society.

For the quintessence of such a weltanschauung, of the paganus ethos, is that ethics are presenced in and by particular living individuals, not in some written text whether philosophical or otherwise, not by some proposed schemata, and not in some revelation from some deity. Which paganus ethics, when evolved – combined with the paganus mysticism evident in the Corpus Hermeticum and the cultural pathei-mathos of the past two millennia presenced through the insight of empathy – leads us to a modern paganus weltanschauung.” {2}

In other words, Myatt seems to be advocating a pagan society which is quite different from modern Western ones and which modern ones are based upon the pretence of “democracy” where politicians who have no valourous and noble deeds to their name are elected – often based on what the mass Media want us to believe about them – to make laws and to govern we, the people.

This new pagan society governed by a new type of aristocracy rather resembles – at least to me – what both Italian fascism and German National Socialism ideologically, in their origins – and I stress in their origins – sought to establish. That is, a new aristocracy based on leaders and politicians who had valourous and noble deeds to their name, much as envisaged by Robert Heinlein in his now much maligned 1959 novel Starship Troopers complete copies of which are now hard to obtain {3} and which novel has recently been “sanitized” and thus received the “Hollywood” treatment in a 1997 satirical film of the same name.

Rachael Stirling
Oxford
2019

{1} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/classical-paganism-v2-print.pdf

{2} Myatt further explains what he means by καλὸς κἀγαθός in his monograph Tu Es Diaboli Ianua (qv. p.16; pp.21f), which monograph is available at https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/tua-es-diaboli-ianua.pdf

{3} For a synopsis of part two of the original – titled Starship Soldier – see: https://archive.org/details/Fantasy_Science_Fiction_v017n05_1959-11_PDF

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Epilogos: A Modern Paganus Weltanschauung

The paganus weltanschauung, ancestral to the lands of the West, that has emerged is one which, shorn of technical, Greek, and metaphysical terms, many may find familiar or already be intuitively aware of.

For it is a weltanschauung of we human beings having a connexion to other living beings, a connexion to the cosmos beyond, and a connexion to the source of our existence, the source of the cosmos, and the source – the origin, the genesis – of all living beings. Which source we cannot correctly describe in words, by any denotata, or define as some male ‘god’, or even as a collection of deities whether male or female, but which we can apprehend through the emanations of Being: through what is living, what is born, what unfolds in a natural manner, what is ordered and harmonious, what changes, and what physically – in its own species of Time – dies.

An awareness of all these connexions is awareness of, and a respect for, the numinous, for these connexions, being acausal, are affective: that is, we are inclined by our physis (whether we apprehend it or not) to have an influence on that which, or those whom, the connexion is to or from. For what we do or do not do, consciously or otherwise, affects or can affect the cosmos and thus the other livings beings which exist in the cosmos, and it is a conscious awareness of connexions and acausal affects, with their causal consequences, which reason, perceiverance, and empathy make us – or can make us – aware of. Which awareness may incline us toward acting, and living, in a noble way, with what is noble known or experienced, discovered, through and because of (i) the personal virtue of honour, evident as honour is in fairness, manners and a balanced demeanour, and (ii) the wordless knowing of empathy, manifest as empathy is in compassion and tolerance.

For Being is also, and importantly, presenced – manifest to us, as mortals possessed of reason, empathy, and perceiverance – through certain types of individuals and thus through the particular ways of living that nurture or encourage such individuals. These types of individuals are those who have empathy and who live and if necessary die by honour and thus who have nobility of character, with such character innate, or developed through pathei-mathos, or formed through a particular type of education, or through proximity to and/or admiration of those whose lives and deeds have revealed them to have such nobility of character. For it is the known living and the known deeds of individuals which reveal and/or which are the genesis of such noble character.

Such a developed paganus weltanschauung – in its ethos and its ontology, ethics, and epistemology, and thus with its virtues of personal honour and empathy combined with a respect for the numinous – is quite different from Christianity and other revealed religions, and certainly does, in its noble simplicity and practicality, seem to be more human in physis, more balanced, and could well be more productive of a healthy personal ψυχή, than Christianity and other revealed religions.

Such a modern paganus weltanschauung may also be a means to reconnect those in the lands of the West, and those in Western émigré lands and former colonies of the West, with their ancestral ethos, for them to thus become, or return to being, a living, dwelling, part – a connexion between the past and the future – of what is still a living, and evolving, culture. Perhaps the future of that culture depends on whether sufficient individuals can live by the high personal standards of such a modern paganus weltanschauung.

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A Warming Fire, One English November

David Myatt

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Recently, in the cold of an English November, I was seated before a fireplace of warming burning logs {1} pondering on the writings of a certain David Myatt.

Reading such works of his as Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, {2} and Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos, {3} his translation of and commentary on chapters one to five of the Gospel of John, {4} and his translation of and commentaries on various tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum. {5}

A short walk away from this fireplace, my rooms in an Oxford college where centuries of scholarship seep out from the Oak panelling, from the books on the bookshelves, from the elder wooden desk, and even (sometimes) from the digital texts that “a computer” almost miraculously make visible to me.

For such is how I came to read before a certain warming fire certain “heretical” texts, relevant as they seemed to be given my predilection for Greco-Roman culture and its literature, and sent to me as those Myattian texts were by an Oxfordian colleague.

What astonished me, after reading those unpolitical texts, was – as I discovered – how Myatt was prejudged by various political factions who seemed to make assumptions about him and his past activities without having commented upon – or perhaps without even having read – his texts such as Tu Es Diaboli Ianua and his translations of and commentaries on various tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum.

Where, I wondered, were their comments – their scholarly analysis – of such texts of his? Apparently there are no such comments, no such scholarly analysis. Instead, all they offer are tirades based, apparently, on their adoptive slogan НЕ ЗАБУДЕМ! НЕ ПРОСТИМ! (Never Forget, Never Forgive) and on their “fake news” {6}, that is, upon lies, disinformation, and propaganda. Such a tribute, it seems, to our modern world.

Where, for example to provide just one example among dozens, is their rational comment on what Myatt describes in his monograph Tu Es Diaboli Ianua as the fact that the

“culture of pathei-mathos reveals to us the beauty, the numinosity, of personal love; the numinosity of humility, and compassion; and the tragic lamentable unnecessary suffering caused by hubris, dishonour, selfishness, inconsiderance, intolerance, prejudice, hatred, war, extremism, and ideologies. A world-wide suffering so evident, today, for example in the treatment of and the violence (by men) toward women; in the continuing armed conflicts – regional and local, over some-thing – that displace tens of thousands of people and cause destruction, injury, and hundreds of thousands of deaths; and evident also in the killing of innocent people by those who adhere to a harsh interpretation of some religion or some political ideology”.

Where is the understanding, the empathy, of Myatt the author by those who politically declare they are championing hope not hate? There seems to be no such understanding, no such the empathy. Instead, there seems to be propaganda, accusations, based on the Soviet slogan НЕ ЗАБУДЕМ! НЕ ПРОСТИМ! – “Never Forget, Never Forgive”.

For such politicos make accusations about individuals and then move-on to whomsoever else they declare are transgressing whatever boundaries – whatever denotata – they themselves in what they believe is their “righteous crusade” are fighting and thus are in opposition to. For according to them, with their idealogical certitude: Never Forget, Never Forgive.

Thus are they, unknowingly – or perhaps knowingly – cultivating, causing, hatred rather than hope. Cultivating, causing, conflict based on their stereotyping of whomsoever they with their hubriatic certitude of knowing declare are their enemies.

For myself, I take refuge in reading – before a warming fire of logs – Myattian texts such as Tu Es Diaboli Ianua and his translations of and commentaries on various tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum, intuitively aware as I am (rightly or wrongly) that over centuries such wisdom as such scholarly texts reveal transcends such political, such unempathic, such hateful, slogans as НЕ ЗАБУДЕМ! НЕ ПРОСТИМ!

JB
Oxford
2019

{1} Using a Defra approved wood burning stove.
{2} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/tua-es-diaboli-ianua.pdf
{3} https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2019/11/classical-paganism-v2-print.pdf
{4} https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/gospel-of-john-1-5.pdf
{5} https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/eight-tractates-v2-print.pdf
{6} https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/fake-news/

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The Supra-Personal

the-green-damask-room1

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Editorial Note: We republish here an interesting and an informative internet “blog” post about David Myatt from someone who has divined the essence of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos and who in another post – reviewing the new book Feond – appreciates the “symmetry here between Myatt’s metaphysics – as manifest in his recent pagan monographs Tu Es Diaboli Ianua and Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos – and the esotericism and praxis of the essentially pagan O9A.”

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The Supra-Personal

“Empathy and pathei-mathos, however, wordlessly – sans denotatum, sans abstractions, sans a dialectic of contradictory opposites – uncover physis: our physis, that of other mortals, that of other living beings, and that of Being/Reality itself. Which physis, howsoever presenced – in ourselves, in other living beings, in Being – is fluxive, a balance between the being that it now is, that it was, and that it has the inherent (the acausal) quality to be.

This uncovering, such a revealing, is of a knowing beyond ipseity and thus beyond the separation-of-otherness which denotatum, abstractions, and a dialectic of opposites manufacture and presence. A knowing of ourselves as an affective connexion to other living beings and to Being itself, with Being revealed as fluxive (as a meson – μέσον – with the potentiality to change, to develope) and thus which (i) is not – as in the theology of revealed religions such as Christianity and Islam – a God who is Eternal, Unchanging, Omnipotent, and (ii) is affected or can be affected (in terms of physis) by what we do or do not do.

This awareness, this knowing, of such an affective connexion – our past, our current, our potentiality, to adversely affect, to have adversely affected, to cause, to having caused, suffering or harm to other living beings – also inclines us or can incline us toward benignity and humility, and thus incline us to live in a non-suffering causing way, appreciate of our thousands of years old culture of pathei-mathos.” David Myatt, Physis And Being, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Pathei Mathos.

My thoughts have been occupied lately by what should be the driving purposes of a being and if there should be any, apart from the ones outlined in the ‘Philosophy of Pathei Mathos’ which, interestingly, are not activities but rather, a collection of virtues to embrace.

The Supra-personal is – like many in the philosophy of pathei-mathos & the Order of Nine Angles – a concept against concepts. What I mean by that is that it tends to outline why certain human creations (abstractions, categories, labels, isms), are detrimental to our existence and our experience of life. The entire analytical philosophy does just that since it outlines the limitations of language to further show the weaknesses of philosophy as an activity of the mind rather than a direct ladder to some sort of truth.

Since abstractions, categories, ideologies & concepts have an obvious influence on how we live, anything supra-personal is by default related to the activities it depends upon. A good example of this would be a fervent political Marxist. The ideology he follows requires him to live according to a specific set of rules or beliefs which will in turn, lead him to act and participate a certain way in society.

What is offered by the Philosophy of pathei mathos (Numinous Way) & ultimately, the Order of Nine Angles after years of experiences, is a detachment from abstractions & fallacious opposites. This in turn, leads the practitioner to abandon certain activities since the illusionary barriers have been shattered. For example, the separation of otherness becomes so apparent to anyone involved in politics that the entire spectrum of activities associated to politics becomes much less appealing.

David Myatt’s philosophy is fascinating because it is an invitation towards humility, simplicity, dignity, fairness, kindness, empathy, compassion and silence. It is the end of ways, the end of any form of activities that could be harmful to other beings, be they human or animal in nature. It is about balance (Wu-Wei) and about not upsetting the cosmic fluxion and unity that permeates everything.

Interestingly, after many years of studies and practical experiences, the physis of my being changed drastically and I realized that all these things I used to cherish were empty of any importance: A Nietzschean world-view, the dualistic nature of good & evil, the desire for an absolute ideology that I could espouse for my entire life, the appeal of certain political parties, the desire for a solely sinister approach to spirituality (…)

The beautiful, mystical and ultimately tragic journey of David Myatt resonated so much with what I was inwardly discovering through my esoteric practices and my studies. Finally, after a long while, something simply changed and altered itself forever. Rituals became less and less frequent, meditation was pushed aside for months and the time wasted studying vain ideologies and conceptual avenues was spent instead living moments of immense beauty with friends, family and the love of my life. I became aware that the time you spend convincing yourself how life should be, how society should be, how spirituality should be, you simply fail to be ‘there’. You are somewhere else, inside yourself, hoping you could change everything and exchange it all for YOUR very own and personal limited perspective. Most people act upon these thoughts which invariably results in the separation of otherness, the upsetting of the natural fluxion and the lack of empathy so prevalent nowadays.

I humbly think that the ultimate conclusion one can ascend to in regard to their physis, their spiritual journey, is that we are microscopic beings in an infinite universe and we are hopelessly unaware of the mechanisms of creation or the meaning of existence. We are fallible beings with a very limited set of tools that barely allow us to function in a causal realm we understand very little about. We should stop taking ourselves so seriously, stop fantasizing that there is a superior motive to our existence and stop ‘building’ conceptual castles filled with abstractions to entertain ourselves through this oh so short life that we are gifted with.

Nothing is more spiritual, nothing is more valuable and nothing is more ritualistic than a life lived in conscience of Wu-Wei, surrounded by loved ones, without a second wasted in the labyrinths of the mind.

Love, Compassion, Tolerance, Fairness, Honor, Kindness, Empathy, Friendship… Yes, they are concepts but the heart knows about them much better than the mind does. For the mind can only understand them by applying them to a paradigm and human paradigms do not work when it comes to the wordless because they are dependant on language to be grasped somewhat efficiently by the mind. Love is not love as it is defined by a dictionary, it is something beyond us that we attempted to describe as best as we could with our very limited means of perception and communication. Definitions do not make you a better person, what you do in accordance to what you feel in the immediacy of the moment does. You can choose to be empathetical, even if you do not really understand how empathy functions. You can choose to abandon yourself entirely to this mysterious and powerful process that we call ‘love’ even if you do not know what it truly is. It does not make it any less Magical.

“In my admittedly fallible view, one of our many human problems – one of the great problems of our modern ways of life – is that there is too much noise, especially the noise of and from words, spoken, read and thought. Far far too many words spoken; far too much speaking, too little silent, interior, reflexion, especially among the natural peace of Nature where we can sense and know again in our stillness the acausal Time of the Cosmos.

For wisdom is not to be found in speeches, in political or social manifestos, tracts or books; nor in some political, religious, or social, theory or dogma. And especially not in some abstraction, some ideal.

Rather, wisdom is there to be discovered, within ourselves; others can only gently point or guide us toward this self-discovery, toward the necessary interior, quiet, reflexion – perhaps through some work of Art, or some sublime piece of music, some poignant literature; perhaps some poem; or perhaps by some noble deed done or some selfless personal love that needs no words to speak or advertise its wordless name.” David Myatt, The Love That Needs No Words.

Beldam, 2019

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Source: https://acausality.wordpress.com

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Image credit: The Green Damask Room. A Painting by Richard Moult.


Concerning The Term Numinous

David Myatt

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Two essays about the ‘numinous’, a term used by David Myatt in his philosophy of pathei-mathos and also by the occult group the Order of Nine Angles in expressions such as ‘the sinister-numinous’ and ‘the sinister-numinous aesthetic’.

The essays place the term into the correct historical, philosophical, and occult perspective.

Part II- A Note Regarding The Term Numinous
Part II – A Note On The Muliebral Numinous

The Muliebral Numinous
(pdf)

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Western Paganism And Hermeticism

David Myatt

David Myatt

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

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
° A Review Of Myatt’s ‘Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos’
° A Review Of Myatt’s Tu Es Diaboli Ianua
° Appendix I – From Mythoi To Empathy
° Appendix II – Towards Understanding Ancestral Culture
° Appendix III – An Indebtedness To Ancient Greek And Greco-Roman Culture
° Appendix IV – Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum

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David Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture
(pdf)

This is the fourth edition of the book titled Western Paganism And Hermeticism and which edition includes the article, A Review Of Myatt’s Tu Es Diaboli Ianu, and as appendixes three relatively recent (2018-2019) articles by Myatt: From Mythoi To Empathy, in which he describes his use of the term ‘numinous’, Towards Understanding Ancestral Culture, and his autobiographical An Indebtedness To Ancient Greek And Greco-Roman Culture in which he describes his idiosyncratic use of Greek terms such as σωφρονεῖν.

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The following extract from the Preface describes the purpose of the book:

{quote}

We present here a selection 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, for 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.

As mentioned in one of the articles included here, the ethos of the West:
             “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.”

However,
              “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 is why the authors of the articles included in this compilation have studied Myatt’s translations of classical and hermetic texts, for his translations:
             “when studied together enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself.”

{/quote}

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Myatt: Three Numinous Emanations

David Myatt

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David Myatt: Three Emanations
(pdf)

 
I. From Mythoi To Empathy: A New Appreciation Of The Numinous (2018)

II. Towards Understanding Ancestral Culture (2018)

III. Perhaps Words Are The Problem (2016)

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Article source:
https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/12/29/three-emanations/


Telesmata In The Picatrix

David Myatt

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Telesmata In The Picatrix

Telesmata is from Greek τέλεσμα via the post-classic Latin telesma and is possibly the origin of the English word talisman, dating as that English word does from 1638.

τέλεσμα in Ancient Greek meant a payment, or an offering to offset a debt or for services rendered. According to my fallible understanding, in Hellenistic times it acquired the sense of an object intended as an offering to the gods, and to lesser divinities such as daemons, as a mark of respect or in order to seek their favour or ward off their wroth. Thus if a person had toiled to make the offering, the telesma, or had at the very least exchanged goods or money for it, it was believed that such labour or such an exchange revealed that one had earned their protection or their help. The more valuable the object, the more help or protection they might expect.

This belief in such offerings and their efficacy was an integral part of not only the diverse Greco-Roman paganus weltanschauungen but also of many other paganus weltanschauungen around the world, past and present, founded as such weltanschauungen are on the understanding, on the ancestral wisdom, or on the intuition that we mortals are part of a living cosmos with the gods (the divinities) and Nature considered as living beings (or as archetypes, manifestations of cosmic forces) who and which can affect us and who have affected us – as individuals, and as communities – in terms of good fortune and misfortune.

For such understanding, such ancestral wisdom, or such intuition included the insight that some mortal deeds were wise and some mortal deeds were unwise because wise deeds were those which aided or did not upset the natural cosmic balance and because unwise deeds – acts of hubris – did upset the natural cosmic balance and invited, sooner or later, retribution by the divinities, be such retribution personal (against the hubriatic individual) or against the family and descendants of that individual or against the community that the hubriatic individual was a part of. A pattern of hubriatic deeds which both Aeschylus and Sophocles so well described: Aeschylus in the Oresteia, and Sophocles in his Antigone and his Oedipus Tyrannus.

In respect of the Greek belief in such divinities and asking for their help there is of course that beautiful poem by Sappho [1]

ποικιλόθρον’ ἀθανάτ Ἀφρόδιτα,
παῖ Δίος δολόπλοκε, λίσσομαί σε,
μή μ’ ἄσαισι μηδ’ ὀνίαισι δάμνα,
πότνια, θῦμον,

ἀλλὰ τυίδ’ ἔλθ’, αἴ ποτα κἀτέρωτα
τὰς ἔμας αὔδας ἀίοισα πήλοι
ἔκλυες, πάτρος δὲ δόμον λίποισα
χρύσιον ἦλθες

ἄρμ’ ὐπασδεύξαισα· κάλοι δέ σ’ ἆγον
ὤκεες στροῦθοι περὶ γᾶς μελαίνας
πύκνα δίννεντες πτέρ’ ἀπ’ ὠράνωἴθε-
ρος διὰ μέσσω·

αἶψα δ’ ἐξίκοντο· σὺ δ’, ὦ μάκαιρα,
μειδιαίσαισ’ ἀθανάτωι προσώπωι
ἤρε’ ὄττι δηὖτε πέπονθα κὤττι
δηὖτε κάλημμι

κὤττι μοι μάλιστα θέλω γένεσθαι
μαινόλαι θύμωι· τίνα δηὖτε πείθω
μαισ’ ἄγην ἐς σὰν φιλότατα; τίς σ’, ὦ
Ψά]πφ’, ἀδικήει;

καὶ γὰρ αἰ φεύγει, ταχέως διώξει,
αἰ δὲ δῶρα μὴ δέκετ’, ἀλλὰ δώσει,
αἰ δὲ μὴ φίλει, ταχέως φιλήσει
κωὐκ ἐθέλοισα.

ἔλθε μοι καὶ νῦν, χαλέπαν δὲ λῦσον
ἐκ μερίμναν, ὄσσα δέ μοι τέλεσσαι
θῦμος ἰμέρρει, τέλεσον, σὺ δ’ αὔτα
σύμμαχος ἔσσο.

Deathless Aphrodite – Daughter of Zeus and maker of snares –
On your florid throne, hear me!
My lady, do not subdue my heart by anguish and pain
But come to me as when before
You heard my distant cry, and listened:
Leaving, with your golden chariot yoked, your father’s house
To move beautiful sparrows swift with a whirling of wings
As from heaven you came to this dark earth through middle air
And so swiftly arrived.

Then you my goddess with your immortal lips smiling
Would ask what now afflicts me, why again
I am calling and what now I with my restive heart
Desired:

Whom now shall I beguile
To bring you to her love?
Who now injures you, Sappho?
For if she flees, soon shall she chase
And, rejecting gifts, soon shall she give.
If she does not love you, she shall do so soon
Whatsoever is her will.

Come to me now to end this consuming pain
Bringing what my heart desires to be brought:
Be yourself my ally in this fight.

By the time the manuscripts of the Picatrix were written, as translations of a translation of an Arabic manuscript dating from some three or more centuries older, the concept of telesmata seems to have become somewhat divorced from its paganus origins since the Picatrix begins with a doxology to a singular God – Ad laudem et gloriam altissimi et omnipotentis Dei cuius est revelare suis predestinatis secreta scienciarum – echoing as it does the doxology to Allah, Al-Ahad, in that earlier Arabic manuscript and containing as that Arabic manuscript does several quotations from the Quran.

Thus, and again according to my fallible understanding, it seems to me that, given the importance attached in both the Latin and the Arabic text to telesmata – the locus has, despite such doxologies, moved away from the paganus understanding of mortals as an integral (Ciceronian) balancing part of the cosmos, as part of Nature and of their community and personally aware of the consequences of hubris, toward the εἶδος – the abstraction – of mortals as individuals who can by telesmata and other means achieve certain personal desires or bring about certain changes beneficial to themselves. Almost as if telesmata and other similar means have replaced the numinous, the paganus, awareness of our status as mortals who depend on the harmony that the older divinities represented, manifest as this awareness is in the phrase memento homo [2]. A phrase adopted by the Roman Catholic church in the form “memento homo quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris,” [3] and which church, despite its faults, perhaps for centuries kept alive at least something of the paganus understanding of the error of hubris, its awareness of our temporary mortal life and of our fallible mortal nature.

DW Myatt
2017

Note: This text is an edited version of a communication sent this year to someone who had enquired about the relation, if any, between the talismans described in the Latin text entitled Picatrix and Greco-Roman pagan beliefs.

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[1] My translation. The Greek text is that of Lobel and Page, Poetarum Lesbiorum Fragmenta, Oxford 1955.
[2] Although the use of a similar phrase about mortality in the Triumphus is disputed, there is evidence to suggest that during those victory processions in Rome the triumphant General was reminded by someone of his mortality, qv. M. Beard, The Roman Triumph, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2007. p. 272f.
[3] “Recall, mortal, you are dust and you will revert to being dust.”


Article source: https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/telesmata-in-the-picatrix/