Appreciating The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos

David Myatt

David Myatt

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Appreciating The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos

Abstract

We ask why David Myatt’s mystical philosophy of pathei-mathos is unappreciated and why are old allegations and rumours about him still made and still propagated today.

We suggest it may in part be because in Myatt’s philosophy empathy and personal honour lead us away from the Judeo-Christian illusion of causal abstractions (a naming) and a dialectic of opposites based on such naming with the inevitable apocalyptic eschatology; and partly because his philosophy presents a modern and rational paganism based on Greco-Roman values and is therefore seen as belonging to a new and emerging “right-wing” milieu in which ancestral (native and pagan) European culture and a tradition of personal honour are central.

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That David Myatt’s mystical philosophy of pathei-mathos {1} is unappreciated today except by a few sagacious individuals is understandable given two things. First, Myatt’s extremist past – three decades (1968-1998) as a neo-nazi activist and ideologue, and almost a decade (1998-2008) as a supporter and ideologue of Muslim Jihad – and, second, given the unproven allegations, and the rumours spread, about him over the decades by politically motivated individuals and organizations with an agenda who profess to be “fighting extremism”.

Allegations and rumours that are still made and still propagated today despite Myatt’s voluminous post-2011 writings about his rejection of extremism. Writings such as his 2013 book Understanding and Rejecting Extremism: A Very Strange Peregrination {2} and collections of essays such as his Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos: Essays and Letters Regarding Spirituality, Humility, and A Learning From Grief {3}.

Why therefore are such allegations and rumours still made and still propagated today?

All his vociferous politically orientated critics say and write are either prejudiced statements such as “it’s hard to take anything Myatt says at face value, so successfully has he enshrouded himself in self-contradictory disinformation”, or make propagandistic claims such as that he has a “history of deception”, none of which statements or claims his critics support with probative evidence based on primary sources.

That is, such critics are merely presenting their personal opinions as well as revealing either their lack of knowledge of Myatt’s voluminous post-2011 writings about extremism and about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, or their prejudiced dismissal of those writings as “disinformation and deceptive”, and writings which they obviously have never read or have not bothered to study in detail.

Good, Evil, Honour, and God

Where, for example, are their reasoned, or their scholarly, critiques of Myatt’s Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, his 29 page monograph included in his book Religion, Empathy, and Pathei-Mathos.

Which monograph is a relevant example of his writings about his philosophy of pathei-mathos, and in which he compares the ontologies of Christianity, Islam, and the modern nation-state with the ontology he proposes for his own philosophy.

For example, after discussing the ontologies of Christianity, Islam, and the modern nation-state, he presents in Parts Four and Five his argument in favour of a personal ontology deriving from pathei mathos, as well as presenting his conclusions regarding the need to lead a tolerant, compassionate, honourable, way of life.

Thus in Part Four he writes:

“To be in balance, in harmony, with Life; the balance that is love, compassion, humility, empathy, honour, tolerance, kindness, and wu-wei.

This, by its nature, is a personal answer and a personal choice; 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 […]

No need for dogma or too many words; no need for comparisons; no ‘just cause’ to excuse our behaviour. No mechanisms and no techniques to enable us to progress toward some-thing because there is no need or requirement to progress toward what is not there to be attained. There is only a personal living in such a way that we try to be compassionate, empathic, loving, honourable, kind, tolerant, gentle, and humble. And this is essentially the wisdom, the insight, the way of living – sans denotatum – that thousands upon thousands of people over millennia have contributed to the culture of pathei-mathos, as well as the essence of the message which many if not all spiritual ways and religions, in their genesis, perhaps saught to reveal: the message of the health of love and of our need, as fallible beings often inclined toward the unbalance of hubris, for humility.”

In Part Five he explains the origins of his philosophy:

“Twenty years ago, someone whom I loved who loved me died, too young and having harmed no one. Died, leaving me bereft, if only for a while. For too soon my return to those hubriatic, selfish, suffering-causing, and extremist, ways of my pasts. As if, despite the grief, the pain of loss, I personally had learned nothing, except in such moments of such remembering that did not, unfortunately, impact too much upon my practicalities of life; at least until another bereavement, thirteen years later, came to shock, shake, betake me far from my arrogant presumptions about myself, about life, to thus lead, to so slowly lead, to me on a clear cold day yet again interiorly dwelling on what, if anything, is our human purpose of being here and why such bereavements, such early deaths, just seem so unjust, unfair.”

Another relevant example is his In Reply To Some Questions (2012) in which he explains in greater detail the intent of his writings about extremism and about his philosophy of πάθει μάθος – the ‘numinous way’ – and that those writings

“have been written as expressions of my own feelings, experiences, and philosophical reflexions, with no particular audience in mind, save in many instance for a few personal friends. In effect, they document my interior struggles, my attempts to find solutions to certain philosophical problems, and my desire to understand the how and the why of my hubris, of my extremist decades, and thus to understand and acknowledge the mistakes of my past – to understand and acknowledge the suffering I caused – and understand the error of extremism itself […]

What I hope to achieve by such writings is to communicate – or to attempt to communicate – some of my insights, some of my experiences, some of my solutions, and some of my conclusions, such as they are, and as personal and as fallible as they are, and dealing as they do with extremism, with an extremist life, and with the personal life of the hubriatic man I was […]

My concern – and therefore that of the philosophy of πάθει μάθος – is with spiritual (numinous) and personal matters. With our own individual interior change and reformation; with the perspective and insight that empathy and pathei-mathos provide: which is of personal virtues such as compassion, love, humility, empathy, πάθει μάθος, honour, and wu-wei, and thus with treating human beings as individuals […]

My writings over the past few years have been personal, ‘mystical’, and philosophical, with the latter documenting the development and refinement of my ‘numinous way’ culminating in my moral philosophy of pathei-mathos which is concerned with individuals and how individuals might discover and learn to appreciate ἁρμονίη and δίκη and so move toward wisdom. So, what I wanted – rather, what I felt compelled to do following a personal tragedy – was to try and understand myself, my suffering-causing past; to try and discover what undermined ἁρμονίη and δίκη, and what ὕβρις was and what it caused and why.”

Is this as his politically orientated critics claim “disinformation and deceptive”, or is it – like his Understanding and Rejecting Extremism, his Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God, and other such writings including his autobiography Myngath – a genuine expression of Enantiodromia, of the reformation of an individual? {4}

That Myatt’s politically orientated critics have not penned reasoned, or scholarly, critiques of such Myattian works should be sufficient to answer that question.

A Modern Pagan Philosophy

One other reason why Myatt’s mystical philosophy of pathei-mathos may be unappreciated today, and another possible reason why his politically motivated critics have not penned reasoned, or scholarly, critiques of that philosophy, is that his philosophy is, for many of those who have studied it, a modern pagan philosophy in the tradition of Greco-Roman philosophy.

In his recent (2019) autobiographical essay An Indebtedness To Ancient Greek And Greco-Roman Culture he explained that he uses some non-English terms mostly from Ancient Greek but occasionally from Latin,

“in the hope that such terms would not only be able to convey my meaning better than some easily mis-understood English term but also might be assimilated into the English language as philosophical terms either in their transliterated English form or in their Greek and Latin form.

Such terms might also reveal my indebtedness to Ancient Greek and Greco-Roman culture and how and why the philosophy of pathei-mathos is both a “transition from mythoi and anthropomorphic deities (theos and theoi) to an appreciation of the numinous sans denotatum and sans religion” and thus a return to individual insight and understanding over impersonal abstractions/ideations, over denotatum, and over religious and political dogma, with the Latin denotatum – used as an Anglicized term and which thus can be used to describe both singular and plural instances of denoting and naming – a useful example of my somewhat idiosyncratic methodology.

Thus and for example I used and use σοφόν instead of σοφός when the sense implied is not the usual “skilled”, or “learned” or “wise” but rather what lies beyond and what was/is the genesis of what is presenced in a person as skill, or learning, or wisdom. I used and use σωφρονεῖν in preference to σωφροσύνη (sophrosyne) to suggest a fair and balanced personal judgement rather than the fairly modern English interpretation of sophrosyne as soundness of mind, moderation.” {5}

In that essay he asks then answers a rhetorical question about using such Greek and Anglicized terms:

“Does my idiosyncratic use of Ancient Greek and Latin terms make this philosophy confusing, difficult to understand and difficult to appreciate? Perhaps. But since philosophia – ϕιλοσοϕία – is, at least according to my fallible understanding, becoming a friend of σοφόν, and since such a personal friendship involves seeking to understand Being, beings, and Time, and since part of the ethos of the culture of the West – heir to Ancient Greek and Greco-Roman culture – is or at least was a personal and rational quest for understanding and knowledge, then perhaps some effort, as befits those of noble physis who appreciate and who may seek to presence καλὸς κἀγαθός, is only to be expected.”

In his recent monograph Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos he explains the context and meaning of the term καλὸς κἀγαθός, writing that

“we are, ontologically, emanations of and presence Being, and are a connexion to the cosmos – to other presencings of Being – through, in terms of epistemology, not only reason (λόγος), perceiverance (νοῦς) and wordless-awareness (συμπάθεια, empathy) but also through τὸ ἀγαθὸν, τὸ καλὸν, and ἀρετὴ, through the beautiful and the well-balanced, the valourous and honourable, and those who possess arête, all of which are combined in one Greek phrase: καλὸς κἀγαθός, which means 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.”

In his monographs Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua – both published in 2017 {6} – he writes of the difference between classical paganism and revealed religions such as Christianity. That there is, in his view, a

“fundamental difference between a religious apprehension of the numinous – based on received and venerated texts, on exegesis – and the paganus apprehension of the numinous as manifest in Greco-Roman culture, based as it is on an individual, and an intuitive, empathic and thus wordless, apprehension of the numinous.” {7}

This “empathic apprehension of the numinous” is at the core of Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos. In his Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos he writes that empathy is a means by which we can

“understand both φύσις and Πόλεμος, and thus apprehend Being as Being, and the nature of beings – and in particular the nature of our being, as mortals. For empathy reveals to us the acausality of Being and thus how the process of abstraction, involving as it does an imposition of causality and separation upon beings (and the ideation) implicit on opposites and dialectic), is a covering-up of Being.”

In Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, he writes that

“Greco-Roman culture is inextricably bound to the culture of the West and formed the basis for the European Renaissance that emerged in the 14th century, one aspect of which was a widespread appreciation of classical Art, of classical literature, and of texts such as the Corpus Hermeticum.”

Which why his translations of eight tractates of the Corpus Hermeticum, and of other Greek texts,

“when studied together enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself […]

What Myatt does in his translations [of the Corpus Hermeticum] is paint a 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.” {8}

Which understanding of the ethos of the West, sans Christianity, the politically orientated individuals and organizations who are vociferous critics of Myatt most probably view as heresy, as evidence that Myatt’s philosophy of pathei-mathos undermines the Judeo-Christian culture and tradition that still forms the basis of many Western nation-states, and evidence also of how Myatt’s philosophy may aid those who champion a particular and pagan interpretation of Western culture.

As one commentator noted, Western culture is

“exemplified according to Myatt by καλὸς κἀγαθός. That is, by 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,” and which nobility of character is manifest in “the virtues of personal honour and manners” and which Western culture was also – according to Myatt and contra modern ‘political correctness’ – manifest in a natural and necessary aristocracy composed of those who possess nobility of character and who thus exemplify καλὸς κἀγαθός.” {8}

This interpretation of Western culture, as Myatt expresses it in his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, is also

(i) an (often wordless) awareness of ourselves as a fallible mortal, as a microcosmic connexion to other mortals, to other life, to Nature, and to the Cosmos beyond our world, and (ii) a new civitas, and one not based on some abstractive law but on a spiritual and interior (and thus not political) understanding and appreciation of our own Ancestral Culture and that of others; on our ‘civic’ duty to personally presence καλὸς κἀγαθός and thus to act and to live in a noble way.

For the virtues of personal honour and manners, with their responsibilities, presence the fairness, the avoidance of hubris, the natural harmonious balance, the gender equality, the awareness and appreciation of the divine, that is the numinous.

Which “new civitas” – new communities, a new understanding of what being part of (a citizen of) such communities means; a new definition of freedom based on honour – strikes at the very foundations of the modern nation-state with its impersonal laws and in which modern nation-states where the ‘law of personal honour’ – one of the foundations of Myatt’s philosophy {9} – if not outlawed is subject to often severe state-sanctioned restrictions.

As Myatt noted in his Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God,

“My own and only fallible answer to the question of how to deal with the suffering that blights this world therefore seems to be the answer of a personal honour. That 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. My personal answer to personal questions, perplexion, and to grief and doubt. 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.”

In an essay written in September 2014 he explained 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.” {10}

By expressing a new civitas based on the concept of personal honour and on the noble virtues of καλὸς κἀγαθός, Myatt’s rather unique philosophy, evolved as it has been by his Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua monographs – might well be seen to be, according to the standards of the political status quo, as somewhat radical.

It might also become seen to be, or may already be seen to be, by some politically orientated individuals and organizations who profess to be “fighting extremism” – and who are still swayed by the Judeo-Christian illusion of causal abstractions and the dialectic of opposites – part of a new and emerging “right-wing” milieu in which ancestral (native and pagan) European culture and a tradition of personal honour are central. {11}

According to Myatt’s philosophy, empathy and personal honour lead us away from the Judeo-Christian illusion of causal abstractions (a naming) and a dialectic of opposites based on such naming with the inevitable apocalyptic eschatology which engenders a real-world struggle or a war between a posited and a supra-personal, abstract, ‘good’ and ‘evil’. An eschatology – struggle between a posited ‘good’ (us) and a posited ‘evil’ (our enemies) – which the modern nation-state has appropriated, as witness the propaganda against National Socialist Germany with its portrayal of The Third Reich as the ‘evil’ enemy who must be fought and defeated.

Myatt’s philosophy leads us away from such abstractions, back toward the pagan insight of Greeks such as Heraclitus:

“Although this naming and expression [which I explain] exists, human beings tend to ignore it, both before and after they have become aware of it. Yet even though, regarding such naming and expression, I have revealed details of how Physis has been cleaved asunder, some human beings are inexperienced concerning it, fumbling about with words and deeds, just as other human beings, be they interested or just forgetful, are unaware of what they have done.” {12}

In chapter three of his The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos Myatt provides not only the Greek text of two other fragments by or attributed to Heraclitus but also his own translations:

“Polemos our genesis, governing us all to bring forth some gods, some mortal beings with some unfettered yet others kept bound.” Fragment 53

“All by genesis is appropriately apportioned [separated into portions] with beings bound together again by enantiodromia.” Diogenes Laërtius, ix. 7.

In that chapter he writes that

“Empathy also reveals why the assumption that abstracted, ideated, opposites apply to or should apply to living beings – and that they thus can supply us with knowledge and understanding of living being – disrupts the natural balance, resulting in a loss of ἁρμονίη [harmony] and συμπάθεια and is therefore a manifestation of the error of ὕβρις.”

In place of such abstracted, ideated, Judeo-Christian conflicting opposites there is in both Greco-Roman paganism, and in Myatt’s philosophy, Summum Bonum. As Myatt notes in his <i Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, quoting the Roman philosopher Seneca,

“What is injurious to such a [pagan] harmonious balance is what is dishonourable, with τὸ ἀγαθὸν – Summum Bonum – thus understood as honestum, as what is honourable, noble:

summum bonum est quod honestum est; et quod magis admireris: unum bonum est, quod honestum est, cetera falsa et adulterina bona sunt. Seneca, Ad Lucilium Epistulae Morales, LXXI, 4.

“the greatest good is that which is honourable. Also – and you may wonder at this – only that which is honourable is good, with all other ‘goods’ simply false and deceitful.”

For honestum is how hubris can be avoided and balance maintained, and is the essence of καλὸς κἀγαθός which presences the numinous, the divine, in and among mortals.”

This rational pagan understanding is worlds away from the abstractions of the modern nation-state and makes the unproven allegations, and the rumours spread, about Myatt now and over the decades by politically orientated individuals and organizations with an agenda who profess to be “fighting extremism” seem to belong to a medieval world of heretics, hateful preachers, and zealous fanatics inspired by the prevalent Judeo-Christian culture and who seek to track down, to publicly shame, and to accuse their enemies – “witches” and “wizards” – of heresy.

Three Wyrd Sisters
Oxonia
June 2019
v.1.05

{1} For an overview of Myatt’s philosophy refer to The Mystic Philosophy Of David Myatt. The second edition is available from https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/a-modern-mystic/

{2} ISBN 978-1484854266. A gratis open access pdf version is available at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/dwm-rejecting-extremism-v3.pdf

{3} ISBN 978-1484097984. A gratis open access pdf version is available at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/religion-and-empathy.pdf

{4} Myatt explains what he means by Enantiodromia in the Enantiodromia and The Reformation of The Individual and The Change of Enantiodromia chapters of his book The Numinous Way of Pathei-Mathos (ISBN 978-1484096642) which is also available in a gratis open access pdf version at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/numinous-way-v5c-print.pdf

His autobiography Myngath is also available both as a printed book, ISBN 978-1484110744, and in a gratis open access pdf version at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/david-myatt-myngath.pdf{5}

{5} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2019/04/23/an-indebtedness-to-ancient-greek-and-greco-roman-culture/

{6} (i) Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos, ISBN 978-1979599023. A gratis open access pdf version is available at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/classical-paganism-v2-print.pdf and (ii) Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, ISBN 978-1982010935. A gratis open access pdf version is available at https://davidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/tua-es-diaboli-ianua.pdf

{7} Tu Es Diaboli Ianua.

{8} Western Paganism And Hermeticism: Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture. Available from https://regardingdavidmyatt.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/western-paganism-and-hermeticism/

{9} See, for example the chapter Honour In The Philosophy Of Pathei-Mathos in The Mystic Philosophy Of David Myatt.

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

{11} In regard to the European – the Western – tradition of personal honour see, for example, William Segar, Booke of Honor & Armes, published in 1590. The book is currently – June 2019 – available at https://books.google.com/books?id=LlI_AQAAMAAJ

{12} The translation of fragment 1 is by Myatt who in his Questions of Good, Evil, Honour, and God provides the Greek text.

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A pdf version of this article is available here:
https://regardingdavidmyatt.files.wordpress.com/2019/07/appreciating-myatt-philosophy-v3.pdf

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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/


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/


Another Iconoclastic Translation

David Myatt

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DW Myatt: The Beatitudes
(pdf)

The document contains David Myatt’s translation of and commentary on The Beatitudes, {1} which part of the New Testament – Matthew 5:1–10 – is an iconic part of the Christian religion.

As with his other iconoclastic translations – such as from the Corpus Hermeticum {2} and The Gospel Of John {3} – he provides a new and refreshingly different insight into an ancient text.

However, readers should be aware that Myatt’s commentary on the Greek text of The Beatitudes relies heavily on his commentary on the Greek text of the Gospel of John {3} and on his commentaries on the Greek texts of the Corpus Hermeticum which he has translated {2}.

RDM Crew
June 2018

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{1} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/the-beatitudes/

{2} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/corpus-hermeticum/

{3} https://davidmyatt.wordpress.com/gospel-according-to-john/


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.”


Book Review: Western Paganism And Hermeticism

odal3

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Regarding Western Paganism And Hermeticism
(pdf)

The book, available as a gratis open access pdf document, is comprised of nine essays by various authors which deal with or which review David Myatt’s translations of Hermetic texts and his two recent books Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua; plus – as an appendix – a reprint of Myatt’s relevant article Concerning ἀγαθός and νοῦς in the Corpus Hermeticum.

In her Preface, the editor – authoress of one of the essays in the book – succinctly expresses the raison d’etre of those Myatt books and translations of Hermetic texts, and also of the included essays, writing that

“Myatt’s thesis […] 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.”

She also quotes from one of those essays – Re-discovering Western Paganism – whose authors wrote that Myatt’s translations of classical and hermetic texts “when studied together enable us to appreciate and understand the classical, pagan, ethos and thence the ethos of the West itself.”

Collectively the essays present a decidedly new view of Western paganism which is contrary to that of Western neopagan revivals (sometimes described as contemporary Western paganism) and which neopagan revivals mostly devolve around ancient named gods and goddesses, such as those of Viking or Germanic mythology or those associated with Celtic legends of ancient Britain and Ireland. In addition, such modern revivals often involve romanticized rituals and ceremonies such as those now associated with the self-described Druids at Stonehenge during Summer Solstice sunrise at Stonehenge.

As the authoress of the eighth essay – A New Pagan Metaphysics – explains, referencing Myatt’s books Classical Paganism And The Christian Ethos and Tu Es Diaboli Ianua as well as his essay From Mythoi To Empathy, this new view of Western paganism is an evolution, a move away from perceiving paganism in terms of mythology and legends to a modern philosophical, ethical, and rational understanding of it. This understanding is of καλὸς κἀγαθός – of nobility of personal character – and which Ancient Greek expression, according to Myatt, represents the ethos of not only Greco-Roman culture but also the non-Christian West. As Myatt notes in his Tu Es Diaboli Ianua, it involves

“an awareness and acceptance of one’s civic duties and responsibilities undertaken not because of any personal benefit (omni utilitate) that may result or be expected, and not because an omnipotent deity has, via some written texts, commanded it and will punish a refusal, but because it is the noble, the honourable – the gentlemanly, the lady-like, the human – thing to do.”

The book therefore takes us on a journey to a different – and for many of us to a new – world, far away from the religious attitudes of the old world as evoked, not only by Christianity, but also by neopaganism with its rituals, mythologies, polytheism and – in some manifestations – ‘magical’ spells, charms, and beliefs.

This new world is, as the authoress of the seventh essay – Suffering, Honour, And The Culture Of The West – makes clear, one where personal honour reigns manifesting as it does what is ethical and noble and ineluctably Western.

The book is highly recommended.

Kerri Scott
March 2018


Myatt And The Renaissance of Western Culture

odal3

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

A gratis Open Access pdf file of the Fourth Edition is 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’.