Self-Help

Magnus Eros: Divine and Daimonic Paradigms

In a past article I wrote called Eros, Orpheus & On the Origin of the World, I wrote the following conclusion:

The primordial Eros itself has a malleable nature, manifesting as a cosmogonical, demiurgic and soteriological deity or daimonic mediator between the sensible and the celestial. And the author of the Orig. World takes full advantage of this as evidence of the quotations above taken from the same text. The holistic power of Eros much like “gnosis” reveals the essential unreality of the present world; it identifies the spiritual domain as the locus of harmony and stability. It can be defined in terms of erotic love or carnal sensuality, but it also belongs in the domain of the Divine Vision as emphasized heavily by the likes of Socrates and Plato.

Mythological lore in all its forms has been used to many degrees as symbols and veiled disguises to hide certain universal metaphysical and worldly truths as allegories and not necessarily so-called knowledge that amounts to faith in myth for the uninitiated. It is the guiding, healing, transformative and holistic power of Eros that brings us this unveiling of universal truths and laws through allegory and myth to be realized within.

Eros/Phanes was an Orphic primordial deity acknowledged by the Greeks, Gnostics, Hermeticists, and alchemists as revealed in the book Eros and Magic in the Renaissance by loan P. Couliano. On pages 38-39, he writes about Eros:

Wherever Eros is at issue, so is desire. Where desire is at issue, so is its appeasement. That applies to Dr. Freud as much as to the theoreticians of love in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, with one exception: the latter, sometimes revealing amazing knowledge through their freedom and candor with regard to human sexuality, nevertheless grant the existence of other forms of satisfaction of desire. Indeed, Eros, being by nature spiritual, hence located at an intermediate level between the soul and the body, the intelligential world and the sensory world, it can lean toward one or the other of those cosmic regions. But, given that desire is the pursuit of a phantasm and that the phantasm itself belongs to a world, the imaginary world—the mundus imaginalis whose loftiness Henry Corbin has so well described without dealing with its penumbra—there is also a third possibility, namely that Eros burns away altogether in a phantasmic sphere.

The spiritual Eros functioning anagogically: that is what Dante propounds, as R. Klein has so well demonstrated the natural love that descends to the body: that is the experience of many writers of the school of Boccaccio, rediscovered in Freudian psychoanalysis with the stubborn intent of reducing to a single factor the multitudinous manifestations of Eros. It goes without saying that those two traditions have one point in common: the recognition, if not of the nature of Eros, at least of its phantasmic techniques. For all parties, the preliminaries of desire consist in setting up a phantasm within the subject. For some, this phantasm will have the capacity to awaken their allayed desire, to propel and accompany them on their trip through the intelligential cosmos. This will become a heroic passion ending in an ecstatic fusion of the hunter and the object of his hunt—according to an image employed by Ficino and later revived by Giordano Bruno. For others, the phantasm will only point to a painful and urgent need for a physical release which increases in proportion as its fulfillment is postponed.

The New Thought movement was originally known by many other names, such as Christian Science and Mental Science–starting in the late 19th century. It is a popularized form of self-help psychology, relying on principles such as mind-over-matter and the law of attraction. This is the basis of The Secret of the early 2000s. Carl Jung is also relevant to this topic since he teaches something called the “Active Imagination.” In New Thought philosophy, popularized by the Kybalion, the gates of your mind are the most important responsibility one can maintain. Like many other self-help gurus, the subconscious of one’s mind is the chief factor that determines one’s quality of life. For those conditions to be relatively favorable to that person, one must follow through their self-commandments and pursue what Marcelino Ficino calls self-hypnosis (pp. 107-108).

Another essential transformation undergone by Eros from Ficino to Bruno concerns the role assigned to the manipulator in the production or reduction of erotic relationships. Though aware of the syndrome amor hereos and its fatal consequences and of the physician’s importance in curing it, Ficino neglects the aspect of the production of Eros, whose causes he considers transcendental. On the other hand, Bruno concerns himself particularly with the possibility of erotic manipulation of the individual and the masses. Ficino describes the phenomenon of hypnosis that occurs spontaneously during the natural manifestation of the emotion of love; Bruno concerns himself particularly with directed hypnosis, active and voluntary, upon an individual or collective subject—hypnosis whose rules of production trace those of spontaneous love. It involves profound awareness and intuition, a close examination of the subject’s unconscious (or subconscious) to extract shameful “weaknesses”: the means by which the subject may be “bound,” manipulated, hypnotized, put in a state of manageability.

This “psychic” method is used not only in magic but also in medicine, whose success depends primarily not on the efficacy of remedies but rather on the patient’s confidence in the healer. So also is religion a phenomenon of collective hypnosis practiced by a prophet on a group of individuals. The founder of a religion is, in a way, a transcendent instrument, for he does not act in pursuit of egotistical ends. The condition for his success lies in creating an atmosphere in which his collective subject becomes manageable, a subject he renders capable of total self-sacrifice. A religion once instituted, can endure only by the active control it exercises over the education of individuals, a control that must also be repressive in order to prevent the individual from losing his state of depersonalization or becoming capable of being reprogrammed. The same criterion, of course, applies to the promotion of an individual in the religious hierarchy.

While the Kybalion is said to espouse Hermetic theology, it actually has very little to do with it as classically defined in material seen in the Corpus Hermeticum. It is essentially Theosophy and New Thought cobbled together only to be passed off as Hermetic teaching by its purported true author William Walker Atkinson–the true face behind the “Three Initiates”. That being said, there are still fundamental truths to what it discusses. Many magicians consider the Kybalion to be the foundation and starting point to all magical operations. That being said there are fundamental differences between the two sources. At the site Arnemancy, it tells us about these crucial differences:

The fundamental differences in these two approaches to divinity are starkly different. While both embrace a form of pantheism, THE ALL remains unknowably distant in The Kybalion, while in the Hermetica, full knowledge of God is the ultimate goal of the initiate. It is difficult to reconcile this important divide. However, the Hermetica leaves room for multiple interpretations of the divine. As the Hermetic initiate moves between the optimistic monist and pessimistic dualist, perhaps there is room to also contemplate an unknowable, unreachable force that not only encompasses the entirety of the Cosmos, but may not be considered divine at all.

In Nicholas E. Chapel’s The Kybalion’s New Clothes: An Early 20th Century Text’s Dubious Association with Hermeticism, he tells us more about the backstory of the Kybalion.

The false pretension of The Kybalion’s antiquity extends even to the name of the text itself. The word “Kybalion” takes the form of a Greek noun, but has no meaning in that language or any other. It is possible that the name was constructed with a similarity in mind to the word Kabbalah, and others have speculated that it was inspired by the Graeco-Roman goddess Cybele (Gk. Kubelē), but as Deslippe points out “the lack of any correspondence or reference to either of them within The Kybalion suggests that if anything these are nothing more than coincidence.”

Originally known under many names, including Mental Science, Christian Science, and Mind Cure, before crystallizing under the overarching name of “New Thought” in the 1890s, the New Thought was fundamentally a “popular American self-help psychology” originating in the 1870s that promised mastery through self-discipline. In 1889, with the advent of William Juvenal Colville’s The Spiritual Science of Health and Healing, the therapies associated with the New Thought became spiritualized “in a manner typical of believers in mediumship or spiritism.” Thus, while hitherto a scientific-spiritual doctrine, New Thought thereafter forged its spiritual roots in American Mesmerism.

The rest of the article actually connects the Kybalion with the Hermetic material in complimentary terms, surprisingly. For those who are seeking more money and cash flow in their lives, there are several factors to consider. For self-help guru’s like Bob Proctor, self-hypnosis is the key factor to success. Proctor said he was once deep in debt with little income. But one day he came across a book from Napoleon Hill who wrote the book “Think and Grow Rich” and his life instantly changed. He also speaks of 11 forgotten laws, connecting to the Kybalion, that also leads to what he calls “paradigm shifts.”

  1. The Law of Thinking
  2. The Law of Supply
  3. The Law of Attraction
  4. The Law of Receiving
  5. The Law of Increase  
  6. The Law of Compensation
  7. The Law of Non-Resistance
  8. The Law of Forgiveness
  9. The Law of Sacrifice
  10. The Law of Obedience
  11. The Law of Success

The Kybalion likewise has similar laws listed in its material, except they’re seven. Perhaps Proctor’s laws are simply just divided, offshoot principles from the following seven principles. The number seven is also especially important in astrology and astrotheology as seen in the Bible and in occultism. The Law of Attraction is mainly based on the Law of Vibration. 

  1. The Principle of Mentalism
  2. The Principle of Correspondence
  3. The Principle of Vibration
  4. The Principle of Polarity
  5. The Principle of Rhythm
  6. The Principle of Cause and Effect
  7. The Principle of Gender

I’ve also been watching a series of videos from Frater Xavier on the YouTube channel MindandMagick. Obviously, while this is a magically and occult-oriented channel, the advice Frater Xavier in many of his videos, I think are invaluable–particularly the ones listed below:

Frater Xavier is, of course, a magician and actively involved in ceremonial ritual magic, much of which I am not personally invested in. He is also a big proponent for the Middle Pillar exercise. Please see The Middle Pillar by Israel Regardie for more details and background on it. The ultimate purpose for the practitioner to use the Middle Pillar is said to manifest a subtle body of Light and to promote balance in one’s mind, body and psychic centers. Israel Regardie was also a student and secretary of Aleister Crowley, by the way. Mark Stavish also connects Eros to the astral body, as well.

What does any have anything to do with the daimon Eros? A lot of things as it turns out. Eros is essentially the love of attraction, magnetism, seduction, and sensation. It is also the love of the Holy Spirit and the Lower Self. This is the key to all magic and transmutation. I’ve written on Eros before.

Eros plays many roles in the philosophical experience. In the Speech of Aristophanes of the Symposium, 189a-193d, Eros is depicted as a healer. Aristophanes tells us that the human race was originally three sex: double-male, double-female, male-female. When the gods recognized humans as a threat to their power, Zeus weakened humans by separating the halves with his thunderbolt. Ever since, the halves have been searching for the other half, as we see in homosexuality, lesbianism, and heterosexuality. These sexual orientations actually have a connection to the primordial human element in Platonic philosophy. The worship of Eros is said to bring healing in man and eternal happiness through the reunion of these separated halves.

This idea is developed further in Christianity, with the concept of the Bridal Chamber, as found in Paul’s writings, but further emphasized in Valentinian and Sophianic forms of Christian mysticism. The Bridal Chamber is also mentioned in the Akathist Hymn to the Theotokos.

You are a fortress protecting all virgins, O Theotokos and Virgin; for the Master of heaven and earth prepared you, O Immaculate One, and dwelt in your womb, and taught all to cry out to you:

Rejoice, Pillar of virginity. Rejoice, Gate of salvation.

Rejoice, Leader of spiritual restoration. Rejoice, Bestower of divine goodness.

Rejoice, for you regenerated those conceived in shame. Rejoice, for you gave guidance to the thoughtless.

Rejoice, you who abolished the corrupter of hearts. Rejoice, you who gave birth to the Sower of chastity.

Rejoice, bridal Chamber of a seedless marriage. Rejoice, you who joined the faithful to the Lord.

Rejoice, fair Nursing-mother of virgins. Rejoice, bridal Escort of holy souls.

Eros is also depicted as the most beautiful and youngest of the gods. He held enough wisdom and courage to grant mankind many blessings including beauty, goodness, peace, friendship, courtesy, and good fellowship. Eros is, however, more notably called “the Great Daemon” by Ditoma in the Symposium. He is also a companion of Aphrodite and originates from Poros, who is a real god, whereas in the Phaedrus Plato calls Eros himself a god because he is an uplifting life force.

“What then is Love?” I asked; “Is he mortal?” “No.” “What then?”

“As in the former instance, he is neither mortal nor immortal, but in a mean between the two.”

“What is he, Diotima?”

“He is a great spirit (daimon), and like all spirits he is intermediate between the divine and the mortal.”

“And what,” I said, “is his power?” “He interprets,” she replied, “between gods and men, conveying and taking across to the gods the prayers and sacrifices of men, and to men the commands and replies of the gods; he is the mediator who spans the chasm which divides them, and therefore in him all is bound together, and through him the arts of the prophet and the priest, their sacrifices and mysteries and charms, and all, prophecy and incantation, find their way. For God mingles not with man; but through Love. all the intercourse, and converse of god with man, whether awake or asleep, is carried on. The wisdom which understands this is spiritual; all other wisdom, such as that of arts and handicrafts, is mean and vulgar. Now these spirits or intermediate powers are many and diverse, and one of them is Love.

Next, Diotima tells us about Eros’ back story.

“And who,” I said, “was his father, and who his mother?”

“The tale,” she said, “will take time; nevertheless I will tell you. On the birthday of Aphrodite there was a feast of the gods, at which the god Poros or Plenty, who is the son of Metis or Discretion, was one of the guests. When the feast was over, Penia or Poverty, as the manner is on such occasions, came about the doors to beg. Now Plenty who was the worse for nectar (there was no wine in those days), went into the garden of Zeus and fell into a heavy sleep, and Poverty considering her own straitened circumstances, plotted to have a child by him, and accordingly she lay down at his side and conceived love, who partly because he is naturally a lover of the beautiful, and because Aphrodite is herself beautiful, and also because he was born on her birthday, is her follower and attendant.

And as his parentage is, so also are his fortunes. In the first place he is always poor, and anything but tender and fair, as the many imagine him; and he is rough and squalid, and has no shoes, nor a house to dwell in; on the bare earth exposed he lies under the open heaven, in-the streets, or at the doors of houses, taking his rest; and like his mother he is always in distress. Like his father too, whom he also partly resembles, he is always plotting against the fair and good; he is bold, enterprising, strong, a mighty hunter, always weaving some intrigue or other, keen in the pursuit of wisdom, fertile in resources; a philosopher at all times, terrible as an enchanter, sorcerer, sophist. He is by nature neither mortal nor immortal, but alive and flourishing at one moment when he is in plenty, and dead at another moment, and again alive by reason of his father’s nature. But that which is always flowing in is always flowing out, and so he is never in want and never in wealth; and, further, he is in a mean between ignorance and knowledge. The truth of the matter is this: No god is a philosopher. or seeker after wisdom, for he is wise already; nor does any man who is wise seek after wisdom. Neither do the ignorant seek after Wisdom.

Moreover, Eros is called a magician by Plato. This matches the idea that the Greek philosophers were often confused as magicians much like prophets, priest-kings and messiahs are often confused to connect to the idea of a magician. Here is what I wrote about the subject in a paper for The Gnostic #6 by Andrew Philip Smith, The Gods of Imagination: Alchemy, Magic, and the Quintessence:

The aim of theurgy is to make the soul immortal or divine. In a sense, theurgy has a strong link to the imagination. The theurgist aims toward perfecting their “craft” or “performance” in order to basically change the internal reality, which corresponds directly with the external; the outer; and the manifest. A magician can also be defined in one sense as a “hero.” In Greek, “heros” meant a “demi-god,” used in many ways at different times as a figure who gains divinity after a violent death or a mortal who is the offspring of a god and a mortal. A “daimon” was also considered to be the same as a demi-god because such beings were intermediate forces between the gods and the mortal realm in Greek myth and Platonic philosophy.

The “hero” is very similar to the idea of the “perfected” stone of philosophy, being the offspring of mortal and immortal elements. According to Iamblichus, the hero is a supernatural agent among the superior classes of beings that bridge the gap between the various kinds of gods and mankind, which also consists of archangels, angels, daimons and pure souls. This is all comparable to how Eros, an intermediary daimon, is referred to as a magician by Plato. “His father’s side, for its part, makes him a schemer after the beautiful and good, courageous, impetuous, and intense, a clever hunter, always weaving new devices, both passionate for wisdom and resourceful in looking for it, philosophizing through all his life, a clever magician, sorcerer, and sophist.”

The video above goes into the connections between Eros and magic, as well. Plato and Socrates were at one point confused as magicians who tapped into the holistic power of Eros, as the presenter reveals. While Eros is a highly-positive symbol, it nonetheless also has a shadow side to it as Nicolas and Zeena Schreck write in Demons of the Flesh.

We begin by impassively examining sex, the motor that drives the sinister current, as the energy that holds humanity in its thrall. In our view, sex is simply a force of surpassing power, similar to radioactivity or electricity. Much like these other energy sources, Eros cannot be objectively described as positive or negative – such assessments depend entirely on circumstance and the perspective of the observer. Those who condemn it as depraved and degrading are as misguided as their opposite number who sing the praises of the orgasm as the greatest good in the universe. In the West, centuries of relentless Christian abomination of the flesh have finally yielded 346 to a somewhat more objective understanding of sexuality. However, the realization that Eros is not a shameful Satanic agent of sin does not mean that sexuality should be fatuously romanticized either. Eros, like all truly numinous forces, surpasses both good and evil and is ultimately neutral. The left-hand sex magician who wishes to marshal this notoriously unpredictable power to his or her own desires must also examine the abyss of the shadow side of Eros as well as its more beneficent aspects.

The whole pathway to initiation is connected with Eros and the divine sympathies. The mere fact that philosophers were confused with magicians is no coincidence. People like Iamblichus further blur the line since he was a dedicated pagan theurgist who also worked with the daemons as Dr. Jeffrey Kotyk reports in Neoplatonic Cosmology and Astral Magic.

Daimons each fall under a hierarchy that stretches up to one of the archons. All activities in the sublunar world (i.e., Earth) are under the direction or co-direction of these hierarchies. The angels and heroes also have their roles in serving their divine hierarchies. Angels and archangels form a class above that of the daimons. This angelic class generally does not descend into generation (our material world), but the daimons do.

Some thinkers, such as Plotinus, believed that one ought to escape the influence of daimons in order to transcend fate and ascend to a permanently divine state beyond the material world. Others, such as Iamblichus, sought to proactively work with them and modify reality according to one’s will, which is connected to the magical practice of theurgy, a ritual framework designed to bring about ascension of the person into the higher realms.

The issue with daimons is that they compel the cosmic design to continue unfolding, which is called generation, i.e., the natural world in which we find ourselves with all its disorder and suffering. Animal instinct, for instance, is under the daimonic domain. Animals and one half of humans (according to Iamblichus) are governed by instinct. This instinct is embedded in beings by design and reflects a principle of a higher hypercosmic design (that is to say, everything in material reality is an expression of the divine forms). The faculty of reason, which human nature possesses as its other half, is divine, and so it is through reason that one can become a fully autonomous being, rather than simply obeying that which has been fated, which is characterized by the natural passions we experience, as well as normal mortal life.

The laws of sympathetic magic indeed connect to the laws of attraction and the philosophy of Eros. In fact, the four elements of nature were also animated by Eros and Eris (Strife), according to Empedocles as one alchemy website explains.

According to Empedocles, Fire and Air are “outwardly reaching” elements, reaching up and out, whereas Earth and Water turn inward and downward. In his view, and that of later alchemists, the elements are not only material substances but also spiritual essences. To show their archetypal power, Empedocles associated each element with a god. “Hera rules the fruitful earth,” he wrote. “Hades the central fire, Zeus the luminescent air, and Persephone the mollifying water.”

The elements were animated through the interaction of two great living energies Empedocles called Love and Strife (Eros and Eris). Love he associated with the goddess Aphrodite, and Strife with the god of war, Ares. This simple view explained nearly every aspect of the world of the Greeks. Love and Strife were primordial gods who predated the gods of Olympus. This idea is very much like the Eastern tradition Yin and Yang, with Yin being the passive feminine energy of Love and Yang being the aggressive masculine energy of Strife. Egyptian alchemists associated the feminine (Love) energy with the Moon and masculine (Strife) energy with the Sun, while European alchemists associated the feminine energy with the Queen and the masculine energy with the King.

On a side note, Jesus Christ is compared to one’s imagination by Neville Goodard called “God Speaks to Man”–a truly solipsistic take on Christianity if I ever saw one. However, he is not far off since the subconscious is a gateway of initiation between our daily consciousness and the divine. The trick is, however, to reprogram the subconscious mind by affirmations, repetitions, active imagination, and even magical rituals. The result will that you will eventually embody what you wish to be, in the now, as if it has already happened. This is not so dissimilar to acting on stage. The will is the embodiment, just as Christ is the embodiment of the will of God.

If you see a Jesus Christ as other than your own wonderful Human Imagination, you have made a graven image. But when you find the true Christ – called the Rock – and start building on it, no rumors or arguments can knock your house down. Build on the sand and your house will slip away, but if you create your world believing in your own wonderful Human Imagination – called Jesus Christ – nothing will destroy it.

Your Imagination is Christ, dreaming in you and creating your world. Feed him noble thoughts. Become selective and dare to assume something wonderful for yourself. Our newspapers are telling us how to transcend death and live to be one hundred, adding years to life – yet no one thinks of adding life to years!

Richard, Duc de Palatine, a Gnostic Bishop who consecrated Stephen Hoeller of the Eclessia Gnostica, has similar things to say as well as found in The Divine Power of Man.

Man has within himself that Eternal Power. It is up to you to bring forth the God-Head within yourself. Let Me try to show you again. We have a screen, a white screen, and behind it we have a space and a very bright spotlight. We have a white screen and we have actors performing upon the stage, coming between the light and the screen so that their shadows are cast upon the screen, but it is the actor who is the real person who causes the shadows to be cast. You as human beings have identified yourselves with the shadows, those shadows which are constantly changing and constantly come and go. Yet the light behind the actor is simply your Divine Consciousness which casts Its shadow upon this screen of earthly existence and that the POWER behind and in you is your Divine Soul. Then there is nothing on this earth which you cannot have. You will perform what are commonly termed miracles but which are simply the correct understanding and application of the Laws of Nature and of the Power latent within man.

Carl Jung also views Christ as a symbol of the self as the video below will tell you in depth.

The ultimate aim of Eros is what Ion Cullianu (p. 67) is to reclaim our divine wings.

First of all, the heroic Eros establishes its positive existence in contrast to the natural Eros,” which attracts toward procreation.” Its object is a woman; the object of the other kind is God. The same dichotomy separates it from the melancholic state of mind: “It is not an atrabilious frenzy . . . but heat generated in the soul by the intelligential sun, and a divine impetus (impeto) that makes it grow wing״) II, pp. 333-34)—an allusion to the myth of Phaedrus and to the wings of the soul, which, damaged by the catastrophic event of our entry into the world, could only be recovered by a few chosen people, in particular, philosophers. In sum, this form of erotic enthusiasm “has as its main goal grace of spirit and control of passion, not corporeal beauty”) II, p. 330).

In the following posts, we will explore these ideas, concepts, and praxis in more detail. 

P.S. I am still editing my upcoming manuscript and wish to publish The Sun Lady Unveiled by late summer. Thanks!

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