Hierarchs, Hellenes, Hebrews (and Hindus)
The following is an exploratory venture into the depth-dimension of kingly investiture. Support is drawn from Egyptian, Greek and Hebrew rites (without hazarding a genealogy). Additionally, an Indian addendum, so to speak, runs through the analysis, appearing wherever reference to the subcontinent’s traditions (usually those of Tantric Shaivism) provides elucidating parallels. The term kingly here refers to the use of monarchical paraphernalia (specifically the throne) in initiatory ceremonies that need not involve actual dynastic heirs.
The features addressed below are largely drawn from Margaret Barker’s account of temple theology coupled with R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz’s insight into the Egyptian temple (and perhaps that of other systems) as analogous in its structure to the human body. Given that the inner significance of these features is made explicit in the work of certain Platonists (especially Proclus), it is from them that the following takes its cue on the subtler questions. The discussion proceeds according to four moments of royal ordination:
- Coronatio or, more properly, enthronement: a divinizing operation taking place on the seat of a regent or archetypal human form, in a flame-ridden, quadrangular (sometimes cuboidal) space, often described as a mountain, to which subterranean, infernal features may be associated.
- Copulatio: effectuation by a female initiatrix. This agent is presented as a luminous, divine hypostasis and is identified with the ceremonial space itself. Further, she is described as the cause and substance of the material universe through the recurring symbols of a tree (organic growth) and the act of weaving (fabrication).
- Corporatio: As a consequence of the preceding, the incumbent initiate perceives cosmic corporeality (the universe as coherent, organic unit) and epiphanically identifies the universal ensemble with his own body (the two being anatomically analogous).
- Oecumene: A political ethic of respect for boundaries derives from this ordeal, given that each social entity is experienced as an organ in a common body whose health would be adversely affected by tumorous aggression. In Western terms this ethic is properly denoted the principle of subsidiarity.
By way of further delimitation, the object under scrutiny in each tradition might be described as its solar strand. In the case of Egyptian myth, the focus is on the drama of Osiris becoming gerent of the underworld – the Duat – and thereby also uniting with the solar deity, Ra. In the Greek case, it is the lineage of Pythagoras and Plato (including their exegetes) that is addressed: both Pythagoras and Plato being identified by their successor lineage as Apollonian (solar) incarnations. In the Hebrew case, it is to the partisans of Enoch that attention is given. The seventh antediluvian Biblical patriarch may be linked to the heliacal figure of the seventh pre-deluge Mesopotamian monarch Enmeduranki, “king of Sipar, the city of the sun god Samas” by way of common epithets (Algis Uzdavinys agrees with the Mesopotamian link, writing that the “…Enoch literature of Jewish mysticism derives directly from the Assyrian and Babylonian hieratic customs”, in which vein Peter Kingsley suggests elements of New Testament theology originating in Babylonian religion were inherited via the Book of Enoch). Further, Enoch’s lifespan reflects the solar year, consisting of 365 (year-long) days (Genesis 5:23), and the Islamic tradition places him in the fourth Heaven, the solar circle. This is consistent with the Qumran texts being critical of the second Jerusalem temple and the Hasmoneans for following a lunar rather than a solar calendar (if such is the case).
Andrei Orlov identifies a substantial literature of anti-Moses polemic in pro-Enoch texts, such that Enochic Judaism (heir to Mesopotamian heathenry) might be contrasted with the historic mainstream of Mosaic Judaism. The roots of this antagonism may be further situated within Margaret Barker’s account of the reform to which King Josiah subjected Jerusalem temple observance in the seventh century BC. Barker has argued that prior to this subversion the prevailing cultus was that of Enochic lore (as found in the Book of Enoch). This traumatic episode of iconoclasm would have been undergone in compliance with the book of Deuteronomy, bearing Moses’ patronage. It echoes Akhenaten’s savaging of the Egyptian cult centuries before, and may be invoked as the descendent of Amarna theology (although, again, the contour of a possible line of descent is not the following discussion’s object).
As an aside (highlighting an implication of what follows), if Christian liturgy is a continuation of pre-seventh century BC Jerusalem patterns of worship, and if this latter is one local expression of broader tradition (consistent in salient features with Egyptian, Greek and Indian practices), then discussion of the split between Christianity and paganism (glossing over the inexactitude of this second term) is less descriptive than is that of the contrast between theurgic (iconophilic) forms of religiosity and iconoclastic ones.
Algis Uzdavinys describes the Egyptian Pharaoh “shinning on his throne like Ra”, imitating Osiris, ruler of the underworld, whose descent is prerequisite to attaining union with the empyreal deity. The Mysteries of the Curetes, cited by Plato and elucidated by Proclus, iterate the operation: “In the Euthydemus [Plato] makes mention of the collocation on a throne which is performed in the Corybantic mysteries…” which imitates the position of the “Demiurge of wholes” who is king of the gods, Jupiter,. This rite was performed, among other places, at Mount Ida in Crete. Proclus highlights the centrality of this observance for Hellenism:
“For who that is in the smallest degree acquainted with the divine wisdom of the Greeks, does not know that in their arcane mysteries and other concerns respecting the Gods, the order of the Curetes is in a remarkable manner celebrated by them…”.
Similarly, Enoch beheld the Ancient of Days sat upon his Heavenly throne (Enoch, 47:3; 60:2) and was himself enthroned (2 Enoch 25:5). In Tantrism, enthronement (albeit through visualization) can also be the locus of divinization. The “supreme Lord” is established within the practitioner, as described in the Jayakhya-Samhita and Laksmi Tantra.
This august scene unfolds in a fiery, rectilinear, four-cornered space. The Egyptian underworld, the Duat, in which Osiris sits, ruling over the realm wherein he judges souls, and to which the Pharaoh initiatorily descends, is depicted by the Papyrus of Ani (a version of the Book of the Dead dating from about 1250 BC) as a rectangular lake of fire, with four baboons markings its vertices. This is consistent with the motif of a cube shaped throne in Egyptian sculpture. Mount Ida, where Jupiter is ceremonially enthroned, may be identified with the Crater of Plato’s Timaeus (this association is developed further below) in which the four primordial elements are united demiurgically, thus being, in a sense, four-cornered. Given that this location is in a mountain, it may be consistent with that tradition according to which the Platonic Crater or mixing bowl is represented by actual volcanic craters, constituting a flaming province, with the god Vulcan (bearing a mixing cup) being a Demiurgic type. Further, Plato seems to identify volcanoes (and perhaps thereby Jupiter’s throne) with Tartarus, mentioning Sicily in the Phaedo when referring to Tartarus and possibly evoking the region under Mount Etna, a Sicilian volcano. The association of the divine seat with Tartarus mirrors Osirian regency over the Duat.
Porphyry relates that Pythagoras was initiated at Mount Ida, witnessing there the yearly establishment of Jupiter’s throne. It is therefore worth probing Pythagorean doctrine. According to Simplicius the term Jupiter’s throne designates the fire Pythagoreans believed to occupy the center of the world or cosmos. Anatolius relates that the Pythagoreans attributed the shape of a cube to this central fire. This corresponds to the Biblical holy of holies entered into by Enoch; a likewise cuboidal pyrrhic estate wherein deity sits enthroned, with its corners flanked by four angels akin to the four figures of the Duat (1 Enoch 40:9).
In the previously cited Jayakhya-Samhita, the Sadasiva is visualized upon His throne with a protective wall erected around Him, requiring repeated purges or banishing performed in “the directions”, presumably the four cardinal points, implying four corners. Other obvious parallels may also be drawn to Mount Meru in Indian tradition, from which four divine kings look out in the cardinal directions, and to the Kunlun Mountain of Chinese myth, fountain of the four rivers which souse the earth’s quarters.
The traditions also present common appellations for the site of enthronement. Simplicius relates that, according to Aristotle, the Pythagoreans referred to the throne of Jupiter as his defense tower and prison (all three designations – throne, tower and prison– belonging to the Pythagorean central fire). Given that Pythagoras himself is said to have encountered the (ceremonial) throne of Jupiter at Mount Ida, it is worth considering whether the other two epithets (prison and tower) might also be attributable to this mount. The title of defense tower may refer to the peak being an elevated place from which to anticipate threats or encroaching disorder. The symbol of the tower may therefore be linked to the equally recurrent image of a mountain. The Egyptian Duat is identified with the primordial mound out from which the world was first formed and, in turn, with the royal seat, as the hieroglyph for enthronement consists of the sun rising behind a mound. The heavenly sanctum sanctorum into which Enoch enters is described as a high mountain whose summit is like the throne of the Lord (1 Enoch 25:3).
As for the term Jupiter’s prison, this may also fit Mount Ida, given that it is the mythical haven wherein Jupiter is forced to spend his childhood to avoid the scourge of his father, thereby acting as a prison of sorts. More generally, caverns (and the inside of mountains) often appear in fable as openings into Hades. The connection between Heavenly monarchy and the underworld is worth examining.
Margaret Barker notes the occurrence in the Hebrew literature of equivalents to the three titles mentioned by Simplicius, drawing a parallel between the Pythagorean central fire and the holy of holies (also indicating their common shape and substance). The holy of holies, however, is celestial and not at the earth’s center, which is not necessarily consistent with Pythagoreanism, as Peter Kingsley writes: “the overall probability must remain that in origin the Pythagorean central fire did occupy the middle of the earth”. Yet the link between a central fire and the earth’s midpoint does evoke the Egyptian Duat. The primordial mound previously mentioned is, in fact, the upper Duat, or highest reach of the underworld, such that the base of the mountain (or stepped pyramid: temple as stylized mountain) corresponds to the throne at the world-center.
Were the Pythagorean central fire to be located outside the earth, as it is in the system of Philolaus, even this, Kingsley relates, would not extirpate from that fire its chthonic character. It would remain, in some significant wise, subterranean. The line from Homer’s Iliad cited by Anatolius as the support invoked by Pythagoreans for their doctrine of the central fire takes for granted that this fire is Tartarus, locating it “as far beneath Hades as heaven is high above the earth”. Tartarus is outside Hades to the same degree that Heaven is outside the earth (which it is). A non-geocentric cosmos of this kind is therefore not alien to the Hellenic canon.
The same Homeric stroke that renders the central fire extra-terrestrial also identifies it with Tartarus. Situating the central fire outside the earth, therefore, does not cease its status as nether-realm: it remains beneath the earth, but is so much beneath as to have fallen out (so to speak). This is manifested by its continuing to be described in terms of under-worldly attributes. In fact, according to Kingsley, the association of the sun with an infernal blaze is notable in ancient Greek thought.
The Egyptian Duat is consistent with the above Homeric-Pythagorean imagery (unremarkably, given the traditional biographies of Homer, Pythagoras and Plato that present them as students of Egyptian theology). The Duat is beneath the earth yet is in the sky. Commenting on an inscription dated to about 1280 BC, James Allen writes that it “locates the Duat within the body of Nut – that is, somehow ‘inside’ the sky”. According to the Pyramid Texts, the Duat at times encircles stellar constellations. The notion expressed in Empedocles’ fragments that the stars are trapped fire bubbles originating from an inferno beneath the earth, then, echoes the Egyptian doctrine that perfected souls unite with the stars after a purgative sojourn through the subterranean realm. Further, the Duat is ever merging with and birthing the Heavenly fire, Ra’s disk, so that its flames are in Heaven even as it remains a necropolis. Osiris is both at one with the revolving motions of the sun and with the immobile, earthly court of the deity Ptah-Tanen (more on this later).
However, the Duat is also a place of torment in which souls are subjected to beings with “alarming or grotesque names”. These grotesques may be titanic, doing to the soul what the Titans did to Dionysus in anticipation of his potential resurrection. Thusly is dismemberment carried out at the site of the throne: Pythagoras is said by Porphyry to have performed a sacrifice at Mount Ida, as does King Solomon at the holy of holies (2 Chronicles 7). According to Gregory Shaw’s reading of Iamblichus, this sacrificial dynamic opens linearity (the sides of a square or rectangle), which represents finitude, into infinity (symbolized by the circle, points on whose circumference cannot be said to be closer to or farther from its ending or its beginning, there being no vertices). Thusly is the underworld rectilinear and sacrificial whereas the celestial dome and sun are round. Descent into the former is a closing and ascent into the latter is an opening.
This is consistent with the two translations of Aristotle’s On the Heavens that Kingsley singles out as, in his view, coming close to Philolaus’ system and to the original Pythagorean doctrine of the central fire. These are the translations penned by Gerard of Cremona and the Syriac commentator. Kingsley’s favor is owed to their paying due respect to the expression Jupiter’ prison. The central fire is treated as the place in which fallen angels are bound and souls judged. Kingsley argues Philolaus would have characterized the central fire in these terms (with Titans replacing fallen angels) inspired by Hesiod’s Theogony, whereas Gerard and the Syriac commentator, being Christians, did so via the New Testament. He traces both of these to the older, common, source of Babylonian religion. Resemblances with the Egyptian Duat might suggest a convergent phylogeny.
This presents occasion for further Greco-Egyptian parallelisms (as a slight aside). The hypothesis that the Thracians considered their kings to be “Dionysus incarnate” would (treating Dionysus as the Greek Osiris, a dismembered god) present a direct parallel to Egyptian kingship’s Osirian ordeal. The Thracian Orpheus’ passage into the exclusive worship of the sun god Apollo after having been under the patronage of Dionysus (as the myth relates) may symbolize union with Ra through the tribulation of Osiris.
A female agent is associated with the theatre of investiture. In the Egyptian case, the shinning king emerges “out of the fiery furnace of the goddess Nut”. The furnace of Nut, also described as her womb, is identified with the Duat by Uzdavinys, which is substantiated by the previously referenced Egyptian inscription from the 13th century BC that situates the Duat inside Nut’s body. It is worth reflecting on the symbol of Nut’s womb. An internal organ, it provides a rationale for understanding the tendency (discussed above) to project sub-terrestrial features out onto the super-terrestrial firmament: the celestial dome and all space-time is, like a womb, the site of gestation for a seed which is external to it – a transcendent design. The regal neophyte descends into this most primordial of states in order to be likewise gestated in proper conformity to such a design.
Proclus describes “the Demiurge of wholes when he was unfolded into light from Rhea” in the Curetic mysteries (Rhea being Jupiter’s mother). Jupiter’s wife, Juno, is said to have hastened to “Mount Ida, from which all the series of souls is derived” in her being joined to Jupiter. Juno herself is “the fountain of the soul” and therefore is in some regard being associated with the mountain. Mount Ida, then, the site wherein the initiatory enthronement is held, is the stage for Jupiter and Juno’s consorting. Proclus understands Juno as the Crater or receptacle of Plato’s Timaeus, to which Plato assigns the feminine appellations “nurse…of all becoming” and “mother…of creation”. She is the substrate of materiality, whereas Jupiter, as referenced previously, is the Demiurge. What is occurring at this enthronement recapitulates the ordering of the cosmos Plato tells of in the Timaeus.
Enoch was raised out from the earth by way of the Shekinah, the femininely connoted divine presence that the Holy One retired from among the generation to be drowned in the Biblical flood (3 Enoch 6:3). Enoch therefore ascends on the wings of the Shekinah (3 Enoch 7:1) before being enthroned in Heaven (3 Enoch 10: 1-3; 16:1). The Shekinah is described as radiant (3 Enoch 5:1-6), and might have assimilated Enoch into her light, as his face shone like that of the Lord (2 Enoch 37), his flesh turned into flame and his body into a blaze (3 Enoch 15). The Shekinah also came to King Solomon with fire and light at the holy of holies (2 Chronicles 7). The space itself, the holy of holies, may also be identified as “mother of the sons of God”.
Apart from this broad outline, there are other symbols attributed to the eternal feminine as deputy of royal ordination that recur across the traditions in question. These symbols are the tree and the veil (or the act of weaving). Beginning with the tree, Rome’s remembrance of its founder’s precarious infancy centered on the place of his being breastfed, whereon stood a Ficus Ruminalis, the fig tree sacred to Rumina, goddess of lactation. This follows the Egyptian paradigm in which the eventual Pharaoh faced the sycamore tree of Hathor, a cow-goddess and therefore likewise a milk-bearing deity. Drinking milk in Persephone’s realm (sometimes assimilated to Venus) during ritual descent into the underworld (via caves and caverns) was also part of the Dionysian mysteries to which Pythagoreanism is intimately bonded.
In Euripides’ Cretans (fragments of which are provided by Porphyry in his On Abstinence from Animal Food) the narrator recounts his being initiated to the Jupiter of Mount Ida, becoming thereby a bacchant, that is, a follower of Dionysius (again, corresponding to Osiris). Euripides refers to Mount Ida as mother or as maternal, reiterating the femininity of the sacred space. Further, the initiate is described as a child of Jupiter and Europa. Etymologically, the name Europa may derive from the Greek for broad-faced or from the Assyrian for sunset. Both of these would relate to Hathor, who is called broad-faced, being represented by a cow, and is associated with the setting sun (the king orients himself towards her and dies with the daylight before his rebirth at morning). Additionally, given the myth in which Jupiter takes Europa while in the form of a white bull, she is perhaps acting as feminine counterpart to the bovine, again linking her to the Egyptian Hathor.
In terms of the Hebrew sources, Margaret Barker presents elements of a pre-Josian female deity recognized in the Jerusalem temple as mother of Yahweh and consort of El Elyon. Named Ashratah, she may have been identified with a tree, there also being other potential areas of overlap between her and the Egyptian Hathor.
Porphyry, in his commentary On the Cave of the Nymphs in the Thirteenth Book of the Odyssey, highlights the symbolic triad of goddess, tree and coronation in an essentially Hellenic, Homeric context: “The olive…sacred to Minerva; supplies the victors in athletic labors with crowns…” (a reference to the Olympic wreath). Minerva, goddess of proverbial (3:19) wisdom, may be the stuff of which not only bodies but the mortal abode is made, since it is her olive tree’s roots that weave above the cave at Ithaca, where flesh is spun, according to Porphyry’s reading. This reminds of the Banyan tree (Bhagavat-Gita, 15:1) that constitutes gross nature from above (having its roots in the heavens).
Porphyry’s commentary transitions into the second persistent symbol of the womanly actor who bestows royal honors: the veil and the act of weaving. Minerva’s nymphs, at the Ithacan cave, beneath her olive tree, weave the purple garments of mortal bodies. Purple, too, is the color of the peplos, Minerva’s garment woven on occasion of a yearly festival in Athens by the goddess’ female virginal devotees in the course of nine months. This last fact makes clear that the garment represents the corporeal vessel, consistent with Porphyry’s interpretation of Homer’s nymph-woven webs of “purple hue”.
That a virgin-goddess, Minerva, should be responsible for weaving a body over nine months reminds of the virgin mother, Mary, weaving the temple veil covering the entrance to the holy of holies in the apocryphal infancy gospel of James, a parallel strengthened by the garment’s being described as partially purple and also enjoying the attention of a host of temple virgins. Margaret Barker identifies a tradition of young women weaving linen for Ashratah before Josiah’s reforms, and also considers there having been some significance in the color of the veil.
The use of a veil to cover the temple’s innermost, and its association with a female deity finds its Egyptian version at Sais in the Goddess Neith (assimilated to Minerva by the Greeks) said to have been covered by a shroud (which may be identified with the peplos at Athens, perhaps as predecessor to its Greek counterpart). Since the sun is presented as the offspring of Neith behind the covering, her temple at Sais establishes the link between the image of the shroud and the previously discussed kingship ceremonies in which the Osirian initiate is re-birthed from the body of the goddess, Nut, now at one with the sun disk of Ra.
This implies a gendering of metaphysical categories. The feminine seems to be the personality of formal manifestation. Such is explicit in the Tantric Shaivist understanding of Shakti as counterpart and means of manifestation for Shiva. She is the “vibration or pulse of consciousness” of which all forms are moments. The symbol of the veil stands for the weaving of mortal life, yet also for the state of relative ignorance inherent in such an existence (a figurative veiling, for cloaks necessarily occlude). Shakti can receive either the prefix Vidya or Avidya, with the first referring to the capacity to lead towards knowledge and the second to the ability to cause ignorance. Consistent with this, Proclus describes the veil of Minerva as “the last image of the whole contrariety of things”. Minerva is identified as “cause of both” war and wisdom by Iamblichus, an association which Proclus bolsters in observing that “[t]he theologians praise two powers…of our lady [Minerva]…[t]his is why in the Timaeus Plato analogously praises [Minerva] as both a ‘lover of war’ and a ‘love of wisdom’”.
Why this dually inclined character should constitute itself into a quadrangular space (Nut’s body containing the rectangular Duat; Juno as the Crater combining the four elements; the Shekinah as the cuboidal holy of holies) is perhaps clarified with further recourse to the Indian tradition: “The shape of the vatsu for Gods and Brahmanas is prescribed as square” and the fire-altar in a Hindu temple “is spoken of as the womb, and its cube holds the entire manifested universe” because “[t]he square, form of finality, is at the same time that of the pairs of opposites; manifestation is only through the pairs of contraries and in their balance lies the perfection of the square”, thusly can it be described as the square throne of divinity. Rectitude represents finality for Iamblichus as well, and is likewise the basis of form and creation. This, again, provides a rationale for this symbol’s recurrence.
Its duality may be understood in terms of the world-soul itself tending towards order while the grosser portion of its own being (the body as opposed to the soul) is entropic, or as being orderly due to its being under Demiurgic tutelage while also preserving the chaotic bent described by Plato as belonging to the receptacle upon which it is founded (Juno before being elevated to the fountain of her own nature, in Proclean terms). It is thus capable both of rebelling against and of submitting to higher designs, becoming obscure or diaphanous. Vladimir Solovyov, discussing the world-soul, a lower octave, as it were, of Sophia (the personification of divine wisdom), provides a similar account of her dual temperament.
Thusly is femininity associated with the material cosmos: both with its substance (its veiled form) and with its design or the origin of its design (behind the veil). In the Platonism of Iamblichus and Proclus the former is Juno and the latter Rhea. Milk may represent Rhea’s light, into which the initiate is immersed since, in occupying Jupiter’s seat, the demiurgically endowed king counts Rhea as his mother, whereas Juno is his spouse, into which he implants the cosmic design so that it might be actualized or ripened (this latter task of Juno’s may be what is symbolized by arboreal growth and weaving). Being corporeal and feminine, both body and bride, there is here a parallel to Christian doctrine as regards the Church.
What the demiurge receives from Rhea and matures into Juno (having himself become mature, perhaps, and thereby made ready for the marital encounter) may be identified as what Plato calls the autozoon, the form of the universe as living organism (which will be discussed in detail below). The autozoon, with its four ideas (the concepts underlying the four elements) may be related to the four-faced creature of Ezekiel’s vision in Hebrew tradition and to Egyptian religion’s four sons of Horus, four horns of the Bull of Ra, or four-faced god. These latter three examples are all related to the four cardinal directions. Four is therefore the number of manifestation, the tetrad, wherein four elements or corners structure themselves into the world. The Pythagorean Tetraktys is complete after arriving at this tetrad, its fourth term (1;2;3;4). According to Iamblichus the threshold of manifestation is triadic, for it is in the term following the triad (the tetrad) that gross reality begins, for which reason the number three “begets the myriad creatures”.
The three preceding terms (monad, dyad and triad) therefore constitute pre-manifest or pre-formal reality. In the Metaphysical Elements, Proclus distinguishes, after the Ineffable One, between intelligible (Proposition CLXII), intellectual (Proposition CLXIII) and supermundane (Proposition CLXIV). Following these, there proceeds the mundane. He writes in his commentary on Plato’s Timaeus:
“…You have therefore, in the intelligible, in the intellectual, and in the supermundane gods, the harmonious conjunction of the male with the female.”
In Shaiva Tantra, as in Proclus, there are three modes of conjoining between the eternal masculine and feminine prior to the emergence of the world. These three (the states of Sadasiva, Isvara and Suddhavidya) constitute pure-creation, called Suddhasrsti (which is often listed as also including the principles of Shiva and Shakti, male and female, in themselves) after which begins impure, mundane, creation (asuddhasrsti).
Uzdavinys presents these layers of reality in a similarly gender-symmetrical scheme by following the Egyptian Ennead of gods: the monad as Atum; the dyad as Shu and Tefnut; the triad as Geb and Nut; the tetrad as Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys. This is suggestive of the Kabbalah’s sephirot. The Zohar presents the four syllables of the name YHWH, the Kabbalistic tetrad (which Barker discusses in connection to the Pythagorean Tetraktys) as consisting of a father, mother, son and daughter. Raphael Patai refers specifically to this understanding of the Tetragrammaton as paralleling the Egyptian gods Shu and Tefnut (father and mother) with their children Geb and Nut (son and daughter), that is, the first four gods following the source, Atum, who are similarly gendered and generationally structured. These deities are in turn followed by a lower, subsequent tetrad also composed of two male and two female persons (Isis, Osiris, Seth and Nephthys).
The sexual formula of kingship becomes explicit in the Tamil poem Netunalvatai, which presents a royal bedchamber sacrament: “Inside the house of the Pandya king there stood another house,” an apt description for the holy of holies, “in which… the territory of his kingdom as a person was present”, this refers to the king’s consort, the queen, who, in being his kingdom as a person, reminds again of the Christian Church, in which the body of believers, Christ’s kingdom, is also His bride. The poem continues: “This house…like the inner sanctum, the womb-house of the Hindu temple…was a bedroom…the bed is the round Vedic fire altar that symbolizes the earth and the queen the Vedic fire….”. That this space should represent a fire and a womb is consistent with the Egyptian lake of fire, the Duat, as Nut’s womb, the volcanic Crater as Juno, and the flaming holy of holies as mother of the sons of God. Further, the Tantric king of the tradition to which this poem belongs conquers the four cardinal directions by performing this fire sacrifice before walking the perimeter of his domain. The only discrepancy with respect to prior accounts is that here the central fire is round and not rectilinear.
The above ceremony results in the enthroned subject recognizing the cosmos as a body, and as his body. The Demiurge instantiates the autozoon into the Crater and thereby crafts the intelligible universe. According to Plato, the cosmos is a living creature with soul and reason. It is an intelligible animal, and is distinct from what he calls the autozoon, also described as the “essential living being” or intellectual animal. The intelligible animal, that is, the “whole cosmos, both in soul and body”, is an image of the autozoon just as time is an image of eternity. The autozoon is the four-cornered center of the cosmos in the sense of being the blueprint for the universe.
The autozoon may be identified with that design which the Demiurge receives from Rhea, in whose light he is immersed during enthronement on Mount Ida: “the nature that the Demiurge shows the soul, Juno, is that source-like nature that pre-exists in the life-giving Goddess, Rhea”. Again, Juno is here the receptacle, the spatiotemporal matrix out from which physicality emerges. The resultant universe, more than any other creature (that is, more than the various organisms it contains inside itself as its parts), resembles the autozoon.
Proclus teaches that the Crater, as receptacle for the Demiurge, receives an “intellectual essence” from him, which elevates her “to the fountain of her nature”. She is ordered according to the form of the autozoon, which the Demiurge learns from Rhea. Rhea is the bosom of the Saturnian power and is at one, or conjoined, with Saturn. She proceeds, bringing inspiration, from Saturn, described as the first Paternal Intellect, through his son, the Demiurge (a formula corresponding punctually to the Orthodox Christian understanding of the Trinity). This, then, supports the notion that the Duat is the world-soul, as Uzadanivys writes, or constitutes a proto-cosmos: Juno with Jove prior to cosmic conception.
In sitting at the initiatory throne and being enveloped by Rhea’s light, the kingly aspirant receives the same autozoon as the Demiurge on the eve of cosmic genesis, thereby recognizing that cosmos as deriving from the same design as his own form, perceiving the prototype for both his human body and for the universe as a whole. Such is the mechanism at play. An apt description is provided in the Tantric sources: “As the universe is populated with multiple worlds, levels and beings, so the practitioner’s body is populated with worlds, levels and beings”, such that what is aspired to is “universalisation of the body through locating the universe of beings within it”. Turning again to the Jayakhya-Samhita and Laksmi Tantra, they guide the practitioner through visualizations to map the cosmos (its various parts with their corresponding deities) onto his own body.
It should be noted that the resulting schema is not pantheistic, but rather panentheistic. It is not a simple spatial extension of consciousness that is described. Conscious awareness does not merely annex new physical loci (such would represent a quantitative rather than qualitative change; awareness of more phenomena and not of what is more than phenomena). Rather, what is being indicated is awareness of the idea underlying spatial reality: the subjective modes that constitute types of outward manifestation (whose presence in specific physical locations is of necessity ever in flux). Realization is not merely of Shiva’s body, but of that state in which “…Shiva does not confront any reality outside Himself, He has no body at all”. Supreme realization is not, then, the final rung on a ladder, although each rung may disclose it to a greater degree than the last.
If it is Minerva’s veil from whose poetry the dress worn by Lady Philosophia in Boethius’ Consolation is spun, then Minervic contrariety represents the opportunity to engage in a revelatory gradualism: subsequent disclosures at each rung of nature’s embroidery, as described by Boethius. Duality, therefore, exists as a function of concealment, and concealment at one tier is revelation at the next. In these concentric epiphanies the divine plan reveals itself elegantly and by degrees, relative obfuscations constituting the parameters of play and an opportunity to venture.
The Shaivist Vidyacakravartin, in his commentary of the contemplative work the Virupaksapancasika, describes how a yogi may come to identify with, and exist as, “forms of entities, such as the sun” which serves as one stage in a work whose goal is to exist “as identical with the universe”. David P. Lawrence expounds on this, holding that although identification of “one’s I-hood or I-concept with a specific cosmic agency” may be reached, yogic success requires that the consciousness and powers associated with this station become “consolidated and subsumed…within the absolute power gained through corporifying the universe”.
In Egypt, several examples of the cosmic body with which the prospective king becomes identified may be provided. The instruction for King Merikare (dated from between 2025BC and 1700BC) describes human beings as “the herd of God…his images, they have come forth from his body”. In the ba-theology of Amun, a hidden God animates the universe from within, so that the visible world is His body, as recounted in a hymn from the 13th century BC: “Ra himself is united with His body”. The imagery of a hymn to Ptah-Tanen from about 1100 BC is more explicitly corporeal:
“Thy feet are upon the earth and thy head is in the heights above in thy form of the dweller in the [D]uat…The upper part of thee is heaven and the lower part of thee is the [D]uat…The winds come forth from thy nostrils, and the celestial water from thy mouth, and the staff of life (i.e., wheat, barley, etc.) proceeds from thy back…”
Ptah is the crafter of the seat or primordial mound mentioned previously, for which reason he is a craftsman god. Ptah is partly identified with the demiurgic intellect of Platonism by Iamblichus. Tanen, or Ta-Tenen, refers to risen land, that is, the primordial mound, or perhaps to the inert, immobile earth, which would refer to the cube or rectangle as a stable block upon which to construct (in contrast to the sphere’s tendency to roll). Ptah-Tanen, then, is both craftsman and the thing crafted, both demiurge and cosmos as demiurgic body.
Osiris, after his dismemberment and re-assemblage, is joined both with Ra in the solar orbit and with the “Court of Ptah-Tanen”, ruling where Ptah rules, inside the earth, according to the Memphite Theology. He may therefore be considered to have identified with Ptah-Tanen’s universal body.
In the Greek tradition, occupancy of the seat of Jupiter may be characterized as theurgy or demiurgy (god-work or specifically the work of the Demiurge, Jupiter). In De Mysteriis Iamblichus writes of this work that “when it has conjoined the soul individually to the parts of the cosmos and to all the divine powers pervading them, this leads and entrusts the soul to the keeping of the universal demiurge”. This conveys the vision of the Orphic hymn fragment 168, in which Jupiter is described as constituting the various regions of the sensible world, albeit as their root and foundation. Therefore, imitating Jupiter’s enthronement in rites such as the Cretan observance at Mount Ida would imply identity also with this “macranthropic” Jupiter of the Orphic hymns.
In the case of Enoch, sitting on the throne results in his being “made big” (2 Enoch 39), matching the world in size: “I was raised and enlarged to the size of the length and width of the world” (3 Enoch 9:1-2). This is presented as the body of Metatron or of the prelapsarian Adam, so that Enoch’s embodiment as the cosmic totality reverses the expulsion from Eden, at which time, presumably, man’s perception of his being a microcosm (a micro-cosmos analogous to the total cosmos) dimed.
The four corners recur in this context as well. The cosmic body is oriented along, or extended unto, the cardinal points. Adam was initially a mass extending from the east to the west and from the north to the south (Genesis Rabbah, 8:1), which four directions are mentioned following the same order in 2 Enoch (30:13). This order (east, west, north and south) is significant in that the name Adam serves as an acronym for these four words, according to Zosimus of Panopolis. The acronym functions in Greek and not in Hebrew, which Andrei Orlov suggests indicates a Hellenic origin.
This is consistent with Plato’s autozoon, which contains the four primary ideas: “…so far as [the universe] is an animal, it is the image of animal itself, and so far also as it consists of four parts [i.e. of the four elements]”. Parallels with Egypt may be sought in the fact that both Ptah and Osiris are in some wise identified with the Djed. The Djed was a pillar of four horizontal planes intersected vertically and erected on occasion of royal investitures and renewal ceremonies, from which the king fired flaming arrows in the four cardinal directions. Thusly does the Pharaoh’s body or domain extend to the four corners, just as the gods of these four directions sustain the risen Osiris according to the Pyramid Texts.
Further, the king is presented not only as fifth element or quintessence (quinta essentia, fifth essence) but also as the tenth term after the divine Ennead. The king recapitulates not only of the immediately preceding cause of the world (the tetrad or four elemental ideas) but also of the subtler, prior causes (the entire Ennead, including not only the tetrad but also the monadic, dyadic and triadic principles), joining all of them and thereby re-presenting their singular originating source. The morning sun (with which the king is united post-Osirian descent) is “king of the Ennead”:
“…the Ennead, a group of nine…Horus did not belong to the group. He was the god who stood over against the other deities and thus the point from which the entirety was conceived. The starting point was the king. He was the incarnation of the god Horus.”.
The Ennead does not, then, include Horus, but begins with Atum, so that in Horus (the king, fruit of Osiris’ dismemberment) the origin reifies itself in the midst of its creation. The Egyptian Ennead is completed by a tenth term, like the Pythagorean Tetraktys or the sephirot of the Kabbalistic tree of life. Therefore does Uzdavinys consider the Tetraktys as having Egyptian provenance (the notion that Pythagoreanism begins with Egyptian theology itself enjoys a long pedigree).
A corporate cosmos implies the political doctrine of organicism, staying the hand of the polis. A king who undergoes the above rite and identifies with the universe may, within a certain order, narrow his cosmic identity to a more circumspect perimeter, realizing himself as the personification of his kingdom (assuming Heaven condescends its mandate). Gavin Flood provides the following description of what we may describe as incarnationist monarchism:
“Through consecration the king becomes the analogue of the tantric Brahman. As the divinization of the body is described in the texts, so the king’s body is divinized in consecration, and as the body of the practitioner becomes an index of a tradition-specific subjectivity, so the king’s becomes an index of the wider social body. In a way not dissimilar to medieval Europe, the king’s body points to the health of the society as a whole.”
In pursuing the above reference to medieval Europe, it is appropriate to cite John Milbank:
“…collective personalities…were created fictions – yet they were deemed to be real personalities and could be ‘represented’ by symbolic personages – beginning with the Pope himself. This does not, however, mean representation in the modern sense of ‘necessary substitution’, but rather a representation like that of the cognitive species, which is based upon a participatory identity: the king’s mystical body is the sovereign realm; the abbot is the monastery, the Pope is the Church in person, and so forth.”
That the monarch is the kingdom does not mean he ought to be the only person – the only body – in the realm, exiling or executing everybody else. Nor does it imply that he ought to be the only monarch in the world. That the concept monarchy is singular does not require that there be only one physically existent monarch, forever and everywhere. A given coordinate of contingency – a particular biographical configuration – need not replace all others in order to do justice to the unity of its capital source – God, the Absolute. This would be absurd. Eric Voegelin describes the corresponding healthy civilizational disposition:
“A society in cosmological form is experienced by its members as an analogically ordered part of the divinely ordered cosmos. The symbolization of its order as an analogue of cosmic order has nothing to do with the size of its population or territory; nor does it carry an obligation to subjugate foreign populations or to expand the territory; and the coexistence of a plurality of such analogues is not experienced as an unbearable contradiction to the oneness of the cosmos. In this sense, therefore, societies in cosmological form are completely self-contained.”
According to Voegelin it is this sensibility that leads Plato to “acknowledge the plurality of parallel civilizations in the field of history”, Aeschylus to mourn for his foe, not seeing the extinction of Persia as a glory to Hellas, and Homer to see Greek conflict with Troy as a disturbance.
A human body is not rendered super-galactically obese by identifying with the cosmos. This would be a farcical denial of analogy implying the effacement of lower planes in the wake of realizing higher ones. Yet such farce is at play when unity of principle is taken to demand uniformity of practice, leading to attempts at social pasteurization in which may be intued an antique heretical dualism. Bodies need not undo their constituents in order to act as a unit. In fact, transgressing the structures of differentiated organs would result in a dysfunctional body. Just so, successful theurgy results in souls possessing a “…noetic perfection, never departing from their pure condition” while simultaneously, “like individual souls, they each possess a single and moving body”.
Whereas a principle is irreducible to its multitude declinations, it nonetheless simultaneously exists as an objectified structure which functions as the organic emergent of those subordinates and cannot, therefore, violate them without exiting the realm of actuality. For this reason violent seekers who rip the dress of Lady Philosophia are tearing at the possibility of their own realization. Divine unity, then, translates into created harmony, not uniformity. The plurality of somatic, psychic and noetic characters appears not as accidental conflict-incitement but as the filigreed buoyance of providential creativity. This is the lesson of the theorganics outlined above.
The consequent social ethic, according to which human community is viewed as a body (an account of which is provided in Plato’s Republic) must be one of excellence rather than excess, wherein each partial association and vocational pursuit abstains from costing another, as tissues abstain from cancerously transgressing upon each other. Neither should a larger structure do violence to smaller ones except in case of pathology. Attending to the inspired crux of this ethic, it is foremost a call to positive action in that ardor which guards against the siren of imitative and unfocused desire bidding neglect of one’s own calling for the sake of quarrelling with neighbors, against which Plato warns. As Rene Girard observes: “in intense conflict, far from becoming sharper, differences melt away”.
Applied to issues of governance, then, (and remaining wedded to the corporeal metaphor) these become more a question of good posture (a straight spine keeping the body in proper alignment) than of cerebral (and necessarily futile) attempts at administering (micro-managing) the affairs of every organ. Communal health is understood as depending on symbolic rather than coercive authority (the latter implying a lack of sensitivity for the former and the former a lack of necessity for the latter). In practical terms, the above corresponds to a thorough application of the principal of subsidiarity over and against the constitution of unitarily sovereign entities (Johannes Althusius over Jean Bodin) as the prioritized vehicle for articulating collective identities.
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 The link between Enoch and Mesopotamian religion also allows us to guess at the motives of those Jewish loyalists of the Pre-Josian temple who joined the Babylonian army against their own countrymen (Barker, M. 1992. The Great Angel: A study of Israel’s Second God. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, p.319).
 Barker, M. 2004. Temple Theology: An Introduction. London: The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, pp.76-78.
 Barker, M., 2005. The Older Testament: The Survival of Themes from the Ancient Royal Cult in Sectarian Judaism and Early Christianity. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press.
 Assman, J. 1998. Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism. London: Harvard University Press.
 Barker, M., 2003. The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy. London: T &T Clark.
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 Huntington, J. and Bangdel D., 2003. The Circle of Bliss: Buddhist Meditational Art. Chicago: Serindia Publications, p.82.
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 Simplicius, On Aristotle, On the Heavens, cited in Kingsley, 1997, p.187.
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 Wilkinson, T., 2007. The Egyptian World. New York City: Routledge, pp.308-309.
 Barker, M. 1992. The Great Angel: A study of Israel’s Second God. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, pp.269-270.
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 Eigner, D., 1984. Die monumentalen Grabbauten der Spätzeit in der thebanischen Nekropole. Vienna: OAW, p.169.
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 A genealogical digression.
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 Uzdavinys, 2008, p.130.
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 Shaw, G., 2003. The Sphere and the Altar of Sacrifice. In: Berchman M. and Finamore J., History of Platonism: Plato Redivivus. New Orleans: University Press of the South.
 It follows, then, that the base of temples or cathedrals be squared, representing the four-edged Duat, whereas the copula is circular, after Ra’s solar disk, at one with which the king rises. The one fire is subterranean, the other celestial. The rectilinear base, further, is stable, for it may rest still on any side, whereas the sphere will tend to roll, as does the sun ever around the earth. These two shapes therefore provide a recurring symbolic polarity (Guenon, R., 2001. Reign of Quantity. Hillsdale: Sophia Perennis, p.137-139).
 Kingsley, 1997, p.2010.
 Cook, A., 1925. Zeus: A Study in Ancient Religion – Volume 2, Part 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.270.
 Uzdavinys, 2008, p.193.
 Uzdavinys, 2008, p.233.
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 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, II, p.344.
 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, III, p.14.
 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, II, p.262.
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 Porphyry, 2006. On Abstinence from Animal Food, trans. T. Taylor. Whitefish (MT): Kessinger Publishing.
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 Barker, M., 2012. The Mother of the Lord Volume I: The Lady in the Temple. London: Bloomsbury, p.123.
 Barker, 2012, p.114.
 Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs in the Thirteenth Book of the Odyssey, XV; pp.36-38.
 Porphyry, On the Cave of the Nymphs in the Thirteenth Book of the Odyssey, I; p.5.
 Infancy Gospel of James, X:6-8.
 Infancy Gospel of James, X:2.
 Barker, 2012, p.43.
 Barker, 2012, p.319.
 Assman, 1998, p.87.
 Assman, 1998, p.87.
 Dcyzkowski, M., 1987. The Doctrine of Vibration: An Analysis of the Doctrines and Practices of Kashmir Shaivism. New York City (NY): State University of New York Press, p.99.
 Dcyzkowski, 1987, p.21.
 Narayanananda, S., 1950. The Primal Power in Man, or The Kundalini Shakti. Rishikesh (India): Messrs N. K. Prasad and Company, p.41.
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 Iamblichus, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, I:21, p.125.
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 Stella Kramrisch and Raymond Burnier, 1976, p.43.
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 Solovyov may be treated as in some wise heir to Iamblichus and Proclus, given his significant ideational continuity with St. Dionysus the Areopagite (Milbank, J., 2009, Sophiology and Theurgy: The New Theological Horizon. In: A. Pabst and C. Schneider (eds), 2009. Encounter Between Eastern Orthodoxy and Radical Orthodoxy: Transfiguring the World through the Word, Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Company, p.78). St. Dionysus drew on these Neo-Platonists (Shaw, G., 1999. Neoplatonic Theurgy and Dionysus the Areopagite. Journal of Early Christian Studies, 7(4): pp.573-599).
 Solovyov, V. and Deutsch-Kornblatt, J. 2009. Divine Sophia: The Wisdom Writings of Vladimir Solovyov. Ithaca (NY): Cornell University Press, p.114.
 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, III, p.105.
 Barker, M., 2003. The Great High Priest: The Temple Roots of Christian Liturgy. London: T &T Clark, p.289.
 Pyramid Texts, 470a.
 Pyramid Texts, 1207b.
 Analogues proliferate, including the four-faced form of Janus, Mercurius Quadratus and Astrampsychos’ invocation of Mercury by way of the four cardinal directions.
 Attributed to Iamblichus, 1988. The Theology of Arithmetic, trans. R. Waterfield. Grand Rapids (MI): Phanes Press, II; p.42; III; p.50.
 Lao Tzu, 1996. Tao-Teh-Ching. Boston (MA): Gnomad Publishing, chpt.42.
 Before these, however, is ineffability. Iamblichus describes this as the “prior cause even of the first god and king” to which “no object of intellection is linked…nor anything else” (Iamblichus, 2003. De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum, trans. E. Clarke, J. Dillon and J. Hershbell. Atlanta: Atlanta (GA): Society of Biblical Literature, VIII:2; p.307) wherein, in Shaivist terms, Shiva and Shakti are undifferentiated (Dyczkowski, 1987, p.166). It is the Egyptian primordial waters or flood from which Atum comes (Uzdavinys, 2008, p.43).
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 Dyczkowski, 1987, p.166.
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 Plato, Timaeus, 30b, p.93.
 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, V; p.357.
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 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, II, p.395.
 Iamblichus, Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, II: Fr.43; pp.145-147.
 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, II, p.344.
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 Proclus, On the Theology of Plato, V:XI: p.337.
 Uzdavinys, 2008, p.48.
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 Flood, 2006, p.131.
 Flood, 2006, p.116.
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 Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, I:1; p.8.
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 Lawrence, 2008, p.37.
 Assman, J., 2014. Religio Duplex: How the Enlightenment Reinvented Egyptian Religion. Cambridge: Polity, p.166.
 Assman, 1998, p.196.
 Wallis Budge, E.A., 1904. The Gods of the Egyptians, or Studies in Egyptian Mythology, Volume 1, London: Methuen and Co., pp.509-511.
 Wallis Budge, 1904, p.500.
 Iamblichus, De Mysteriis, VIII:3.
 Wallis Budge, 1904, p.509.
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 Iamblichus, De Mysteriis, X:6.
 Uzdavinys, 2008, p.88.
 Orlov, 2005, p.248.
 Orlov, 2005, p.242.
 Orlov, 2005, p.242.
 Proclus, The Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, II, p.338; V, p.357.
 Jean Hani, Sacred Royalty: From the Pharaoh to the Most Christian King, trans. Gustavo Polit. London: The Matheson Trust, pp.12-13.
 Pyramid Texts, 464, cited in Griffiths, J.G., 1980. The Origins of Osiris and His Cult. Leiden: Brill, p.148.
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 Voegelin, 2000, p.287.
 Voegelin, 2000, p.157.
 Shaw, G., 1995. Theurgy and the Soul: The Neoplatonism of Iamblichus. University Park (PA): Pennsylvania State University Press, p.67.
 Boethius, Consolatio Philosophiae, I:1; p.8.
 Plato, The Republic, V:462c-d; p.141.
 Plato, The Republic, II:373d; p.50.
 Haven, C., 2009. “Christianity Will Be Victorious, But Only In Defeat”: An Interview with René Girard. Available from: < http://www.firstthings.com/onthesquare/2009/07/christianity-will-be-victorious-but-only-in-defeat>. Accessed on: 24/5/15.