In this essay, we'll first examine the concept and practice of anagogical theurgy as taught by Iamblicus and other Perennialist adepts and espoused by Roman emperor Julian 2 and others influenced by Perennialist teachings. The second part of the essay presents an outline for a specialized theurgical rite which prepared readers can utilize in psychogogical meditation.
According to Perennialist sages, theurgy consists of performatory 3 rites by which the ordinary mind ascends to Higher Consciousness, becoming capable of engaging in meaningful dialectic with the Divine. The soul changes its ontological status from that of mortal to immortal, to Divinity.
Theurgy, therefore, is not merely some verbal mumbo-jumbo that a believer intones with the hope that it may have some positive effect. It is, as Iamblicus made clear, "the perfective operation of indescribable acts (erga) correctly performed, acts which are beyond all ordinary understanding (huper pasan noêsin)" and which are "intelligible only to Divinity." 4
As with all terrestrial entities, theurgy can be debased and misused to manipulate unthinking persons. We must, therefore, distinguish between the positive use of anagogical theurgy from some of its distortions and perversions.
Spiritual theurgy involves enchantment: an action which moves a person to an altered state of consciousness. Used in a negative fashion, enchantment imposes on the aspirant a pernicious psychological and physiological dependence on the initiator of the enchantment.
Much of television advertising involves subliminal erotic enchantment of the viewer's mind and feelings. The process is even more powerful because the victims are unaware of what's happening to them.
In a very real sense, our ordinary state of consciousness is one of enchantment with sensory data, a literal fascination with the terrestrial world. Theurgy can be seen as dis-enchantment from the physical domain, allowing for entry into the realm of the spirit.
Theurgy involves incantation--the use of spells or verbal charms spoken or sung leading to an altered state of consciousness. Used in a negative manner, incantation can lead the aspirant to a vitiated state of mindless somnolence, allowing a mountebank to impose his or her depraved will.
Currently, we find this type of thought-destroying incantation employed by religious extremists of every faith: the orthodox Christian right encouraging its devotees to intone mantras of militaristic imperialism, while Muslim extremists mindlessly recite scriptural passages commanding a jihad against unbelievers.
Divination, the art or science of evoking hidden supernatural powers, is a facet of transmutation rituals. The perversion of divination is black magic in which the attempt is made to summon and manipulate discarnate spirits or forces to carry out the magician's will.
Spiritual theurgy evokes spiritual powers, both in the sense of activating higher powers within the person and also invoking supersensual powers or beings. Transmuatational rituals involve what Plato spoke of as "communing with Higher Powers," since "communion" connotes both communicating with and also becoming one with another entity.
Thus we're using the term "evoke" in a very specific sense to refer to:
- Calling up powers (efficacies and entities) from within ourselves and also
- Evoking powers in this special sense of conjure:
- To charge or entreat earnestly or solemnly
- To summon by or as if by invocation or incantation
- To affect or effect by or as if by magic
- To bring to mind
Evoking Higher Spiritual Powers
In evoking Higher Spiritual Powers, the Perennialist teacher assists the initiate to enter into an altered state of consciousness, thereby activating a higher, inner faculty. We relax the bonds by which the soul is held down by the body:
- To allow the soul to reunite with Higher Consciousness
- To release the soul from the spell under which it is held in bondage in the body
- To bring the body and the mind to quiescence
- To free the Higher Consciousness from the enthrallment of the ego consciousness
- To reunite the soul with its lost universality
- To separate the higher subtle feelings from the gross sense feelings
- To free the soul from any misconceptions
- To allow the soul to travel to higher realms
In bringing about this altered state, these factors are involved:
A transmutation ritual is essentially the words and images selected (or created) by a Perennialist teacher to act automatically on the seeker's consciousness, independently of the teacher's physical presence.
- The teacher entrancing the senses of the seeker
- The teacher giving suggestions of mental passivity to the seeker and neutralizing his consciousness in conformity with Plato's teaching that communing with Higher Powers is possible only when the understanding or reasoning faculty is in abeyance
- The seeker gazing at specified objects to entrance the eye and the conscious mind
- The teacher speaking directly to the seeker's subliminal mind to influence and control his behavior
- The teacher and the seeker conversing with the powers within
- Setting the mental framework as the experience of the moment of death followed by rebirth
- The teacher manipulating the seeker's Force Field
- To activate the psychic force field within which the seeker resides
- To bring all facets of this life force into harmonious interplay and homeostasis
- The teacher's psyche leading the seeker's psyche through suggesting actions, feelings, and thoughts