FOOTNOTES TO “IAMBLICHOS: A TREATISE ON THE MYSTERIES”*
[The Theosophist, Vol. II, No. 12, September, 1881, pp. 252-253]
[Iamblichos says: “I have the same thing to say to you in regard to the superior orders which came next after the deities. I am speaking of the tutelary spirits or demons (1), of heroes or half-gods, and of souls that have not been tainted by the conditions of life on the earth (2).”]
(1) Called by the mediaeval Kabalists—Planetary Spirits, and in the Hindu philosophy—Devas.
(2) “By the conditions of life” on our Earth, and only so far as they have not reached it. No Planetary Spirit (and each human “Soul”—rather Spirit at the beginning of new Pralaya† or the periodical resurrection to objective and subjective life of our universe—limited, of course, to our planetary System—is a planetary pure and formless Spirit) can avoid the “Cycle of Necessity.” Descending from, and re-ascending to the first starting point, that junction in the Infinity where Spirit or Purusha first falls into Prakriti (plastic matter) or that primordial and yet formless cosmic matter which is the first out-breathing of the Infinite and Changeless Universal Soul (the Parabrahm of the Vedantins), the Planetary Spirit has to take shape and
* [This translation of Iamblichus’ work was made by Dr. Alexander Wilder, F.T.S.; a portion of it was originally published in The Platonist and The Theosophist, later, however, the complete text was published by The Metaphysical Publ. Co., New York, 1911. 283 pp. This translation is rather scarce, and appeared under the title of Theurgia or the Ancient Mysteries.—Compiler.]
† [This is unquestionably a slip of the pen; the term should have been Manvantara instead of Pralaya, the word “resurrection” gives the clue; Pralaya means “dissolution.”—Compiler.]
form and live successively in each of the spheres—our own earth included—which compose the great Maha-Yuga, or the Circle of Existences, before he can lead a conscious EGO-life. Alone the “Elementals”—those half-blind Forces of Nature—say the Kabalists—which are the coruscations of matter and of the rudimentary minds of the descending “spirits” who have failed on their downward way—have not yet lived but will live some day on earth. The esoteric philosophies of both the eastern and western initiates, whether Greek or Hindu, Egyptian or Hebrew, agree on the whole. Whenever they seem to clash, it will be always found due rather to the difference of terms and mode of expression than to any essential difference in the systems themselves.
[Iamblichos continues: “What are the peculiarities of the higher Orders, by which they are distinguished from each other? . . . These peculiarities, having been evolved entirely from entities always existing, will be in all particulars distinct and simple.”]
The Maha-Pralaya or the Universal Dissolution occurring at the end of every “Day of Brahmâ” is followed by a Universal Rebirth at the end of the “Night of Brahmâ” which corresponds in length of period to the “Day.” It is the beginning of such a rebirth that is considered by the vulgar minds as the “creation” of the world, whereas it is but one of the number of successive existences in an infinite series of re-evolutions in the Eternity. Therefore, as Spirit and Matter are one and eternal, the one being thrown into objectivity by the other, and neither capable of asserting itself per se to our sensual perceptions unless linked together, these “Entities” have “always” existed.