Veil of Isis, III.1-III.3



"Nature Loveth to Hide"


4 (III.1)

Aphorism and Allegorical Exegesis


pp. 39-40 classical reference of the expression "secrets of Nature" to "secrets of the nature of the deities"; and likewise for classical reference of the word "physiology"

p. 39

"the "secrets of Nature" ... When the saying was quoted by Philo of Alexandria at the beginning of the Christian era, and by Porphyry, by Julian, by Themistius in the third and fourth centuries, ... it was always applied to the divine or the gods ... . Julian the Apostate, for instance, speaks in this context of telestic and mystagogic theology."

p. 40

"That, among the ancients, ... physiologia was ... a theology most often disguised by enigmas and hidden meanings: this is obvious {read "evident"; whatever is "obvious" is "obviated", i.e., refuted}, when we consider the Orphic poems and the Egyptian and Phrygian discourses."

p. 42 how divine reasoning is introjected into the material universe

"it was the Stoics who used this method systematically in the theological part of their physics. ... Hera fellation of Zeus, represented in a painting at Samos, reflected for them the way in which matter receives seminal reasons within itself with a view to organizing the world." {To cite Samos, (1) the birthplace of Puth-agoras, and (2) the source of acknowledgement of the heliocentric orbits of the planets [vide OCD, s.v. "Aristarchus of Samos"] -- these innovations all indicate a pervasive high level of scientific research on that island, whereto contemplating the fellation of males by goddesses may have fertilely contributed.}

{For material substance to have, inserted into it, any functional system of reasoning, such material substance must already be inhaerently capable of organized logical reasoning -- far more so than any modern-day computers (which are not capable of administratively organizing the universe). Indeed, this praemise is similar to Whitehead's deduction that all matter is essentially conscious.}

p. 43 Stoic theology (p. 329, n. 4: Dio-genes Lae:ertios 7:147)

"God ... penetrates throughout all things {this is known as "pan-en-theism"} and receives multiple appellations according to ... powers.

{These explanations of the natures of deities are quite meagre : they explain neither why there are distinctions of divine gendre, nor do they explain the significations of the divine genealogies, nor, indeed, any of the other numerous details in their myths.}

Indeed, ... called Dia {name of isle where Ariadne disembarked : Minoan Linear "B" goddess \Diwa\} because all things exist because of ["dia" {'through'}] ... the cause of life ... penetrates ife thoroughly;

Athena because of the extension ... guiding ... the ether;

Hera because of ... extension in the air;

Hephaestus because of ... extension in the fire that produces things;

Poseidon because of ... extension in what is wet; and

Demeter because of ... extension in the earth."

p. 44 theological physics

"in the Stoic tradition, ... there is also a part of physics that must speak of the gods ... . This is a physics that is "theological," ... and is therefore the noblest part of physics. With regard to it, Cleanthes and Chrysippus go so far as to speak [p. 329, n. 4.13 : "SVF, vol. 1, @ 538; vol. 2, @ 44 & 1008"] of mysterial initiation."

pp. 45-7 exegeses by Philon Ioudaios

p. 45

"on ... "The Lord God appeared to Abraham at the oak of Mambre," Philo is ... to have written : "... According to Heraclitus, the tree is our nature, which loves to conceal itself and to hide." [p. 330, n. 4:18 : Philon : Quaestiones in Genesim 4:1] ... .

p. 46

... the word "Mambre" ..., say Philo, ... means etymologically "that which comes from sight," ... the act of seeing."

{if from Strong's 7200 \ra>ah\ 'see, view'; but according to Strong's 4471, \Mamre>\ is from 4754 \mara>\ 'to lift up self with wings (of ostrich in running)'.}

p. 47

"Philo illustrates ... by declaring that "Ab{-}ram" means "Father who rises,"

{With Strong's 7413 \ramah\ 'high place', \>ab-ram\ would better mean 'Father-on-high'.}

while "Ab{-}raham" means "Father of sound," and ...

{usually glossed "Father of a multitude"}

... that the change from "Abram" to "Abraham" corresponds to the transformation ... from physics to ethics."



"Nature Loveth to Hide"


5 (III.2)

Mythic Forms and Corporeal Forms


p. 53 the Most Holy Trinity, according to Plotinos

"Plotinus did not hesitate to establish a


the One,

the Intellect

and the Soul,

and the three gods,



and Zeus."

[p. 331, n. 5:6 "See P. Hadot : "Ouranos, Kronos, and Zeus in Plotinos' Treatise against the Gnostics," in Neoplatonism and Early Christian Thought : Essays in Honour of A. H. Armstrong, ed. H. J. Blumenthal and R. A. Markus (London, 1981), pp. 124-137."]

p.55 different uses of the word "phusis" 'nature' by different Neoplatonic philosophers

"Porphyry called Nature the totality of powers linked in one way or another to a body -- the World Soul, the divine souls of the stars, the souls of demons, human beings, animals, plants, and

then the mineral world --

{souls of minerals being the elemental spirits}

whereas Proclus reserved the word for ... lower than the rational soul."

p. 56 the fatalistic theism of Stoic physics {effectively aequivalent to materialist fatalism}

"For the Stoics, physics is theology : it has as its object the divine, that is, the universal Reason of the All, and the particular rational principles within the All, and it uses a single method."

"For the Stoics, physical phenomena unfold in a way that is rigorously determined; we cannot change anything about it, but merely consent to it.}

{"It was the Stoic school of philosophy that solidified the idea ... that ... strict determinism follows by universal Reason (logos) from an omnipotent God." ("HFWP")}

"HFWP" = "History of the Free Will Problem".

{"the British monk Pelagius (Morgan) held, with Cicero, that human freedom prohibited divine foreknowledge. The success of Augustine's ideas led the church to judge Pelagius a heretic." ("HFWP")} {Stoic-style "jabr, or fatalism, of rigid traditionalists" (RL&S"STh", p. 8) is likewise inhaerent in much of (PS&K) Sunniy metaphysics (though not in Yarsaniy metaphysics).}

RL&S"STh" = Salvador Go`mez Nogales ": "Sunni Theology". In :- M. J. L. Young; J. D. Latham; R. B. Serjeant (edd.) : Religion, Learning and Science in the <Abbasid Period. Cambridge Univ Pr, 1990. pp. 1-15.

PS&K = Ivan Simko : Parallels of Stoicism and Kalam. Thesis, Univ of Vienna, 2008.

p. 56 animist theology according to Porphurios : implying/entailing potential conjuration of divinities

"For Porphyry, there is a radical difference between the scope of higher theology, the domain of Ideas or substances separated from bodies,

and physical theology, the domain of the forces that animate bodies. This physical theology, however, can be said to be resolutely animist in the proper sense of the term, since here the causes that bring about natural phenomena are the souls of gods, demons, animals, or plants."

"If, however, with Porphyry, we glimpse souls and occult forces behind sensible phenomena, we

might be tempted

{Even in such a wise as Christians are "tempted" by the Church to pray etc.}

to conjure them

{To "conjure" (\cum\ 'with' + \jurare\ 'to swear') is, litterally, to make a mutually binding contract/covenant, such as between immortal deity and mortal humans : even such as that made on mt Siynay betwixt Mos^eh and YHWH.}

and influence them by means of magic."

{Such sacramental "magic" could include baptism, confirmation, eucharist, extreme unction : all of which sacraments are intended to influence the deity favorably toward the partaking parishioner.}



"Nature Loveth to Hide"


6 (III.3)

Kalupsoi : "Imagination with the Flowing Veil"


p. 59 why a material body?

"Neither Platonists in general nor Porphyry himself ever explained in a perfectly clear way why ... individual souls needed to wrap themselves in bodies."

{Those individual consciousnesses who wrap themselves in material bodies do so because they themselves are composite (structure compounded of causal, mental, astral, and aitheric), such as the material universe is likewise a composite structure.}

pp. 59-60 according to Porphurios, successive immaterial bodies donned with assistance of the imagination

p. 59

"According to Porphyry, the soul ... begins by adding to itself an initial body made up of ether, the most subtle element.

[p. 332, n. 6.4 : "Chapter 29 of Porphyry's Sententiae specifies that the ethereal body corresponds to the rational soul and the solar body to the imagination."]

Porphyry also speaks of a "pneumatic" body, that

{This would be aequivalent to the pran.a-maya-kos`a.}

p. 60

is, one made of pneuma, or breath.

This ... body corresponds to ... the soul's degradation ... . [p. 333, n. 6.5 : "Synesius, Treatise on Dreams, 5."]

The imagination (phantasia) is a kind of mirror in which the soul can see its own image, and that of the eternal Forms ... ."

[p. 333, n. 6.6 : "A. Sheppard, "The Mirror of Imagination : The Influence of Timaeus 70e ff.", in Ancient Approaches to Plato's "Timaeus," Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies, Supplement 78 -- 2003 (University of London ...), pp. 203-212".]

p. 60 according to Makrobios (Commentary on Scipio's Dream I.11-12 & 65), the descent of the soul into a material body (for redincarnation)

"When it abandons its perfect incorporeality, ... it becomes swollen as it receives successive additions to its astral body. Indeed, in each of the spheres ..., it puts on an ethereal envelope ..., and thus, dying as many deaths as the spheres it traverses, it reaches this state that, on earth, is called life."

p. 61 imagination {= causal body} as 1st tunic of the soul {= atman}; reason (\logos\ {= mental body}) is means of liberation {= moks.a}

"Olympiodorus (sixth century CE) writes : "... the soul's first tunic is the imagination. This is why Odysseus needed ... escape Calypso, who was imagination, and

who, like a cloud,

{cf. book-title The Cloud of Unknowing}

was an obstacle to the sun of Reason. {Storm-producing god Poseidon could be said to obscure the sun.}

{She is not directly thus described, in the Odusseia, but the irrationality of the beasts (into whom she transmuted mariners) could suggest something akin to this.}

For imagination is a veil ["kalumma"{cognate with \calumny\}] : this is ... 'imagination of the flowing veil.'"

{This word \KALumma\ 'veil' may be cognate with Skt \an~CALa\ 'the border or end of a woman's veil, or of a woman's shawl'.}

{The name \KALUpsoi\ and the word \KALUmma\ may both be cognate with Skt \CALUka\ 'gallipot', useful for (Charles Dickens, chapter 6, in Little Dorrit ) trapping flies with sugar-&-vinegar (allusion to fly-inebriating Amanita muscaria mushroom?). Otherwise, \gallipot\ is, in Middle English, ( \galy pot\ 'pot in kitchen of oar-propelled ship' : Hellenic \lubernos\ 'oar-propelled ship' is once spelled \LIBURNos\, indicating provenience from province \LIBURNia\ (the modern Croatia on the east coast of the Adriatic), praesumably source of goddess LIBeRtas ('Liberty', commemorated by. e.g., the statue on Ellis Island, formerly for immigrants arriving in New York City via ship).}


p. 61 imagination in the Renaissance

"the doctrine of imagination as the soul's body was to have a tremendous influence at the beginning of the Renaissance, through the intermediary of

Synesius' Treatise on Dreams, {"Synesius' treatise On Dreams. Styled as the ... product of ... divine inspiration in a letter to Hypatia" (ThLA, p. 162).}

{"Synesius' treatise on dreams ... the best book on the subject before very recent times ... describes how healing, creative inspiration, and exact information on developments remote from us in time or space are all available in dreaming." ("DO&OND")}

particularly on Marsilio Ficino and Giordano Bruno."

"DO&OND" = "Death of an Oracle and the Oracle that Never Dies".

ThLA = Ilinca Tanaseanu-Döbler : Theurgy in Late Antiquity : The Invention of a Ritual Tradition. Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, Go:ttingen, 2013.

p. 62 dream experienced by Numenius of

"Porphyry tells [M:CSD 1:2:17, p. 9] of ... the philosopher Numenius, who ... unveiled the mysteries of Eleusis .... . In a dream he saw the goddesses of Eleusis, Demeter and Kore ..., prostituting themselves ..., in front of the open door of a house of ill repute. When, in his dream, he asked them the reason for this, he heard them reply that, because of him, they had been torn violently from the sanctuary of their modesty and delivered over without distinction to all passers-by{e}."

M:CSD = Macrobius (transl. by Armisen-Marchetti) : Commentary on Scipio's Dream. Paris, 2001.

p. 62 do worshippers venerating holy icons ever really imagine that such icons are, in-and-of-themselves, deities (such as God-the-Son or the Holy Mother-of-God), or are themselves angels, or are themselves saints?

"The profane believe that statues are visible gods,

{FALSE! Deluded Christian infidels, who vainly imagine that an entity can be simultaneously GOD-and-MAN, might wildly conjecture something of this nature, but no pagan hath ever been so foolish.}

while the sage knows that they symbolize invisible divine powers."

{Smug self-styled "philosophers" may falsely allege that the deities are "invisible", but pious folk do visibly witness such veritable mighty powers (not mere symbols of them!) every night in their dreamings.}

pp. 62-3 the "philosophy" bandied about by self-styled "philosophers" commonly is reputed to degrade the deities, reducing the status of goddesess to whatever may suit the vulgar fancy

p. 62

"the Numenius story ... from the end of the twelfth or beginning of the thirteenth century ... tells of the dream of a poet who ... had dared to enter the secret chamber of Nature and reveal it to the public. He was walking in a forest ...,

p. 63

when he saw an isolated house, in which he glimpsed the silhouette {perhaps a shadow cast on a translucent window-curtain} of a naked girl, whom he asked for shelter.

But the girl answered, "... stop attacking my modesty. Why do you treat me like a whore?"

{She is evidently a goddess similar to Artemis or to Athene, who do not relish being seen nude by mortal men.}

The poet then woke up, having learned that ... what Nature orders us to hide must be revealed only to a tiny number of

people of value."

{anti-Christian persons : who will not ridicule the divine pagan mysteries}

p. 64 nude goddesses in paintings by Titian

In "the painting by Titian that is known by the title Sacred and Profane Love (1515 ...) ... the naked woman ... represents Sacred Love ... Erwin Panofsky and Edgar Wind have brilliantly shown ... ." [p. 334, n. 6.19 : "in English, Panofsky, Studies in Iconology : Humanistic Themes in the Art of the Renaissance (New York, 1972) ...; in English, Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance (London, 1958)".]

"Titian' Open-Air Concert (... previously attributed to Giorgione) ... depicts two naked women, together with the musicians. Titian's nude women are

nymphs, and they are naked because ... they are incorporeal, divine powers, superior to the men who surround them."

{These nymphs (similarly as apsaras-es) take an intense liking to musicians who play their favorite music. The nymphs are eager to display their bodies nude to musicians in order, by such affirmative action, to demonstrate their own sincere fondness for music, reminiscent (for the nymphai) of the music emanating (as expounded in the Pythagorean cosmology) from the spirits of the planetary sphaires.}

p. 65 ostensible generation, by an ostensibly single unitary Demi-ourgos, of the vast variety of emotional states of mortal persons residing in the praesumed sphaire of influence of said Demi-ourgos

"Porphry ... tries to demonstrate that the Demiurge creates the world by means of the simple fact of existing The imagination produces ... effects ... immediately and by itself : "... he is ashamed and blushes. ... he is seized by terror and turns green. These emotions take place ... by ... mere presence.""

{In order, in this metaphysics, to account for the vast variety of co-aevally co-existent emotional states of individual mortals, it would be necessary (if at all retaining any "Demi-ourgos"-hypothesis), to postulate, instead, multitudinous Demi-ourgoi at least as numerous as the sum-total of all living mortal beings. [But it would be somewhat more conservative to attribute emotional states (felt by mortals) simply to influences from those mortals' own personal spirit-guides.]}

pp. 65-6 imagination can create a reality {an alternative reality composed of "thought-forms"}

p. 65

"in the Renaissance and Romantic period ..., whether in Montaigne [p. 334, n. 6.26 : "see Montaigne, "On the Force of Imagination," in Essays, bk. 1, chap. 21"], Giordano Bruno, Boehme, or German Romantics such as Novalis and Baader, the imagination has a kind of magical power, which it exercises by the mere presence of an image ... .

p. 66

The images it produces have a quasi existence and tend toward existence ... ."

{Is such "quasi-existence" imparted by the mortals' own personal spirit-guides, by elemental spirits, or by co-operation of elemental spirits with spirit-guides?}

p. 66 deliverance from gross bodily envelopes

"In Porphyry,

the imagination,

{such as, hallucinations in trances and in dreamings}

as the soul's body,

{such as, including one's immaterial dream-body}

as well as the mythic knowledge that is its result,

{Myths are descriptions of archetypal scenes witnessed in primordial dreamings.}

and also the theurgic practices prescribed by the Chaldaean Oracles,

{such rites having been standardized, from suggestions in archetypal visionary dreamings}

were intended to deliver this astral body from the increasingly impure envelopes

{such "envelopes" being mechanisms for activating the aitheric body's control over the material body}

that had been added onto it ... ."

{added by the spirits of the planets during the descent of the noo:s from the sphaere of the fixed stars, while en route to an earthly incarnation}


Pierre Hadot (transl. by Michael Chase) : The Veil of Isis : an Essay on the History of the Idea of Nature. Belknap Pr of Harvard Univ, Cambridge(MA), 2006.