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TMaroney: Greco-centric rites

To: alt.magick.tyagi,alt.pagan.magick,alt.magick,alt.mythology,alt.pagan,alt.magick.folk,talk.religion.misc,talk.religion.newage
From: (nagasiva)
Subject: TMaroney: Greco-centric rites
Date: 27 Aug 1997 12:58:08 -0700

[from Tim Maroney ]

>Are there other good sources for Greco-centric rites/etc.?

One question is whether you want to practice ordinary cult worship or 
magic, which to the Greeks as it is to us today is a term denoting 
"otherness." The various theurgical and Neo-Platonic approaches have this 
quality of being apart from the ordinary cultus, a marginalization or 
liminality that gives them an air of danger and forbidden power.

Three of the best sources in print on theurgy and thaumaturgy in this 
cultural context are Sarah Iles Johnston's "Hekate Soteira" from 
Scholar's Press in Atlanta, which explains in detail the cosmology and 
magical practice of Hecatean theurgists employing the Chaldean oracles; 
the collection "Ancient Magic and Ritual Power" from Brill in Leiden is 
an invaluable approach to the theory of the subject and mentions many 
primary sources from ancient literature which can profitably be followed 
up; and despite the condescending introduction (which a number of the 
authors in the Brill collection are eager to refute), Hans Dieter Betz's 
"The Greek Magical Papyri in Translation" contains a vast store of 
practical spells and rituals which can be adapted to present-day work.

Tim Maroney

>Can you tell me more please about this book, 'Hecate Soteira'? I would
>really like to learn what kind of content it has, as I am on a working 
>with the Goddess. Thanks!

It's too rich to summarize adequately. In brief, it deals with the 
Chadean Oracles as a Hecatean theurgical text, explaining the worldview 
expressed there (in which ideas emanating from the paternal intellect are 
ensouled or given form as they descend through the cislunar space that 
was identified with Hecate by the Neo-Platonists), the dual 
interpretation of Hecate as the higher cosmic goddess and the lower Hell 
goddess, various spirits and mythic characters populating this striated 
world, the goals of theurgical practice in understanding and initiation, 
the tools employed by theurgists to accomplish these goals, the role of 
symbols in evoking unusual mental states, and details of particular 
symbols, forms and instruments that were so used. There is material of 
particular interest to practitioners of the Golden Dawn system, which 
used the Chaldean Oracles extensively, as well as Crowley's Star Ruby, 
which alludes to buy does not explain some classical spirits that are 
detailed here. All this in a tight, well-written, well-supported academic 
volume of under two hundred pages. I really can't recommend it too highly 
to anyone wanting to understand and practice Western magic. These are its 

Tim Maroney

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