5- 1st Theurgical Operation: Ensoulment

The first theurgic operation (praxis) that I will discuss is called in ancient Greek Telestikę, a vague term that means "mystical" or "initiatory"; in this case it refers to a particular mystical art (tekhnę) or science (epistęmę). In English the procedure is often called "animating a statue," which might suggest statues dancing about unless you remember that anima is a Latin word for soul, and thus animation is literally giving a soul to something. In Greek this process is called empsúkhôsis, since it puts a soul (psukhę, psyche) into something. Normally empsukhôsis (ensouling) is used to cause a divine or daimonic soul to take up residence in a divine image (agalma); thus the soul is given a material vehicle through which it may operate. Therefore in this, as in all theurgic operations, the theurgist participates in the creative activity of the Demiurge, specifically, in the ensoulment of the material world. Such an operation may be used to consecrate a statue(for example, to be the principal divine image in a temple), or to provide a medium of communication with a God or Daimôn, or to purify the theurgist's soulby serving as a medium by which the individual soul may participate in the divine image.

Needless to say, a God is not ordered or compelled to take up residence in the image. Rather, the theurgist prepares the image as a suitable dokhę - receptacle or receiver - for the divine power (dúnamis), so that it may actualize its energy (enérgeia) in the material world. It is like preparing an object to reflect a certain color of light, but the light must be present already for the reflection to take place. This is accomplished by using the sumbola and sunthęmata of the God (or a Daimôn representative) in the preparation of the divine image. The more sumbola that are used, the better the agalma will reflect the divine energy.

First we may consider the form of the agalma: it may be a statue or other image (e.g., a picture) of the God in a characteristic pose, or an image of an attribute associated with the God, such as an animal sacred to the God (e.g., an owl for Athena), or the God's instrument (e.g., a lyre for Apollo). The agalma may be engraved or otherwise marked with the name (especially the Secret Names) or epithets of the God. Esoteric signs or other kharaktęres may be used also.

Often a statue has a receptacle in its back or base into which the God's sunthęmata may be placed. These include gemstones, metals, herbs, plants, and animals. This is also a good place to put tokens marked with secret names or signs, if the image is to be visible to the public. (If the image is a picture, it may be mounted on or placed above a box in which sunthęmata are put.) The agalma may be fumigated with incense appropriate to the God and anointed with appropriate oils or perfumes. The theurgist may address invocations, prayers, chants, poetry, or other texts to the God, sing hymns, or play music in the appropriate modes (harmoniai) for the God. Finally, the agalma will be a better receiver if it is constructed or consecrated at a time that is astrologically auspicious for attracting the God's power. The general principle should be clear: the more sumbola and sunthęmata that can be combined in the image, the better the receiver it will be.

The agalma will become numinous when it is in the energeia of the God or Daimôn. Phenomena of light may appear around it: luminous or luciform apparitions (puraugę or phôtoeidę phasmata). When this occurs, the energeia of the God will be actualized in the soul of the theurgist, and the image may induce prophetic dreams, manifest omens, or deliver revelations (theoparádota), often in response to the theurgist's petition. In particular, this is an opportunity for the theurgist to obtain information and instructions for theurgic operations.


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