7- 3rd Theurgical Operation: Liaison
Sustasis is usually translated "meeting" or "conjunction," but again we will get more insight into the goal of the operation if we look at the range of meaning of the word. A sústasis (pl., sustáseis) is literally a putting-together (from sun-istęmi, to set up or place together). Therefore, in its most basic sense, a divine sustasis is a meeting that brings together a mortal and a divinity (Daimôn or God). Sustasis also means an introduction or recommendation, by which a mortal and divinity may make each other's acquaintance. By extension "sustasis" can refer to a friendship or alliance, and this cooperative relation is also a goal of divine sustasis.
Therefore we may say that the purpose of a divine (or hieratic) sustasis is to meet and form an alliance with a divinity for the sake of cooperation. By means of such an alliance you can place yourself under a God's guidance and protection (tutelage, in the ancient sense), or you may secure the assistance of a Daimôn for furthering divine purposes. Such an assistant is called a Paredros, which literally means "one who sits beside," and by extension an assistant divinity, a familiar spirit, or a counselor who provides magical aid.
Sustaseis with Gods and Their Daimones
As previously discussed ("Mediating Spirits"), Gods exist outside of space and time, and know us individually only as representatives of humankind. Therefore it is usually easier, more beneficial, and more common to have a Sustasis with a Daimôn, for They exist in time and space and know us as individuals. Since the Daimones are intermediate between humans and Gods (recall "Mediating Spirits" in the preivous pages), They are ideal mediators and are especially suited as messengers (angeloi, "angels") between our material universe and the Noetic Realm of the Gods. We may bring our individual problems to Daimones and request Their guidance and aid in our individual lives.
Sometimes it is appropriate to form a Sustasis with a God. This may be when the issue or goal is transpersonal (i.e., dealing with humanity as a whole), or when you wish to participate in the transcendent energeia of the God. (In the latter case beware, however, since the High Gods, in fulfilling Their purposes, may have little regard for the needs, desires, or sensibilities of individual humans. Being the instrument of Divine Will may be neither convenient nor pleasant.) Practically, even if your goal is sustasis with a God, you should start with a Daimôn. The Gods have created Their Chords or Lineages of Daimones as mediators and messengers for us. Therefore, a God is normally approached through Their Daimones.
Even if a God is invoked, a Daimôn may appear in Their stead, and you should not be surprised at this. Further, if asked to identify Themselves, the Daimôn may claim to be a God. This may not be intentionally deceptive (although Daimones are capable of such deception). Rather, the Daimôn may be delegated to this purpose by the God, for we are better able to relate to the individual personality of a Daimôn than to the transcendent character of a God. Second, as we have seen, names may be duplicated at each level of the divine hierarchy; thus, since many Daimones do not have names, They may call Themselves by the name of the God who heads their lineage. As previously remarked, there are theurgic means for distinguishing divine and daimonic apparitions (see under "Desmos" above), but it is probably safer to assume that you are communicating with a Daimôn.
The fact bears repeating that you cannot simply accept that a spirit is who They say They are. How, then, can you trust anything They say? You can't! Even if you are confident that you are communicating with one of the High Gods, you should not believe uncritically what (you think) They say or blindly acceptTheir advice or commands. Although your ego - your individual conscious mind - should serve divine Providence, it was given to you for a reason. Use it! Do not abandon your critical reason or your moral autonomy. They are essential to our role, as humans and Magi, in the Divine Order.
Sustaseis with Personal Daimones
As previously discussed ("Personal Daimones"), we all have personal daimones who are assigned to us throughout our lives and perhaps beyond. For example, each of us has a Guardian or Personal Daimôn (Idios Daimôn), who mediates between us and the God who originates our lineage. In particular, your Guardian Daimôn watches over you and strives to guide you according to your destiny; some say that this Guardian is your advocate between lives. In any case, your cooperation with your Guardian will be facilitated if you make Their acquaintance and form an alliance with Them. Thus a Sustasis with your Personal Daimôn (Sustasis Idiou Daimonos) is especially worthwhile; life will go much smoother.
Another personal daimôn is the Evil Daimôn (Kakos Daimôn), which is born from the rejected potentials and energies of your soul. That is, everything that you, consciously or unconsciously, whether by conscious decision or by cultural and environmental osmosis, take to be bad, all those qualities will be the characteristics of your Evil Daimôn.
Such might seem to be the last sort of Spirit one might hope to meet (for It's demonic in the colloquial sense), but that is incorrect. For if you ignore the existence of the Other Daimôn, He or She (for its sex is the same as yours) will act outside your awareness, possessing you or possessing those with whom you deal. For the Other Daimôn wants to live and act, and will find a way to do so.
Therefore it is much better to establish a Sustasis with your Evil Daimôn (Sustasis Kakou Daimonos). Become acquainted so that you will recognize Him or Her: whether seizing you or another person, or simply hovering in the air. Find out the Kakos' needs, desires, and issues with you, so that you may form an agreement that satisfies the Daimôn without sacrificing your personal needs and moral autonomy. By this alliance your Other Daimôn, who was created from rejected parts of your own soul, may be recruited to work for your higher (divine) purpose. The Kakos Daimôn holds great power, and by a proper alliance ("pact"), you may reclaim this power for divine ends. By reclaiming the lost parts of your soul, you become more whole.
For many centuries Western culture has rejected and denied the Evil Daimôn, both individual and collective (for the collective consciousness of a culture, nation, or religion also creates its Kakos Daimôn); this is the reason these destructive powers are rampaging ungoverned around our world. They cannot be banished; the only solution is a cooperative alliance in conformity with modern society and ethics.
The Operation of Sustasis
Having discussed at length the meaning and purpose of Sustasis, we can describe the operation briefly, for it builds on the techniques already discussed (Telestikę, Desmos kai Eklusis). This is because the first step is to invoke the Divinity into your presence. This may be accomplished by invoking Them into a divine image (agalma) or other prepared and consecrated focus (as in Telestikę), or into a human Receiver (as in Desmos). To this end, all the techniques of Telestikę and Desmos are appropriate, so long as you have gained experience with seeing visions through practice of these arts. The principal difference is that once the Spirit is present, you engage in a dialogue directed toward establishing an alliance. This might include vows on your part in thanks for the divine aid, and other agreements on Sunthęmata (signs, tokens) by which you may communicate with each other. Standard techniques of Eklusis (Release) are used to terminate the Sustasis.
The so-called "Mithras Liturgy" (Betz, PGM IV.475-289; Meyer, 211-21) is a good example of an ancient Rite of Sustasis, although it is not purely Pythagorean.