It is often proposed that the most perfect mystical theology would be that in which no names are used, no forms are given, no quantitative or qualitative attributes exist, and which therefore resolves everything into One. This, the mystics of all times and cultures accept to be true, and are in agreement with the common philosophical inquirer on the matter. Where difference emerges, however, is that the aforementioned theology is the pantheon of the enlightened human, and unless one is enlightened, it is meaningless. It is a saying amongst the wise that pretending to be enlightened before one is, i.e. imitating those who are enlightened, is in fact an obstacle to progress. Thus, if the unenlightened person is to make suitable progress, there must be some other theology available.
Allow me to make this matter more clear, though I can not do so perfectly, since we as imperfect beings presume to speak of perfect matters through an even more imperfect medium. While living in a world composed of generative natures, being things which have as their origin something else other than themselves, we can not accurately consider something beyond generation. So long as our consciousness is rooted in duality, duality is all the consciousness knows. This is fairly easy to demonstrate. Let us suppose that, as many mystics of assumably reliable authenticity have said, there are many colors in the spiritual worlds beyond our physical world that are not present here or known to us. If these sages are correct in saying this, and if we trust them, then we should consider it to be true for our purposes also. Thus, the student of the sages will conclude as fact that there are colors in the spiritual worlds not present here in our physical world. Now, if you can, close your eyes and imagine a color which is not any of the colors in our world, nor a mix of any of them, nor a shade or hue of any of them, nor in any way alike to any of them. The most you will be able to do is visualize something of an odd combination of colors that you have never seen before, but in doing so you fail at the task, for this is not a new color, but merely a rearrangement of old colors.
The barrier which has prevented your success in imagining a new color is the same barrier which prevents success in adopting the pure theology, which the sages of theurgy called “the simple.” For one who has seen the spiritual realm and its worlds, the colors are known, though can not be described with any degree of effectiveness. For one who has seen The Good, the simple theology becomes inherent knowledge and understanding. However, until one “has seen,” and has therefore become an “epopteia”, one can not truly know.
Because these high levels of theology have not been seen by the unenlightened man, they can not be intuitively known, and one can not have direct conscious experience of the truth of the matter. Therefore we are consigned to the use of “dianoia”, the power of scientific reasoning within man, instead of “gnosis”, the power of direct intuitive experience. Surely we are; if we were not, this lecture would be given in silence, not in words. Therefore, we are consigned to attaching labels to things, and attributes and qualities and so on, so that our lower minds, which can not know something intuitively, can grasp these things intellectually. And all of this we agree upon for the sake of preliminary considerations, before arriving at the lecture proper, so that no one may think self-righteously that we have not done our best to present the mystical theology, and its role in theurgy.
The Role of Theology in Spiritual Evolution
As we have seen above, the practical role of theology to the aspiring mystic is to provide something tangible to an otherwise intangible realm of experience. To say that the best theology is that in which there is One, only One, that it is Good and simple, and everywhere imminent, is the highest and best of truths; Plato would agree with us in thinking so. Aristotle, though, would second us in saying that left as it is, this remains merely a platitude, and not something of practical use for the aspirant. Therefore we follow the footsteps of great theurgists, such as Iamblichus and Proclus, and we assign to the mystical theology a hierarchy of existences and forces, and in doing so, there appears a clear and steady way to the top.
Let us think, for example, that there are a number of ways to arrive at the sum of 10 in mathematics. To name only a few, we may add one to itself ten times, or we may count two from zero five times in a row by addition, or we may multiply three by itself, then add one, etc and so forth. All of these will provide the end result of 10. Amongst just these, some ways will be seen as faster, some more artistic or perfect in symmetry, some will allow for mathematical chains and rhythms, some can be expressed in shapes, etc and so forth. Even here we see that the possibilities for reaching ten are several, and that some would be preferable to others if the means is considered important in reaching the end. Already, then, there appear to be multiple choices, and while none are wrong, some could be arguably “more correct,” and those who could use those “more correct” approaches would be seen as greater mathematicians, and good at their art.
But here, before hardly starting, we have already made a great error in our analogy: for in this analogy I am assuming the reader to know what “addition” is, and to know which numbers indicate which quantities, and what “greater” and “lower” are, and how quantities may possess the qualities of “greater” and “lower” in respect to their associated numbers, and indeed I have made the error in assuming that the reader even knows what number is, or that things progress from one another, or can be made by mathematical art to have any relationship whatsoever with one another. That the matter previously considered, being how to reach the sum of 10, seemed so simple before, was only because ignorance of the latter aspects of mathematics did not impede our advance.
Now let us assume that you are told to reach God. You will be in the same mathematical quandary as someone who, told to reach the sum of 10, does not even know what 10 is, nor what it is to reach a “sum” of something, nor any real knowledge of math at all. For, certainly, if you knew what God was, you would already be enlightened, and if you knew how to reach God, you would not be browsing this website and reading articles for advice. And, knowing neither God nor how to reach God, we may also assume that as the previous person of example did not know what a “sum” was, so you would not know even what it was to be enlightened, whether it was a thing of happiness or pleasure, nor what pleasure or happiness are in reference to God, etc and so forth.
How, then, would one go about instructing a person in the nature of 10? For a basic knowledge of the nature of 10 is necessary before we can then build up numbers and express their relation to 10, as for example knowing that the double of five is 10. If we can discover this, we can discover how one may go about learning what God is, or what enlightenment is, or of any other thing of which a person has no knowledge. In this instance, we would say that before a knowledge of what 10 is, must necessarily come a knowledge of what ten is not. For, if you show someone by taking 10 steps what 10 is, it can only be clarified and crystalised into useful knowledge by also demonstrating that it is not 9 steps, or 8 steps. Otherwise, if left merely at ten, you would make the mistake of thinking all things were ten, and would be rendered incapable of doing math (though, arguably, better at mysticism!). Showing it by itself, therefore, is not instructive, but misleading. If however we start with 1, and demonstrate what 1 is, and how it is different from 2, and thereby show what 2 is, then in time we will arrive at 10, and will understand that 10 is both ten 1‘s as well as two 5‘s, so on and so forth, and will therefore have a knowledge of 10 workable for mathematics. And in this also we will agree, I think, that some things are closer to 10 than others, as for example 8 cups is closer to 10 than 3 cups, and that this also indicates a greater knowledge of what 10 is in reference to other things. And if we are aiming at 10, it helps to know that 9 is close, but that 2 is far away, so that we do not err in our steps. A knowledge of the difference between 10 and something else, as well as the relation which 10 has to other things by virtue of that difference, is therefore instrumental in an accurate knowledge of what 10 is, and necessarily precedes it.
To render this all back into meaningful information, we have made our analogy between 10 and God, between the aspirant and the person learning number, and between spiritual progress and learning the basics of mathematics, and I do not think anyone will disagree with us in these analogies, and if they do, I do not think they could render the matter any more clearly or provide a better alternative. And if someone, doubting, says that the subject at hand is really 1 and not 10, since God is called “The One,” then this is meaningless, since if God is 10 then we are at the starting point of 1, and if God is 1 then we are at the starting point of 10, and to think otherwise is to assume enlightenment or one’s own proximity to it, which I think no one reading this article would admit, since we have established earlier that an enlightened person or someone close to it would have no need for this article or this website in the first place.
This small doubt aside, then, we may find the usefulness of this analogy. For if we are correct in our philosophy on this matter, then to simply tell someone what God is and leave it at that, with no further instruction, would not only be useless, but could in fact go further than uselessness and become harmful by creating misunderstanding. However, since unlike our previous 10, the subject of God is unknowable from the currently unenlightened position, we really can not even demonstrate what it is at all. Thus it is more intelligent to start at the furthest, and that which is most easily understood by us, and then work backwards to the closest ideas relative to God, and this is theology: the intelligent approach to God by working towards first principles from the point of secondary natures, or the things more imminently understandable to us. It is a retracing of one’s steps from what is known, into what is unknown but can be reasonably conjectured about until experience casts it into light.
I apologize for this diversion into dialectic, but it was necessary to not only say that theology is important, but to indicate why it is so, so that the reader may understand. For if you understand the value of theology, then it is a kind of knowing, and a part of you. But if I were to only tell you that theology is important, and never indicate why, then when in the future you told others that theology was important you would not be using knowledge, but would only be quoting me instead. To that end, the goal of these writings is to create an avenue for knowledge, not just allow for the memorization of data.
Getting back to the subject at hand, theology fills this vital role of education by spreading out the cosmos and measuring it. By “measuring it,” I mean that theology takes otherwise unknown things and confines them to the realm of qualities and quantities, and altogether of attributes, so that the mind can get a grasp of something it has not experienced directly. Thus, in theurgy, instead of referring to the intelligent spark of cosmic consciousness which unites the sun to the God of our universe by the name of “the-intelligent-spark-of-cosmic-consciousness-which-unites-the-sun-to-the-God-of-our-universe,” I may simply call him Apollo, and instruct people so that by the simple word “Apollo” is indicated that longer definition. And this, if perhaps less clear, must be agreed upon as a faster and more coherent means of teaching. Theology, then, may also be seen as a sort of spiritual language which allows us to talk efficiently about higher forces.
This grammar, syntax, diction, etc, of this “language” known as theology, is mythology, and indeed the two are properly one. For the sages have assigned to the cosmic solar force not only the name Apollo, but also a form with attributes and epithets, all of which are insightful and promote an expanding awareness of what is indicated by the name “Apollo.” Now some think that the mythos of these forces is distracting, and detracts from a true knowledge, but this is only a fact when true knowledge was never present to begin with. This may be proven very swiftly and efficiently by a brief examination of our current example, Apollo:
– Apollo is said to the far-shooting archer. From this the student learns that Apollo keeps his essential nature undefiled, being away from the battle as an archer instead of in it as a fighter, and that therefore the inner nature of the force indicated by “Apollo” must also be pure and undefiled by secondary natures. That this is indicated by a bow and arrow, and not a shield or virginity, also teaches us that this force has the power to destroy negativities and impurities.
– Apollo plays the lyre. By this, we learn that Apollo harmonizes the universe in one sense, being the sustainer of harmony, but also that the planets revolving around our sun are set in their orbits by this force, working through gravity and the likes.
– Apollo declared upon the moment of his birth that his job would be to reveal the intellect of Zeus to mankind. This the theurgist takes literally, and therefore grows to understand that the force indicated by the name “Apollo” has the power of communicating to the mystic the pure consciousness of the God of our universe.
And what took me all of these words to say, the ancient and venerable sages said merely in a single image: a picture of Apollo with a bow around his shoulder, a quiver at his side, a lyre in his hand, and the epithet “Delphos.” Thus the mythology is the hieroglyph, and theology is its interpretation.
Seeing the efficiency of this approach, we may come to understand more about the role and purpose of theology in mysticism. The student of this particular hieroglyph will benefit by subsequently learning that there is a force which is responsible at once for all three of the aforementioned powers, that it is named Apollo by the ancient theurgists, and by studying the ancient practices the student will learn in what ways he can bring himself into greater rapport with this force, and come to understand it experientially. Then one day, whether in meditation or engaged in holy work, the mystic will experience certain exalted states, will know that they belong to the spirit of Apollo by virtue of his study of this force in theology, and will thereby be able to gage where he is in his own spiritual path, how much further there is to go, etc. Not only this, but that same mystic will then be able to perceive the Supreme God from the point of view of Apollo, not from the point of view of a partial human spirit, and will therefore be closer to the truth. How all of this comes to be, and what the methods are which produce these results, the students of theurgy will learn.
The reader must never let himself imagine that the ancient seers and poets were vulgar, and contrived meaningless tales, but instead the reader should keep himself aligned with the light of the ancient masters and accept their teachings. The aspirant who does so will not find himself alone in that light, but will be standing within it alongside no less an authority than Socrates, who called them “the authors and fathers of wisdom,” and with as recent an authority as Helena Blavatsky, who proclaimed that they “knew everything,” amongst many other successful mystics.
True Theology is Unitive, not Divisive
We have seen at the beginning of this article that we can not engage in an absolutely true theology, since it is simple and we are not. However, we may still seek to engage in a theology which is as relatively close to the absolute as possible, and since the absolute is One and therefore unitive, the true mystic theology prior to it will be as close to One and as close to unitive as possible, while still allowing our mental faculties rooted in duality to comprehend something of it.
This means that if our theology is good, then the mythologies of other religions inclined towards goodness would be comprehended within it. For if our theology comprehended one religion and the experiences of its saints, but excluded another religion and the experiences of its saints, then the theology would be a partial one. Identifying something partial, it will be a good labor to try and rectify it so that it becomes as much whole as possible. Fortunately for us the ancient masters of theurgy have already done this laborious work, since they are all lovers of what is perfect, and what is perfect is always whole.
That such a rectified theology would comprehend the experiences of the saints of all good religions we hold to be self evident, for we are not so bold as to assert that a saint was not a saint. We are, however, bold enough to assert that what is true must be true, and that therefore where sages seem to disagree there must be a middle ground available which reconciles the disagreement, or else at least one of them was not really a sage. So then I, speaking for theurgists (if I may presume to do so), may even rectify my own statement by saying that a true theology will reconcile and comprehend within it the experiences of all true sages, and by agreeing that this is a good mission for theology, I leave the task of deciphering which sages were correct to the students, their experiences, and their teachers.
It is therefore not necessary for any student of genuine mysticism, whether it is theurgy or some other path, to quit his own religion. If it were necessary, then we would have to define the mystical theology as a religion instead of something which transcends and unites religion. For the student willing to do so, he will discover that any religious view is ultimately reconcilable to the mystical theology, and that in doing so there will be very little compromise or sacrifice, and that those core tenets of his own religion which are truly good shall never have to be relinquished. Thus, even if one is a strict monotheist, his religious views will be essentially agreeable to the mystical theology. Yet, I think, that most people who think themselves monotheistic are really not, for the Jews seem to worship many gods in the form of the different names of God, and the angels, and the Christians appear to worship not only Jesus, but Jesus at many stages (the passion, the nativity, etc), and also an unspecified “Father,” and the Catholics a trinity of god-forces, and the Muslims not only Allah but the many names of Allah also, and so on and so forth.
It is perhaps appropriate, in light of this, that the aspiring mystic redefine monotheism to not only a belief in one ultimate God, but an acceptance of the many things which then radiate from that God. In doing this, his own religion will be fully reconciled with the mystical theology, which accepts that there is One Ultimate, but that from it comes The Many. All that will be left, then, is for the aspirant to give up, as far as possible, that which breeds division and partiality. One may carry religion so far, since religion is ultimately just a language of names strung together for the same spiritual forces being discussed all over the world. Those negative things which religion sometimes breeds, however, such as elitism, partiality, bigotry, and prejudice, must necessarily be left behind at some point in time. For, if one were allowed to take vices all the way to God, then God would have vices, and since vices are imperfections, God would be imperfect, and I do not think anyone will admit that the God of the mystics is an imperfect one, the ideas of “imperfection” and “oneness” themselves being incompatible.
To demonstrate the proper approach, I will use Christianity, which is very prevalent in my part of the world, and which I am therefore fairly educated in. In doing this I will give as best a guideline as I can for the proper avenue of thinking, and to assist the reader in unifying his own religion with the mystical theology. In focusing for the moment on Christianity, I think that anyone of any other religion with a similar dilemma will be able to apply the same basic principles I will provide, and arrive at a satisfactory end. Simply substitute “Jesus” or “God” for whatever is relevant within your own religion. I am choosing this kind of religion since I think that people belonging to religions wherein it is taught that the worship of any other God in any other way is blasphemous will have the most difficult time approaching the mystical theology. More universal religions, such as Taoism, religious forms of Buddhism, and Hinduism, as examples, will have no such problems. Or rather, they may have difficulties, but of a purely technical type, and not in the form of a moral dilemma.
So let us take for our example a Christian individual hopeful of becoming a mystic, who knows that there is a way to become closer to God than merely the outer forms of religion, and who knows that a personal God is possible. This, combined with at least a feasible admittance that one’s holy books may have contained truth but not every truth, should be seen as prerequisites for a successful cross over into mysticism. If this much can not at least be admitted, then only a religious form of mysticism will be useful to the aspirant. Even in such a system as religious mysticism the aspirant will eventually have to release the vices which breed division, and so we recommend that one do so sooner, instead of later. As a religious person you trusted the authenticity and reliability of the authors of your holy books, so now, as an aspiring mystic, try to trust the authenticity and reliability of those who have achieved the aim of mysticism, and take the first step of faith required by conceding that religious division must be done away with.
In the Christian corpus, since this is our current example, the Christian aspirant will do well to first ascertain the basics of his own faith. For, after all, many people reject a new step in their life claiming it is because they are unsure if the foot will land on ground or on something instable. Yet, many of those who use this as an excuse have never properly examined the ground they are already standing on, and if they did so, may quickly deduce that it leads directly to the ground they had considered stepping towards. So, as a Christian (for our example), you should first examine the ground that you are currently standing on, and then we shall see if by an examination of it, we can arrive at a safe enough conclusion that the ground of mysticism is a safe step.
To begin with, the Christian will instantly notice a dichotomy between the God of the Old Testament and the Christ of the new one. The God of the Old Testament, who we will call Yahweh for convenience, was, in his own words, “a jealous God.” The Christ of the New Testament, however, seems in every respect to be a loving, merciful, and forgiving God, and what is more important, seems to feel that his “Father,” assumably the God of the Old Testament, is essentially the same. Now of the two of these, the most mystical inclination is obviously towards Jesus as the God of Mercy and “Prince of Peace,” since peace creates unity where there was previously forgiveness, and what creates unity is objectively good. Yet, when prompted with religious views outside of the strict confines of canon, a Christian will often quote Yahweh instead of Jesus, though in doctrine a Christian is not a Jew, and therefore is a follower of Jesus and not Yahweh, philosophically speaking. This then seems to me a match of convenience instead of actual truth. For, in the Old Testament indeed, the God mentioned seems a jealous one, and appears to inspire hatred for those who are not visibly Hebrew. Yet in the New Testament, there is at least one instance where a “heathen” is encountered on the road by the disciples, and after some inquiry, it is decided that they have the same god, but understand him by different names. So it seems that the first thing a Christian must do is decide what a Christian is, and how it differs from a Hebrew, and whether the word of Jesus or the word of Yahweh should be the final say on a matter. I think, unless I am wrong, that the revelations of Jesus are considered to be a newer and more relevant revelation to the Christian, and so perhaps it is the words of Jesus which are best for guidance in this matter. Of that I do not need to say too much more, since the careful study of the teachings of Jesus, and just Jesus (the four gospels), will convert one to a mystical path anyways. And in that light, I think that the Christian will do well in seeing these as some of the core teachings of Jesus:
- That the Kingdom of Heaven is within you, which implies it is not necessarily in a book, or necessary to receive it from a preacher, but that instead one must dive inwards. Since, after all, if treasure is within a room, you go into the room to get it, and if what you seek is in the ocean, you go into the ocean, so if it is within you, you go within yourself to find it. This is the basic premise of all mysticism.
- That the eye must be single, and then it will be filled with light. Therefore, set your mind entirely on God, which, admittedly, is hard to do if you are also trying to follow a series of religious dogmas simultaneously. I think Jesus demonstrated this well by working and eating meat on the sabbath, something that was clearly considered sacrilege in his own religion.
- That the things holiest to the Father and most readily rewarded by Him are those done in secret, to which Jesus clearly contrasts the highly religious performances of the priests of his time, and instead encourages his disciples to pray simply and devote themselves to God privately.
- That forgiveness and peace should always be primary.
- That “ye are gods.” For the Jews wished to stone Jesus, not because he was a bad man, but because “thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” And Jesus responded indicating that people were called gods in the Jewish scripture. This is complimentary to the idea that the Kingdom of God is within.
Anyone, using these basic points as a starting place, will find the propelling force necessary to progress into mysticism from strict religion, while still safely within the confines of Christianity. For it is not necessary by any means to abandon Jesus as God or Christ in order to enter into God. Thus when Jesus says that he is “the light and the way,” and none enter into the Kingdom except through him, it simply becomes necessary to assume that such a God must be universal and whole, instead of specific and partial. Hence, that in entering unto God, one must pass through the Christ, but that the Christ does not necessarily need to be reduced to a single name of a single person. All that is required is that the Christ-force existed before Jesus incarnated, though it did incarnate as Jesus at some time, and then the conclusion leads to itself.
So much for the Christian aspect of the New Testament. Now, if being Christian, one insists on using the Old Testament still as a basis for argument, even when it contradicts what seems to be accepted as the newer revelation of Jesus’ teachings, we can just as well proceed to a quick investigation of these things also. For, as mentioned, Yahweh names himself as a jealous God. However, it seems ridiculous to attribute human emotions to The Good, and therefore Yahweh either must not be The Good, or we must misunderstand the meaning being communicated. If we hold that Yahweh is The One, and therefore the absolute God, then our understanding is wrong, and we should seek a new one. For the One can not be divisive, but must always be unitive, yet jealousy implies that there is something which this God wants but does not have. Thus this either must not be the One, for he is not perfect, or by jealousy (and other such emotions) is really meant something else. If we move the proclamations of Yahweh from the particular to the universal, then the solution is had.
This is done by seeing the things attributed to Yahweh the same way that we previously examined the attributes of Apollo. If we do this, then instead of a jealous God, we will see a God who exerts a magnetism which brings things to itself, and if we assume that all things ultimately seek perfection, then this is agreeable to our philosophy. For jealousy, we can easily enough discover, is a dislike of that which has what you desire. But The One is lacking in nothing, and so it must not be a human jealously meant, but a universal jealousy. And this universal jealousy, I think, would be the pull which The One exerts on all things, bringing them towards itself, and such jealousy would be invoked only when one resisted this pull and became instead attracted to other things. Now the only other things one could be attracted to besides God are worldly things, for one is either worldly or spiritual, and is either drawn by his pleasures and senses or by his spirit. Therefore what invokes the jealousy of Yahweh will be when one is turned towards the material instead of the spiritual. And since something material is false, and one inclined towards it is under a false notion instead of a true one (the truth being that all is God), then the adoration of material things will be the worship of false idols. I think that if we assume Yahweh to be a personification of The Good, or at least an aspect of it, then this will be an agreeable approach, and the student who proceeds along these lines will have all of this questions answered.
So far, then, we have seen that Christianity lends itself to the mystical theology, but primarily in specific ways. For example, Jesus specifically teaches things that are agreeable to mysticism, and a proper understanding of the Hebrew God allows for a more universal approach to religion. We should also briefly consider some more general guidelines, such as whether or not the Christian faith allows for the existence of Gods, the existence of which is so necessary to the mystical theology.
First, then, we should realize that the gods are important to the mystical theology not because of an attachment to the Gods, but because of an adoration of The One. For the Gods are all said to participate of a single ultimate essence, the Absolute God, in whom they have established their transcendent being. Thus the Gods, though many in power, are one in energy and essence. For they have separate forms, but the same One Spirit, and they do various things, but through the same One Energy, and it is only when that Energy reaches the lower worlds that we perceive it as various instead of single. Seeing this, the reader will be right if he wonders whether there are really “gods” in the mystical theology at all, since they have One Spirit and One Energy in their truest versions.
To answer that, I might say that in the highest sense, the theurgists recognize that there is only One God doing many things, and that there is a name attached to each action which God performs, and that the action itself is then seen as that God. For, we say, that God is always performing each of these universal actions, and therefore those actions appear to be existences unique unto themselves. Yet this is a double-sided sword, since simultaneously the mystical theology affirms that The One is simple, and unified, and established always in its own perfection. Therefore it must also be immovable, and being immovable, it will certainly not be going around performing many actions.
The solution to this problem is the doctrine of emanation, which teaches that God, by subsisting in his own perfect wholeness, radiates this wholeness from himself. This initial illumination is the primordial light, the first essence from which all else was constructed, and existing now outside The One, it mirrored its creator and mimicked it. Thus a projection of The One came into being, and to make a vast theology into a short thing, it was by a repetition of this process that all things were created. Through this, therefore, everything will have within its being the essence of that which created it, will be created in its image, and will lead back to it naturally. These “radiations” from God are the various gods, which were organized by Divine Will into certain perpetual activities in order to bring into light the otherwise hidden properties of God. This is why it is out of an adoration for The One, and not for the gods, that the doctrine of the gods exists, for it allows that God remains undefiled and unmoved. Otherwise, we really would have to assume a jealous God, an angry God, an upset God, a God currently pouting about something, a God mildly distracted, a God who was kind of hurt by that thing you said about him the other day (since he thought you two were friends), etc.
It is important for our purposes whether or not Christianity seems to allow for the existence of what the mystical theology requires. Knowing now why the doctrine of the gods is important, it is evident that unless there can be some manner of common ground, the Christian will be at a loss in trying to reconcile the two.
Now it seems to me that Christians admit that the Yahweh of the Old Testament appears to be the “father” mentioned by Jesus in the New Testament. Thus the same things which apply to the Judaica will apply to Christianity, as a minimum, when considering whether the religion permits the existence of the gods. First and foremost, an obvious answer to this is the existence of the angels. Their existence is alluded to in both the Old and New Testaments, and indeed the apostle Paul gives a rather glowing dissertation of their various ranks and offices. It is admitted, then, that spirits exist on the ladder between the physical and purely spiritual existences, and since this is purely scriptural, it can not be denied by a good Christian. These angels appear to perform certain things for God, and assuming this to be the case, they are said by early writers to have their own hierarchies also. Within this, some are said to be about the throne of God, and others running around the universe doing things.
If we assume that God remains on His throne, then we agree with the mystical theology that The One remains immovable. It is then just a matter of “filling in” the scriptural “blank space” concerning the angels, but if we look to the Qaballists and early Church fathers, both seem to agree that angels are filled with the spirit of God. This “spirit” could well be the first Light of the mystical theology, and this would agree with Isaiah, who says that light surrounds God’s throne. If then the angels are always doing God’s will, then they are simply instruments of his will, and do not necessarily need to be seen as having their own unique existences. Of these angels, the chief amongst them will be what are called the archangels, and these will be the gods proper of the mystical theology. Therefore, to be synchronous with the theurgists, one would merely need to see the angels as “aerial spirits,” and the archangels as “the gods,” even if he wished to preserve the titles of angel and archangel, feeling more comfortable with them. Knowing this, then when the Christian saw the name “Ares,” he could replace it with “Archangel Michael,” and when he saw “Apollo,” could replace it with “Archangel Raphael,” etc and so on, as his own studies will indicate. One desirous of finding many such parallels would do well to look at the Rosicrucian scheme of the Tree of Life, which many people over the last few centuries have used as a means of synthesizing different religious names onto a single diagram. It will at least provide a starting place for those of a Judeo-Christian background.
But I think we may not even have to go so far into the mythologies connected to Christianity, or the writings of the Church fathers, to find an even more immediate and purely Christian version of the gods. For it seems to me that many cultures, far back into history, have made use of worshiping different forms of Jesus for different things. Hence for a long time, and even today in some countries, it was popular to pray to “the Christ-child” for a blessing or grace, but to pray to the crucified Christ for forgiveness, and this seems to recognize two different gods who are emanations of a more universal Christ: one for bestowing blessings, another for mercy. And then Jesus is invoked sometimes to heal, sometimes to exorcize, sometimes for a miracle, sometimes for grace, or forgiveness, or assistance in a matter, or for strength or some other virtue. These, too, appear to be different powers emanating from the same One. Also in Christian doctrine there appears to be a Holy Spirit, which must be some kind of god, and the gospel of John admits to a “Logos” who seems to predate the physical incarnation of Jesus, and there also appear to be the blood of Christ, the body of Christ, the waters of Baptism, etc, and these also appear to be gods based the mystical definition of what a god is. All of this strongly implies that Christianity not only allows for the existence of the gods, but greatly depends upon their activities. If a Christian, approaching the path of theurgy, simply decided not to use the word “god” to describe each of these powers, but instead something else, that would be fine and accurate. Hence Dionysus would be the blood of Christ, Kore would be the holy spirit, so on and so forth; they are just names. The gods care not what we call them, so long as we do not call them something contradictory to their natures.
I might mention, before bringing this article to a close, that one thing which has not been considered is whether or not the gods have personalities, and appear to be individual beings, since I think this would be a main subject of concern for people weary of the idea of “gods.” For, I think, they mistakenly feel that the gods are likely individual people, that they are separate from each other, that one is worshiped while another is excluded, etc. In the mystical theology, as was mentioned earlier, all gods are of one spirit, one absolute essence. Therefore, in truth, they are one. To worship one of the gods is to worship all of them at once, and to achieve union with one god is to achieve union with all gods, and therefore with The Good itself. None the less so long as the student exists in the world of form, they will appear to have a form, and so long as he exists in this world of duality and division, the gods will appear to be separate from each other.
As to their personalities, we may say that these are symbolic expressions. Thus, for example, your personality is a symbolic expression of the virtues, vices, and attributes which you possess, though they are not always active. These many things express themselves as a single thing: your personality. If you are always jumping around, doing something, starting something, beginning things, but have little endurance, perhaps a short temper, and do better in quick explosions then long applications, people say that you are fiery. Thus, you appear to have a “fiery personality,” and this personality is an expression of how all of those little qualities of yours interact with each other, and how they manifest. The same basic formula applies to the gods, also. They possess certain qualities, as a natural part of their activities. A god who is a force which preserves itself completely and, to do its job, must never intermingle with another force, will symbolically express itself as being shy and bashful when it is being perceived through the realm of form and desire. On the other hand, a cosmic force whose job is to bind things together and unite them, so that they always function together, may manifest in the world of form as seeming to be erotic and loving. That is because in the lower spiritual realms, such as the astral realm, desires are the main vehicles of energies. The gods will therefore manifest in the worlds where duality exists as separate beings, just as we appear to be separate beings in the world of duality, and their personalities will be the purest symbolic expressions of their activities. Even in the lowest worlds, though, the will be filled with a whole and divine spirit which will be active in them, and will therefore always be a pure expression of divine will.
This does not constitute a theological debate, or even a discussion. For those desirous of following a mystical path, but afraid to cross over from strict religion, I have attempted to provide some interesting points for consideration. If the hopeful mystic takes this and proceeds further with it, I believe he will find the answers which shall confirm his mystical choices. Someone not inclined towards mysticism, however, and fiercely religious, will see no value to these remarks, as they were not made with that kind of a person in mind, and for such a person there is no immediate hope of pursuing a mystical path.
The mystical theology itself we can not discuss here, since it exceeds the scope of this article, the article being called “Theology in Theurgy,” and not “Theology of Theurgy.” Therefore I have indicated some essential tenets of the mystical theology, such as that it aims at The One, and intends to get there via a scientific means, and that it must be unitive and divisive. In a different article entitled “The Basic Principles of Theurgy” I will discuss the foundational understandings of the mystical theology.
The purpose of the present article instead was to present the reader with information concerning why a theology, and even a mythology, is not only important but even quintessentially useful for the aspiring mystic. In discussing this, I also reaffirmed to anyone doubtful that it is by no means necessary to give up one’s own religion in order to pursue theurgy. Theurgy, as a transcendental mystical doctrine, comprehends within it all true religious beliefs, and leaves out only those which breed division, which as we have seen is necessarily not in harmony with God. Therefore the reader is directed to the study of the saints of his religion, and their experiences, and not just what has been read from the pulpit. In doing so, I think that he will be pleasantly surprised, and will find that the true mystic doctrine has been concealed within his own religion all along, and that theurgy will simply serve as the candle which finally brings it to light.
Fraternally in the light,