Theurgia is one of the Four Pillars of Orphismos, and refers to communication with Deity through ritual and meditative practices. Making offerings to the Theoi and reciting hymns and prayers is one form of Theurgia, but there are also more contemplative practices, such as quieting the mind in order to allow for direct experience of the divine, breathing exercises which energise the body and soul and work on inner energies. Such meditative practices are generally thought of as being Eastern, rather than part of Hellenic religion, but there is evidence that such meditative theurgic practices were part of Hellenic practice in the past, but that the specific practices have been lost. The philosopher-physician Praxagora for example, discussed the role of pneuma in the body, theorising that this breath-energy had multiple mental and physical functions, much like the Hindu concept of Prana. Stoic philosophers also talked of pneuma, and included it in their cosmology and cosmogenesis. Plato also talked of pneuma, and Aristotle discussed how pneuma is absorbed. At the time that these ideas were coming together in Greece, yogic and Ayurvedic philosophy was developing the same ideas. In the West, this tradition continued in philosophy and early Roman alchemy. However, due to Christian oppression, the development in the Western world was not allowed to continue, and much was lost. Just as Theurgia is one of the Four Pillars of Hellenismos, Theurgia itself may also be seen to have Four Pillars. The following description is summarised from The School of Divine Science website http://www.thedivinescience.com/category/articles.
There can be said to be four main components of theurgy – Theoria, Therapeia, Muesis and Teletas.
Theoria, from which we get the word Theory refers at the outer level, to the investigation of knowledge. However, the “theo” in theoria meansGod, and the theory is therefore about knowledge of the Divine. Ora means speaking, so theory can be said to mean “speaking about divine matters”. IN its internal, mystical dimension, theories the basis and root for several other terms, translating as “seeing”, “viewing a spectacle” and “shining”. The mystical component of theoria thus refers to meditation. Theoria therefore refers to both knowledge and meditation, and particularly the knowledge and wisdom which comes through meditation.
Therapeia, from which we get the word Therapy refers at the outer level to obligatory religious rites, which lead to purification, reform or resolution. In Platonist terms however, it indicates living in righteousness as a general rule (and its therefore closely connected to the Pillar of Areti – ed). Devotional practices of any kind of custom, together with the honest attempt to live a virtuous life through religious practice or personal ethics are encompassed in this term.
Muesis, according to Proclus, is the condition of the seeker as opposed to the adept, and refers to having the eyes shut (from muo-), as opposed to the adept who sees with eyes open. This item can be see to refer to initiation, the portal which the seeker passes through, with spiritual practice, and acceptance into a set of teachings. The rites of initiation themselves are psychologically powerful and transformative, and a transference of power or authority may occur. This is closely connected to the last Pillar of Theurgia, Teletas.
Teletas refers to the sacred rites which are learned following initiation. Before the time of the philosopher Iamblichus, Theurgia was often called “telesiourgia”, which meant “the workings of perfection”. Telos means total and utter completion and perfection. The rituals of teletas are intended to bring about a union of the inner world, outer world and “vast world” simultaneously.
A DAILY MORNING PRACTICE
Set up a simple altar or shrine, with an image of divinity such as a statue or picture or a God/Goddess or both. This may be a deity or deities you feel particularly drawn to, or the deities who rule the zodiacal month, deities of house and home (such as Hestia or the Agathas Daimon) or solar deities such as Ilios (Helios), Apollon or Eos, Goddess of the Dawn. Have a seat, cushion or chair in front of the altar, covered with a linen or cotton cloth, or use a prayer mat on the floor. The prayer mat, or linen/cotton cloth should only be used to sit on for spiritual/theurgic practice.
First thing in the morning on waking up, do some stretches to wake the body up, wash or shower and have a cup of herbal tea with a little honey. Mint is good to wake up and cool the body’s energies, to allow the solar energy to flood in. Honey creates a gentle salve for the throat and helps open the airways.
Sit in fronton the altar/shrine and light a candle and some incense. A short prayer to Hestia may be said as you light the candle, such as “blessed Hestia, bring light to my home and heart”. Joss sticks or incense cones are fine for the morning practice and probably more suitable than charcoal ad powdered incense as it will not be a full blown ritual but a short daily meditation and greeting of the Sun. Open the meditation session with the Orphic Hymn to Iohs (Eos), followed by the Orphic Hymn to Ilios (Helios):
Hear me, O Goddess, whose emerging ray
Leads on the broad refulgence of the day;
Blushing Iohs, whose celestial light
Beams on the world with reddening splendours bright:
Angel of Titan, whom with constant round
Thy orient beams recall from night profound:
Labour of every kind to lead is thine,
Of mortal life the minister divine.
Mankind in Thee eternally delight,
And none presumes to shun Thy beauteous sight
Soon as Thy splendours break the bands of rest,
And eyes unclose with pleasing sleep oppress’d;
Men, reptiles, birds, and beasts, with general voice,
And all the nations of the deep, rejoice;
For all the culture of our life is Thine.
Come blessed power! And to these rites incline:
Thy holy light increase, and unconfined
Diffuse its radiance on Thy Mystics mind.
Hold both arms outstretched and recite or sing “Ie Paean, Ie Paean, Ie Paean” (Hail Great Healer)
Hear Golden Titan, whose eternal eye with broad survey, illumines all the sky,
Self-born, unwearied in diffusing light, and to all eyes the mirror of delight:
Lord of the seasons, with Thy fiery car and leaping coursers beaming from afar:
With Thy right hand the source of morning light, and with Thy left the father of the night.
Agile and vigorous, venerable Sun, fiery and bright, around the heavens you run.
Foe to the wicked, but the good man’s guide, o’er all his steps, propitious you preside:
With various founding, golden lyre, ’tis Thine to fill the world with harmony divine.
Father of ages, guide of prosperous deeds, the worlds commander, borne by lucid steeds,
Immortal Zefs, all-searching, bearing light, source of existence, pure and fiery bright.
Bearer of fruit, almighty God of years, agile and warm, whom every power reveres.
Great eye of Nature, and the Starry Skies, doomed with immortal flames to set and rise
Dispensing justice, lover of the stream, the world’s great despot, and o’er all supreme.
Faithful defender, and the eye of night, of steeds the ruler, and of life the light:
With founding whip four fiery steeds you guide, when in the car of day you glorious ride.
Propitious on these mystic labours shine, and bless Thy suppliants with a life divine.
Hold both arms outstretched and recite or sing “Ie Paean, Ie Paean, Ie Paean” (Hail Great Healer).
Bring hands together at base of sternum/solar plexus, and bow head in reverence.
Sit in silence for a few minutes, observing your thoughts. Sit with back straight and eyes closed or half closed. Quietly observe your thoughts without becoming involved in them or becoming attached to them. Acknowledge each thought, and let it go. Don’t try and force thoughts out or to forcefully empt the mind, just be a passive observer. If you find yourself getting lost in your thoughts and wondering off, just remind yourself to gently let those thought go, and to carry on observing your mind. Adopt a position of detachment from the thoughts and the feelings behind them. Let thoughts and feelings rise, and let them go. Continue with this practice for 5 or 10 minutes, or as long as you have available.
Following the observation of thoughts, begin a breathing meditation. breath in to the count of 4, hold your breath to the count of 4, and exhale to the count of 4. Then breath in to the count of 4 again (don’t hold the breath on the exhale). Continue this rhythmic breathing. Visualise a bright light surrounding you and purifying the space around you. As you breathe in, breathe in this white light. As you hold the in-breath, feel the white light filing and purifying you. As you breathe out, breathe out all impurities within you as a thick black smoke. Continue this breathing in white light and breathing out black smoke, until the black smoke becomes less and less dense, and eventually you are breathing out white light as well as breathing it in. Rest in the white light and feeling of peace and energy.
End by saying
“Hail Dionysos, Lord of the Mysteries, who gives the Aethir of Wine,
Hail Ira, Mother of Life, Hail Zefs King Divine
Let me have energy and vigour where ‘ere I go
Yaenito, Yaenito, Yaenito, Yaenito”