Culture and Cosmos is a peer-reviewed academic journal in the history of astrology and cultural astronomy published in association with the Sophia Centre for the Study of Cosmology in Culture, School of Archaeology, History and Anthropology, University of Wales Trinity Saint David

Vol 18 no 2 (Autumn/Winter 2014 will be published in July/August 2016. Vol. 19 (2015) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2013 Sophia Centre conference on Celestial Magic and is scheduled for publication in September/October 2016. Vol. 20 (2016) will be a double issue featuring the proceedings of the 2014 Sophia Centre conference on the Marriage of Heaven and Earth.

Volume 19

The Celestial Imagination: Proclus the Philosopher on Theurgy

José Manuel Redondo


This paper focuses on Proclus's On the hieratic art of the Greeks - considered as a contemporary philosophical problem - exploring some of its fundamental concepts and images, thus delineating Proclus's notion of theurgy, which he primarily conceived as divine action manifesting in the union between a god and the theurgist, and only secondarily as a technique. These aesthetic experiments of thought or philosophical performances, by means of which a divine self is created, had deep metaphysical, cosmological, psychological, ethical, linguistic and even political and religious implications for Late Antiquity Platonism, and had a profound impact on the development of Renaissance philosophy and magic. Such practices are meant to be understood in the context of the philosophical paideia of which it represents its final stage and consummation; they are developed by intricate hermeneutics of a poetic theology operated by very sophisticated conceptions of symbol, analogy and the imagination, all of which are at the base of the celestial-terrestrial correspondences used by theurgists in their hymn singing.

Citation: José Manuel Redondo, 'The Celestial Imagination: Proclus the Philosopher on Theurgy', Celestial Magic, special issue of Culture and Cosmos, Vol. 19, nos. 1 and 2, 2015, pp. 25-46.

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