The Chaldaic Oracles date from the 2nd century AD. Attributed to Julian, it is a short, dense, deep, open-ended, eyes-opening text, made of oracular sentences, old, worn out, precious nuggets, whose ancient shards shine with an uncertain fire.
Here are a few of them:
« a Spirit born of the Spirit » (νοῦ γάρ νόος).
« The silence of the Fathers, of which God feeds Himself » (16).
« You know the paternal abyss by thinking of it, beyond the Cosmos » (18)
« All Spirits think this God. » (19)
« The Spirit does not subsist apart from the Intelligible, and the Intelligible does not subsist apart from the Spirit» (20)
« The fire of the Sun, He placed it in the core of the heart. » (58)
« Everything yields to the intellectual fulgurations of the intellectual Fire. » (81)
« Do not put off your Spirit » (105)
«The mortal who will aprroach the Fire will be given light by God. » (121)
« All is lit by lightning. » (147)
« When you will have seen the holy, holy Fire, burning without form, jumping around the abysses of the world, listen to the voice of Fire. » (148)
« Do not ever change the barbaric names » (150)
« Do not lean towards the low. » (164)
« The inaccessible abyss of thought. » (178)
« The ire of matter. » (180)
« Truth is in the deep » (183)
« The time of time (χρόνου χρόνος). » (185)
A thousand years after their writing, Michel Psellus (1018-1098) wrote a Commentaries of the Chaldaic Oracles, and highlighted their Assyrian and Chaldean influences.
And a thousand years later, Hans Lewy wrote his great work, Chaldean Oracles and Theurgy. Mysticism magic and platonism in the later Roman Empire (Cairo, 1956).
Many other modern scholars, such as W. Kroll, E. Bréhier, F. Cumont, E. R. Dodds, H. Jonas, also studied these texts between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the last century.
Long before them, an ancient chain of thinkers, Eusebius, Origen, Proclus, Porphyry, Jamblicus, had traced their own paths around it.
In fact, it appears that it is necessary to go all the way back to Babylon, and even more so to Zoroastrianism, to try to understand the meaning of these magical-mystical poems, which obtained the status of sacred revelation among the neo-Platonists.
What’s left of it, nowadays?
Maybe, some ideas like that of the soul’s journey through the worlds, and words like « anagogy » or « Aion », which is another name for eternity. There also remains the hypothesis of « the noetic hypostasis of the Divinity », as Hans Lewy puts it.
G. Durand had this famous formula: « The symbol is the epiphany of a mystery. « i
Generally, today, these poems, these oracles, still mystify the world, but their sparks light up the night.
We could say the same about an ancient Proverb such as: « I, Wisdom, dwell with prudence, and find out knowledge of witty inventions.»ii
What does our “Modern times” have to say about Mystery, the “prudence of Wisdom”, or the « fulguration of the Spirit »?
It’s « the time of time », it’s time to change times! Blind and deaf modernity, Exit! Exit!
i G. Durand L’imagination poétique
ii Prov. 8,12