Εκάτη in The Chaldæan Oracles of Zoroaster

by W. Wynn Westcott

[1895]

 

Starting on page 32 of the chapter:

IDEAS.

INTELLIGIBLES, INTELLECTUALS, IYNGES, SYNOCHES, TELETARCHÆ, FOUNTAINS, PRINCIPLES, HECATE AND DÆMONS.

pg 32. 55

Because it is the Operator, because it is the Giver of Life Bearing Fire, because it filleth the Life-producing bosom of Hecaté; and it instilleth into the Synoches the enlivening strength of Fire, endued with mighty Power.

[Proclus – Commentaries of Plato’s Timaeus pg.128]

pg 33-34. 65-66

The source of the Hecaté correspondeth with that of the Fontal Fathers.

From Him leap forth the Amilicti the all-relentless thunders, and the whirlwind receiving Bosoms of the all-splendid Strength of Hecaté Father-begotten; and He who encircleth the Brilliance of Fire; And the Strong Spirit of the Poles, all fiery beyond.

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MAGICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL PRECEPTS.

 

pg 51. 187

In the left side of Hecate is a fountain of Virtue, which remaineth entirely within her, not sending forth its virginity.

pg 52. 194

Labour thou around the Strophalos of Hecaté.

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The Chaldean Oracles

 

THE INTELLIGIBLE ORDER

The Summit

“It is the operator, and the giver of life-bearing fire. It fills the vivific bosom of Hecate, and pours on the Synoches the fertile strength of a fire endued with mighty power.”

 

THE INTELLECTUAL ORDER

The Fontal Fathers

“From him leap forth the implacable thunders, and the prester-capacious bosoms of the all-splendid strength of the father-begotten Hecate, together with the environed flower of fire, and the strong spirit which is beyond the fiery poles.

In the oracles it is said, that Saturn, who is the first fountain of the Amilicti, comprehends and rides on all the rest. “The intellect of the Father, riding on attenuated rulers, they become refulgent with the furrows of inflexible and implacable fire.”

The father did not hurl forth fear, but infused persuasion [as divinity is not of a tyrannical nature, he draws every thing to himself by persuasion, and not by fear].

The Father [Saturn] perfected all things, and delivered them to the second intellect [Jupiter], which the nations of men call the first.

Hecate (Rhea)

The vivific fountain of souls is comprehended under two intellects.

Immense Nature is suspended about the shoulders of the goddess.

The centre of Hecate is carried in the middle of the fathers.

In the left-hand inward parts of Hecate, [the centre of the intellectual gods], is the fountain of virtue, which wholly abides within, and does not emit its virginal nature.

Her hairs appear similar to rays of light ending in a sharp point.

Rhea is the fountain and river of the blessed intellectual gods. For first receiving the powers of all things in her ineffable bosoms, she pours running generation into every thing.”

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Fragments

οὐ γὰρ νοός ἐστι νοητοῦ, καὶ τὸ νοητὸν οὐ νοῦ χωρὶς ὐπάρχει…

senza intuibile, non esiste intuizione, e senza intuizione, non esiste intuibile…

without the deducible, doesn’t exist intuition, and without intuition, doesn’t exist the deducible…

(Fragment from The Chaldæan Oracles)

Source: opsopaus.com

Fr.32 ll.2-3 

(S)he is a Worker, Giver of Life-Bringing Fire,
and fills the Womb Life-Giving of Hekate…

The word translated “Giver” is Ἐκδότις, the literal meaning of which is “Bride’s Mother”; also “Worker” is ἐργάτις, which is a female worker. All of this suggests Hekate (as in Stanley’s translation), but the sense seems to imply that the Demiurge is meant (as in Majercik 154). Johnston (64–5) says it is theΠατρικὴ Δύναμις (Paternal Power), which is feminine. Κόλπον (here, Womb) may also mean Bosom or Fold (Sinus).

Fr.34 

from thence the birth of Variegated Matter leaps;
thence sweeping Lightning-Storm obscures the Flower of Fire,
in Coils of Kosmoi leaping; for from thence all things
begin to stretch forth, down below, the wondrous beams.

Articles have been written about the meaning of Πρηστήρ, which has been translated “hurricane,” “lightning,” and “water spout accompanied by lightning.” In the context of the Chaldean Oracles a fiery meaning is to be expected, and so my translation, “Lightning-Storm,” reflects associations with πρήσω, which is the future tense of both πρήθω (to blow) and πίπρημι (to burn). Coils (Κοιλώμασι) might also be translated Hollows of Womb (Johnston, 50–1). For more on the “Coils of Hekate” see Opsopaus (AGEDE, “Fire”).

Fr.35 

for from Him leap the Thunderbolts Implacable
and Lightning-Storm-receiving Wombs of Radiant Light
of Father-born Hekate, and Girdling Flower of Fire,
and mighty Spirit from beyond the Fiery Poles.

On the “Lightning-Storm,” see the notes to fr. 34.

Fr.50 

between the Fathers is Hekate’s Center borne.

Between” is μέσσον (messon), which alludes to Mediator, Mean, Middle, etc.

Fr.72 

for now, equipped, all-armored, I have come Divine

Divine” is feminine, and hence the speaker is a Goddess, probably Hekate. She is all-armored (πάντευχοςpanteukhos), a term used by Plato (Laws VII, 796c1) of Athena. She also describes Herself as enoplios (ἐνόπλιος), the usual meaning of which is “armed,” but literally is “bearing hopla,” which are any tools, implements, including those of war; hence I have used “equipped.”

Fr.91 

the Driver of the Dogs of Water, Earth, and Air

The Dogs are the Material Daimones, who by their nature oppose the Ascent of the Theurgists. Like all Daimones, they are ruled by Hekate, who is their “Driver” (ἘλάτειραElateira, a feminine form).

Sources: Johnston, Sarah Iles. Hekate Soteira: A Study of Hekate’s Role in the Chaldean Oracles and Related Literature. Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1990.

Review of the above works: http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1991/02.06.11.html

 

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Excerpts from 

THE FIGURE OF HECATE AND DYNAMIC EMANATIONISM IN THETHE CHALDEAN ORACLES, SETHIAN GNOSTICISM AND NEOPLATONISM byJOHN D. TURNERThe University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The Second Century Journal 

 7:4 (1991), 221-232

“Earlier still, according to Damascius (Dubitationes et Solutiones 61 & 221 = 1.131, 17 & 2.101, 25 Ruelle), the Chaldaean Oracles also applied the Existence, Life and Intelligence terminology to the principal transcendent entities of that system. Between the highest principle, the Paternal Monad (equated with Existence), and the divine Intellect, they interposed a median principle they called Hecate. This Hecate they equated with the processing power of the Paternal Monad, even though this resulted in a duplication of the figure of Hecate, whom at a still lower ontological level, they also identified with the World Soul.”

“…The triadic figure of Hecate in the

Chaldaean Oracles…”

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Excerpt: 

THE CHALDEAN ORACLES OF ZOROASTER, HEKATE’S COUCH,
AND PLATONIC ORIENTALISM IN PSELLOS AND PLETHON1
DYLAN BURNS

“It should also be noticed that Hekate had, without doubt, a more personal presence than any other deity in the original Oracles. She is the only Pagan deity mentioned in them at all besides Rhea, who seems to have fulfilled the same generative/mediating dual function (62). Her high profile in the text necessarily labeled it as a Pagan discourse. Even if he had wanted to declarethe exact consonance of the Oracles with Christianity, Psellos would have been at great pains to explain the strong presence of Hekate, mistress of Pagan khthonia. Her transformation into a couch ‘which does not give away its virtue’ allowed Pl∂thon, on the other hand, to historically locate the Oracles by their name alone: thus they become the Chaldean Oracles of Zoroaster…”

 

 

 

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