Open Buddha

Open Source Buddhism, Technology, and Geekery
Bay Area, California

Golden Dawn Documents and Aristotle

An acquaintance of mine from my old BBS and OTO days has photocopies of a bit of original Golden Dawn material (the J.F.C. Fuller notebooks that Fuller copied, I believe, from Crowley’s notebooks). He just wrote to me that he copied the first three volumes of that material for me last week and it should be on its way to me today. He mentioned that the quality wasn’t great (second generation or so photocopies) but they are readable.

These three volumes have, at a minimum, the outer order rituals of the Golden Dawn and the Z papers. This should solve some of my source problems that Dan Harms and some of my other readers have noted since I’ve had to rely on the published Regardie material fairly heavily in my existing draft.

I probably need to double-check if Fuller did actually copy from Crowley’s notebooks. I’m not sure if I know of a definitive source to answer that question.

On another note, on reading a bit of Aristotle’s De Anima, I cannot, for the life of me, see even a vague attempt by the Neoplatonists to reconcile Plato and Aristotle in this area. Neoplatonism is generally thought to be an attempt to reconcile Plato and Aristotle into one philosophy, among its other aspects. Aristotle’s idea of the soul is that it is basically synonymous with the livingness of living beings from plants all the way to people. He explicitly critisizes the idea that the soul exists in parts or that it is associated with places in the body. The whole “vehicle of the soul” bit in Platonism? Out. The soul as harmony? I don’t think so. The soul is part of the living nature of the body and cannot be separated from it.

The only exception to this is that he differentiates reason as something other than the soul or the body. Reason has a divine origin. I would suppose that this maps to the triple differentiation that one finds in some Christian material to the body, soul, and spirit. St. Augustine, who I was reading last week, uses that model a bit. It is pretty clear the the esoteric understanding of the soul from the Renaissance on owes much much more to Plato and the Neoplatonists than it owes to Aristotle at all. If I didn’t think that my committee would read my section on Classical ideas concerning the soul where I discuss it briefly in Homer and Plato and ask, “What about Aristotle?”, I would leave him out of my thesis entirely.