Magic: Iamblichus

IamblichusI wound up writing this on someone’s Facebook wall, but I think it’s relevant to my blog. Of course it’s the result of listening to Rune Soup (notably the recent show about extradimensionality) and my own reading of Iamblichus with my book-group, but I think it’s relevant to my current interests.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about “Flatland” by Edwin Abbott lately, and how it relates to Iamblichus’s “On the Mysteries”. Both books, essentially, posit the existence of entities/personae that have more dimensions than the book’s narrators. And when these entities intrude on our space-time, the narrators experience incredibly weird phenomena which force the narrator to stretch their thinking and philosophical framework. For A.Square, the narrator of “Flatland”, this experience is a Sphere passing through his 2-dimensional universe; for Iamblichus, it is the presence of a god, whose super-reality is such that symbols, emblems, experiences, lights, psychic experiences, possessions, and other oddities proliferate where the god passes by… and these experiences only get weirder the longer the god stays there.

When I read your thoughts here… and when I consider how many people I know who are – experiencing/dealing with/coping with/managing/thriving in a – non-binary identity, there’s really only one thought that occurs to me…

“Shhhh…. stop complaining about grammatical weirdness or how you don’t get the kids these days.  Don’t you see? A god is passing by.”

The thing that’s really useful about this way of seeing the world, though, is that the philosophical/theological expression that God is One (ineffable and eternal) remains in force. It may literally be a single entity that’s touching the fabric of reality and causing this person to become a prophet, that person to come out of the closet, this other person to announce to the world that they’re non-binary, that other person to become a hellfire-and-brimstone preacher with a thing for rent boys in far-off convention centers. But the lived experience of the individual who encounters this one entity may be radically different based on what part of this entity which dwells in super-reality they encounter.

It’s simultaneously radically consistent with philosophical doctrine and lived experience…. and deeply inspiring and terrifying, all at the same time.

And I think that’s the essence of it. One way or another, to my mind, the expression of queerness/trans-ness/non-binary-ness is itself an example of the kind of complexification of reality that happens when a deity or multi-dimensional passes through the fabric of our perceived reality — and we ought to be awed at the emergence of a new version or mode of expression of our common humanity, rather than frantic about it.  It’s a sign that God(s) still act upon us.

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