The Wisdom of Hypatia

Ancient Spiritual Practices
for a More Meaningful Life

Academic Papers [under construction!]

This page contains links (mostly to pdf files) to academic papers that I have written about Neoplatonism, theurgy, and Jungian psychology.
Liber Novus sed non Ultimus: Neoplatonic Theurgy for our Time (Abridged Preprint) [pdf].
Liber Novus sed non Ultimus
Neoplatonic Theurgy for our Time Abridged Preprint
Liber Novus sed non Ultimus
Neoplatonic Theurgy for our Time Abridged Preprint
Liber Novus sed non Ultimus
Neoplatonic Theurgy for our Time Abridged Preprint

Jung’s Red Book is remarkable: visually stunning, imposing (both the original and the facsimile), mysterious, illuminating the development both of C. G. Jung as an individual and of Jungian psychology as a movement. From another perspective, as I will argue, The Red Book is unexceptional (except for its aesthetic quality) for it is a typical product of a series of theurgical operations such as have been practiced for thousands of years. As such, The Red Book is especially valuable for our postmodern age, because it is an example of how the spirit of the depths can be encountered and accommodated in our time. This is an abridged preprint of a chapter to appear in Murray Stein and Thomas Arzt (Eds.), Jung’s Red Book for Our Time: Searching for Soul under Postmodern Conditions, Vol IV (Chiron, 2020).

Theurgy as a Contemporary Practice: The Example of Jung’s Red Book [pdf]. This chapter explores the question of whether Neoplatonic theurgy is a practice accessible to any suitably trained person, or whether it is a rare accomplishment of exceptional individuals. To expose the issues, I focus on Jung’s production of his Red Book,1 which is the result of a unique series of theurgical experiments that he conducted from 1913 to 1919, and which he claimed to be source of all his later ideas. Peter Kingsley’s recent two-volume essay, called Catafalque: Carl Jung and the End of Humanity,2 compares Jung’s singular revelation to those of prophets such as Pythagoras, Parmenides, Empedocles, Isaiah, Joachim of Fiore, and indeed Jesus. From this perspective, such divine revelations are rare and restricted to a few privileged individuals in each age. Jung’s theurgical experiments, however, are the basis of the psychoanalytic practice called active imagination, which corresponds closely to Neoplatonic theurgy and operates on similar principles.3 Jungian psychologists recommend active imagination, either self-directed or under the guidance of an analyst, as a valuable practice aimed toward psychological integration. Ancient theurgists seem to agree: though individuals may differ in their aptitude (or epitêdeiotês), in principle anyone can learn to practice theurgy and engage with divinity. This is the paradox. (ISNS 2019)
The Psychodynamics of the Numbers [pdf]. In this paper I argue that certain archetypal numbers are rooted in human psychology and neurophysiology, and therefore that they have an objective psychological reality. This is not a new observation, but this paper provides a detailed comparison between the arithmology in a particular Neoplatonic text and the psychodynamical aspects of the numbers revealed by Jungian analytical psychology. The text question is the anonymous Theologumena arithmetica (Theology of Arithmetic), which is dated to the mid-fourth century CE. It was sometimes attributed (incorrectly) to Iamblichus, but is in fact a compilation of extracts from Nicomachus’ Theologumena arithmeticae, otherwise surviving only as a summary in Photius’Biblioteca 187, and of extracts from Anatolius’ De decade, as well as other texts. (ISNS 2018)
Psychological Effects of Henôsis [pdf].  Jung’s term “individuation” refers to the process of becoming psychologically individuus, that is, undivided or indivisible; it could almost serve as a translation of henôsis. Moreover, practices in analytical psychology, such has active imagination, have direct analogies in theurgy and are directed toward similar ends. In this paper I explore these parallels in order to understand better the means and ends of ancient theurgical practice. (ISNS, 2017)
Neurophenomenology and Neoplatonism [pdf].  The worldview emerging from neurophenomenology is consistent with the phenomenological insights obtained by Neoplatonic theurgical operations. (ISNS, 2016)

Twenty-first Century Theurgy [pdf]. We can get important insights into theurgy from contemporary practices that are, in essence, theurgy. In this presentation I discuss two examples: first, active imagination in analytical psychology and, second, practices explicitly called “theurgy.” I explore these practices in terms of their goals, techniques, and outcomes. (ISNS, 2014)

Psychological Effects of Theurgy in Contemporary Practice [pdf]. I show that we can achieve important insights into the psychological effects of Neoplatonic theurgical practices and understand their benefits for practitioners by comparing them with contemporary practices in analytical or depth psychology as pioneered by Carl Jung. (ISNS, 2013)

Theurgy from the Perspective of Evolutionary Neuropsychology [pdf].

I will argue for two theses. First, that much of the practice and phenomenology of theurgy can be understood from the perspective of contemporary evolutionary neuropsychology. Second, that this understanding implies the psychological value of contemporary theurgical practices. (ISNS, 2012)
Living Neoplatonism [pdf]. 
From my perspective as a scientist I will explain why I think Neoplatonism is especially suited to provide a spiritual complement to the contemporary scientific worldview, which is otherwise materialistic in orientation and ill-equipped to deal with many peoples’ spiritual concerns (2011).

Individual Soul and World Soul: The Process of Individuation in Neoplatonism & Jung [pdf]. Detailed exploration of theurgical means of ascent to the One from the perspective of Jungian psychology (2006).

Neoplatonism in Science: Past and Future [pdf].  In this article I argue that modern Neoplatonism can contribute to a revitalization of science and an improved human relationship to nature (ISNS, 2006).
Evolutionary Jungian Psychology [pdf]. Explains consistency of evolutionary psychology and Jungian psychology (2006).
Evolution, Jung, and Theurgy: Their Role in Modern Neoplatonism [pdf]. Explanation of Neoplatonic theurgy based on evolutionary Jungian psychology (ISNS, 2005).
Evolutionary Neurotheology and the Varieties of Religious Experience [pdf]. Evolutionary Jungian psychology explains the psychological objectivity of the gods as understood in Neoplatonism (2002).