The Neoplatonic Cross

28 08 2008

The ‘figure’ of the world soul is the shape of the X, the crossing of the bands of Sameness and Otherness. In geometric astronomy, these bands are the equatorial and ecliptic circles of the celestial sphere, which meet at an angle (approximately 23.5 degrees of arc). So the X shape represents the daily and annual movement of the heavens. In astrology, the former refers to the ‘houses’ and the latter the signs of the zodiac. In Late Antiquity, and under the influence of the ‘Chaldeans’, the metaphysical symbolism of the Timaean X was cultivated in a variety of forms until it assumed a magical, practically talismanic, status as it was coupled with the rich symbolism of the cross, +. Proclus tells us that the X was ‘placed at the heart’ of every soul (the heart the seat of soul) as an image of the world soul. Is this a non-Christian crossing of the heart?

-Lucas Siorvanes, Proclus: Neo-Platonic Philosophy and Science


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