|WHY CREATE MY OWN SCHOOL?|
WHY CREATE MY OWN SCHOOL?|
SCHOLA AETII·WEDNESDAY, 16 MAY 2018
I had for the longest time never thought to dare to found my own School. The natural humility and self critical view, as well as my awareness as how uncertain I am on some topics had forbidden me this mostly. However, in the last year and during some conversations, it became clear to me that trying to reform the existing Cultus Deorum Romanorum was not my main goal, especially without any theoretical basis. Now by trade I am a Social Scientist and a Historian, Magister of both, and uniting both have made myself into a Philosopher of sorts. I say this with the utmost humility, and this no show or catching for sympathy. I am most aware of the shortcomings of my knowledge. And I have still in my ears the words of people who said, only one profoundly educated in the Classic Philosophers, and one with enough money to build a physical school could by any right open a real Philosophical School. After all, I am thus putting myself in the 10 sizes too big shoes of Plato, Aristotle and Zenon.
However, and I thank my fellow Priest of Apollo, the esteemed T Aurelius Apollinaris for encouraging me and exchanging ideas with me, so since he chose the name, I can at least claim not to have had the hubris to name my own school after myself. But, given it is a personal work and my personal vision, shall we say, it is only right to name the school after myself, instead of trying to find some lofty and abstract name, which might mislead people by highlighting a certain part over another.
The reality is, that almost any reason is against it. I am by far not as educated as I should be, I lack any funds, I have no disciples and little to no hope to be heard. Nobody asked for it. And yet, the reality is, that we Romans need to start somewhere, if, as the general consensus is, want to restore the “Roman Way”, whatever that may mean. The bleak truth is, that 99 of all books of the Classic Era are lost; all the knowledge of the Mystery Schools is basically lost, and as such the entire spiritual and symbolic interpretations that the people of the Classic Era had. We know close to nothing factual about it. The Rodnovery Pagans, the Slavs, are in a position that 99 of their Old Religion was lost, and they did the only thing they could: they looked into the Germanic and Hindu concepts, into general Pagan ideas and created something anew, that reminded of the Old Way. And I find this a noble and worthy thing to do; rather than let a place be empty forever, it is prudent that over time people create something anew.
My plan here is not to replace any other view, neither the traditional Cultus, nor any other Schools of Classic Philosophy, but to add my own view on both areas. As such the plan is, to create a Cosmology first and then a system of Philosophy and finally a text on Ethics and Statecraft. These three elements do not necessarily have to be linked together. The Cosmology may to a large degree stand on its own feet. It is even not entirely necessary, that the Cosmology alters the Cultus at all. One may accept my system of Cosmology and yet practice the Cultus entirely according to tradition. Though it may be that a practical Mystery Cult might be formed based on it, even though for now that is not my plan. Since the Cultus Deorum is orthopractic, it does not conflict with any sort of “theology” per se. While I have a lot of ideas and parts already in my mind, and I know generally well where I am headed to, a good part will be solved in the process.
If there would be a time and opportunity to create a real physical school, I might open one; or if the school remains more an idea, a virtual place in the internet, that remains to be seen, but the first work will of course be writing about the various aspects first. Since I have it quite clear in my mind, largely, it will be to a good portion a work of writing. After all, I have spent now about 32 years on a path of spirituality and almost as long I am a Pagan, first having Asatru as my main focus, but having altered my focus on the Roman Religion later on.
I sure have some sources and some people who inspired me, and there is an element of the eclectic, that especially in the Parts II and III – Philosophy and Ethics – will become of importance. Just to give an overview, I will take parts of the Platonic or Neoplatonist idea theory, some ethicality from the Roman Stoa, like Seneca; the pragmatic works of Cicero, but also some of the ethical writings of Confucius, which greatly influenced me, and then a good inspiration of the great Plutarch.
A ROMAN COSMOLOGY
The first part, which I shall outline here, is what I call “A Roman Cosmology”. We know that in the ancient days more theoretical concepts and spiritual interpretations of the Divine existed. The entire School of Pythagoras, which is almost completely lost, was a symbolic and numerological interpretation of the world, and such views, which combined numbers and forms with spiritual and metaphysical views, were know all over the region, from the Chaldeans to the Babylonians, in Greece and the Levante. Alas, all those systems are lost in all but fragments. We know only Astrology from the Babylonians and Chaldeans. We also know that metaphysical concepts have similarities all over the Indo-European region, for one, and there are similarities in the systems of the Levante – Oriental region, for instance the Flood Myth, which exists in Babylon, among the Hebrews and in the Greek Mythology in very similar variants. There are similar structures in all of these, and it would be highly unlikely that the Pythagoreans and the Mystery Schools had completely different views than all the things from the areas around, which we know about.
We know there are typically leading trinities, a system of the four elements, the idea of the cyclical return of things, the sacred numbers 3, 4, 7 and 12 representing similar ideas, a hierarchical structure of the Divine, similar myths of the death and reborn Gods, of solar and lunar myths. Such things are quite known to us, and we can expect that the lost Mystery Schools revolved around similar ideas. As such, the Western and Oriental regions both offer sources upon which one can built something, and I intend to do just that. I will make a few alterations, where I feel that for the sake of plausibility and given I speak to an audience of our time, some changes must be made. I will highlight these and explain the reasoning for it. Keep in mind, a Cosmology is just a map, or an alphabet; it tries to explain the higher worlds and the place of our material world in it, as a parable, if you wish. But like the menu card is not the actual dinner, so a system of cosmology is never the real thing. It is an interpretation of the world, no more, no less. You are not forced to accept the whole package. You may be inspired by some elements and have your own thoughts on another, and that counts for my entire writing. I do not demand conformity, even though I do hope people will pass on my view to future generations, as inspiration, if nothing else.
Now the educated people will, as I present my the “Cosmic Tree” immediately recognize similarities to the kabbalistic Tree of Life and its spheres and paths. I cannot deny it served as inspiration; but as the only such system that survived the millennia, there is no real alternative. From the hints Plutarch gives about Pythagoras, we can assume he had a similar systematic world view, but it is lost. I cannot imagine that the Hebrew people being so heavily influenced by Greeks, Babylonians and others around them, would create a metaphysical system entirely based on different premises, and of course a new Cosmological Tree must be applicable to modern day spiritual systems, because only then can we attract people with more spiritual interests and add our view to the general Western Systems of spirituality and esoteric development. I know that several Native Americans have done similar things, like the “Medicine Wheel” writings, or the Castaneda School. Such are writings and concepts which often claim to be “entirely historic”, because some people need to believe it. Similarly Wicca had reanimated some Western Systems, filled the gaps with their own ideas and thus created a living spirituality for those who seek more than “just adoration”. Now mind ya, I do not mean that in a derogatory way, not at all. I take my office as a Priest very seriously, and I love helping out people who only seek religious support. But I know in our modern society a lot of people want more, and a lot of people do not adhere to one system alone. For these I try to make this Roman Cosmology.
One final comment. You will see through my work that I prefer brevity. I want to sketch things out, give hints. I believe in the saying of Arthur Schopenhauer, that one can read oneself stupid. I am not one who will lay it out all in the great detail, and write on ten pages, what may be outlined in a few paragraphs. I want the reader to seek out the details, fill the gaps, flesh out the bones. I offer you a path, but you must walk it.
C Florius Aetius
Ursapolis, Germania Superior
Maius MMDCCLXXI A.U.C.