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Twelve Gods

Post  Philhellene91 on Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:35 pm

Why exactly twelve gods?

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Re: Twelve Gods

Post  Erodius on Sat Aug 16, 2014 9:40 pm

Not an easy answer. The number 12 has cosmic significance in the number of months, hours of the day, and zodiacal houses. Religiously, the cultured West had first the Twelve Gods, and then the Twelve Tribes of Israel and the Twelve Apostles – while 13 came to be considered unlucky, as a number of chaos and disorder, and 12 was the fullness of perfection. 

However, the order of causality here depends on one's point of view. From the religious Neoplatonic perspective, the cosmic importance of the number 12 is a result of the twelve divine seirae from the twelve henads (god-sources) of the One; i.e. 12 is a cosmically important number because there are twelve divine currents, not the other way around. 

Depending on whom you ask, it can be a bit of a chicken vs. egg/Euthyphro dilemma – whether there are 12 gods because the number 12 is important, or whether the number 12 is important because there are 12 gods.

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"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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