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Stephen Rego on the Nous in Proclus, Part II: Metaphysics and Myth

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[We apologise, again, for the muddy audio on this one.]

Buckle up, kids. This is one for those who really love metaphysics and really love myth. We discuss:

  • The fundamental causal triad of procession, remaining, and reversion (taking Plotinus’ doctrine of creative procession and reversion as a comparative case), which structures every Proclean hypostasis,
  • The triad of Being, Life, and Nous, which unfolds across the nous and provides its triadic structure overall (discussed, again, with a Plotinian comparandum),
  • The technical Proclean meanings of noēton, noēton/noeron, and noeron,
  • Some discourse on the different interactions of Orphic, Chaldæan, and other gods and goddesses with philosophic abstractions which constitutes the architecture of the Proclean nous,
  • A discursus on the Hesiodic and Orphic cosmogonies,
  • An exploration of the divine personæ inhabiting the highest realm – the Being part of the Being/Life/Nous triad – including the Orphic Phanes, his consort Night, and a number of fascinating subsequent triads, playing out through the mythological myth of the succession of the gods, their intermarriages, castrations, and so on,
  • And finally, the now-famous noeric hebdomad, the ‘lowest’ moment of the Proclean noētos kosmos.
  • We append a few questions: Where do mathematical entities appear in this framework? And what about triads in Proclus: do they go ‘all the way down’?

Interview Bio:

Stephen Rego is a serious Proclus-head engaged in exploring the higher realms of Platonist being. He maintains the Neoplatonism group on Facebook.

Works Cited in this Episode:

Our special episode on the anonymous Commentary on the Parmenides can be found here.


Translations used are as follows: In Crat: Brian Duvick, editor. Proclus on Plato Cratylus. Bloomsbury, London/New Delhi/New York, NY/Sydney, 2007. Platonic Theology: Simon Fortier. The Prolegomenon to Proclus’ Platonic Theology. An Introduction, Translation, and Commentary of Chapters 1-7 of Book I of the Platonic Theology. PhD thesis, Université Laval, 2014.

Damascius: Proclus’ aithēr and chaos as Limit and Unlimited: De Principiis III.159-160 (Damascius doesn’t name him but refers to ‘the theologians’ when discussing the first intelligible triad, but also seems to be discussing Proclus and Syrianus in the same passage when discussing the second and third intelligible triads in Orphic terms) . Cf. Proc. In Tim. I.385.18ff. Diehl and In Parm. VI.1121.27 ff. Diehl; Syrianus also states that the “Dyad” after the very first principle, according to Pythagoras, is Aithēr and Chaos: In Met. 182.21 ff. Kroll.


  • ‘All in all, but appropriately to each’: ET 103.
  • On naming the gods: In Crat. 65.16 Pasquali.
  • On the titanic offspring of Ouranos: In Crat. 110 Pasquali.
  • PT 4.21.
  • We refer in an offhand way to Proclus’ Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements. See Glenn R. Morrow, editor. Proclus: A Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, 1970.


Stephen Gersh. Kinesis akinetos: A Study of Spiritual Motion in the Philosophy of Proclus. Number 26 in Philosophia Antiqua. Brill, Leiden, 1973.

Robert Goulding. Geometry and the Gods: Theurgy in Proclus’s Commentary on the First Book of Euclid’s Elements. Perspectives on Science, 30(3):358-406, 06 2022.

Danielle Layne. Otherwise Than the Father: Night and the Maternal Causes in Proclus’ Theological Metaphysics. In Jana Schultz and James Wilberding, editors, Women and the Female in Neoplatonism, number 30 in Studies in Platonism, Neoplatonism, and the Platonic Tradition, pages 22152. Brill, Leiden, 2022.

Recommended Reading:

There is a bibliography attached to Episode One.


More spreadsheets to follow!