This is the first edition of the Prometheus Trust's internet journal, The Meadow, and a few words are necessary to give our readers an idea of the general aims, background and inspiration of this new venture.
As a registered educational charity the Prometheus Trust was established to promote the deeper understanding of mankind's philosophies, religions, sciences and arts. For several years the trustees have been concentrating their energies upon the Thomas Taylor Series - the republication of all the writings of Thomas Taylor, the heroic servant of the ancient tradition. The reason for this direction is a belief that the Trust's primary aim is best served by bringing to today's students of beauty and truth the great stream of wisdom which was carefully nurtured by the mystical sages of the old Mediterranean civilization. This wisdom underlies so much of what is best in the west, and its neglect has given rise to much of what is worst in the west; it is a wisdom which is the true counterpart to the mystical teachings of the east and its re-establishment is vital at a time when the economic strength of the west is tending to impose its superficial values upon cultures around the world.
The ancient tradition offered to those students who were willing to pursue its inner discipline a path to the liberation of the soul from its mundane confines and, at the same time, armed them with the power to bring to the mundane world an echo of the beauties of the world invisible to the senses. It was a tradition which was wholistic in the best sense of the word - it integrated philosophy, religion, art and science, and provided a contemplative path which gave due attention to the duties the rational being has to his or her environment, both inner and outer.
The wisdom of the west rested foursquare upon the sublime doctrine of The One and The Gods: it recognized in reverential silence The One and worshipped The Gods, which were known to be the first unfoldings into light of The One. Along with this great truth came the understanding of the true nature of human beings - that they are souls with an inborn nobility, and an unbreakable link to the Gods, and the truth that they deliver to the universe. The system of the ancient sages - Orpheus, Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Iamblichus, Proclus, amongst many others - sought to arouse the latent powers of its adherents so that they themselves became conscious participants in the great providential rays of light that emanate from the Gods. It was a system that gave the deepest respect to the teaching of great men and women, but required its students to become self-sufficient as regards human leaders, deeming the Gods to be the only true leaders of souls.
In the rise of an authoritarian church in the early centuries of the common era, these fundamental tenets of the ancient tradition were suppressed, to the long-term detriment of the peoples of the world. But since the human soul always desires the good it is impossible for any political system, secular or religious, to destroy entirely the impulse of men and women towards their proper happiness. It is in the service of this impulse that The Meadow is launched.
Each human soul has a memory - perhaps clear, perhaps dim - of a place in which she beheld the life of the Gods, and, because of this memory, seeks to regain that place in which true being and eternal life are met. Indeed it is the nature of the soul to carry within herself a undying image of her home and it is this to which Socrates (in the Phaedrus) refers when he says, "From a Meadow of this kind, that which is best in the soul receives convenient nutriment; and from this the nature of the wing is nourished, by which the soul is enabled to ascend." Proclus, commenting on this passage, wrote "The Meadow is the prolific power of life, and of all-various reasons; it is the comprehension of the first efficient causes of life, and is the cause of the variety, and generation of forms. For the meadows also which are here are productive of all-various forms and reasons, and bear water which is the symbol of vivification."
Thus our journal, to be known as The Meadow, is for the benefit and enjoyment of all lovers of wisdom and friends of truth, from whatever disciplines or backgrounds they come, and whether they deem themselves to be proficients or beginners in the spheres of philosophy, religion, and mysticism. For essentially, as its title indicates, it is for the nourishment of souls. Hence, as souls are nourished, in the first place, by a certain goodness, wisdom, and beauty, these principles are to be the guiding characteristics for any and all of the inclusions in the journal, together with the leaders to these principles, viz . faith, truth, and love.
In our first issue we have a fascinating range of articles and we are confident that the newcomeer and the student of many years standing will find something of interest: Don Skilling's simple analysis of causes is most accessible and requires no previous reading in philosophy, while I W Cleeve's Scholia on Eros should stimulate the true academic. Above all we hope that these articles will bring out the philosopher in you, and we will add, as the weeks go by, any suitable letters received in response to the articles. Why not bookmark The Meadow and come back every now and again to see what we have added?
We expect to produce new editions of this journal at the spring and autumn equinoxes and invite contributions from any who feel so inclined. Contributions may be in written form, such as dissertations, poetry, hymns, myths, prayers, etc. or may be visual, such as drawings, paintings, photographs, diagrams, or a mixture of both. The Meadow is intended to enrich, enliven, and enlighten all who produce and peruse it, and to assist in the liberation of the human soul from the false limitations of material life, now and in the future: as editor it is this general aim that I will use as my criterion. All communications, whether intended for publication or not, will be welcomed.
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