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Dionysius the Areopagite - Celestial Hierarchy - Symbols



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Dionysius – Celestial Hierarchies

Everything … delivered in a supermundane manner by Celestial Natures is given to us in symbols …. … So that it might be guided through the sensible to the intelligible


 …[the spirits] describe that Spiritual Hierarchy in material terms and in various compositions of forms so that we might be led, each according to his capacity, from the most holy imagery to formless, unitic, elevative principles and assimilations.  For the mind can by no means be directed to the spiritual presentation and contemplation of the Celestial Hierarchies unless it use the material guidance suited to it …… For it might be said that the reason for attributing shapes to that which is above shape, and forms to that which is beyond form is  the feebleness of our intellectual power which is unable to rise at once to spiritual contemplation and which needs to be encouraged but also because it is most fitting that the secret doctrines, though ineffable and holy enigmas, should veil and render difficult of access for the multitude the sublime and profound truth of the supernatural Intelligences.  For as the Scripture declares not everyone is holy, nor have all men knowledge

The source of the experience

Dionysius the Areopagite

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Symbol system

Activities and commonsteps



Contemplation and detachment