Theurgy, meaning “divine working”, is a Hermetic practice of ritual and prayer, first written about in the second century neo-Platonist Chaldean Oracles. Like all Hermetic philosophies, the core tenet of Theurgy is described in the foundational text, the Emerald Tablet:
That which is below is like that which is above, and that which is above is like that which is below
In the Hermetic tradition, the microcosmic world of material existence is a reflection of the Macrocosmic world of divine perfection. The two worlds differ in degree, but not in kind, with the manifest world being created as emanations from the Divine, stepping down gradually through spheres of archetypal energy, coalescing from etheric to tangible.
Each level of emanation from above to below adds something to the Divine energy as it flows, in the way that light is changed by passing through coloured lenses. At the higher planes of the emanation, Theurgists have catalogued the spiritual beings of classical magic, the angels and archangels ruling over particular heavenly structures and functions.
As the light descends, it is then enrobed in denser forms which precipitate out of the purely etheric realms and solidify into animal, vegetable, and mineral life. However, even at the densest level of materiality, sparks of the Divine are found, linking back up along a great chain of being from our world, which can be ascended layer by layer until the Theurgist returns to union with the Divine.
The first step on the “path of return”, as it is called, is to balance the inner cosmos with the archetypal energies of the larger universe, so that each of those spheres is a source of wisdom to be carried by the Soul as it returns.
Plants are powerful allies in this work, and can be used in a sacred context to imbue the Body, Spirit, and Soul with refined representations of the higher archetypal energies. Each plant carries a specific facet of the Divine light, and when prepared and used reverently, can awaken that spark in ourselves. These plants opens your being to a particular flow of energy, and each can be used to support specific spiritual workings, from physical paths such as yoga and tantra, to the sacred use of the mind as in mantra, to the Soul’s connection through devotional or magickal practice.