Two New Essays by Italian Classicist Angelo Tonelli

Announcing two new essay translations: “In the Luminous Abysses: Shamanism, Trance, and Ecstasy in Ancient Greece” and “Parmenides, priest of Apollo Oúlios, and the mystic-shamanic roots of Western philosophy,” authored by Italian classicist, translator, theater director and actor Angelo Tonelli, and translated by Olga Faccani.

These essays by Angelo Tonelli delve into the spiritual and intellectual traditions of ancient Greek philosophy, prompting a reorientation of our perspective on ancient wisdom. Both essays are part of our essays series on “Historical Studies in Orientation” that investigates the phenomenon of orientation avant la lettre.

In the Luminous Abysses: Shamanism, Trance, and Ecstasy in Ancient Greece” explores the contrast between modern rationality and the shamanic, ecstatic traditions of ancient Greece through the lens of Noûs. This inquiry encourages a reconsideration of our approach to what is rational and irrational, suggesting an integration of spiritual disciplines to achieve a more comprehensive understanding of the cosmos:

“In our age – marked by the triumph of technology and science, increasingly welded in a pairing that exalts the dimension of functional rationality – a splitting of interiority is already taking place, and this splitting is destined to grow exponentially with the cybernetic revolution that is being intensified in our everyday experience.” Read it here.

Parmenides, Priest of Apollo Oúlios, and the Mystic-Shamanic Roots of Western Philosophy” focuses on the mystic-shamanic underpinnings of Western thought as exemplified by Parmenides. This essay illuminates how Parmenides’ teachings blend mysticism with rational thought, laying a foundation for logical principles deeply connected with cosmic intuition. It invites us to reevaluate our current understanding and engagement with ancient philosophical insights, advocating for the rediscovery of these rich traditions to enhance our collective knowledge and contribute to societal enlightenment:

“Why should we turn to Parmenides, priest of Apollo Oúlios? Why should we retrace the path that led him to the threshold of the visible world, until he crossed the Door of Night and Day, to clasp the hand of the nameless Goddess in the Great Beyond, and to hear the winged words of Wisdom that can be heard only by the ears of those who are initiated to the rites?” Read it here.