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A Visionary Recital

By Mary Casey

262 pp

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About the Book

Plotinus: A Visionary Recital is a reconstruction of the life of Plotinus, based on a close study of the Enneads. “Our time,” wrote Kathleen Raine, “presents us with problems closely parallel to the times of Plotinus, who was something far other, and far more, than a philosopher in the diminished modern sense of the term. He was a true ‘lover of wisdom’—of the spiritual knowledge that has been virtually forgotten in the secular world of the modern West.” Mary Casey’s book is a vivid evocation of the Mediterranean world of the third century, mediated through a finely-tempered prose that reflects a unique personal vision.


“Generations of Jewish, Christian, and Islamic philosophers and theologians have expressed immeasurable indebtedness to Plotinus, for whom the Cosmos is a living being, the Eternal is apprehended as Beauty, and the supreme aim of human spirituality is union with ‘the One.’ The British writer and Kenyan farmer Mary Casey loved the classic MacKenna translation of theEnneads, yet took things into a different form. She lived into the heart and soul of Plotinian life, death, thought, work, solitude, and creativity. Years later she emerged with what has been called a visionary recital of the life of the Neo-Platonic master, illumined with an innate understanding of divergent worlds, schools of thought, the redemptive acts of human interiority. Casey movingly reconciles the Plotinian sense of the microcosmic and macrocosmic, Plato and Origen, Greek and Christian, Alexandria and Egypt, classroom and altar, prayer and thought, philosophy and theology, nature and spirit, self-knowledge and avoidance, recollection and Lethe, Gaia and Cosmos, humility and dignity, binding and loosening, and ultimately, life and death. She does so with hermetic and alchemical insight, poetic nuance, and startling authority, and thus she has accomplished things for Plotinus that previous scholars have not, however much we appreciate and revere them. Casey’s canticle is both haunting and healing, and very warmly recommended.”


The Chalice of Repose Project

About the Author

MARY CASEY was born in Hampshire in 1915 and died in Dorset at midnight January 30/31, 1980. The Enitharmon Press published two collections of selections from her poems under the titles Full Circle and Christophoros in 1981; Rigby & Lewis published another selection, The Clear Shadow, in 1992; and a selection of journal entries, A Net in Water, was published by The Powys Society in 1994. Mary completed three historical novels, of which Plotinus: A Visionary Recital (first edition entitled The Kingfisher’s Wing) is the only one published.

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