Saint Symeon the New Theologian profoundly influenced desert Hesychasm, bearing witness in the Spirit to uncreated light of glory in the midst, wisdom revealing Holy Trinity in uncreated light. Uncreated wisdom and uncreated glory unite in uncreated light. Uncreated awareness of uncreated presence is uncreated light. In the glory of grace, pure awareness unites with pure presence, transfiguring everything in ineffable, uncreated light. The Father of lights is the primordial ground of awareness of uncreated presence and presence of uncreated awareness. The only-begotten Son is the generated awareness of presence that regenerates presence as uncreated awareness. The Holy Spirit is proceeding awareness abiding in timeless presence, proceeding presence bearing witness to abiding awareness in the Son, restoring awareness of the Father through the presence of the Son. Saint Symeon bears witness that divine generation and divine procession both unveil Holy Trinity in the mystery of the Name, which is the mystery of uncreated light both unveiling and unveiled. Uncreated light is a union of uncreated awareness and uncreated presence, of the divine ‘I ‘ and the divine ‘AM.’ Uncreated light unveils the mysteries of Holy Trinity to angels and saints, hallowing the Name in them which weds uncreated presence with uncreated awareness. Countless angels and saints surround the throne of glory bearing witness as uncreated awareness to uncreated presence.
The mystery of the circulation of uncreated light begins with wisdom awakening awareness to the presence of glory, but proceeds as wisdom encircles glory as awareness encircling presence. This expands as uncreated light is generated by the Father through the uncreated light of the Son, expanding further as the uncreated light of the Spirit proceeds from the Father to abide in the Son, restoring the uncreated light of glory to the Father. The Son gathers light from light, to glorify light through light in angelic seers, whilst the Spirit proceeds as light from light to abide in light through light in the saints. This, too, is a circulation of light from light and light into light, an encircling of light within light that abides at centre in uncreated light. The Holy Trinity is a circulation of uncreated light as awareness encircling presence at centre in the primordial ground, the Father of uncreated lights generating awareness of presence and presence of awareness through the Son as uncreated grace, imparting awareness of presence and presence of awareness in the Holy Spirit.
The circulation of uncreated light in the macrocosm is an iconic reflection of the circulation of the light in God’s glorification of God through God. Angelic light encircles the throne of glory as light within light, presence within awareness, glory within wisdom. Old wisdom prophecy spoke of wings of all-seeing eyes to point to boundless awareness of infinite presence. Old liturgies repeated the Trisagion Hymn, ‘Holy, holy, holy is He who is ‘I AM,’ who is, who was and who is to come, the Almighty” (Rev 4:8). The central axis of uncreated light is pure awareness encircling pure presence in the midst, wisdom glorifying God at centre with a renewing wisdom song. Wisdom and glory unveil the mysteries of the suffering, slaughtered Lamb, releasing heavens from hells in every religion, culture, tribe, language, people and race (Rev 5:9). The lost sheep is one out of a hundred rejoining the ninety-nine unfallen angelic hosts, rejoicing in God’s own God-centred glorification of God in light’s circulation of light. Contemporary physics and scientific cosmology observe and ponder the encircling of planets round suns, of suns within star clusters, of galaxies round black holes in the midst of galaxies, of galaxies of galaxies encircling galaxies within galaxies as light encircling light within light. Wisdom’s hidden macrocosmic ‘Amen’ is an icon of the divine ‘Amen’ at centre which blesses, empowers, enlightens and glorifies wisdom embracing glory in the midst (Rev 5:13-14).
The Father’s circulation of uncreated light generates the Son’s, but it is only when the Spirit proceeds from the Father to abide in the Son that what the Father reveals through the Son is made explicit. Explicit, here, does not mean rationally explained, because the mysteries of uncreated light are ineffable and because it is in the Spirit that the mysteries of uncreated light are assimilated. Saint Symeon the New Theologian waxes lyrically in his ‘Hymns of Love’ concerning his experience of uncreated light, but he is profoundly silent concerning what cannot be said, silent also concerning the ineffable speech which cannot possibly explain mysteries of uncreated light. We can overlook this silence and this wise silence regarding silence when we are enchanted by the poetics of his prophecy, but Orthodox Hesychasm upholds the stillness of ineffable silence, HESYCHIA, beneath, within and beyond what is said in praise of uncreated light. Indeed, pure awareness and pure presence are silent even when uncreated light inspires speech that encircles light of glory within light of wisdom. The silence is unbroken because it is the silence of God beyond God within God, the silence of ineffable difference. It is the silence of God which silences the deafening noise of gods usurping God, countless idols turning the secular wasteland into a mass market for God-substitutes and God-counterfeits. Apophatic wonder sustains wisdom as the plethora of fake gods are silenced, making way for the eloquent silence of God which glorifies God’s glory in God’s wisdom, through God’s grace.
The ineffable circulation of uncreated light in the human microcosm is an icon of the invisible circulation of uncreated light in the macrocosm. The central axis of light weds wisdom and glory in seven centres that mirror the seven heavens along the central axis of uncreated light. The noetic intelligence unites with the heart in a circulation of light that ascends to crown glory, then descends to heal fear beneath the heart. Fear for physical survival, fear for personal safety and fear of loosing control rise from hells of fear into heavens of love as light encircles from the illumined heart to the enlightened mind, from crown to root and root to crown, releasing constriction into freedom as the chariot throne of grace moves through the Kingdom of the microcosm. The noetic intelligence also unites with the heart at the throat which voices the logoi of the Logos as light liberates love through light. Throat, crown, heart and mind unite as an infallible but ineffable awakening to glory as light encircling light. Uncreated light transforms seven constricted hells back into seven opened heavens as glory circulates light through light. Name-hallowing communicates the Kingdom of God to every centre of awareness co-inhering presence in the human microcosm, uniting wisdom and glory in glorification of body, soul and spirit. The deified human microcosm becomes translucent as transfiguring light purifies, illumines and glorifies saints, restoring the image of God in deified likeness to God, uniting awareness and presence at centre, as above, so below.
Speech falls short of the uncreated light of the glory of God, but for apophatic wonder, this is no lack but a glorious superabundance, as is the ‘dazzling darkness’ of Saint Denys, which is a superabundance of uncreated light. It would be a hermeneutical mistake to read Saint Symeon’s Hymns as a report of his so-called experiences. They are prophecy which evokes the mystery of uncreated light that transcends all report. Song of Songs language in Saint Gregory of Nyssa is not love poetry but prophecy that employs a mystical poetics which unsays what it says and only says what it has already unsaid. Apophatic theology is misconstrued if it is misinterpreted as literal report that fails to say what it is trying to say. Wonder does not rationalise aporetic impasse, nor betray mystical theology out of a post-modern enthusiasm for deconstructing mystification. Prophecy speaks in signs not concepts, signs which defer to uncreated difference, difference quite unlike the difference between different created things. God is not a being alongside or above beings, so uncreated light is not a light alongside or above created lights. Mystical prophecy points to the event of revelation as an encounter with uncreated difference, an encounter between awareness and presence that is revelation of the glory of ineffable difference, wisdom struck dumb by uncreated difference, wonder stilled and silenced by uncreated, illuminating difference.