17. Various considerations explain why the Souls going forth from the Intellectual proceed first to the heavenly regions. The heavens, as the noblest portion of sensible space, would border with the least exalted of the Intellectual, and will, therefore, be first ensouled first to participate as most apt; while what is of earth is at the very extremity of progression, least endowed towards participation, remotest from the unembodied.
All the souls, then, shine down upon the heavens and spend there the main of themselves and the best; only their lower phases illuminate the lower realms; and those souls which descend deepest show their light furthest down- not themselves the better for the depth to which they have penetrated.
There is, we may put it, something that is centre; about it, a circle of light shed from it; round centre and first circle alike, another circle, light from light; outside that again, not another circle of light but one which, lacking light of its own, must borrow.
The last we may figure to ourselves as a revolving circle, or rather a sphere, of a nature to receive light from that third realm, its next higher, in proportion to the light which that itself receives. Thus all begins with the great light, shining self-centred; in accordance with the reigning plan [that of emanation] this gives forth its brilliance; the later [divine] existents [souls] add their radiation- some of them remaining above, while there are some that are drawn further downward, attracted by the splendour of the object they illuminate. These last find that their charges need more and more care: the steersman of a storm-tossed ship is so intent on saving it that he forgets his own interest and never thinks that he is recurrently in peril of being dragged down with the vessel; similarly the souls are intent upon contriving for their charges and finally come to be pulled down by them; they are fettered in bonds of sorcery, gripped and held by their concern for the realm of Nature.
If every living being were of the character of the All-perfect, self-sufficing, in peril from no outside influence the soul now spoken of as indwelling would not occupy the body; it would infuse life while clinging, entire, within the Supreme.