John Dee's Occultism: Magical Exaltation Through Powerful Signs (Suny Series in Western Esoteric Traditions)
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A comprehensive look at the life and work of one of the towering figures of Renaissance mysticism
from the organic nature of the cosmos being filled with occult correspondences. “Our problem embraces all act and all experience throughout the entire Cosmos— whether due to nature, or effected by art,” says Plotinus (IV.4.31) and in the following sections he describes the World Soul (One-All) that is a sympathetic total and stands as one living being; the far is near; it happens as in one animal with its separate parts: talon, horn, ﬁnger, and any other member are not continuous and yet are
and microcosms. Complying with the concept of the four elements and the four humors, Ficino tries to deﬁne the nature of scholars and outline the dangers following from their way of life. Separate chapters are devoted to the threats of coitus, overeating, and getting up late. Next to the body, Ficino pays attention to psychology as well: he enlists cosmic rules that should be observed by the melancholic learned persons. The second book was dedicated to Filippo Valori, a Florentine nobleman in the
possible parallels can be mentioned. The ﬁrst is Cusanus’ De docta ignorantia (Of learned ignorance, written in 1440), which explains in a quasi-naive manner that learned ignorance “is a practice and style of mystical contemplation that depends upon a prior committment to rational knowledge and to the investigation of nature” (Koenigsberger 1979, 125). The second parallel is the Praise of Folly (Encomium moriae, 1511), written by Agrippa’s contemporary and fellow-humanist, Erasmus of Rotterdam.
called his lover, Helena, an incarnation of the Divine Wisdom (Ennoia) who had been captured by her creatures and imprisoned in matter. She had various reincarnations, including Helen of Troy, and, ﬁnally, Simon freed her from the body of a harlot of Tyrus. László Kákosy, the Hungarian Egyptologist, points out that this bizarre creation myth interestingly echoes the mystical program of gnosticism, that is, the liberation of the spirit from crude matter (1984, 21). Patristic sources unanimously
the Renaissance magi. On the other hand, Jung also juxtaposed the outlook of Christianity and rational scientiﬁc investigation and interpreted alchemy as something that ﬁrst tried to bridge the two, yet later indeed contributed to their separation. Furthermore, Jung’s reading of Paracelsus offers one more lesson to be observed in our postmodern age. Namely, he highlighted the unnerving ambiguity that not only characterized Paracelsus himself, but can also be seen in the whole history of Western