Precursors of the Theosophical Model.
Mar 27, 2002 06:05 AM
Jerry (Gerald Schueler): The doctrine of hierarchies, while well
intended, is a double-edged sword that is getting the TM into a jam. The
old elist attitude that I am better or more evolved than you is no longer
I have tried to formulate a pathway model that is based on Blavatsky's 7
planes and 12 globes with their interconnecting pathways as described
and detailed in my GV Model Ebook. Keep in mind that it is just a model,
and I often use my Enochian model too (both work pretty well for me
even though they are somewhat different - probably because I have
united them by placing each the Enochian Watchtowers on each of the
Bri.: In fact John Dee (and other Renaisance and later eslotericists) ) did
similar as Blavatsky, that is incorporate the language of science of its
time and interpreted it along the lines of neo-Platonic and occult
concepts. Blavatsky having a wider variety of Literature to choose from
incorporated in addition many of the Romantic occult and orientalist
literature including some models of 19th century scientism like
teachings of evolution and so on.
Renaisance scientist-theosophist-esotericists like John Dee like
Blavatsky in "Isis Unveiled" for example, used terms like "natural"
magic, and spoke about the spiritual "forces" that "operate"
John Dee, like Blavatsky later included an imaginary History, reduction,
pattern recognition, the assumed "Perenennial Philosophy" and a for that
time, a less pseudo, "scientism".
The early TS also according to the research of Dr.Santucci, editor of
Theosophical History, practiced a form of Theurgy, and according to
co-founder of the TS Judge, they worked with so-called "Planetary
spirits", and see in this context the final chapter of Blavatsky's Isis
Unveiled "Magic", that can be read on the internet.
John Dee accommodated the kinship between the Platonic realm of
Ideas and the Pythagorean conception of numbers. "For this was "the
principall example or patterne in the minde of the Creator," according to
This notion was lent credence by the Scriptural dictum that
God "Created all thynges, in Number, Waight, and Measure", a dictum
that caused Nicholas of Cusa (1401 1464) to describe the divine Creation
as a form of mathematical process in which God employed the common
mathematical arts to shape the physical universe:
In creating the world, God used arithmetic, geometry, music, and
likewise astronomy. For through arithmetic God united things. Through
geometry He shaped them .And so, God, who created all things in
number, weight, and measure, arranged the elements in an admirable
order. (Nicholas of Cusa ,"On Learned Ignorance" II,13,p.122.)
These notions prepared the grounds for a reconceptualization of
kabbalistic teachings (incorporated in the Globes and rounds model of
the Secret Doctrine) which placed mathematics at the very centre of
kabbalistic interpretive techniques. In his "Conclusiones" Pico della
Mirandola essentially reversed the relative precedence of the kuters and
their numerical values, claiming that while magic
operated ,through "characters", kabbalah worked through "numbers".
And in his "De arte cabalistica" Reuchlin stated that the Pythagorean
teachings originated "from the teachers of kabbalah" and that his
primary reason for writing a book on kabbalah was "to make
Pythagorean doctrine better known to scholars".
In Monas hieroglyphica Dee made no attempt to explain why
mathematics should be regarded as the very foundation of a true
or "real" kabbalah, simply presenting the numerological meditations as
transparent to the initiated and worthy reader. In his "Mathematicall
Praeface" written six years later, by contrast, there is a comprehensive
account of the traditional "Mathematicall Artes."
As Dee pointed out in the Praeface, numbers existed in three forms: in
the Mind of the Creator, in natural things and in the soul of man.
Conceived as the principles residing in the Mind of God, numbers were
equivalent to the instrument by which the world was formed, a process
accomplished by God's "numbering" of the yet unformed things and
creatures: "in God the Creator, This discretion, in the beginning,
produced orderly and distinctly all thinges. For his Numbryng, then, was
his Creatyng of all thinges". Bearing the reflection of these principles
within his soul, man was created in the likeness of his Creator; but, as
Dee pointed out, "our Seuerallyng, distinctyng, and Numbryng, createth
nothyng". Instead, by "numbering 11 and applying mathematical rules
we seize God's creative principles as they are manifested in creation,
thereby gaining a true and reliable knowledge of nature.
In the Pythagorean teachings, however, the correspondence be
tween man's employment of mathematics and God's "creatyng of all
thinges" went even deeper than this. According to the Pythagorean
philosophy, the construing of the numeral system and the creation of
the world could be envisaged as completely analogous processes, both
having their basis in the same concept the monad.
As a mathematical concept, the monad was defined as the originative
principle of all numbers. In ancient Greece numbers were graphically
represented as dots or points set out in a spatial pattern. The number
one, for instance, was simply written as a single point, while the num
ber three was represented as three points arranged in a triangle.
Just as numbers were conceived of as proceeding from the
mathematical monad in a process of individual stages following the
initial bridging of the gap between the conceptual and physical domains
so too the creation was envisaged as a gradual process in which the
metaphysical monad traversed the borderline between the
conceptual,divine sphere and the world of physical existence. The
crossing of this borderline was conceived of as the gradual forming of
geometrical bodies according to the Pythagorean conception of number:
imposed upon space, the monad took the shape of a point, two points
formed a line; three points formed a surface; and four a spatial body
the physical universe extended in three dimensions.
Diogenes Laertius described this as: "this principle of all things is the
monad or unit, arising from this monad the undefined dyad or two
serves as material substratum to the monad, which is cause; from the
monad and the undefined dyad spring numbers; from numbers points;
from points, lines; from lines, plane figures; from plane figures, solid
figures; from solid figures, sensible bodies, the elements of which are
four' fire, water, earth and air; these elements interchange and rum into
one another completely and combine to produce the universe, animate,
intelligent, spherical, with the earth at its centre".
This conception of the creation became a central tenet of Pythagorean
and Neoplatonic philosophy, repeated and elaborated upon by a number
of scholars from antiquity to the seventeenth century. In Philosophia
sacra (1626) Robert Fludd graphically pictured the divine creation as an
arithmetical progression according to the Pythagorean scheme,
beginning in the monad and concluding in the creation of the four
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