The Theosophical Model and before.
Mar 27, 2002 10:11 AM
Jerry: Most Theosophists really want to believe that every statement
in the MLs is correct and accurate. Anyone familiar with Buddhism
knows this to be a misguided belief, but most Theosophists don't
study Buddhism except through Blavatsky, and don't want to be
confused with the facts. While most of the MLs seem to me to be
accurate, some is not. Probably the biggest fault that I can find is
the silly notion that Buddha taught that we have some kind of
permanent eternal Higher Self, while the truth is that he taught
exactly the opposite.
Buddha taught the anatman doctrine, which is the central core of his
entire teaching. Theosophy applies this only to the ego or
personality, whereas it is supposed to be applied to any sense of
self, including the atma-buddhi monad and Buddha would not approve of
us simply changing one self for another".
Bri.: I like to continue here with mentioning what I think to be
further sources of John Dee, that one later also finds back in one
form or another with Blavatsky.
In fact the "Nous" Blavatsky wrote about in late 1876 contained still
some of these Renaisance ideas like: "Mind is the quintessence of the
Soul-and having joined its divine Spirit Nous-can return no more to
Just before Blavatsky science and faith had already been syncretized
by mesmerism. And a non-Christian form of religiosity had become an
increasingly available option in Europe. As a result since the early
19th century, dozens of successful prophets have explained that their
message is logical and accords with the latest findings of science;
that their doctrines are not their own innovations but the fruits of
ancient tradition; and that they can be experienced in the life of
Dee had a large library and thus a variety of sources in his
possession which often left discernible marks in his ritual
practices. Some of the sources he explicitly refers to in the angelic
conversations are the Elementis Magicis of Peter of Abano (d. c.
1316) and the Clavis Agrippae the spurious "Fourth Book of Occult
Philosophy" which, he notes, "lay in my Oratorie amost vnder my
wyndow" during the sessions. (Whitby (ed.), John Dee "Actions with
Spirits", 11, pp. 38 39.)
These works provided him with a brief summary of the standard
procedures of ceremonial magic, many of them figuring prominently in
his own angelic conversations. The practitioner desirous "to invoke
any good spirit" should use seals or lamins made either of metal
or "in new wax, mixt A species ana colours conformable", shaped 11
according to the rule of numbers" and with "divine names" written
upon them. Every instrument used in the rite should be consecrated
by "anoynting it with holy Oyl, sealing it with some holy Sigil, and
blessing it with prayer"." The invocations should be recorded in
a "book of Spirits" made of pure "virgin paper"
a suggestion that Dee seems to have followed when preparing his own
"Fundamenta invocationum" and the place of the ritual should
be "clean, pure, close, quiet, free from all manner of noise, and not
subject to any strangers sight", a piece of advise which Dee found
some difficulty in observing in a household in which staff and
visitors were constantly thronging."
In describing the sympathetic relationship between things as
dependent on similitude, Neoplatonic philosophers elaborated on a
notion already present in Plato's and Aristotle's works. But they
also gave it a far more important role, turning similitude into a
means by which man could magically manipulate natural forces. As
Synesius wrotc, magians could artificially constructed
representations such as "voices, substances and figures" as mimetic
means to tap the powers of the universe.
One of the most famous Renaissance works devoted to this kind of
imitative magic and of special influence on Dee, is Marsilio
Ficino's "De vita coelitus comparanda", "On obtaining life from the
heavens". Published in 1489 as the third part of his "De vita libri
tres", it gives a lengthy account of how images, words, music and
songs can be used to draw forces from the celestial bodies. Ficino,
anxious to avoid accusations of illicit idolatry, stresses in the
text that this was not accomplished by "worshipping the stars", but
by "imitating them" and thereby trying to "capture" their "natural
influence [s] ".` In his work Ficino drew upon a wide variety of
sources, including the Neoplatonic texts by Iamblichus, Proclus and
Synesius which he had himself translated into Latin, as well
as medieval authorities like al Kindi, Albertus Magnus and Thomas
Despite its syncretistic character, however, the De vita coelitus
comparanda was written as a commentary on a specific section of
Plotinus' Enneads. This section Ennead 4.3.11 was one of the most
controversial parts of Plotinus' work, since it alluded to a kind of
magical statues which ancient magicians had used to attract and
secure the presence of divine beings.
What Ficino did was to interpret this ancient statue magic not as
demonic magic, but as sympathetic, and thus licit, magic, having its
basis in the metaphysics outlined in the preceding chapters of
This metaphysics was an intricate structure built around the concept
of Logos and its interrelated meanings. In Plotinus' philosophy, the
termnlogos denoted both the divine "reason" and the formative "cause"
behind the universe, the immaterial Ideas structuring the material
cosmos and bringing it into being. But logos also meant "expression"
in the sense of a diverse and imperfect manifestation of the unified
intellectuality present in the divine Mind. Such an "expression",
logos, of the Ideas in the divine Mind was the WorldSoul, an
omnipresent vital force, making the universe a living being. This
World Soul operated as a kind of medium between the divine Mind and
nature by communicating "reason" logos to the material world in the
form of an "image of the reason within itself'.
This communication of divine reason to the material world was
accomplished through the agency of what Plotinus termed logoi
spennatikoi, translated by Ficino as serninales rationes, "seminal
reasons". The concept of seminal reasons was not unknown in medieval
philosophy, and in the works of Augustine, Bonaventura and Vincent of
Beauvais it is ascribed a minor role as "germinal forms", planted in
matter by God and able to actualize their latent potentialities in
the course of time. In Aquinas' philosophy the concept disappears
altogether, supplanted by his notion of the potency
of matter. With Ficino's appropriation of Plotinus, however, the
concept of seminal reasons re emerged as a key notion in the
conceptualization of magic.
As he phrased it in De vita coelitus comparanda, the World
Soul "possesses by divine power precisely as many seminal reasons of
things as there are Ideas in the Divine Mind" and through these
seminal reasons the World Soul "fashions the same number of species
in matter". Every natural entity of a particular kind was an image
of a seminal reason in the World Soul, which in turn was an image of
an Idea in the divine Mind. But more importantly,
by acting as conduits of divine power, the seminal reasons causally
linked species or forms in matter to Ideas in the divine Mind. As
Ficino wrote, "every single species corresponds through its own
seminal reason to its own Idea and oftentimes through this reason it
can easily receive something from the Idea since indeed it was made
through the reason of the Idea". Thus, the seminal reasons provided a
means by which man could attract divine forces magically: by
manipulating "material forms" it was
possible to "allure" the World Soul and "draw a particular gift from
the Idea, through the seminal reason of the Soul", for the World
Soul "has created baits of this kind suitable to herself, to be
Ficino added that such "baits", making it possible to draw powers
from the divine Mind, had been termed illices and ilLecebrae by
Zoroaster and Synesius, thereby emphasizing that he considered these
authors' differing accounts of magic to be consistent with each
other."(Ficino, "Three Books on Life", 111.1, pp. 2421243 244/245)
The above is part 2 of 14.
--- In theos-talk@y..., "bri_mue" <bri_mue@y...> wrote:
> Jerry (Gerald Schueler): The doctrine of hierarchies, while well
> intended, is a double-edged sword that is getting the TM into a
> old elist attitude that I am better or more evolved than you is no
> I have tried to formulate a pathway model that is based on
> planes and 12 globes with their interconnecting pathways as
> and detailed in my GV Model Ebook. Keep in mind that it is just a
> 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
> Theosophical Planes).
> Bri.: In fact John Dee (and other Renaisance and later
eslotericists) ) did
> similar as Blavatsky, that is incorporate the language of science
> time and interpreted it along the lines of neo-Platonic and
> concepts. Blavatsky having a wider variety of Literature to choose
> incorporated in addition many of the Romantic occult and
> literature including some models of 19th century scientism like
> teachings of evolution and so on.
> Renaisance scientist-theosophist-esotericists like John Dee
> Blavatsky in "Isis Unveiled" for example, used terms
> magic, and spoke about the spiritual "forces" that "operate"
> this "universe."
> John Dee, like Blavatsky later included an imaginary History,
> pattern recognition, the assumed "Perenennial Philosophy" and a for
> time, a less pseudo, "scientism".
> The early TS also according to the research of Dr.Santucci, editor
> Theosophical History, practiced a form of Theurgy, and according
> co-founder of the TS Judge, they worked with so-called "Planetary
> spirits", and see in this context the final chapter of
> 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,"
> 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
> 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.
> 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
> the Secret Doctrine) which placed mathematics at the very centre of
> kabbalistic interpretive techniques. In his "Conclusiones" Pico
> Mirandola essentially reversed the relative precedence of the
> their numerical values, claiming that while magic
> operated ,through "characters", kabbalah worked through "numbers".
> And in his "De arte cabalistica" Reuchlin stated that the
> 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
> transparent to the initiated and worthy reader. In
> Praeface" written six years later, by contrast, there is a
> account of the traditional "Mathematicall Artes."
> As Dee pointed out in the Praeface, numbers existed in three forms:
> 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
> equivalent to the instrument by which the world was formed, a
> 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,
> his Creatyng of all thinges". Bearing the reflection of these
> within his soul, man was created in the likeness of his Creator;
> Dee pointed out, "our Seuerallyng, distinctyng, and Numbryng,
> nothyng". Instead, by "numbering 11 and applying mathematical rules
> we seize God's creative principles as they are manifested in
> 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
> one, for instance, was simply written as a single point, while the
> 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
> 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
> geometrical bodies according to the Pythagorean conception of
> 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
> the physical universe extended in three dimensions.
> Diogenes Laertius described this as: "this principle of all things
> monad or unit, arising from this monad the undefined dyad or two
> serves as material substratum to the monad, which is cause; from
> monad and the undefined dyad spring numbers; from numbers points;
> from points, lines; from lines, plane figures; from plane figures,
> figures; from solid figures, sensible bodies, the elements of which
> four' fire, water, earth and air; these elements interchange and
> one another completely and combine to produce the universe,
> intelligent, spherical, with the earth at its centre".
> This conception of the creation became a central tenet of
> and Neoplatonic philosophy, repeated and elaborated upon by a
> of scholars from antiquity to the seventeenth century. In
> sacra (1626) Robert Fludd graphically pictured the divine creation
> arithmetical progression according to the Pythagorean scheme,
> beginning in the monad and concluding in the creation of the four
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