Three Books of Occult Philosophy

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De Occulta Philosophia, Libri tres Phys m 6 tb 1.jpg
De Occulta Philosophia, Libri tres
Man inscribed in a pentagram, from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The signs on the perimeter represent the 5 visible planets in astrology. Pentagram and human body (Agrippa).jpg
Man inscribed in a pentagram, from Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. The signs on the perimeter represent the 5 visible planets in astrology.

Three Books of Occult Philosophy (De Occulta Philosophia libri III) is Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa's study of occult philosophy, acknowledged as a significant contribution to the Renaissance philosophical discussion concerning the powers of ritual magic, and its relationship with religion. The first book was printed in 1531 in Paris, Cologne, and Antwerp, while the full three volumes first appeared in Cologne in 1533. [1]

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa Magician, occult writer, theologian, astrologer, alchemist

Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim was a German polymath, physician, legal scholar, soldier, theologian, and occult writer.

The term occult sciences was used in the 16th century to refer to astrology, alchemy, and natural magic. The term occultism emerged in 19th-century France, where it came to be associated with various French esoteric groups connected to Éliphas Lévi and Papus, and in 1875 was introduced into the English language by the esotericist Helena Blavatsky. Throughout the 20th century, the term was used idiosyncratically by a range of different authors, but by the 21st century was commonly employed – including by academic scholars of esotericism – to refer to a range of esoteric currents that developed in the mid-19th century and their descendants. Occultism is thus often used to categorise such esoteric traditions as Spiritualism, Theosophy, Anthroposophy, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and New Age.

Renaissance philosophy

The designation "Renaissance philosophy" is used by scholars of intellectual history to refer to the thought of the period running in Europe roughly between 1355 and 1650. It therefore overlaps both with late medieval philosophy, which in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries was influenced by notable figures such as Albert the Great, Thomas Aquinas, William of Ockham, and Marsilius of Padua, and early modern philosophy, which conventionally starts with René Descartes and his publication of the Discourse on Method in 1637.

Contents

The three books deal with Elemental, Celestial and Intellectual magic. The books outline the four elements, astrology, kabbalah, numbers, angels, God's names, the virtues and relationships with each other as well as methods of utilizing these relationships and laws in medicine, scrying, alchemy, ceremonies, origins of what are from the Hebrew, Greek and Chaldean context.

Natural magic in the context of Renaissance magic is that part of the occult which deals with natural forces directly, as opposed to ceremonial magic, in particular goety and theurgy, which deals with the summoning of spirits. Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa so uses the term in his 1526 de vanitate. Natural magic so defined thus includes astrology, alchemy, and disciplines that we would today consider fields of natural science, such as astronomy and chemistry or botany.

Ceremonial magic encompasses a wide variety of long, elaborate, and complex rituals of magic. The works included are characterized by ceremony and a myriad of necessary accessories to aid the practitioner. It can be seen as an extension of ritual magic, and in most cases synonymous with it. Popularized by the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, it draws on such schools of philosophical and occult thought as Hermetic Qabalah, Enochian magic, Thelema, and the magic of various grimoires. Ceremonial magic is part of Hermeticism and Western esotericism.

Classical element Concepts in ancient Greece of earth, water, air, fire, and (later) aether, which were proposed to explain all matter in terms of simpler substances

Classical elements typically refer to the concepts of earth, water, air, fire, and (later) aether, which were proposed to explain the nature and complexity of all matter in terms of simpler substances. Ancient cultures in Persia, Greece, Babylonia, Japan, Tibet, and India had similar lists, sometimes referring in local languages to "air" as "wind" and the fifth element as "void". The Chinese Wu Xing system lists Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water, though these are described more as energies or transitions rather than as types of material.

These arguments were common amongst other hermetic philosophers at the time and before. In fact, Agrippa's interpretation of magic is similar to the authors Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola and Johann Reuchlin's synthesis of magic and religion, and emphasize an exploration of nature. Unlike many grimoires of the time, these books are more scholarly and intellectual than mysterious and foreboding.[ citation needed ]

Hermeticism set of beliefs and practices whose aim is the influencing of the world through contact with the heavenly forces

Hermeticism, also called Hermetism, is a religious, philosophical, and esoteric tradition based primarily upon writings attributed to Hermes Trismegistus. These writings have greatly influenced the Western esoteric tradition and were considered to be of great importance during both the Renaissance and the Reformation. The tradition traces its origin to a prisca theologia, a doctrine that affirms the existence of a single, true theology that is present in all religions and that was given by God to man in antiquity.

Marsilio Ficino Italian philosopher

Marsilio Ficino was an Italian scholar and Catholic priest who was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. He was an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism in touch with the major academics of his day and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin. His Florentine Academy, an attempt to revive Plato's Academy, influenced the direction and tenor of the Italian Renaissance and the development of European philosophy.

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola humanist and philosopher from Italy

Giovanni Pico della Mirandola was an Italian Renaissance nobleman and philosopher. He is famed for the events of 1486, when, at the age of 23, he proposed to defend 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, and magic against all comers, for which he wrote the Oration on the Dignity of Man, which has been called the "Manifesto of the Renaissance", and a key text of Renaissance humanism and of what has been called the "Hermetic Reformation". He was the founder of the tradition of Christian Kabbalah, a key tenet of early modern Western esotericism. The 900 Theses was the first printed book to be universally banned by the Church.

See also

Hermetic Qabalah Western esoteric tradition involving mysticism and the occult

Hermetic Qabalah is a Western esoteric tradition involving mysticism and the occult. It is the underlying philosophy and framework for magical societies such as the Golden Dawn, Thelemic orders, mystical-religious societies such as the Builders of the Adytum and the Fellowship of the Rosy Cross, and is a precursor to the Neopagan, Wiccan and New Age movements. The Hermetic Qabalah is the basis for Qliphothic Qabala as studied by left hand path orders, such as the Typhonian Order.

<i>Vitruvian Man</i> Drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, made around 1490

The Vitruvian Man, or simply L'Uomo Vitruviano, is a drawing made by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci around 1490. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the Roman architect Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in ink on paper, depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. It is kept in the Gabinetto dei disegni e stampe of the Gallerie dell'Accademia, in Venice, Italy, under reference 228. Like most works on paper, it is displayed to the public only occasionally, so it is not part of the normal exhibition of the museum.

Grimoire book of magic spells and invocations.

A grimoire is a textbook of magic, typically including instructions on how to create magical objects like talismans and amulets, how to perform magical spells, charms and divination, and how to summon or invoke supernatural entities such as angels, spirits, deities and demons. In many cases, the books themselves are believed to be imbued with magical powers, although in many cultures, other sacred texts that are not grimoires have been believed to have supernatural properties intrinsically. In this manner, while all books on magic could be thought of as grimoires, not all magical books should be thought of as grimoires.

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A pentacle is a talisman that is used in magical evocation, and is usually made of parchment, paper, cloth, or metal, upon which a magical design is drawn. Protective symbols may also be included, a common one being the six-point form of the Seal of Solomon.

The Lesser Key of Solomon, also known as Clavicula Salomonis Regis or Lemegeton, is an anonymous grimoire on demonology. It was compiled in the mid-17th century, mostly from materials a couple of centuries older. It is divided into five books—the Ars Goetia, Ars Theurgia-Goetia, Ars Paulina, Ars Almadel, and Ars Notoria.

Goetia practice involving conjuration of demons

Goetia or Goëtia is a practice that includes the conjuration of demons, specifically the ones summoned by the Biblical figure, King Solomon. The use of the term in English largely derives from the 17th-century grimoire Lesser Key of Solomon, which features an Ars Goetia as its first section. It contains descriptions of the evocation, or "calling out", of seventy-two demons, famously translated from Latin into English by S. L. MacGregor Mathers and published by Aleister Crowley in 1904 as The Book of the Goetia of Solomon the King.

Elemental magical entity who embodies/personifies a force of nature or, in a more narrow sense, to one of the four Classical elements

An elemental is a mythic being that is described in occult and alchemical works from around the time of the European Renaissance, and particularly elaborated in the 16th century works of Paracelsus. According to Paracelsus and his subsequent followers, there are four categories of elementals, which are gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. These correspond to the four Empedoclean elements of antiquity: earth, water, air, and fire, respectively. Terms employed for beings associated with alchemical elements vary by source and gloss.

Francis Barrett was an English occultist.

Divine language

Divine language, the language of the gods, or, in monotheism, the language of God is the concept of a mystical or divine proto-language, which predates and supersedes human speech.

<i>Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses</i> 18th- or 19th-century grimoire, attributed to Moses; instructs the reader in the spells used to create the miracles portrayed in the Bible, with annexes of Talmudic magic incantations and magical drawings

The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses is an 18th- or 19th-century magical text allegedly written by Moses, and passed down as hidden books of the Jewish Tanakh. Self-described as "the wonderful arts of the old Hebrews, taken from the Mosaic books of the cabala and the Talmud," it is actually a grimoire, or text of magical incantations and seals, that purports to instruct the reader in the spells used to create some of the miracles portrayed in the Bible as well as to grant other forms of good fortune and good health. The work contains reputed Talmudic magic names, words, and ideograms, some written in Hebrew and some with letters from the Latin alphabet. It contains "Seals" or magical drawings accompanied by instructions intended to help the user perform various tasks, from controlling weather or people to contacting the dead or Biblical religious figures.

De occulta philosophia may refer to:

A table of correspondences is an esoteric table that lists purported magical, supernatural, occult, medicinal or similar advice in connection with the subjects being indexed. Tables of correspondences are provided as reference tools in casting spells and creating magic circles. A table of correspondences can be as simple as a list of colors and their associated magical properties. A more sophisticated examples might include multiple columns and indexes. For example, a summary of ritual advice by auspicious time and place might include: alchemical or symbolic formulae to influence plants, animals, spirits or deities. Although distinct from sympathetic magic, examples can be found in ancient Greek medical theory,, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Liber Aleph vel CXI: The Book of Wisdom or Folly is the title of The Equinox, volume III, number VI, by Aleister Crowley. The book is written in the form of an epistle to his magical son, Charles Stansfeld Jones, Frater Achad, whom Crowley later doubted as being his true magical son, asserting that Achad had in fact gone insane, citing as evidence Achad's "upending the tree of life" in his Q.B.L., or The Bride's Reception, the first of Achad's major qabalistic works.

John French (1616–1657) was an English physician known for his contributions to chemistry as well as for his English translations of Latin and German works.

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Transitus Fluvii Occult alphabet

Transitus Fluvii, or Passage Du Fleuve, is an occult alphabet consisting of 22 characters described by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa in his Third Book of Occult Philosophy. It is derived from the Hebrew alphabet, and is similar to the Celestial and Malachim alphabets. The name may refer to the crossing of the Euphrates by the Jews on their return from Babylon to rebuild the Temple.

Renaissance humanism saw a resurgence in hermeticism and Neo-Platonic varieties of ceremonial magic.

White magic Magic used for benevolent purposes

White magic has traditionally referred to the use of supernatural powers or magic for selfless purposes. Practitioners of white magic have been given titles such as wise men or women, healers, white witches or wizards. Many of these people claimed to have the ability to do such things because of knowledge or power that was passed on to them through hereditary lines, or by some event later in their lives. White magic was practiced through healing, blessing, charms, incantations, prayers, and songs. With respect to the philosophy of left-hand path and right-hand path, white magic is the benevolent counterpart of malicious black magic. Because of its ties to traditional Paganism, white magic is often also referred to as "natural magic".

The Archidoxis magica is a pseudo-Paracelsian grimoire of the 16th century. The book discusses magical sigils for the use on talismans or amulets.

References

  1. Van Der Poel, Marc (1997). Cornelius Agrippa: The Humanist Theologian and His Declamations. Brill. p. 44.

Editions

L. W. de Laurence American writer and occultist

L. W. de Laurence was an American author and publisher on occult and spiritual topics.

International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.

Library of Congress (de facto) national library of the United States of America

The Library of Congress (LOC) is the research library that officially serves the United States Congress and is the de facto national library of the United States. It is the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. The library is housed in three buildings on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.; it also maintains the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpeper, Virginia. The library's functions are overseen by the librarian of Congress, and its buildings are maintained by the architect of the Capitol. The Library of Congress claims to be the largest library in the world. Its "collections are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages."