Tag Archives: Marsilio Ficino

A bridge across centuries

Karluv_Most-fog

Karluv Most

No one would believe how beautiful Prague is at night in the moonlight. While people are sleeping, the stones are alive, even the statues on Charles Bridge come to life. Jan Neruda

Karlův most, the Charles Bridge is the oldest bridge that crosses the Vltava river in Prague. It’s one of the most  famous touristic attractions in the beautiful capital city of Czech Republic.

Its construction began on Charles Bridge at 5:31 on 9 July 1357 with the first stone being laid by Charles IV himself. This exact time was calculated by court astrologers based on astrological and numerological considerations. The numbers of this specific time indeed, placed in a row, formed a numerical bridge 135797531 and so that moment was considered auspicious for laying the foundation stone of a bridge.

The bridge actually survived several disasters: floods, wars, revolutions.

The foundation chart

During the fourteenth century in Bohemia time was calculated using the so called Italic Hours or Bohemian Hours, that is the number of hours elapsed since the most recent sunset (hour 0), with 24 equal hours per day. They were used in many European countries during the period 1200 to 1800. They are sometimes written “horae ab occasu solis” or “H.AB OCC.” on dials.

So the time 5.31 was not 5:31 am but it was 5 hours and 31 minutes after the sunset. Since the sunset was at 19:04 UT the foundation stone was laid at 0:35 UT.

Karluv Most foundation.png

Gemini is rising. Mercury, lord of the horoscope, is combust in Cancer in bounds of Mercury. We have to remember that combustion is not a real debility for Mercury which always travels very close to the Sun. The Moon, which is the lord of Mercury, is applying to Mercury. So Mercury receives the Moon. This reception is very beneficial because it involves Mercury which is the lord of the horoscope and the Moon, which in an election or a event chart is always very important.

Jupiter in Pisces trines Mercury in mundo. Mercury is in parallel of declination with Venus in Cancer. So both the benefic planets help Mercury.  Moreover Venus trines the MC. Let’s note that both Venus and Jupiter are in angular house: Venus in the first house and Jupiter in the tenth house.

Mars is combust in Leo with Cauda and cadent from the subterranean angle. Therefore Mars is very weak. 

The MC is in Aquarius. Its lord, Saturn, is in exile in Cancer in conjunction with the Sun. Saturn is not merely conjuncted to the Sun but it is in corde solis. That configuration gives strength to Saturn and it is a clear sign of the bridge endurance and longevity even in unfavorable conditions.

Saturnus in corde solis.png

Saturn in corde solis

Saturn and the Sun, being on the cusp of the III house, trine the horoscope.

Under a lucky star

The star Deneb Algedi, in the tail of capricorn, of nature of Saturn and Jupiter, is at the MC.

According to the book “On the fixed star” attributed to Hermes Trismegistus,  the talisman of the star Deneb Algedi , to which he gives the nature of Saturn and Mercury:

gives grace in causes, brings peace to houses in which it is, preserves its bearer always from harm and removes discords.

Moreover Cornelius Agrippa in his Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch XLVII ‘De imaginibus stellarum fixarum beheniarum’ :

Sub cauda capricorni faciebant imaginem cervi, vel hirci, vel homini iratis. Dat prosperitatem et auget divitias.

that is

Under the tail of Capricorn they made the image of an Hart, or Goat, or of an angryman; it bestoweth prosperity, and increaseth wealth.

Also Marsilio Ficino in his “De vita triplici” Bk III, ch VIII ‘De virtutibus et usu stellarum fixarum‘:

In aquarii, XVI, cauda capricorni saturnia, mercurialisque quam sequitur calcidonius, maiorana, nepita, artemisia, mandragora, prestare in causis gratiam opinantur divitias augere hominem ad domum incolumem reddere

that is

In the XVI degree of Aquarius, the tail of Capricorn, of Saturn and Mercury nature  to which corrisponds chalcedony, marjoram, catmint, mugwort, mandrake,  they think it furthers favor in lawsuits, increases wealth and makes men to return home safely.

So the tail of Capricorn has bestowed to the Charles Bridge to live across centuries and to be one of the most renowed and celebrated bridge.

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The King of Palaces

strozzi

Palazzo Strozzi

Palazzo Strozzi [1] is the finest examples of Renaissance domestic architecture and  overall appears, according to the will of its owner, Filippo Strozzi, as a small fortress in the heart of the city.

Filippo Strozzi the Elder was orphaned when he was seven years old because his father was banished into exile for the alliance with Palla Strozzi and the faction of the Albizi against Cosimo de’ Medici. He spent his adolescent years in Florence, but the financial difficulties caused by the retaliation of the Medici, had plunged his family, once one of the richest and eminent of Florence, in a situation so bitter that he can not even effort an adequate education. For this he was only thirteen when he left the city in search of money and a position that would allow him to re-legitimate its familiar name.

He went to Palermo where he was educated by a friend of his father and then he moved to Naples where he was appointed officer of the Medici Bank in Naples.

Thanks to his ability as a banker Filippo obtained the privilege by Ferdinand I of Naples to conduct private business in his kingdom, becoming so influential in the affairs of the Neapolitan court as to ask to Florence, after the death of Cosimo, by letters to Piero de ‘Medici, his return to the city. With the armistice in September 1466 Filippo was finally able to return legally to Florence, with full rights, which included the ability to hold public office.

Back in Florence Filippo Strozzi desired to build the most magnificent palace to assert his family’s continued prominence and the complete rehabilitation his own political status.

The first stone of the building was thrown at dawn on August 6, 1489 by the will of Filippo Strozzi. The palace was designed by Benedetto da Maiano and Giuliano da Sangallo. The construction was directed by Simone Pollaiuolo. Filippo Strozzi died before the palace was completed, and it was his sons to live there for the first time around 1505.

The foundation’s chart

The time for laying the foundation-stone was fixed by a horoscope by Messer Benedetto Biliotti, Maestro Niccolò, and Messer Antonio Benevieni, doctors; also Bishop Pagagnotti and Messer Marsilio Ficino, who all confirmed it as lucky.

says Alfred von Reumont in his book “Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent”.

Palazzo Strozzi's foundation.png

The Sun is rising at the horoscope in his domicile in Leo, in the bounds of Mercury. Furthermore the Sun is in trine with Jupiter in Aries. The Moon is waxing in Sagittarius with the Lot of Fortune. She has a southern latitude but she is raising in latitude which is quite good in a building election. She is moving from the square of Mercury to the trine of  the Sun.

Mercury is in its domicile and exaltation in Virgo in the II place. Since the horoscope is in the bounds of Mercury and the Moon is transferring the light of Mercury to the Sun which is also in the bound of Mercury, Mercury is a distinguished actor. So the Sun benefits from Mercury, the planet of bankers and financial business, and is helped to shine even brighter to show the wealth and prestige of the Strozzi family.

Moreover the Moon is in the  Al Baldah moon mansion: the City or District, which is favorable for harvest, gain, buildings, and travelers. Also the horoscope is in a favorable lunar mansion for building: Al Jabhah,  the Forehead which strengthens buildings, promotes love, benevolence, and help against enemies.

But the most important element in the foundation chart is the star Regulus rising at the horoscope with the Sun.

Sun-Regulus.png

The star Regulus rising with the Sun is a sign of great eminence. Jean Stade says that Regulus rising or culminating with the Sun, Jupiter, the Moon or alone promises an increase in dignity.

Regulus shining with the dawning Sun reveals the majestic and solid elegance of the Palace and makes long lasting the memory of the Strozzi family.


1 Palazzo Strozzi web site  Palazzo Strozzi

De stella magorum

gentile_da_fabriano_adorazione_dei_magi

Adoration of the Magi – Gentile da Fabriano

 

Grant us your favour, My Lord,  show us this day your star,  the one once you showed to the Magi. The star that led the Magi to Christ, may lead us to Christ’s mysteries. Marsilo Ficino – De Stella Magorum

“Now these things never happened, but always are.” Sallustius – On the Gods and the World

The Star of the Magi

De Stella Magorum written in 1482 by Marsilio Ficino was probably one of the lectures held by the members of the Florentine Platonic Academy to the Compagnia de’ Magi (Fellowship of the Magi). In Florence, for all the fifteenth century, it was the brotherhood of the Magi (or “The Star”, referring to the star mentioned in the Gospel), that organizes every three years (since 1447 every five ) a solemn procession with sumptuous equipment in order to reenact the arrival of the three wise men in Bethlehem, in search of the Messiah King.

The first mention of this partnership is in a document from 1417, the year in which the Signoria of the Republic decides to subsidize the Compagnia de’ Magi, which gathered in the Florentine church of St. Mark of the Dominican friars. In the golden age of the Medici family, all members of that florentine family were part of the brotherhood, as well as people close to the Lords of Florence, as humanists Cristoforo Landino and Donato Acciaioli, the poet Luigi Pulci and, probably, the man of letters and canon of Santa Maria del Fiore Angelo Poliziano.

As a further demonstration of the veneration of the Medici to the Magi, is the Procession of the Magi, the famous and allegorical journey of the Three Kings, frescoed  by Benozzo Gozzoli in 1459 on commission by Cosimo, in the chapel of the palace of Via Larga. In the fresco some family members, including Giuliano and probably Lorenzo, appears in guise of depicted characters. Moreover, even when Cosimo retired to St. Mark monastery for religious meditations, he was housed in a cell with frescoes made by Fra Beatus Angelicus depicting the Magi.

Cappella_dei_magi-Gaspare.jpg

The Procession of the Magi by Benozzo Gozzoli

Marsilio Ficino was a neoplatonic philosopher and a priest and he was learned about astrology as well. In De Stella Magorum [1] he tried to investigate about the nature of the star of the Magi and to reveal the sky which watched over the distinguished nativity of the Savior.

The sermon leaves us surprised because it does not present the nativity of Jesus but instead it contains contradictory astrological elements about the Savior’s geniture from which it is impossible to determine the time of nativity used by Ficino to compose his oration. In fact he says firstly that

So, when Eastern astronomers, in December,  saw a comet rising in the beginning of Sagittarius, they judged it a benevolent apparition, because it shed golden rays, being of Sun nature; silver rays  because of Jupiterian nature, mixed rays because of Venusian nature. Jupiter too was in that moment  in the beginning of Sagittarius. The Sun, if we are right in calculations, was in the middle of the sign.  Maybe Venus, always near to the Sun, was in the last degree of the sign: likely this is the sky configuration at Jesus birth, in the month of December, if he was born after the first half of the night. In fact we read in the Gospel that while shepherds kept their night vigils, the Angel said: this day he  is born.

and right after he adds:

Considering Jupiter rising in the angle of the geniture, they judged the nativity very favorable; but sterile because of the Moon in the first facie of Virgo, being the stress on a virgin rather than a pregnant woman.

But this elements don’t occur neither in the nativity calculated for the traditional birth date of 25th December of the zero year at midnight nor for the time of the Jupiter Saturn conjunction before the nativity.

 

Probably Ficino purpose was not to describe the real nativity of Jesus but only to point out that the sky showed signs of the extraordinary event and that the wise astrologers were able to decipher those signs to forecast the new king’s birth. In fact Marsilio in the last part of his speech mentions to Virgo as the possible Jesus’ horoscope:

What we told about Sagittarius, because of calculation of someone’s else, could be in my opinion be told more rightly about Virgo and midnight. While Christ was born, necessarily one of the twelve signs was rising. I don’t know which sign I should give to the One is born from a Virgin, more than Virgo. And mostly the first facie of this sign. In fact every sign has three facies. In the first facie of the Virgo, like Albumasar states, Indians and Egyptians  have contemplated the image of a virgin girl, very beautiful, sitting, feeding a child. The rising of this facie agrees perfectly with  the child born from a Virgin, and if one well compute, the first facie of Virgo is rising in the month of December at midnight.

Jesus' Nativity

We already know that at midnight of 25th December is rising the first face of Libra and not of Virgo, as for sure Ficino knew, because it was previously pointed out by Cecco D’Ascoli and other astrologers and commentators. But the perfectly well-fitting symbolic image of the virgo with the child exerts a charm too powerful to be eluded.

The first decan of the Virgo was firstly mentioned by Albertus Magnus in Speculum Astronomiae when he reports a passage from the Introductorium of Albumasar:

Et ascendit in prima facie illius (scilicet Virginis) puella quam vocat Celchnis Darostal; et est virgo pulchra atque honesta et munda prolixi capilli,et pulchra facie, habens in mano sa duas spicas, et ipsa sedes supra sedem stratam et nutrit puerum, dans ei ad comedendum ius in loco qui vocatur Abril. Et vocat ipsum puerum quaedam gens Iesum, cuius interpretatio est arabice Eice…

that is

And in the first decan (of Virgo) there arises a girl who Celchnis calls Darostal; and she a beautiful, honorable, pure virgin with log hairs and a beautiful face, holding two ears of wheat in her hand; and she seats on a covered bench, and she nurse a male child, giving broth to him in a place called Abril. And a certain people call this child Jesus, which is translated as Eice in Arabic.

This symbolic image was the perfect argument to support the idea of stars as sign and not cause of events. The virgo and the child in the first facie of Virgo is the manifest sign, the epiphany of the birth of the Savior, the light that comes to the world.

As far as we keep meditating on De Stella Magorum we understand that Ficino’s speech is about the epiphany of the Light. His text is scattered with mark of that theophany of light. In his sermon Ficino presents the hypothesis that the star of the Magi was of supernatural origin, created by the angel Gabriel condensing the air to the extent that it was a sufficiently dense medium to make his light visible to humans. As he says:

But why did the Angel condense air? Because the light he was going to impress in the air could be perceived by the human eye. In fact a very rare substance always escapes to the eyesight. Where did he take the light to transmit to that body? From the light of his mind. In it in fact there is an invisible and intellectual light, which transmitted in the air, becomes visible; in the subtler air is visible to the Saints; in the denser, to the others too.

Adoration of the Magi - Giotto

Adoration of the Magi – Giotto

Ficino clearly states that Gabriel under the visible form of a star guided the Magi to the epiphany of the light of the Saviour.

And under the form of a star informed the students of stars, and through the light of the star, derived from the Sun he guided them towards the Sun.

The astronomers brought gold to the just born king , because they judged him having a Sun nature; with perfumed incense they indicated the grace of Venus, with myrrh they indicated  a life under the influence of Jupiter, unaware of putrefaction. In the same time these gifts are converged in another secret. In fact with the gold they helped him because he was a poor; with the myrrh they gave strength to the tender flesh; with the incense they perfumed the stable. The gave him the gold because he was a king; the incense because he was a priest, the myrrh because he was God.

The child, the Christ is the eternal Sun born to save the mankind,  the intelligible Sun which enlightens the intellect of every man. In the words of Ficino

Light which from Good is spread through all the spirits, is benefic. It grants us to direct towards the Good and quieten in it and makes possible we love the good and rejoice in it. Whatever particular good has with him the image of the good itself.

The Star and the Cave of the World

Says Matthew:

And there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Says Luke:

And it came to pass, while they were there, the days were fulfilled that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son; and she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people:for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger.

There is a tradition which tells us that the manger was a cave.

Icone of the Nativity - Bethlehem - Church of the Nativity

Icone of the Nativity – Bethlehem – Church of the Nativity

But looking at the cave where the new born Sun is placed and at the star hanging from the sky above the cave, the On the Cave of the Nymphs  of the Neoplatonic philosopher Porphyry comes in our mind.

Porphyry  reports a passage from the Homer’s Odyssey:

High at the head a branching olive grows
And crowns the pointed cliffs with shady boughs.
A cavern pleasant, though involved in night,
Beneath it lies, the Naiades delight:
Where bowls and urns of workmanship divine
And massy beams in native marble shine;
On which the Nymphs amazing webs display,
Of purple hue and exquisite array,
The busy bees within the urns secure
Honey delicious, and like nectar pure.
Perpetual waters through the grotto glide,  
A lofty gate unfolds on either side;
That to the north is pervious to mankind:
The sacred south t’immortals is consign’d.

And he comments:

That theologists therefore considered caverns as symbols of the world, and of mundane powers, is through this, mainifest. And it has been already observed by us, that they also considered a cave as a symbol of the intelligible essence; being impelled to do so by different and not the same conceptions. For they were of opinion that a cave is a symbol of the sensible world because caverns are dark, stony, and humid; and they asserted that the world is a thing of this kind, through the matter of which it consists, and through its repercussive and flowing nature. But they thought it to be a symbol of the intelligible world, because that world is invisible to sensible perception, and possesses a firm and stable essence. Thus, also, partial powers are unapparent, and especially those which are inherent in matter. For they formed these symbols, from surveying the spontaneous production of caves, and their nocturnal, dark, and stony nature; and not entirely, as some suspect, from directing their attention to the figure of a cavern. For every cave is not spherical, as is evident from this Homeric cave with a twofold entrance. But since a cavern has a twofold similitude, the present cave must not be assumed as an image of the intelligible but of the sensible essence. For in consequence of containing perpetually flowing streams of water, it will not be a symbol of an intelligible hypostasis, but of a material essence.

And he adds about the gates of the cave:

Theologists therefore assert, that_these two gates are Cancer and Capricorn; but Plato calls them entrances. And of these, theologists say, that Cancer is the gate through which souls descend; but Capricorn that through which they ascend. Cancer is indeed northern, and adapted to descent; but Capricorn is southern, and adapted to ascent. The northern parts, likewise, pertain to souls descending into generation. And the gates of the cavern which are turned to the north are rightly said to be pervious to the descent of men; but the southern gates are not the avenues of the Gods, but of souls ascending to the Gods. On this account, the poet does not say that they are the avenues of the Gods, but of immortals; this appellation being also common to our souls, which are per se, or essentially, immortal. It is said that Parmenides mentions these two gates in his treatise “On the Nature of Things”, as likewise that they are not unknown to the Romans and Egyptians. For the Romans celebrate their Saturnalia when the Sun is in Capricorn, and during this festivity, slaves wear the shoes of those that are free, and all things are distributed among them in common; the legislator obscurely signifying by this ceremony that through this gate of the heavens, those who are now born slaves will be liberated through the Saturnian festival, and the house attributed to Saturn, i.e., Capricorn, when they live again and return to the fountain of life. Since, however, the path from Capricorn is adapted to ascent, hence the Romans denominate that month in which the Sun, turning from Capricorn to the east, directs his course to the north, Januanus, or January, from janua, a gate. But with the Egyptians, the beginning of the year is not Aquarius, as with the Romans, but Cancer. For the star Sothis, which the Greeks call the Dog, is near to Cancer. And the rising of Sothis is the new moon with them, this being the principle of generation to the world. On this account, the gates of the Homeric cavern are not dedicated to the east and west, nor to the equinoctial signs, Aries and Libra, but to the north and south, and to those celestial signs which towards the south are most southerly, and, towards the north are most northerly; because this cave was sacred to souls and aquatic nymphs. But these places are adapted to souls descending into generation, and afterwards separating themselves from it.

We know that the star Sirius or Sothis, the star sacred to Isis, the most bright star in the sky, was used by Egyptians to determine the beginning of their calendar which was calculated by the helical rising of Sirius. This phenomenon occurred in the sign of Cancer in July around the beginning of the vulgar era. On the other hand in the middle of December the star Sirius made the midnight culmination.

The picture is complete. Here we contemplate the image of the Cavern of the World where the Sun born from the Virgo lies. The Star Sirius is shining over the Cavern in the middle of the night. The gate of the Cavern is open to all men to see the new born Sun rising up again in the sky through the door of Capricorn, the door of Gods, leading to the heavens. And we see the Magi, the wise men, who saw the star Sirius appearing at dawn before the Sun in the East at the beginning of the summer through the door of Cancer, the door of men, of generation and now after a long journey have reached their destination and under the culminating star can adore the child, the intellective principle, the immortal nous which starts to ascend to heaven again.

Therefore we can say with Saturninus Secundus Sallustius, friend of the Emperor Julian:

Now these things never happened, but always are. And intellect sees all things at once, but speech expresses some first and others after. Thus, as the myth is in accord with the cosmos, we for that reason keep a festival imitating the cosmos, for how could we attain higher order?

 


1 The complete translation of De Stella Magorum can be found in  Marsilio Ficino and the Star of the Magi: “De Stella magorum”

A travel companion

luna-piena

Audi dea regina, lucifera, diva Luna

Tauricornis Mene, noctu currens, aerivaga,

nocturna, facitenens, puella, bene stellata, Luna,

quae crecis et decrecis, foeminaque et mas,

fulgens, equorum amatrix, temporis mater, fructifera,

electris, iracunda, splendoris causa nocturna,

omnispica, vigilarum amatrix, pulchris syderibus abundans,

quiete gaudens et delectatione beatifica,

lucida, laetitiae datrix, perfectrix noctis oblectamentum,

astritenens, latipeple, vagi cursus, sapietissima puella:

venias beata, benevola, pulchristella, lumine tuo

micans, conservans tuos supplices, proba puella

Orphic Hymn to the Moon (translated by Marsilio Ficino)

During the past months planning the journey for my incoming summer holidays I decided to prepare a talisman to help me to have a safe and pleasant trip. So I took the  Picatrix book and found the description of a suitable talisman:

Ymago Lunae. Si ex formis Lune feceris formam hominis caput avis habentis, et se supra baculum sustentantis, et in eius manu similitudinem arboris floride habentis, in hora Lune sub ascensione eius exaltacionis, ipsa in ea existente, qui hanc ymaginem secum detulerit numquam in itinere erit fessus undecumque vadat.

Moon Talisman. If for the image of the Moon you will make the shape of a man having the head of a bird, leaning on a stick and having in his hand a branch in blossom, in the hour of the Moon while her exaltation sign is ascending, herself being there, the one who will carry such image will not be in trouble during his journey wherever he will go

The talisman election

I found a suitable moment for drawing the talisman:

Moon Talisman

The Moon is in Taurus in her exaltation, rising at the horoscope. The planetary hour was of Venus instead of the Moon, though Venus is the Lord of the Moon and of the Horoscope and it is with Jupiter in Leo in the V place, a succedent house, house of joy of Venus. The malefic planet are not harming: Mars is cadent and Saturn close to the VII house cusp in aversion with the horoscope and the Moon.

The image of the Moon

From the Picatrix description of the Moon image it not difficult to recognize the egyptian god Thoth. The ibis headed Thoth is a god of the Moon. He is connected with wisdom, science and measuring of time and space.  So the image of the Moon in Picatrix can be interpreted as the god Thoth holding a stick and a bunch of lotus flowers. The lotus flower is a symbol of the power of healing and regeneration.

lotus

Drawing the talisman

Though I recognize the god Thoth in the Moon image of Picatrix I decided to depict the image in a hermetic style.

talisman

After the drawing of the talisman I consecrated it by chanting the Orphic Hymn to the Moon as translated in latin by the beloved master Marsilio Ficino.

Felix Dies Natalis Solis Invicti

sol-invictus  May the rays of the Intellectual Sun, reborn brighter in those days in the visible form of the planetary Sun, banish e dispel the darkness in our Soul and bring the light of awareness and understanding to our intellect and heart.

Nothing recalls the nature of goodness more than light. Firstly, light appears very pure and very exalted in the realm of the senses. Secondly, of all things it is most easily and widely radiated in an instant. Thirdly, it harmlessly encounters everything and penetrates it very gently and pleasantly. Fourthly, it carries with itself a nourishing warmth, that cherishes all things, bestowing life and movement. Fifthly, while it is present and within everything, it is spoiled by nothing and mixed with nothing. Likewise goodness itself stands above the whole order of things, is spread very widely, and caresses and attracts everything. It forces nothing; like heat, it emanates love as its companion everywhere, by which every single thing is enticed from every direction and willingly admits of its goodness. Penetrating into the innermost parts of things, it mixes with none of them. Finally, just as goodness itself is inestimable and ineffable, so assuredly is light. For not one of the Philosophers until now has explained the following: that nothing anywhere is clearer than light; but that on the other hand nothing appears more obscure, just as goodness is both the most recognised of all things, and equally the least recognised. For this reason Iamblichus the Platonist finally came to refer to light as a certain active vitality and clear image of divine intelligence. The ray shining forth from the eye is itself the image of vision. So too perhaps is light itself the vision of the heavenly soul, or the action of vision reaching out to exterior things – acting from a distance, yet not leaving the heavens, but ever continuing there unmixed with external things, acting at once by seeing and by touching. At least we are used to speaking of light as a trace of universal light, offering itself to our eyes in a certain proportion; or indeed, as a vital spirit between the soul of the world and the body – but we have already said enough about this in the Theologia. So whenever in your studies you make a serious attempt to postulate that there are many angelic minds beyond heaven, like lights, whose ordering relates them both to each other and to one God, the father of all lights, what will be the point in pursuing your investigations down long winding paths? Just look up at heaven, I pray, Oh citizen of the heavenly realm, at that heaven whose manifestly perfect order so clearly declares God to be its creator. When you look upwards at heavenly things, the firmament immediately announces the glory of God and the works of his hands through the very rays of the stars, and through the aspects or inclinations of their eyes as they wander. Above all the Sun is most able to signify to you God himself. The Sun offers you signs, and who would dare to call the Sun false? Finally, the invisible things of God, that is to say, the angelic spirits, can be most powerfully seen by the intellect through the stars, and indeed even eternal things – the virtue and divinity of God – can be seen through the Sun.

De Sole, Marsilio Ficino

Ecce

coelum-et-terra    As an inaugural post I want to report the wise and inspired words and thoughts of Marsilio Ficino, Renaissance Florentine Philosopher in the tradition of Neoplatonism, from “De Vita Coelitus Comparanda”, which clarified the neoplatonic and hermetic perspective on astral influence on the sublunary world. Thanks to the mediation of  Anima Mundi, the Intellect – the Nous –  and the Body – the Matter – are hold together and the Ideas dwelling in the Intellect can be models for the seminal reasons in Anima Mundi and so put in the matter the seeds which are going to grow into manifestation. But let Marsilio’s words speak by themselves:

 

“If there were only these two things in the universe on one side the Intellect,

on the other the Body but no Soul, then neither would the Intellect be

attracted to the Body for Intellect is absolutely motionless, without affect, which

is the principle of motion, and very far away from the Body, nor would the

Body be drawn to the Intellect, for Body is in itself powerless, unsuited for

motion, and far removed from the Intellect. But if a Soul which conforms to

both were placed between them, an attraction will easily occur to each one

on either side. In the first place, Soul is led most easily of all, since she is the

Primum Mobile and movable of herself, of her own accord. Moreover, since,

as I have said, she is the mean of things, in her own fashion she contains all

things and is proportionally near to both. Therefore she is equally connected with everything,

even with those things which

are at a distance from one other, because they are not at a distance from her.

For besides the fact that on the one side she conforms to the divine and on

the other side to the transient, and even turns to each by desire, at the same

time she is wholly and simultaneously everywhere.

In addition, the World-soul possesses by divine power precisely as many seminal

reasons of things as there are Ideas in the Divine Mind. By these seminal

reasons she fashions the same number of species in matter. That is why 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 from the Idea. This is why, if

at any time the species degenerates from its proper form, it can be formed again

with the reason as the proximate intermediary and, through the Idea as intermediary,

can then be easily reformed. And if in the proper manner you bring

to bear on a species, or on some individual in it, many things which are dispersed

but which conform to the same Idea, into this material thus suitably

adapted you will soon draw a particular gift from the Idea, through the seminal

reason of the Soul: for, properly speaking, it is not Intellect itself which

is led, but Soul. And so let no one think that any divinities wholly separate

from matter are being attracted by any given mundane materials, but that daemons rather are

being attracted and gifts from the ensouled world and from

the living stars. Again, let no man wonder that Soul can be allured as it were

by material forms, since indeed she herself has created baits of this kind suitable

to herself, to be allured thereby, and she always and willingly dwells in

them. There is nothing to be found in this whole living world so deformed that

Soul does not attend it, that a gift of the Soul is not in it. Therefore Zoroaster

called such correspondences of forms to the reasons existing in the World-soul

“divine lures” and Synesius corroborated that they are magical baits.-

Finally, let no one believe that absolutely all gifts are drawn from the Soul

to anyone particular species of matter at a specific time, but rather at the right

moment only those gifts of that one seed from which such a species has grown,

and of seeds that are similar to it. Accordingly, the person who has employed

only human things, will thence claim for himself not the gifts proper to fish

or to birds but the human gifts and similar ones. But if the employs things which

pertain to such and such a star and daemon, he undergoes the peculiar influence

of this star and daemon, like a piece of wood treated with sulfur for

a flame that is everywhere present. And he undergoes this influence not only

through the rays of the star and the daemon themselves, but also through the

very Soul of the World everywhere present. For the reason of any star and

daemon flourishes in her. It is partly a seminal reason so that she can generate,

and partly an exemplary reason so that she can know. For according to

the more ancient Platonists, from her reasons, the World-soul constructed in

the heavens besides the stars, figures and such parts of them as are also themselves

figures of a sort; and she impressed properties on all these. In the stars,

moreover – in their figures, parts and properties – are contained all the species

of things below and their properties.”

 

So let’s see in our mind’s eye the Primum Mobile as the Anima Mundi revolving and moving the fixed stars sphere and the planetary spheres below till the sublunary world where the elements and qualities are stirred and put in motion. Let’s see the seminal reasons falling from the spheres like astral rain on the earth and grow and blossom into existence of events and entities. Let’s see our attitude, rituals and things, that show the influence and signature of an astral quality, be a receptacle of that astral power to be used to attune ourselves with life that comes from heaven.