Varieties of Magical Experience, 6






Mediaeval Magic and Sorcery



Hairesy & Dissenters



Magic, Cosmology and Early Science



The Hermetic Revival



Spiritual Dimensions of Alchemy



Mediaeval Goeteia



Hairesy & Dissenters


pp. 102-3 Kathar religion

p. 102

"Cathars were ... Christians who ... believed that all the principal figures in the Old Testament, and also John the Baptist in the New Testament, were demons. ...

{This is the direct reverse of the Manda<i (>aramaic for 'Knower, Gnostic') of Iran and of <iraq, who reject Yis^u< (Iesous) as evil, but glorify Yuh.anan (Ioannes) the Baptist.}

The Cathars did not believe that

a holy Christ

{i.e., aspect of the Godhead as membre of the divine Trinity}

could assume a flesh-bound form ... . They also rejected ... the use of bread and wine in the Eucharist. The cross was of no account either ... .

p. 103

The Cathars distinguished between ... the perfecti ... and ordinary believers (credenti). The perfecti were initiated by ... "h{a}eretication." ...

The ordinary credenti received it only when death was near." (O'Grady 1985, pp. 69-70)

{So that it was the aequivalent to the Catholic sacrament of extreme unction : likewise in the early Catholic Church, for imperator Constantinus received the Catholic sacraments only when he was dying.}

O'Grady 1985 = J. O'Grady : Heresy. Dorset : Element.

{Cathars were also known as "Piphles" (CL, p. 17) and as "Piphili" CL, p. 18). If this be for /PaPHLagones/, it could refer to Sinope Kunikoi (Cynics) whose eucharist was of lentils : cf. the Sogdian Manichaian /maiz^u/ [same word as /maize/] "lentil" ("SFMC", p. 316) repraesented in cosmology by "one magic twelve-faced *Lens" ("SFMC", p. 312). May this, apparently a dodeka-hedron, be "the Dodecahedron of Jupiter" (STAA, p. 69), or else Kepler's "dodecahedron between Mars and Earth" (QuSS, p. 94)?}

CL = Walter Simons : Cities of Ladies : Beguine Communities ... . Univ of PA Pr, Philadelphia, 2001.

"SFMC" = W. B. Henning : "A Sogdian Fragment of the Manichaean Cosmogony". BULLETIN OF THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES (Univ of London) 12(1948).2:306-18.

STAA = Manly P. Hall : The Secret Teachings of All Ages. San Francisco, 1928.

QuSS = David R Topper : Quirky Sides of Scientists. Springer Verlag, 2007.

pp. 103-4 [quoted from Russell 1972, p. 175] instance of survival of Germanic religion in England

p. 103

"by night they see most fair queens ... and maidens ... leading the dances with the ... Elves, and

p. 104

believe that the latter transform men and women into other shapes and conduct then to Elvelond, where now dwell those mighty champions

Onewone and Wade".

{"Unewyn(e)-Onewone I take to refer to the Unwen of Widsid 114 while we also have ... the story of Wade" (Brett 1919, p. 1).}

Russell 1972 = J. B. Russell : Witchcraft in the Middle Ages. Ithaca (NY) : Cornell Univ Pr.

Brett 1919 = Cyril Brett : "Notes on Passages of Old and Middle English". MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW 14:1-9.


Magic, Cosmology and Early Science


pp. 111-2 Albertus Magnus

p. 111

"Albertus Magnus (1206-80), Count of Bollstadt, was born in the town of Lauingen in Swabia. He ... became Bishop of of Ratisbon, and was mentor to St. Thomas Aquinas ... . ... Albertus believed that engraved gems had magical powers, and he regarded astrology as the basis of ... divination. However, this was for the ... reason that, just as Aristotle had decreed, celestial bodies were seen to govern all things on earth."

p. 112

[quoted from Seligman 1971, p. 145 :] "Albertus had ... in spite of the fact that it was midwinter ... fragrant flowers."

{Though mention of a greenhouse is omitted from this account, it is sure to have been employed by Albertus Magnus. Already in the early Roman Empire, "Columella describes use of mica (translucent) sheets to protect plants and temper sunlight for young plants" ("HGD").}

"The Book of Secrets -- a work ... to describe the "virtues of herbs, stones and certain beasts," ... was composed and assembled by ... his followers. ... It was translated into ... Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, and English ..., and its popularity continued until Elizabethan and early Stuart times."

Seligman 1971 = Kurt Seligman : Magic, Supernaturalism and Religion. NY : Pantheon. ("First published in the United States of America as The history of magic, by Pantheon Books in 1948.")

"HGD" = "History of Greenhouse Development".

p. 112 [quoted from Best & Brightman 1973, pp. 18-19] the 7 herbs, according to the Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus

"There be seven herbs that have great virtues ... of the influence of the planets ...



Polygonum {'many-knees' : knotweed}


Chynostates {Salvia sclarea : eyebright (AMBS)}


Arnoglossus {'lamb's tongue'} or Plaintain


Pentaphyllon or Cinquefoil


Jusquiamus, or Henbane

(Jupiter) and

Verbena or Vervain


Best & Brightman 1973 = M. R. Best & F. H. Brightman (transll.) : The Book of Secrets of Albertus Magnus. Oxford Univ Pr.

AMBS = Albertus Magnus book of secretes.

{The 7 herbs (mostly different from the above) of the 7 planets are also listed in the Compendium Aureum -- as translated in Linda Ehrsam Voigts : "Plants and Planets", p. 38, fn. 41. In :- Peter Dendle & Alain Touwaide (edd.) : Health and Healing from the Medieval Garden. Boydell Pr, Woodbridge (Suffolk), 2008. pp. 29-46. }

pp. 113-4 Cornelius Agrippa

p. 113

"Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) was born ... in Cologne. ... An attendant to Maximilian I, Agrippa ... wrote the first version of De Occulta Philosophia in Germany around 1509-10 ... . ... Agrippa published De Occulta Philosophia ... in Antwerp in 1533 ... . ...

p. 114

In De Occulta Philosophia, Agrippa divides the universe into the elemental world, the celestial world, and the intellectual world, each receiving influences from the one above it. The virtue ... descends via the archangels to the intellectual world, then is transmitted to the stars in the celestial world, and finally it filters down into the physical world where it permeates the elements ... . De Occulta Philosophia is divided into three books. The first is about natural magic ... in the elemental world; the second is about the magic of the stars and how to utilize it; and the third is about ceremonial magic ... involving angelic spirits."

pp. 114 & 115 Paracelsus

p. 114

"Paracelsus (1493-1541) ... Born ... in Einsiedeln, near Zurich, ... spent his childhood in Villach in Carinthia, ... but ... received his doctorate ... at the University of Ferrara in northern Italy ... . ... Paracelsus subsequently accepted a position as ... professor of medicine at Basle in 1526."

p. 115

"Paracelsus studied with Johannes Trithemius, abbot of Sponheim, who had instructed Cornelius Agrippa in the magical traditions. [Pachter [1951], p. 76] ...

Nevertheless, he did believe that sacred names, magical motifs, and astrological symbols could be inscribed on lamens (magical talismans) and then hung around the patient's neck at the appropriate astrological time as part of an effective medical cure. By way of explanation, Paracelsus wrote : "Characters, Letters and Signes have several virtues and operations, wherewith also the nature of Metals, the condition of Heaven, and the influence of the Planets, with their operations, and the significations and proprieties of Characters, Signs and Letters, and the observations of the times, do concur and agree together. ...""

Pachter 1951 = Henry Maximilian Pachter : Paracelsus. NY : H. Schuman. (reprinted NY : Collier, 1961)

{Although amulets and talismans have to be particularly constructed so as to be efficacious, yet nevertheless such efficacy must be extracted from the divine worlds when such worlds are entred in trances and in dreams, or possibly are entred by means of psychedelic drugs; and hardly at all can magical efficacy be attained by any other means. It is simply frivolous to expect efficacy to be obtained through the ordinary non-trance waking-state consciousness (except possibly in the praesence of a non-performing spiritual practitioner in the appropriate contemplative state, or while summoning deities with appropriate music, chanting, and incense). So, much of the instructions given by authors such as Agrippa and Paracelsus is nearly useless.}

p. 115 categories of elemental spirits, according to Paracelsus (Stoddart [1911], p. 269)

"he called the spirits of fire


the spirits of air


the spirits of water

melosinae, and

the spirits of earth


Stoddart 1911 = Anna M. Stoddart : The Life of Paracelsus. London : J. Murray. (reprinted London : Rider, 1915)

p. 116 John Dee

"Dr. John Dee (1527-1608) ... calculated an auspicious date for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth I, having been commissioned to do this by Lord Robert Dudley on the instructions of the queen. [Fell-Smith 2004]

Following a meeting with a magician named Jerome Cardan in England in 1552, Dee became interested in the conjuration of spirits".

Fell-Smith 2004 = Charlotte Fell-Smith : John Dee. Lake Worth (FL) : Nicolas-Hays.

p. 254, n. 6:36 books concerning the magical occultism of John Dee

György Endre Szőnyi : John Dee's Occultism : Magical Exaltation .... Albany : State Univ of NY Pr, 2005.

Deborah E. Harkness : John Dee's Conversations with Angels. Cambridge Univ Pr, 1999.


The Hermetic Revival


pp. 117-18 Marsilio Ficino

p. 117

"In 1460 a monk named Leonardo da Pistoia brought with him to Florence the Greek manuscripts ... known collectively as the Corpus Hermeticum, or Hermetica. These particular texts had been found in Macedonia and were presented to Cosimo de Medici, who ... passed the manuscripts to ... Marsilio Ficino (1433-99), and requested that he translate them into Latin. This work was completed in 1463".

"Ficino felt that ... the Corpus Hermeticum text was divinely inspired :

[quoted from Shumaker [1972], p. 202 :] They called {him}

Trismegistus {Tris-megistos} thrice great{est : /isto-/ being the superlative affix}

{Not Hermes (who is a myriad times so), but rather Platon, is designated simply "thrice-great" (Z:OO 8 -- ThGH--E&F, p. 276).}

because he was pre-eminent as the greatest philosopher, the greatest priest, and the greatest king. As Plato writes, it was a custom among the Egyptians to choose priests from among the philosophers, and kings from the company of priests."

p. 118

"For Ficino ... writes ... :

[quoted from Shumaker [1972], p. 203 :] Mercury ["i.e., Hermes Trismegistus"] knows how to instruct ... in divine matters. ... The work is therefore to be accomplished by a divine light ... poured into a soul".

Z:OO = Zosimos : Omega to Okeanos.

ThGH--E&F = G. R. S. Mead : Thrice-Greatest Hermes. Vol. III.—Excerpts and Fragments. London & Benares, Theosophical Publ Soc, 1906.

Shumaker 1972 = Wayne Shumaker : The Occult Sciences in the Renaissance. Berkeley : Univ of CA.

pp. 118-20 Christian endorsement of Hermeticism; Hermetic universalism

p. 118

"Hermes had already been endorsed by ... Saint Augustine and the fifth-century Christian poet Lactantius,

{These two authors were referring to the Christian book Shepherd of Hermas.}

so it would have seemed quite acceptable to Ficino to combine Greek mystical philosophy and Christianity. ...

p. 119

Ficino's work with the Corpus Hermeticum was developed by Giovanni Pico, Count of Mirandola (1463-94), who ... combined Ficino's Hermetic Neoplatonism with ... Christianity, and "high magic" (mageia)."

p. 120

"As Hermes Trismegistus says in the Asclepius, in a text which was also quoted by Pico :

[quoted from Churton 1987, p. 112 :] He takes in the nature of a god ... .

He is united to the gods because he has the divinity pertaining to gods ... . ...

He is at the same time everything as he is everywhere.

Similarly we read in the Corpus Hermeticum [libellus XIII] :

I see myself to be the All.

I am in heaven and in earth ...; I am in beasts and plants;

I am a babe in the womb, and one that is not yet conceived, and one that has been born;

I am present everywhere."

Churton 1987 = Tobias Churton : The Gnostics. London : Weidenfeld & Nicolson; NY : Barnes & Noble.


Spiritual Dimensions of Alchemy


p. 121 beginning & revival of alchemy

"The fourth-century alchemical writer Zosimus of Panopolis (Akhmim) in Egypt maintained that a person named Chemes ... had authored a book of supernaturally inspired instruction called Chema ... . However, it is thought that

the Greek word chyma, meaning to fuse or cast metals,

{Surely this world must be the source of the Latin /humo/ ('I cover with soil, I interr') through the specialization 'I fuse with the soil, I cast into the underground'.}

established itself ... as ... the ... term".

{Perhaps the Neo-Platonic understanding that, between lives of metempsychosis, the psukhe "dissolves into the moon" ("ASThCS") -- just as likewise, according to the Taittiriya, the soul at death "enters into the moon" (PhI, p. 70) --, was involved in transmuting the Hellenic meaning (of /khumein/) into the Latin signification (of /humare/).}

"ASThCS" = "The Hellenistic (Later Mediterranean) After-Life : Ascent of the Soul Through the Celestial Spheres", cap. IV of After-Life Existence : an Occult Analysis.

PhI = Heinrich Zimmer (edited by Joseph Campbell) : Philosophies of India. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London, 1952.

pp. 121-2 there is a spiritual pattern to the material world

p. 121

"As the sixteenth-century Moravian alchemist Michael Sendigovius writes in The New Chemical Light :

[quoted from Redgrove 1922, p. 10 :] "this natural world is only an image and a material copy of a heavenly and spiritual pattern; ... the

p. 122

very existence of this world is based upon the reality of its celestial archetype; ... in imitation of the spiritual and invisible universe ... . Thus the Sage sees heaven reflected in Nature as in a mirror; and he pursues this Art ... for the love of ... the mysteries of heaven".

Redgrove 1922 = Henry Stanley Redgrove : Alchemy Ancient and Modern. London : Rider.

p. 122 (quoted from "A Syriac Hermetic text") Cosmic Intellect as Divine Mirror

[quoted in Berthelot 1893, vol. 2, p. 262] "What is the adage of the philosophers? Know thyself! This refers to the intellectual and cognitive mirror ... the Divine and original Intellect ... . He sees God within himself."

Berthelot 1893 = Marcellin Pierre Eugène Berthelot : La Chimie au Moyen A^ge. 2 voll. Paris : Imprimerie nationale.

p. 123 metals of the planets


its metal















p. 124 the personal soul must remain distinguishable from universal spirit

[quoted from Burckhardt 1971, p. 97] "The form of the soul thus "born again" is nevertheless distinguishable from the all-embracing Spirit ... . But at the same it is transparent to the undifferentiated Light of the Spirit and its vital union with the primordial materia of all souls, for the ... "substantial" ground of the soul ... has a unitary nature."

Burckhardt 1971 = Titus Burckhardt (transl. from the German by William Stoddart) : Alchemy : Science of the Cosmos, Science of the Soul. Penguin Bks.


Mediaeval Goeteia


p. 125 the goeteia known as the Testament of Solomon

"the archangel Michael presented him with a magical ring ... that had the power to bind demons.

{Theseus praesented the ring (GM 98.j).}

More than 36 demons could be harnessed

{the 36 dekanoi, of 10 degrees each, of the zodiac?}

through this ring, and King Solomon was said to have used some of their magical powers".

{This ring belonged to king Minos (GM 98.i).}

GM = Robert Graves : The Greek Myths. 2 voll. Penguin Bks, 1955.

p. 126 the goeteia known as the Lesser Key of Solomon

"draw the secret seal of Solomon ... with the blood of a black cock. ...

{A cock was immolated "to Asklepios" (Platon : Phaidon 118a -- "AC").}

Wearing ... a girdle of lion's skin around his waist ... ."

{This was the skin of the Nemean Lion, worn by Heraklees (GM 123.g).}

"AC" = "Asklepios Cult".


Lynne Hume & Nevill Drury : The Varieties of Magical Experience : Indigenous, Medieval, and Modern Magic. Praeger (an imprint of ABC-CLIO), Santa Barbara (CA), 2013.