Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hermes watches Hypnos and Thanatos carry a dead soul

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Gift ideas for magicians and/or historians interested in Renaissance Magus John Dee

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Massive edition of Dee's notes on his angel magic methodology and experiences.

Readable, useful scholarly study of Dee's Angel chats, inspired my MA thesis.

Pioneering study of Dee through a postmodern cultue-history lens.

Scrupulous history of science study of John Dee's mathematics and physics.

Exciting collection of articles: cutting edge research on Dee's grimoire magic.

Detailed exploration of the sources of Dee's visionary magical imagination.

Dense but fascinating exploration of Dee's non-magical influence as intelligencer.

Paracelsus on the Signatures of Things

Hakannson p.292 In De signatura rerum Paracelsus states that each occult art devoted to the the reading of natural signs has its own particular stars, and that these stars “sign” terrene things “in a supernatural manner.” Thus, the stars that produce marks in the earth “sign or impress their marks on terrestrial bodies of the whole world in many and various ways”, not only by producing earthquakes, hills and valleys, but also by bringing forth De signatura rerum “gamaheos on bare shapes and images having remarkable powers and potencies.” Paracelsus never discusses these remarkable powers,however, confining himself to the remark that they are received from the seven planets just as a target receives a thrown bullet or spear.

from De signatura rerum

“Hinc enim multae aliae quoque artes prodeunt, ut Geomantia,Pyromantia, Hydromantia, Chaomantia, & Necromantia, quarum quaelibet suapecularia astra habet quae astra modo supernaturali ita signant. Et sciendumest, astra Geomantiae signa sua signare seu imprimere in terreno corpori universi orbis, multis quidem ac variis modis.Nam & terram mutant, & terrae motus ac hiatus pariunt, gignunt colles& valles, multa nova crescentia paturiunt, proferunt Gamaheos nudis figuris& imaginibus, insignes vires & potentias habentes, quas quidem aseptem planetis accipiunt, non secus acorbis seu scopus glandem aut telum accipit a iaculatore.”
see Waite p.191 for this passage English’d

here's Waite's rendering of this passage and a little further

The four arts of Geomancy, Hydromancy, Pyromancy, and Necromancy are thus noticed: Spirits which are (normally) unable to communicate visibly with men, have by lying arts invaded their imagination, and have raised up therein Geomancy, Pyromancy, Hydromancy, and Necromancy, arts not invented from the light of Nature or of men, but instilled by spirits, who, by their frauds, after they had descried some one or other discoverer suitable for their purposes, then added fitting disciples to these, namely, cultivators and admirers of the said arts. The first discoverers were obsessed by the devil, and sought out through his power and instigation arts of this kind. There are some, indeed, who, hiding the matter, affirm that they have been revealed from God ; but they are deceived, for God is not the author and teacher of inquiries into the future by means of such devices. He in no wise created us that we might devote ourselves to the investigation of what is to come, but ordered rather that, directing His attention to His commandments, we should seek out the knowledge of Himself and His manifest will. It is, therefore, a false pretence that these arts proceed from God when they emanate from spirits alone. It is, indeed, true that the spirits extracted them from God, not from the devil. But we on the earth derive them from spirits, not from God. Now, communication with such spirits is forbidden, though they themselves neglect the mandate. It is equally forbidden to the spirits to teach these arts, but here, also, they pay no attention to the command. And this is the reason why they are silent and tell lies when it is least becoming to do so. Thus, in order that man may act disobediently towards God, and plunge into superstitions they have devised the four above-mentioned methods for inquiring into the future. Geomancy is the art of points, having sixteen signs and figures, which they have arranged according to their property. To these they added translations, creta (sir), form, points, and similar things, and have taught the erection of the whole figure, fixing certain rules by wbich each figure could be understood each recognised in its own hou>e. with a sufficient und necessary interpretation,

Gift ideas for Hermetic enthusiasts

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The most current translation, by an excellent scholar.

A more affordable translation, aimed at a popular readership, the practitioner.

A surprisingly erudite popular treatment from the former Blondie guitarist.

Essential scholarly treatment of the socioreligious world of the ancient Hermetists.

Pioneering study of translations of Hermes myth into Arabic, with alchemical innovations.

Concise scholarly survey of varieties of Hermeticism by an expert in 18th century varieties.

Earlier scholarly translation with facing page greek or latin text. Older, but reliable.

Origin of 19th century interpretation of "spiritual alchemy" (which led to Jung's)

Foundational 1931 manifesto of anti-modernist Tantric Hermeticism. Alchemy as Yoga of Power.

Introduction to Jung's alchemical writings, with excerpts and explanations.

The best collection of alchemical emblems from the 17th century.

Useful collection of alchemical, astrological, kabbalistic and mystical imagery.

Classic 1964 study that introduced the scholarly world to Renaissance Hermeticism.

Metaphysical and magical texts of Giordano Bruno, the greatest hermetic philosopher.

Pioneering study of Renaissance magic as applied psycho-sociology. Magus as Ad-Man.

Festugiere was one of the first great scholarly authorities on the Hermetica.

Expensive but indispensable scholarly edition of The Book of Thoth. Translation, essays.

Mark Delp on The Immanence of Ratio in a medieval Hermetic text

Mark Delp "The Immanence of Ratio in the Cosmology of the De sex rerum principiis
in Hermetism from Late Antiquity to Humanism
Some of the most interesting movements in twelfth-century philosophy involved attempts to describe divine immanence in cosmological terms. In contrast to predominantly theological approaches in which divine operations were usually conceived of as acting "upon" nature, mostly under the aspect of the miraculous, or of the salvific power aiding the human spiritual flight from materiality, early twelfth-century philosophy began to conceive of divine operations as acting from within nature, determining in the recesses of the elemental qualities themselves their various modalities in celestial and terrestrial regions. Most important, perhaps, for the methodology of the new theological cosmologies was the fascination with the expansiveness and physicality of pagan attempts to bridge the gap between an immaterial summum bonum and the material cosmos by means of hierarchical orders of hypostases, divine and quasi-divine.
the Platonic tradition of deriving the cosmos from a divine source by means of a series of hierarchical principles is still evident

(unfortunately it's very expensive, but can be found in good University libraries)

select bibliography on medieval hermeticism (the latin tradition)

Dronke, Peter, ed., A History of Twelfth-Century Western Philosophy, Cambridge: 1988.

Marius, On the Elements, ed. and trans. Richard Dales, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: 1976.

al-Kindi, De radiis or Theorica artium magicarum, ed. M. T. D'Alverny, Archives d'Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Age 42 (1975), pp. 139-260.

_____, Liber de quinque essentiis, ed. A Nagy, BGPhM II, 5, Münster: 1897.

Boeft, J. den, Calcidius on Fate, Leiden: 1970.

Burnett, Charles, "What is the Experimentarius of Bernardus Silvestris?" AHDLMA 44, 1977, pp. 79-125.

_____, "The Legend of the Three Hermes and Abu Ma'Shar's Kitab Al-Uluf in the Middle Ages," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 39, 1976, pp. 231-34.

_____, "A Group of Arabic-Latin Translators Working in Northern Spain in the Mid-12th Century," Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 1, 1977, pp. 62-108.

_____, ed., Adelard of Bath, An English Scientist and Arabist of the Early Twelfth Century, London: 1987.

Callus, D. A., "Introduction of Aristotelian Learning to Oxford," in Proceedings of the British Academy 2, 1943, pp. 229-281.

Carmody, F. J., Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation, Berkeley: 1956.

Cumont, F., The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, 1909; authorized English trans. 1911; reprint New York: 1956.

Daniel, N., The Arabs and Mediaeval Europe, Beirut and London: 1975.

Gersh, Stephen, Middle Platonism and Neoplatonism The Latin Tradition, Notre Dame, Indiana:


_____, "Platonism--Neoplatonism--Aristotelianism. A Twelfth-Century Metaphysical System

and its Sources," Renaissance and Renewal in the Twelfth Century, eds. Robert L. Benson

and Giles Constable, Cambridge, Massachusetts: 1982, pp. 512-534.

Gibson, Margaret, "The Study of the Timaeus in the 11th and 12th Centuries," Pensamiento

25, 1969, pp. 183-194.

Häring, N. M., "The Creation of the world according to Thierry of Chartres and Clarenbaldus

of Arras," AHDLMA 22, 1955, pp. 137-216.

Hunt, R. W., "The Introductions to the 'Artes' in the Twelfth Century," in Studia

mediaevalia in honorem R. J. Martin, Brugis Flandrorum, 1948, pp. 85-112.

_____, "English Learning in the late XIIth. Century," in Transactions of the Royal

Historical Society, IVth. series, 19, 1936.

Klibansky, R., The Continuity of the Platonic Tradition during the Middle Ages, London:


Kunitzsch, Paul, The Arabs and the Stars, Variorum Reprints, Northampton: 1989

Lawn, Brian, The Salernitan Questions. An Introduction to the History of Medieval and Renaissance Problem Literature, Oxford 1963.
Lemay, Richard, Abu Ma'Shar and Latin Aristotelianism in the Twelfth Century, Beirut 1962.

Lipton, Joshua, The Rational Evaluation of Astrology in the Period of Arabo-Latin Translation ca. 1126-1187 AD, unpublished dissertation, University of California at Los Angeles, 1978.

Mckeon, Richard, "Medicine and Philosophy in the Eleventh and Twelfth Centuries: The Problem of Elements," The Thomist 24, 1961, pp. 211-56.

Pingree, David, The Thousands of Abu Ma'Shar, Studies of the Warburg Institute XXX, London: 1968.

Plessner, M., "Hermes Trismegistus and Arabic Science," Studia Islamica II, 1954, pp. 45-59.

_____, "Hirmis," Encyclopedia of Islam, new ed. III, 463-65.

Russell, J. C., "Hereford and Arabic Science in England," Isis 18, 1932, pp. 14-25.

Silverstein, T., "Elementatum: Its Appearance among the Twelfth-Century Cosmogonists." Medieval Studies, 16, 1954, pp. 156-62

_____, "Guillaume de Conches and Nemesius of Emessa: On the Sources of the 'New Science' of the Twelfth Century, " in Harry Austryn Wolfson Jubilee Volume 3 vols., Jerusalem: 1965, II, pp. 719-34.

_____, "The Fabulous Cosmogony of Bernardus Silvestris," Modern Philology 46, 1948-49, pp. 92-116.

_____, "Daniel of Morley, English Cosmogonist and Student of Arabic Science," in Mediaeval Studies 10, 1948, pp. 179-96.

_____, "The De sex rerum principiis," in Catalogus Translationum et Commentariorum I: 'Hermetica Philosophica,' Washington: 1960, pp. 155-56.

Southern, R. W., "The Place of England in the Twelfth Century Renaissance," Medieval Humanism, New York: 1970, pp. 158-80.

Stavenhagen, Lee, "The Original Text of the Latin Morienus," Ambix 17, 1970, pp. 1-12.

Stock, B., Myth and Science in the Twelfth Century, Princeton: 1972.

Tester, Jim, A History of Western Astrology, New York: 1989.

Thompson, J. W., "The Introduction of Arabic Science into Lorraine in the 10th Century," in Isis 12, 1929, pp. 184-93.

Thorndike, L., A History of Magic and Experimental Science, vol. 2, New York: 1923-1958.

_____, "The Latin Translations of Astrological Works by Messahala," in Osiris XII, 1956, pp. 49-72.

Welborn, M. C., "Lotharingia as a Center of Arabic Scientific Influence in the XIth Century," Isis 16, 1931, pp. 188-99; and Isis 17, 1932, pp. 260-63.

Wetherbee, Winthrop, "Philosophy, Cosmology, and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance," in Dronke, Peter, ed., A History of Twelfth-Century Western Philosophy, Cambridge: 1988.

_____, Platonism and Poetry in the Twelfth Century, Princeton 1972.

Williams, J. R., "The Microcosmographia of Trier, Ms. 1041," in Isis 22, 1934-35, pp. 106-35.

Wingate, S. D., The Mediaeval Latin Versions of the Aristotelian Scientific Corpus, London: 1931.

Woolsey, Robert B., "Bernard Silvester and the Hermetic Asclepius," Traditio 6, 1948, pp. 340-44.

Wright, J. K., "Notes on the Knowledge of Latitude and Longitude in the Middle Ages, " Isis 5, 1923, pp. 75-98.

Zambelli, Paola, The Speculum Astronomiae and its Enigma. Astrology, Theology and Science in Albertus Magnus and his Contemporaries, Dordrecht, Boston, London: 1992