III. Readings of the world and of myths (pp.46-52)
1. Philosophia Occulta
At the end of 15th century to 17th occultist currents were named as philosophia occulta.
In this paradigm everything was seen to act or reflect in analogy --> as above so below maxim (?)
Goetia, witchcraft, invocation of demons and angels etc. depicts dark side of these currents according to Faivre
To me it seems that this "dark side" is also the well known.
Faivre then goes to explain Magia naturalis
- premodern form of natural science: magic powers in nature were seen to be as natural.
Citing Faivre's words from p.46:
It is hardly distinguishable from an experimental science still in its infancy and it often appears as a form of naturalism tainted with atheism.
Then Faivre goes about to explain
: attempt to unify nature and religion.
or Theurgy, incantations connection with creatures or powers not associated with physical beings
These two sides of magia naturalis
(naturalistic and white magic) is combined in magic considering, for instance, stars.
In this form of celestial magic stars are seen both having physical features but also possessing "will".
Notable figures Faivre mentions include:
Occult philosophia Paraclesus
2. Alchemy: Science of Humanity, Nature and Myths
In the beginning of 16th century alchemy was conveyed in form of manuscripts.
Faivre sees alchemic tradition having proto-theosophic
later he explains characterization of 17th century alchemy:
mythologies, allegories that bear the secrets of Great Work
A taste for fine illustrations
Edition of encyclopedia, anthologies, compilations
Alchemy became patronized by few european rulers, because of promise for wealth. (i.e Transmutation into gold)
(Like in any movie which has elixir of life, philosophy stone and etc.)
Many scientists were researching on alchemy in serious manner. Isaac Newton for instance.
Faivre emphasizes that this was indeed serious science back then. And we shouldn't impose our idea of modern science as a statement to paint researchers and scientists as pseudo-scientific people.
3. Hermetico-emblematic art
In this part Faivre states hermetistic arts in Europe. Notably in Renaissance Italy.
Different characters, Hermes Trismegistus, zodiacal signs, symbols, mythical figures exist in areas, Vatican, painting Primavera,
Shortly put, Faivre sees that during sixteenth century for thirty years, art was given an equal or even bigger status than for writings and text.
Despite the fact even in literature had fruitful relationship with esotericism.