Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

Discussion on literature other than by the Star of Azazel.
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Nefastos
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

Post by Nefastos »

RaktaZoci wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:08 pm
But isn't this incident (the building of the temple) still mentioned in the bible? Or perhaps there is a contradiction between the old and the new testament (I'm not an expert on biblical history)?

In the Bible, especially the Old Testament, where the building of the temple of Solomon is described, spirits & demons lurk behind terms that signify something else in everyday life. Different layers in these interpretations only come to view by analysis of symbolic, gematric or other kind. Building of Solomon's temple by spirits is therefore one possible (and traditional in magic) way of reading the story which in the Bible looks a bit different.

RaktaZoci wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:08 pm
wasn't there something similar mentioned in Secret doctrine (or possibly some other HPB text) about the origins of the theosophic movement coming from the Brotherhood of Luxor or a similar entity? Anyways, it seems that Egypt was the safest bet with most tradition to claim authenticity, so to speak.

When Blavatsky & Olcott started the theosophical work in America, they were (claimed to be) working with an Egyptian lodge of initiates under an adept using the name of Serapis Bey. Serapis' Egyptian lodge of adepts was called the Brotherhood of Luxor, the name that was also a bit later used by another kind of non-adept occultists. Look, for example, H.P.B Speaks, Volume I, where the Luxorian correspondence is given.
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

Post by Smaragd »

RaktaZoci wrote:
Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:08 pm
Another thing that came to my mind, in connection to the apparent revolt of Augustine against "the demons", in many hermetic texts, and kabbalistic ones especially, it is mentioned that the temple of Solomon would have (most likely) been built by these kinds of "demons", i.e. malevolent spirits who worked "without hammer or chisel", but that this malevolence would have been governed by the Will of the Magician (Solomon, in this case). But maybe in this case the idea is that all spiritual entities are considered evil or "bad", in the Christian eyes of the author?
This hits a spot I've found myself confused about again and again, despite checking different sources for information. Are the goetic spirits (which I assume to be "the malevolent spirits who worked "without hammer or chisel"") the same as the workers in the angelic hierarchies that must be fought against in the human condition? I've interpreted the fight against the heavenly powers is the human part to eventually become the commander of the celestial powers, not a worker in the lower ranks chiseling endlessly some niche corner of the universe. The malevolence of these spirits comes from their extreme limitation, which in satanism is usually worked with actively.

Apologies, I have not reserved time for myself to read the book, but following this discussion couldn't help drilling in to this theme.
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

Post by RaktaZoci »

Smaragd wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 11:05 am
This hits a spot I've found myself confused about again and again, despite checking different sources for information. Are the goetic spirits (which I assume to be "the malevolent spirits who worked "without hammer or chisel"") the same as the workers in the angelic hierarchies that must be fought against in the human condition? I've interpreted the fight against the heavenly powers is the human part to eventually become the commander of the celestial powers, not a worker in the lower ranks chiseling endlessly some niche corner of the universe. The malevolence of these spirits comes from their extreme limitation, which in satanism is usually worked with actively.
This is an interesting topic indeed. I must emphasize that these are merely my personal opinions on the matter, which I have gathered along the way and I'm sure there are other interpretations, but anyhoo..

I'm not exactly familiar with the so-called angelic magic, which you maybe describe Smaragd (?), but I've come to the conclusion which puts all (or at least most) spirits on a similar level. I can't help quoting Pinhead from Hellraiser where he says: "Angels to some, demons to others". Obviously this would be a matter for an endless debate, but I must mention the problem of good and evil and its, by definition, relative stance. Who decides which spirits are evil and which are good?

I remember an explanation of the goetic spirits where they are referred to as heavy machines are on a construction site. If they would run amok on their own they could create huge havoc and mayhem, BUT when they are controlled by an operator (the guy in the cabin, or, indeed, a magician) then they are capable of creating wondrous things and build great structures.
die Eule der Minerva beginnt erst mit der einbrechenden Dämmerung ihren Flug.
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

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RaktaZoci wrote:
Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:30 pm
Who decides which spirits are evil and which are good?
Augustine certainly thought he could, which lead to many many many years of Christianity taking the "lead" on morality. The first chapter talks about his stance on the Asclepius, condemning it as Egyptian idolatry. The second builds a bit on that towards the end of the chapter, summarizing that the general view of the Asclepius was favourable during the renaissance. Well, favourable enough to have a portrait of Hermes in a cathedral, anyway.
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

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“Thus an odour of sanctity surrounds the author of Egyptian Genesis, who is so like Moses, who prophesies Christianity, and who teaches a devout way of life in loving devotion to God the Father” is the best sentence from this chapter to describe the general feelings of Hermes Trismegistus felt from both Lactantius and Ficino. This view persisted throughout history and is shown with its popularity through the renaissance and beyond.

In this chapter, Yates paraphrases the first treatise, Pimander (or Poimandres). She acknowledges the need to go about it imaginatively instead of just analytically, for the sake of fully understanding how these texts cemented themselves as foundational text of renaissance magic. She briefly explains Festugiere’s classifications of gnosis into pessimist and optimist, and notes that the Hermetica as the whole is often both of these, and that their contents are often inconsistent. She points out that Pimander is partly optimist and partly dualist gnosis.

After her summary, she goes on to explain Ficino’s linking of Mercurius to Moses, and the text of Pimander to that of Genesis. She notes how impressed Ficino was to the resemblances to Moses and not to Plato, and that this impression left such a mark that Ficino went on record in the Theologica Platonica his belief that Hermes Trismegistus may have, in fact, been Moses. She then draws attention to the ways the Mosaic and Egyptian Genesis’ differ, despite Ficino focusing on their similarities.

Egyptian regeneration (Corpus Hermeticum XIII; dualist gnosis):

Tat speaks to his father, Tristmegistus, about learning the doctrine of regeneration. We’re introduced to the 12 punishments, their link to the zodiac, and the 10 powers that cancel these punishments out. Yates says that Festugiere compares this regeneration with the ascent through the spheres in Pimander. This section ends on a few lines from The Hymn of Regeneration (The Secret Hymn), the latin appendix of punishments and powers, and speculation that Ficino found this portion of the Hermeticum to echo these words from John: “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men,” and to as many as received them “to them gave He power to become the sons of God.”

Egyptian Reflection of the Universe in the Mind. The Mind to Hermes. (Corpus Hermeticum XI; optimist gnosis):
In this treatise the Nous speaks to Hermes of the world being good for it is all of God. It talks of death not being the destruction of matter, but merely a transformation. Yates points out the differences of gnosis between this book and the previous book on Egyptian regeneration. She notes that the principle of world-reflection in the mind is found in both books despite the differences.

Egyptian Philosophy of Man and of Nature: Earth Movement. Hermes Trismegists to Tat on the Common Intellect. (Corpus Hermeticum XII; optimist gnosis):
This book echoes the philosophy found throughout the Corpus Hermeticum; that divine man, through divine intellect “participates in the intellect infused throughout the living world of divine nature” which sounds pretty familiar to me. This book also mentions Agathos Daimon, a divinity whom the fourth-century BC Egyptian Priest, Manetho, considered a First-Dynasty king (The Way of Hermes, Salaman 1999, pg. 79).
Here he is used as one of Hermes’ teachers. Agathos Daimon is also found within the teachings of Ancient Greece, but moreso as a spirit, which I'm sure you guys might already know, but I didn't, haha! :ugeek:

Egyptian Religion. The Asclepius (optimist gnosis):
Fortunately for the sake of moving my summary along, I don’t own the Asclepius in any form, so no cross referencing was done. The parts of this treatise that Yates chose to include remind me very much of what Blavatsky writes on cosmogenesis in The Secret Doctrine, which makes sense to me now that I read the exchange regarding SD between you, my brothers. But Hermes gathers with Tat, Hammon, and Asclepius, and their fervour mixed with the presence of God fills the holy place, and Hermes speaks the divine love which talks of man being magnum miraculum because “he goes into the nature of god as though he himself were a god” and though he is related to demons, he hates this part of his nature and hopes divinity will save him.

The principal gods are then listed as follows:
Jupiter, the Sun, the 36 (also known as Horoscopes, the 36 ten degree segments that make up the 360 degrees of the zodiacal circle), and the seven spheres ruled by Fortune or Destiny.

Hermes goes into detail on how man makes gods in the form of statues, which is the main part of the treatise that Augustine condemned. This passage ends with a line lamenting the demise of the religion of Egypt, which then leads into the next section, The Lament (or the Apocalypse).

This passage opens on a prophecy that Egypt will become godless and corrupted by non-Egyptians when the Egyptian gods inevitably desert the Earth to go back to Heaven. During this period of darkness, man all suffer under godlessness. Then the One God will return and cleanse the world (I admit I chuckled a little at the part about pestilential maladies, given the current global circumstance) and restore the world to a state worthy of Him, imposed by His will.

Yates goes on to state her belief that the rehabilitation of the Asclepius is chiefly responsible for the revival of magic during the renaissance. She loops back to Augustine’s interpretation of the Asclepius, Christianity being the light that saves the world from Egyptian idolatry, and reframes it the way the renaissance magician would now see it; that the Egyptian religion of the world, the religion of thought, would save the world from Christianity by infusing it with Egyptian piousness and goodness.

Image

This chapter ends on a brief discussion of the portrait of Hermes with the Sibyls found in Duomo di Siena, laid in the 1480s, and how it stands as a symbol of deep reverence for the figure of Hermes Trismegistus in the Italian Renaissance.
Has anyone been here? I have recently added it to things I must see in this lifetime.
"Limited love asks for possession of the beloved, but the unlimited asks only for itself." -Kahlil Gibran
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

Post by Wyrmfang »

Thank you very much Polyhymnia! Just to mention to everyone, next is RaktaZoci´s turn, then me etc. Feel free to comment our summaries and thoughts.
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Re: Reading circle (Frances Yates: Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition)

Post by RaktaZoci »

Hello All. I apologize my absence, but my responsibilities with the family have kept me away from the computer during my vacation.
I write to inform, though, that I have not forgotten my turn in the reading circle and will post my take on chapter 3 as soon as I get other things out of the way.
die Eule der Minerva beginnt erst mit der einbrechenden Dämmerung ihren Flug.
-Hegel
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