Sunday, May 3, 2009

Renaissance Astrological Magic

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Talisman comes from the Greek telesma meaning consecrated or sacred object. Amulet comes from the Latin amuletum and refers more narrowly to objects with an apotropaic or protective function. The key to astrological talismans and amulets is the timing of their creation which is determined by electional astrology. Unless talismans are created at an astrologically auspicious time as well as being ritually consecrated they are nothing more than jewelry with astrological designs, lacking any magical or spiritual charge.
Talismans represent the logical extension of a spiritual world view and have been a part of Western culture for thousands of years. Renaissance Magi like Marsilio Ficino and Cornelius Agrippa saw the entire Cosmos as one great, interconnected Being, a system based on intricate harmony, sympathy and correspondence, both spiritual and material. Astrology, Alchemy and Magic were seen as the preparatory studies for Hermetic Gnosis, a practical way of experiencing the unity of the Cosmos.


Astrological Talismans & Amulets


The word planet comes from the Greek, planetos, or wanderer. This name comes from the fact that the planets move independently of each other and their movement is from West to East, opposite to the rotation of the fixed stars. The seven traditional planets are Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon.
For Renaissance philosophers and astrologers the planets were a key part of the Celestial World, itself the essential link between the Divine World of Angels and Intelligences and the Material World. The pages provided for each of the planets come from William Lilly's Christian Astrology published in 1642.

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Each of the planets rules a myriad of things here in the Material World. Lilly states, for example, that Saturn rules old men, brick makers, the spleen, hemp, crows and lead.

The Planets in Renaissance Astrology

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For the Renaissance philosopher magic was a spiritual science which, like the Cosmos itself, was arranged in a triple hierarchy: material, celestial and divine.

Natural magic is reliant on the elements and occult properties of material things and required a knowledge of natural philosophy. Celestial magic relies on the spiritual connections and causality imposed by the Zodiacal powers and required a knowledge of mathematics (for calculation) and astrology.

Divine magic, says Agrippa, requires a knowledge of theology, for without this knowledge one, "...cannot understand the rationality of magic." Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk.I, Chap. 2 (Tyson ed.) page 6. As the divine and ideal world was the basis of the existence and form of the Universe, so knowledge of the spiritual is the basis of magic.

Celestial magic or magical astrology thus concerns itself with the middle world, that of the Zodiacal powers, which are a universal archetype of Reality and control the generation and corruption of all things in the material realm.




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