Lux in Tenebris

Pars I : "Middle Ages and Early Modernity"






The Visual and the Symbolic in Western Esotericism

Peter J. Forshaw



Visual and Acoustic Symbols in Giy-qat.iylyah

Elke Morlok



Marsilio Ficino on the Metaphysics and Psychology of Light

Michael J. B. Allen



The Memory-Theatre of Giulio Camillo

Lina Bolzoni



Agrippa's Cosmic Ladder

Noel Putnil



Corporeal Envisioning in the Theosophy of Jacob Bo:hme

Joshua Levi Ian Gentzke



Dreams and Symbols in The Chemical Wedding

Thomas Willard



The Mind's Eye ... in Mystical Theology and Theosophy

Theodor Harmsen



Paul Yvon's Esoteric Engravings

Carstern L. Wilke



De Sapientia Salomonis : Emanuel Swedenborg

Susanna oAkerman-Hjern



Emanuel Swedenborg's De Cultu et Amore Dei

Francesca Maria Crasta & Laura Follessa



The Tobol'sk Chronicle and Divination

Robert Collis


auctor (-trix)


universitas et al.


Susanna oAkerman-Hjern


Swedenborg Forum & Bibliotek

Rose Cross Over the Baltic (Leiden : Brill, 1998)

Michael J. B. Allen


of California at Los Angeles

Marsilio Ficino (several books : 1975, 1981, 2001-2006, 2008); Nuptial Arithmetic (1994).

Lina Bolzoni


New York Univ

La stanza della memoria (Turin : Einaudi, 1995) "which was translated in various languages"

Robert Collis


of Turku

The Petrine Instauration ... 1689-1725 (Leiden : Brill, 2012)

Francesca Maria Crasta


of Cagliari

Geografia celeste et mundus imaginalis da Swedenborg a Strindberg (Milan, 2012)

Theodor Harmsen


of Amsterdam

John Gee's Foot out of the Snare (1624) (Nijmegen, 1992)

Thomas Willard


of Arizona

Jean d'Espagne (Garland/Routledge, 2000)

Capp. 0-1



The Visual and the Symbolic in Western Esotericism

Peter J. Forshaw


p. 1 visual culture

"The past decades have seen increasing interest from ... critical theorists in "visual culture".

[fn. 1 "See, for example ... Jenks ... ."]

A wide variety of publications have appeared, providing overviews of particular epochs,

[fn. 2 "Gertsman and Stevenson (eds.) ... (2012); Cardelli, Anderson, and Richards (eds.) ... (2012); Kromm and Benforado Bakewell (eds.) ... (2010)."]

or focusing on specific themes, for instance, visual cultures of science, religion, ... and madness."

[fn. 3 "Pauwels (ed.) ... (2006); Morgan ... (2005); ... Kromm ... (2003)."]

Jenks = Chris Jenks : "The Centrality of the Eye in Wesern Culture". In :- Chris Jenks (ed.), Visual Culture. pp. 1-25.

Gertsman & Stevenson (edd.) 2012 = Elina Gertsman & Jill Stevenson (edd.) : Thesholds of Mediaeval Visual Culture : Liminal Spaces. Woodbridge : The Boydell Pr.

Cardelli, Anderson, & Richards (edd.) 2012 = Sandra Cardelli, Emily Jane Anderson, & John Richards (edd.) Art and Identity : Visual Culture, Politics and Religion in the Midddle Ages and the Renaissance. Newcastle-upon-Tyne : Cambridge Scholars.

Kromm & Benforado-Bakewell (edd.) 2010 = Jane Kromm & Susan Benforado-Bakewell (eds.) : A History of Visual Culture : Western Civilization from the 18th to the 21st century. London : Bloomsbury Academic.

Pauwels (ed.) 2006 = Luc Pauwels (ed.) : Visual Cultures of Science : Rethinking Representational Practices in Knowledge Building and Science. Lebanon (NH) : Dartmouth College Pr.

Morgan 2005 = David Morgan : The Sacred Gaze : Religious Visual Culture in Theory and Practice. Berkeley : Univ of CA Pr.

Kromm 2003 = Jane Kromm : The Art of Frenzy : Public Madness in the Visual Culture of Europe 1500-1850. London : Continuum.



Visual and Acoustic Symbols in Giy-qat.iylyah

Elke Morlok


[\giy QaT.iyLyah\ 'ravine-of slaughter'] {\QT.L\ 'to slay' is the usual <arabiy paradigm-verb (similarly as Hellenic \luein\ 'to loose', Latin \amare\ 'to love', etc. etc.); the personal name, therefore, is intended to expression appretiation for <arabiy grammar (whose grammar is, especially in its verb-system, more intricate and expressive than is that of <ibriy).}

p. 22 responsiveness of deity to mortal's knowledge of deity's name {Pronunciation of a deity's name may be one factor (especially Golden-Dawn practices) in securing a response; other factors may be instrumental music (important in African spirit-mediumship) and gesticulation (important in Shin-gon ritual).}

"We find ... in the introduction of Sha<arei >Orah from Ps. 91,14 : 'I will keep him safe, since he knows My name. Whe he calls on Me, I will answer him.'

We discover {Giy-qat.iylyah}'s use of ... various ideas from both Pythagorean and Neoplatonic backgrounds ..., also the acoustic element shows an important aspect".

p. 22, fn. 9 remedies

"On the acoustic performance, the sound of the voice that remedies the inanimate and silent nature of writing in Plato's Phaedrus see J. Svenbro, Phrasikleia, 45, 62-63, 164. We should ... compare ... {Giy-qat.iylyah}'s passage at the end of the Sha<ar haNiqqud, where the knowledge of the inner structure of words becomes the remedies for one's soul."

p. 24 essential to cosmogenesis

"According to Iamblichus, the embodiment of the soul and its perfection in the theurgy is defined as essential to cosmogenesis." [fn. 22 "Cf. Shaw [1995], 194."]

Shaw 1995 = G. Shaw : Theurgy and the Soul : the Neoplatonism of Iamblichus. University Park : PA State Univ Pr.

p. 26 magical effect of pronunciation of divine names

"According to {Giy-qat.iylyah}, Adam "gave"

(Hebrew qarah, called)

{WRONG MEANING! Strong's 7136 \qarah\ is never 'call', but instead 'appoint'; the word for 'call' is, instead, Strong's 7121 \qara>\ (just as it is in the <arabiy language).}

names to phenomena after understanding their true nature -- the secret orders of the universe.

It is on this level that magician has to exercise his influence and bring down the influx from above. Such a phenomenon is well attested in the writings of Neoplatonic philosophers like Iamblichus, where sound plays an important role in bringing down the emanation from above." [fn. 31 "De Mysteriis 259.4 FF (III,28; V,26; VII,5). On the similarities between magical theories in the Zohar and in Iamblichus see Liebes, 'Zohar and Iamblichus', 95-100."]

Y. Liebes : "Zohar and Iamblichus". J FOR THE STUDY OF RELIGIONS AND IDEOLOGIES 6.18 (2007).

pp. 27-8 affections in the soul

p. 27

"The 'system of numbers' and emanation ... have an acoustic aspect described by Shlomo Pines [1997, p. 125] with reference to the Indian background of the number theory of ten and the ... expansion and return in Sefer Yetzirah -- Book of Formation ... .

Visual and acoustic aspects are closely linked like in Aristotle's definition of names (onoma) as symbols, which are not the same for all ..., in the beginning of De Interpretatione (16a26-28). Spoken sounds are symbols of affections in the soul ... .

p. 28

... But what these are in the first place signs of -- affections of the soul -- are the same for all."

Pines 1997 = Shlomo Pines : "Points of Similarity between the Exposition of the Doctrine of the Sefirot in the Sefer Yetzirah and a Text of the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies". In :- W. Z. Harvey & M. Idel (edd.) : Studies in the History of Jewish Thought by Shlomo Pines. Jerusalem : Magnes Pr. pp. 94-173.

p. 28 protective device : sphaire

"Naomi Janowitz has shown that the sealing is ... a protective devise used to negotiate the heavens once the mystic has entered the heavenly realm."

"The shared knowledge of the galgal (sphere) as a basic ... ground for the initiated is expressed in the Notarikon (acronym by using the initial letters) galgal (originally "wheel") as "gam li gam lekha (both ... for me and for you) in the second part of Ginnat >Egoz (p. 401)."

Janowitz 2002 = "Naomi Janowitz : Icons of Power : Ritual Practices in Later Antiquity. PA State Pr.

p. 29 pledge the secrets of religion

"an entry-code for mystical exegesis leading to a state of prophecy as stated at the end of Ginnat >Egoz, p. 411 :

And because of this fact we know how to enter the other books ... by investigating the revealed secrets of religion (sitre haDat). ... By this we intend and promise (pledge) that the Name

the Name ...

{Strong's 8034 \s^em\ 'name' = Strong's 8035 \S^em\ a son of Noh.a}

will teach the secrets of religion with our help ..., and

his son was waiting for the promise of His prophet ... ."

{>arpaks^ad is the son of S^em (B-Re>s^iyt 11:11)}

p. 30 secret symbols having significations withheld from nonmembres

"Pythagoreans used 'symbols' as a proof of membership in their circle. Knowledge of the symbols grants one's identity as a Pythagorean initiate, admitting the holder to ... access to various levels of the Pythagorean cult of wisdom. The Pythagorean symbol serves as a token of identity for the followers of Pythagoras' tenets and Iamblichus tells us that the symbols were a kind of secret code (Life of Pythagoras, 227). 'If outsiders ... were present, the Pythagoreans spoke to each other in enigmatic symbols.

Familiar phrases ... : "don't poke a fire with a knife", and other such.' ...

{This saying might be aequivalent, in praesent-day parlance, to "Do not poke a bear".}

The long storied history of the symbol ... was in no small part initiated because certain ancient identity tokens happened to be enigmatic riddles.

[quoted from Struck 2004, p. 102 :] 'The power of the symbol is born out of the power of the secret.' We are reminded here of {Giy-qat.iylyah}'s equation of siman {\siyman\ 'sign, mark; signal'} with sod {Strong's 5475 \sowd\ 'secret (counsel)'."

Struck 2004 = P. Struck : Birth of the Symbol : Ancient Readers at the Limits of Their Texts. Princeton Univ Pr.

p. 30 symbols as tokens of magic spells

"In magical-ritual traditions, symbola are equated with {i.e., signify or are understood as} synthemata (token[s]) and epodai (magic spells). Very often they function as a word that gives access to the field of the blessed ... .

We find acoustic examples of this in Nicomachus of Gerasa,

[fn. 43 "actually from Proclus; Lewy, Chaldaean Oracles and Theur[g]y, 250. See also Gersh, From Iamblichus to Eriugena, 295 ... ."]

when he deals with ... a theurgical-magical context, theurgists using phonetic sounds."

p. 31 prayer

"The most important aspect of {Giy-qat.iylyah}'s symbol ... is his instructions on prayer, which signifies for the mystic a kind of via contemplatativa, known from the Gerona circle."

fn. 47 "cf. Kallus, Theurgy of Prayer ... . Most recently Idel has examined the topic in Ascensions on High, Chapter 4 'Encountering God in Prayer', 165-204 ... ."

fn. 48 "Idel, 'Some Remarks on Ritual and Mysticism ...' ...; Wolfson, 'Mystical-Theurgical Dimension of Prayer in Sefer ha-Rimmon' ... ."

M. Kallus : Theurgy of Prayer ... . PhD Thesis, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, 2002.

M. Idel : Ascensions on High in Jewish Mysticism : Pillars, Lines, Ladders. Budapest : Central European Univ Pr, 2005.

M. Idel : 'Some Remarks on Ritual and Mysticism ...'. J OF JEWISH THOUGHT & PHILOSOPHY 3 (1993):111-130.

E. R. Wolfson : 'Mystical-Theurgical Dimension of Prayer in Sefer ha-Rimmon'. In :- D. R. Blumenthal (ed.) : Approaches to Judaism in Medieval Times. Vol. III. Atlanta (GA) : Scholars Pr, 1988. pp. 41-79.

pp. 31-2 ascent to union

p. 31

"The sefirotic system described in ascending order might refer to ... the intention of the mysic to unite all forces from below upwards, initiated by an impulse from below as described in the Sefer haBahir -- The Book of Illumination. The aim of the ascent is the union with the divine root ..., as described in the fifth gate of the Sha<arei

p. 32

>Orah, where the king, after divesting himself of all garments unites with the queen ... ."

p. 32 exegetical tour through the divine world

"Similar to R. Isaac {Yis.haq} of Acre's description

[fn. 53 "Sefer >Otsar H{.}ayyim, Ms Moscow Ginsberg 775, fol. 129a. For an English translation of the text, see Idel [2002], 449-460, esp. 455."]

of the exegetical wandering during prayer, the mental tour through the divine architectonics starts with the lower sefirot and ascends to the higher."

Idel 2002 = M. Idel : Absorbing Perfections. New Haven (CT) : Yale Univ Pr.

p. 33 activation of divine energy via theourgic prayer

"With the "correct" {viz., humbly beseechful} intention during prayer, the mystic may activate the divine energy {within the deities' own activity} within the linguistic structure {wording in appropriate diction (idoneously archaic and euphuistic), acceptable unto the deities laudingly besought} and obtain a theurgic effect on high."

fn. 56 : "Plotinus Enn. IV,40,6-7 ... states that ... The healing effect of the magician (pharmakeus) on ... the soul lies in the utterances of the words, performed with the proper gestures and intonations and the principle of sympatheteia."

{On account of their sympathy for the wishes of the magician, the pertinent deities enact the healing remedy requaested. (These deities had in the magician's dream promised that whenever the words, gestures, and intonations specified by them were performed in combination, then they, the deities themselves, would perform the miraculous healing, to the astonishment and gratification of the admiring faithful.)}

{Such a promise made by a deity in a dream is the basis of all Siberian and North-AmerIndian shamanry's miracle-healing (able to heal only patients having faith in dreaming, of course -- any patient not duefully in awe of the divine dream-world would be rejected by the pertinent deities).}

p. 34 unweaving-and-reweaving in order to pass from chamber-to-chamber within mansions in the divine world

"mystical ascent ... unfolds the divine structure ..., in unweaving ... the sefirotic texture ... . Such an entrance into the inner rooms is granted within the initiation into the secrets ... : The mystic

unweaves the text, in order to penetrate into the union between name and cognomen, and then he re-weaves it,

{Similarly, Penelope unwove during nighttime and rewove during daytime, she whose name is a compound litterally signifying \pen\ 'besprinkle' + \elepodio-\ 'artisan's form'.}

in order to enter the inner rooms of the world-to-come."

{The foyer of a Roman mansion is the ATRium, whose name may be cognate with \ATHaRvan\, the name of the father whose son's name is (R.c Veda 6:16) Dadhi-ac 'curd-sprinkler'.}



{The separation of curd from whey will become distinct when yoghr.ta be allowed to develop for enough time; and when kefir be developed in even a shorter time.}

p. 35, fn. 61 face-and-name sets as markers for locations

"One is reminded ... of ... cognitive representational with images as location markers for a cluster of readings remembered by means of the name/face as described in Augustine, De Trinitate, VIII.iv.7 (CCLS 50,275.32-276.47), mentioned by Carruthers [2000], 121. Cf. also Sorabji [2004a], 2-17".

Carruthers 2000 = M. Carruthers : The Craft of Thought : Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200. Cambridge Univ Pr.

Sorabji 2004a = R. Sorabji : Aristotle on Memory. Univ of Chicago Pr.

p. 36 by deities's recognition of their own propre imagery via symbols, they, the deities, are activated

"The One in us

{viz., our (we mortals') mutual unity of resolution as to motivation and purpose}


the One of the gods

{viz., the deities' mutual unity of resolution as to motivation and purpose}

and functions as a theurgical symbolon. ...

Proclus shows in his commentary on Cratylus @71 [fn. 66 "Cf. @71,21-23, esp. 25-26, 28-29, and 31."] that the gods

generate the world,

{constantly maintain the world in a stable condition by promptly repairing any defects which may occurr}

so that everything depends on them and

bears their symbols,

{is so constituted as to be responsive to the care which they bestow in correcting any misfunctions}

which forces the products to return to their causes."

{which restoreth all functionalities by means of applications of natural laws (laws of nature)}

p. 36 divine uniformity (praeternatural consensus) amid necessary multiplicity of divine personalities

"The gods at their highest level are ineffable in their uniformity,

{Their consensus is so very thoroughgoing as to be unfamiliar in mortals.}

but the plurality of their manifestations, i.e., the causative symbols, at the lower level makes them more effable.

On our level they are perfectly effable."

{Our familiarity with diversity of human personalities rendreth the aequivalent among deities to be easily understood by us.}

pp. 36-7 divine names : original source of mortals' knowledge of them

p. 36

[quoted from van den Berg 2001, p. 104, n. 37] "The ... type of symbols which

has come down to us from the noetic level of being ...

{hath been disclosed to us mortals in dreams and in trances}

is the divine names,

p. 37

through which we call on the gods and by which they are praised. They have been revealed by the gods themselves, cause reversion back to them, and ... lead to human understanding."

{The term "noe:tic level" can refer to the postmortem situation (detailed in the last section of the Politeia by Platon) wherein the isolated noos (isolated ever since the psukhe had separated from it in order to stay on the moon) in the realm of the "fixed stars" is undertaking a selection of a species of body to be lived in during the forthcoming life after returning (in company with the psukhe) to planet Earth. Because in that situation the deities are conspicuously praesent as witnesses of the mortals' choice, even so, the term (\noe:tic level\) can be applied likewise to any situations wherein the deities are noticeably praesent (particularly, in dreams and in trances) in order to supply mortals with the content of divine revelations.}

p. 38 according to Proklos : theourgic prayer

[quoted from In Tim. I 210,30-211,8] "And prayer contributes enormously to this epistrophe by means of the the ineffable symbols of the gods ... . It attacts the benevolence of the gods towards itself ... . It moves the will of those who perfectly contain all good to bestow it ...; it persuades the divine and establishes all that we have in the gods." (fn. 76 van den Berg 2001, p. 87 : "the translation of Copenhaver [1988]")

van den Berg 2001 = R. van den Berg : Proclus' Hymns. Leiden : Brill.

Copenhaver 1988 = B. Copenhaver : "Hermes Trismegistus, Proclus, and the Question of a Philosophy of Magic in the Renaissance". In :- I. Merkel & A. G. Debus (edd.) : Hermeticism and the Renaissance : Intellectual History and the Occult in Early Modern Europe. Washington : Folger Bks. pp. 79-110.

pp. 40-1 according to the Khaldaian Oracles and according to Origenes : woven structure in untranslated divine names

p. 40

"in the Chaldaian Oracles, frag. 150, ... the oracle warns the theurgist not to change the onomata barbara, i.e. not to translate the foreign names of the gods into Greek, for these names possess an ineffable power in the initiation rites."

p. 41

[quoted from Origenes : Contra Celsum] "Then we would say that the ... names that have been handed down by the Hebews with great reverence, are ... concerned ... with certain mysterious divine science ... . It is for this reason that when these names are pronounced in a woven structure which is natural to them, they can be employed for certain {i.e., magical} purposes; and so also with other names in use in Egyptian which invoke certain demons who have power only to do certain particular things; and other names in Persian which invoke other powers, and so one with each nation."

{The term "woven pronunciation" may suggest twain components : the consonants as metaphoric warp-threads, and the vibrated (as per the Qabbalistic practice of the Golden Dawn) vowels as metaphoric weft-threads shuttled (as it were) by the vocalic tremolo.}

p. 42 according to Origenes : divine powers indwelling within us

[quoted from Origenes : Homilies onYhows^uw<a 20:1, as translated in Dillon 1985, pp. 214-5] "For there are certain powers (dynameis) within us, of which the better are nourished by ... incantations, since they are by nature akin to them ...; those powers, understanding what is said, become more powerful within us for assisting our lives. ... So there are a multitude of powers within us which have been assigned to our souls and bodies, which ... are benefitted and become stronger, even if 'our mind is unfruitful', as it is written about him who speaks with tongues (1 Cor. 14:14)".

{This passage is most likely to be alluding to the Apokryphon of Ioannes, wherein various divine entities are named (GB, pp. 151-4) as indwelling within specific portions of our body.}

Dillon 1985 = J. Dillon : "The Magical Power of Names in Origen and Later Platonism". In :- R. Hanson & H. Crouzel (edd.) : ORIGENIANA TERTIA : 3RD INTERNAT COLLOQUIUM ON ORIGEN STUDIES, September 7th-11th, 1981. Roma : Edizioni della'Ateneo. pp. 203-16.

GB = Willis Barnstone & Marvin Meyer (edd.) : The Gnostic Bible. Shambhala, Boston & London, 2003.


Peter J. Forshaw (ed.) : Lux in Tenebris : the Visual and the Symbolic in Western Esotericism. ARIES BOOK SERIES : TEXTS & STUDIES IN WESTERN ESOTERICISM, Vol. 23. Brill, Leiden, 2017.