Lux in Tenebris, 7-11 





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

Theodor Harmsen



pp. 153-4 Valentin Weigel & his writings

p. 153

"Valentin Weigel (1533-1588), of the most important reforming theologians, came to be regarded as a heretic ... . ... The first Lutheran theologian to write about the story of creation combining theology, typology and Paracelsian natural philosophy was Valentin Weigel. ... Moving ... to an increasingly symbolic approach, Weigel introduced (Paracelsian and Cusan) concepts such as the threefold world, the threefold man (body, soul, spirit),

p. 154

the threefold eye, the threefold Book and the threefold school; these ... clusters centred round the Tree of Knowledge. ... Weigel wrote most elaborately on the creation story in works (composed 1577-1578) such as ... Viererlei Ausgegung von der Scho:pfung (Fourfold Interpretation of Creation). The latter work comprised four commentaries on creation ... devised as a course taking the common believers (the "Einfa:ltigen") ... to increasingly spiritual levels of understanding. The fourth explication was attributed to Paracelsus : ... Von Heimlichkeiten der Scho:pffung aller Ding (On the Secrets of the Creation of All Things). Weigel's first three books were first published by Heinrich Betkius as Das Geheimnu:ss der Scho:pffung (The Mystery of the Creation) in 1701."


p. 155 litterature shared in common between (i.e., advocated by both) Weigelians and Rosicrucians

"Besides ... the nature mysticism of Paracelsus, Weigelian dissenters shared with the theosophical Rosicrucians ... Theologia Deutsch, ... Johannes Tauler, Paul Lautensack, Sebastian Franck and Johann Arndt. Most of the (Ps[eudo]-) Paracelsian/Weigelian 'corpus' of writings was printed with considerable delay in ... 1617-1620; because of their allusions to the ... Rosicrucian school or Brotherhood, some of these works are considered ... Rosicrucian ... as well.

A large part was published by Johann Knuber, whose publications were also distributed from Frankfurt by Lucas Jennis, the well-known publisher of Rosicruciana. Most likely Johann Knuber was a pseudonym; he has been identified ... with the publisher Johann Francke.

Both Francke and Jennis were actively engaged in the formation of a canon of devotional writings independent of the Tu:binger Kreis and produced books recommended for the School of Wisdom (Schule der Weisen) or of the Holy Spirit (Schule des Heiligen Geistes) ... ."


pp. 155-6 books actually by Valentin Weigel's successor Benedikt Biedermann, but graciously attributed by Biedermann to Weigel

p. 155

"One such canonical 'reading list' ... printed in an appendix to Ps[eudo]-Weigel's Soli Deo Gloria ... carefully distinguished between works by Valentin Weigel ... and those by his deacon Benedikt Biedermann ... . ... What was in fact Biedermann's Gnothi Seauton (Know Thyself) ... connect the three well-known Gnothi Seauton volumes and what appears to be their summary, Studium Universale, a book

p. 156

expressing a thematic preoccupation with ... universal knowledge. Studium Universale, first published by Knuber in Magdeberg in 1618, presented three schools teaching from three typological books that were not written on paper ... ."


"Weigel's ... main copyist appears to have been his deacon. The mystic theologian Benedikt Biedermann (c. 1543-1621) worked in close cooperation with Valentin Weigel, whom he succeeded as pastor at Zschopau in Saxony. Weigel and Biedermann shared the influence of Paracelsus, Theologia Deutsch, Sebastian Franck, and Hermes Trismegistus ... ."


pp. 156-8 distinctions between the writings by Valentin Weigel and those by Benedikt Biedermann

p. 156

"Weigel's use of Nicholas Cusanus, however, appeared distinctive while Biedermann's discovery and elaboration of the works of Paul Lautensack grew ... radicalized ... . ...

p. 157

Like most Weigelians, Biedermann hid behind his master, using Weigel's name to ward off the [Lutheran variety of] inquisition. ... It was Biedermann who ... turned to the Cusan concept of coincidentia oppositorum, which he developed into his own spiritual methodology, the combinatio oppositorum or combinatio duorum contradictoriorum. One of the most elaborate exercises in this Cusan methodology is the second volumen of Gnothi Seauton : Astrologia theologizata ... . In the preface ... Biedermann ...

p. 158

established a connection between his Gnothi Seauton, vol. 2, and the first volume, Weigel's Gnothi Seauton."


pp. 158-9 double-tree with whorls

p. 158

According to Biederman's Gnothi Seauton, "the Tree of Life is one with the Tree of Knowledge, but in Man. Thus Man himself is the forbidden Tree."

p. 159

As illustrated in Biedermann's Studium Universale, "the Tree ... in Paradise" : "Its bifurcated trunk and roots systems reach down through the cosmos into spherical realms of light and darkness. Two whirls in the foreground, one of stars [at the roots], the other of human eyes [at the trunk], spiral centrifugally ... ."


pp. 161-2 the 3 aspects of the aeternal Eye

p. 161

"Die gu:ldene Griff contains an elaborated philosophical analysis ... of the eternal ... Eye. ... The eye is given three aspects (analogous to the three worlds or realities); it is a threefold eye. ... Sensing (intuiting) ... the Divine is in the Eye of the Beholder ..., or the Soul's Eye. ... The threefold eye symbolizes three hierarchical aspects :

the lower ... imaginatio / (Einbildung) ...;

oculus rationis ... (das Auge der Vernunft);

oculus mentis ... (das Auge der Gemu:ths ...).

p. 162

These aspects represent three degrees of cognition (Erkenntnis). Man's experience of spiritual vision ... is (through himself) from the inside out ... ."


pp. 163-5 oculus aeternitatis according to Jacob Bo:hme

p. 163

"It was at the instigation of Walther that Bo:hme used the symbol, also entitled the Wunder-Auge der Ewigkeit (Wonder-Eye of Eternity) ... . ...

p. 164

Reuchlin, following Maimonides ..., cited a ... Law onto a fiery globe, using dark on light (or white) fire. ... .  ... after the destruction of the first two tablets ..., ... God had given Moses another work on a globe ... . ...

p. 165

In the appendix ... 'Das umbgewandte Auge', ... the eternal eye ... (umgewandt, turned inside-out ...) ... is described as the fire-eye ... ."


p. 170 Lautensack, von Franckenberg, and Kaym

"The painter and organist Paul Lautensack moved to Nu:rnberg where as a layman mystical theologian he produced an impressive manuscript body of writings ... inspired by the Book of Revelation. ...

[p. 170, fn. 59 "Kress, The manuscripts and drawings by Paul Lautensack (1477/78-1558) and his followers [PhD thesis, Peterhouse, Cambridge Univ, 2006] ... ."]

Abraham von Franckenberg (1593-1652) in his correspondence referred to Lautensack's Vom Opus Mirabile (On the Wonderful Work) and knew chiliasts and Rosicrucian sympathizers such as Paul Felgenhauer and Julius Sperber.  

... Paul Kaym (1571-1634) ... was a personal friend of Bo:hme's from Go:rlitz ... . ... Kaym's manuscript work on Revelation, Drey unterschildliche Tractat, which contains Lautensack's writings nearly complete, was commented on by Bo:hme in the two-part letter on the Book of Revelation (composed in 1620)."


p. 171 Biedermann on Weigel & on Lautensack

"Biedermann's pseudonym for Weigel : Vdalricus Wegweiser Utopienses reflected his belief that Weigel pointed the way to the reality of Utopia. ...

In his editions, Biedermann repeatedly pointed out the importance of Lautensack who, to him, acquired universal knowledge and who found the key to the Bible and Divinity in his studies of the Book of Revelation."


p. 172 H.awwah

"Eve, in Christian theosophy as well as in a number of classical Gnostic writings, was associated with Sophia (personified divine Wisdom)."

{"After the day of rest, Sophia sent Zoe, her daughter, who is called Eve, as an instructor to raise up Adam, in whom there was no soul" (On the Origin of the World, in GB, p. 429).}

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





Paul Yvon's Esoteric Engravings

Carstern L. Wilke



p. 179 Paul Yvon

"Paul Yvon, the lord of Laleu (c. 1570-1646), a French merchant-banker ... as esoteric theologian, ... as is the life of the man, ... imagined thanks to the the description that Ge'de'on Tallemant des Re'aux, a nephew of Yvon's wife, gave in his Historiettes (Gossip Tales) of 1657."


p. 187 Paul Yvon's religious syncretism

"This Law ["of the Spirit"] ... overshadows all articles of the credo spread from Rako'w town ["the center of the Polish unitarians"], embraces the Mosaic and the Islamic faith, the sects of Confucius, Toticu ["Tao-Te-K{^}ing"], Lauzu {"Lao-Tse"], Guitaa ["Bhavavadgita"], Ramah {Rama-candra}, Yupangui and Iscoalt ["Ix{-}coatl"], harmonizing all ... ." (translated from Secret 1975)

Secret 1975 = Franc,ois Secret : "Notes ...". REVUE DES E'TUDES JUIVES 134:81-4.


pp. 200-2 mother-goddess's {viz., Qabbalistic goddess MAT.RownIYt's} merciful 'womb' (Latin \MATRIx\)}

p. 200

"a change in the original guttural {sic! : read \laryngeal\} has produced a feminist turn, as the word [<]immanu El, "God is with us" {Strong's 5973 \<im\ 'with'}, has become [>]immenu El, "God is our Mother." {Strong's 517 \>em\ 'mother'}"

p. 201

"With a Biblical quotation ..., 'It is good to hide a king's secret ...'

{The character of "a king's secret" likely most diligently to be hidden from the general public could be failure of the king's bodily health.}


(T[.]obit 12:7),

{This book Tobias is a description of actions by the healing angel Raphael, and the name \T.owbiyah\ is cognate with \t.ibb\ 'medical treatment' and \t.ibbiy\ 'medical' (DMWA, p. 643b).}


Yvon atones for his representation of a globe in which there opens a vagina over which there hovers ... the French rhyme ... ."

{The depiction (Fig. 8.11) is lacking all the most prominent features of a vulva, such as kleitoris and nymphai. Instead, the depiction hath a more close resemblance to the lesion of cancer.}

p. 202

"Inside ... the vesica piscis ..., we find the familiar crossword of "Snake" ... ."

{The snake is, primarily and foremost in Hellenic religion, the emblem of the hero of miraculous healing, Asklepios.}





De Sapientia Salomonis : Emanuel Swedenborg

Susanna oAkerman-Hjern



pp. 213-5 heavenly angelic married couple, visionarily {in a dream, of course} witnessed by Emanuel Swedenborg

p. 213

CL 42 "[1] I looked up into heaven and ... the first level near to me was opened up, and then the second above, and finally the third, which was the highest. ...

p. 214

[2] Then suddenly there was to be seen a chariot coming down from the highest or third heaven ... . ... 'I will be careful, I replied, 'come closer.' They did so, and turned out to be a husband and wife. ...

[3] The husband ... Sparkling light glittered from his eyes, an effect from the wisdom of love; this light made his face shine ..., and this radiance made his skin shine ... . ...

[4] In his wife ...

p. 215

Her face shone with fiery light ..., and this dazzled my sight, so that I was simply amazed. ... At this she turned sideway on to her husband, and then I could gaze at her more fixedly. Her eyes flashed with the light of her heaven, a fiery light ... which derives from the love of wisdom. ... She was dressed ... with rubies. But I was surprised to see that the colours changed as she turned towards and away from her husband ... .

[5] ... And I could also then hear the sound of conjugial love, which was in inward unison with their speech ... . At length they said, 'We are being called back, we must go.' ... When they approached their own heaven, maidens came out to welcome them and escort them in."

CL = Emanuel Swedenborg (transl by John Chadwick) : Conjugal Love. London : Swedenborg Soc, 1996.


p. 216 imitation-gold {perhaps bronze, lacquered immediately when cast, so as to retain its gleamingly metallic nature without any patina} sanctuary-chapel for Swedenborgian worship

"In Sweden, ... duke Charles of Suderomannia ... in the 1770s created a Sanctuary in Stockholm castle for Swedenborgian worship and spirit se'ances. ...

[from Kjell Lekeby : Gustaviank mystik I:196] In likeness ..., the walls were covered with ... gold, but of artificial kinds. All vessels of sanctity and the decorations were ... in their appearance golden."


p. 217 colors of the four elements {referring, praesumably, to the elmental spirits}

"decorations of Duke Charles' temple walls -- ... as Schamajim (Heaven) vibrating over the firmament :

[from Kjell Lekeby : Gustaviank mystik I:196] Further in, at the back of the room four pillars arose. The backdrop behind them was ... gleaming in celestial blue, purple, red and snow-white linen ... . The red signified fire, the linen earth, the celestial blue air and the purple the sea."





Emanuel Swedenborg's De Cultu et Amore Dei 

Francesca Maria Crasta & Laura Follessa



p. 224 ro^le of the Sun in nourishing the planets

"In the De cultu, Swedenborg describes the Sun ... who takes care of its offspring, namely the planets ... . It ... nourshes them as if they were living beings."

{Each of the nine named rays of the Sun "nurtures" a different planet (as per Linga Puran.a 17:5:6 -- "SP&V").

"SP&V" = "The Sun In The Puranas And The Vedas". 


p. 225 former crust-surface of the Sun

[from Swedenborg : De cultu @9] "a crust, or a kind of shell, in consequence of the rays being intercepted, and their apertures shut up; and this crust, the sun ... would burst ... ."

{Stars of the type designated "pulsar" are believed to have most of their surface covered with a crust which is obstructing any emission of luminance through that crust.}


pp. 225-6 spiraling in motion around a magnet

p. 225

"The spiral ..., according to Swedenborg, ... explains ...

{An electromagnet is magnetized via electrical current through a conductive coil wrapped around a magnet. (Conversely, the spiraling of electrical current through a conductive coil wrapped around a magnet-in-motion (commonly via a turbine powered by water falling over a dam) is the principle of the electrical generator.)}

p. 226

the corpuscles of a magnet ... ." {These "corpuscles" are actually lines of magnetic force.}


pp. 229-30 perpetual continuity of existence

p. 229

"Nothing comes from nothing, but from something pre-existing {this statement being, of course, intended as a sharp rejection of mainline Christian dogmata},

{Christians, however, are idiotic enough wildly to conjecture creation of everything from sheer nothingness, an absurdity in flagrant contradiction against all science!}


already containing within itself the traces of the future generation ... . ...

p. 230

Each new creation bears within itself traces of its predecessor, and retains the vital or conative force which -- according to Swedenborg -- is the source of the natural world."


pp. 234-5 the nature of the soul

p. 234

[from Swedenborg : De cultu @35] "The soul ... began also to build a kind of little world or microcosm after the effigy of the great world, but not out of nothing, with the eternal purpose of clothing herself with it as ... a body, and that she might operate in it ..., administering ... at pleasure by means of the understanding, and so ... according to her intuitions that she might have only to regard ends {i.e., only to regard purposes}."

{It may be added that the soul would be quite incapable of any of these actions if it were not assisted by its spirit-guide[s] ("guardian angel"); and, furthermore, no spirit-guide would be capable of any action unless in ongoing co-operation with other spirit-guides.}


The human mind, for Swedenborg, is ... structured according to spiral vortexes {read "vortices"} ... ."

{"In the whirlpool metaphor the medium of mind is represented by water. The contents of mind -- that is, particular subjective experiences -- are represented by the particular movements of water ... . (WhMIB, p. 82)}

p. 235

"within the man-microcosm, the mind gives orders to the body from its "palace". This is the place from which the soul ... rules "her" kingdom, namely the body ... ."

WhMIB = Bernardo Kastrup : Why Materialism Is Baloney. Iff Bks (imprint of John Hunt Publ), Alresford (Hants), 2014.


{"As such, to say that the brain generates mind is as absurd as to say that a whirlpool generates water! To say that the brain is the cause of consciousness is as absurd as to say that lightning is the cause of atmospheric electric discharge." (WhMIB, p. 81)}





The Tobol'sk Chronicle and Divination

Robert Collis




pp. 241-2 traditional European divination of portents from comets

p. 241

"As Sarah Schechner [1997, p. 51] outlines, ten key factors could be studied by experts in order to maximize the accuracy of their divinatory techniques : the comet's colour, astrological conjunction,

p. 242

zodiacal position, its mundane house, the direction of its tail,

{All these factors shift as the comet is orbiting the Sun; therefore any prognostication would correspondingly shift.}


the geographical location of its nucleus,

{Whereas any comet (alike unto every planet etc.) can be observed aequally from any location on the same latitude on Earth, this term "geographical location" must have some other meaning, perhaps referring to the country on Earth wherein the comet attracteth the most attention from the populace.}


duration and its resemblance to past comets."

Schechner 1997 = Sarah J. Schechner : Comets, Popular Culture, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology. Princeton Univ Pr.


p. 242 traditional Russian prognostication from phainomena viewed in the sky

"Russian chronicles (often written by clerics) frequentlyinterpreted celestial phenomena as portentous signs ... ."

[fn. 10 "For discussion of the description and interpretation of celestial phenomena in Russian chronicles, see Bennett [2005] ...; Caudano [2006] ... ."

Bennett 2005 = Brian P. Bennett : "Sign Languages : Divination and Providentialism in the 'Primary Chronicle' of Kievan Rus". SLAVONIC & EAST EUROPEAN REVIEW 83.3(July 2005):373-95.

Caudano 2006 = Anne-Lawrence Caudano : "'Let There Be Lights in the Firmament of Heaven' : Cosmological Depictions in Early Rus". PALAEOSLAVICA, Supplementum 2 to Vol. 14.


p. 244 a vision accompanied by comet, witnessed by a hieromonk in Ukraine

"a hieromonk and icon painter from the Novgorod-Sverskii Monastery in the Chernigov region of Ukraine ... reported a celestial vision he had witnessed when he saw a comet in the sky on the morning of January 27, 1720. He claimed to have seen ... sabres, swords, feet, hands, stars and a cross."


p. 246 reported in the Tobol'sk Chronicle : a vision seen in the sky

"another celestial phenomenon apparently appeared above Tobol'sk on May 5, 1698 ... . ... The surviving illustation of this znamenie ... depicts a crescent moon above a centrally-located sun, ... as part of a pattern that includes two concetric circles, as well as three vertical columns and a single horizontal pillar."


pp. 248-9 cited in the Tobol'sk Chronicle : visions seen in the sky over Palaistine, as reported by Iosephos

p. 248

"a comet ... appeared above

p. 249

Jerusalem "like a lance" ... ."


pp. 253, 255-7 cited in the Tobol'sk Chronicle : visions seen in the sky over Russia (other than over Tobol'sk) during its past

p. 253

"In Moscow in the year 1584, a cross in the sun and a star with a tail appeared between the Annunciation ["Cathedral"] and the ["Bell Tower"] ... ."  

p. 255

"the signs seen in the sky in the wake of a comet seen above Kosice in November 1672. ...

p. 256

Visible ... are three suns ... whilst 'the all-seeing eye of divine Providence

p. 257

which was looking at the flags with all its rays' was protecting and defending ... ."


p. 258 reported in the Tobol'sk Chronicle : another vision seen in the sky over Tobol'sk

"on July 8, 1706 another solar eclipse occurred during which time a man was apparently visible in the sun ... ."



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.