Table Talk 41-60

From  Suggestive Inquiry into the Hermetic Mystery by Mary Anne Atwood:
41. The Hermetic Philosophy is a process of experimentation into the Universal Spirit through man; it is a development of the art by which a particular spirit (to use Vaughan’s words) is allied to the universal.

42. The Vegetable spirit is the growth-causing spirit, that which is predominant in the vegetable kingdom.


43. The whole image of the Macrocosm is formed, and has consequently its typical representation, in the Microcosm, and is evolved before the mental eye in the re-creative process of the regeneration. (c.f., Nic. Flamel.)

44. In the work, wherever there is power there is a conflict: the multitudinous enemies try to rush in, the self-willed spirit endeavours to gain the mastery and offers all its lures in order to get the end for itself; strange mystery it is.

45. I think that the soul comes into this body with the dream of its whole afterlife presented to it. And that is its destiny. This would, however, involve us in a fatalism, if it were not that we may rise above this evestrum, as Paracelsus calls it (Phil. ad Athen, B. 2, texts1823). The will is always above it, but then it influences the will that does not see beyond it, by giving that will motive; we are moved very often by it, may, seldom pass beyond it, unless moved by God’s grace (the Divine evestrum, relatively to man), and so are enabled to overcome it.

The real mystery is so very wonderful, great and close, that one cannot venture to speak of it in ordinary language.

46. The third life, the mineral or lowest life in man, brings you into contact with the Macrocosmic mineral life; for wheresoever we stand ourselves, there is the relation of the outward life to us itself formed. The Vegetable and Animal lives are higher than the Mineral life in us.

47. Those who are Hermetically regenerated in this world have given up the Head life or the animal, the rational life (not the Divine inseeing of the Celestial life), they cut themselves off from it; they pronounce a word, their life is sealed in another Covenant, they enter into our Lord’s Life by a sacrifice in faith that they shall be restored ultimately by Him when He has received for Himself the Kingdom and is returned. Job’s story is all a type of that.

48. The Alchemical symbols, phrases, metaphors, which so disguise the art are more than what they seem; they point out a reality, and were we in the spirit of their truth we should find them to be far more true literally than they are thought to be.

49. It strikes me that Behmen is the deepest writer on ontological subjects; he is not so scientific as the Platonists, but he is more descriptive, awakening, suggestive of truth.

50. When an entrance is effected into the Signature, then there is a clearing of the understanding to see in the Divine Wisdom the life, and to hear, by the Divine Utterance, the specific articulation of things, the knowledge of things in their roots, “out of their essence,” as Behmen says, ” through the principle in the sound with the voice.” Signatura Rerum, ch. I., 1.

51. The speech of the Mind uttered into the pure Ether qualitates and specificates. The Ether is two-fold: the mundane, which is full of the false forms; the pure, which is not of this world but is connected with the supersensual life.

52. There is no true body but Will; it is the principle of the body–the Salt.

53.   Behmen’s three primary forms and his doctrines on the going forth of the Absolute Will from non-being into manifestation, are modes of expression by man of a conscious experience of the creative mystery; such words of his as hardness, enclosing, coldness, attraction, compunction (Signa. Rerum, ch. II., 12) are intended to express qualities which, acting in the Spirit, become qualitative; they describe spiritual emotions both active and re-active, for such words are not mere theories or suppositions, but expressive, as far as such an instrument can be, of internal knowledge and consciousness. In the Universal, as was the case with Behmen, you must have the Universal developed in you before you can understand the Universal.

54.   The whole doctrine of the ontological infolding is emanation; emanation from the superstantial Light or will. The darkness is the emanation and that which before was qualitated and flat becomes cubic by multiplication into itself. It is Mathesis becoming geometric.

55.   If you find the Wisdom, and, coming out in the Spirit of Wisdom, look into the world, then you may see as Solomon did the nature and virtues of all things. The Philosopher, says Sendivogius, in a very eloquent passage, “looks not out on nature with the eyes of common men.”

56.  Alchemy is the art of fermenting the human vital spirit in order to purify it and finally to dissolve it, so that the principle be re-constructed through a regeneration.

57.   There is a dualism or relation of two in all things plus the one and the three. The great principle of the number seven is a Rest from the ferment or action of the Vitalising or Divine principles.

58.   When speaking of the four elements, Alchemists refer to the four elements of the Universal Ether. This Ether is a quintessence of those very four principles, which they call elements. It is the Quintessence of both worlds.

59.   The Divine Light, the Essence of Gold, is hidden in the self-begotten Life. This life of ours, instead of administering to the Divine Life, appropriates it.

60.   The mineral soul or the lowest form of life in us, when first seen by introspection, is as a dark vapour, “monstrum, horrendum, informe, ingens, cui lumen adempium,”–it is the Augean Stable the cleansing of which involved Hercules in so much labour.

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