Robert Fludd: From The ‘Utriusque Cosmi Tractatus’ – De Astrologia
a portrait by Frans Pourbus the Younger,
in the Welcome Library, London.
Today’s sharing from the Blue House of Via-HYGEIA, is from Robert Fludd’s ‘De Astrologia’ in his famous ‘ Utriusque Cosmi Tractatus’, 1617. A Via-HYGEIA translation into English from Pierre Piobb’s 1907 French translation of the original Latin. Excerpts are chapter IV and V of part I.
A little background information for further research
‘Huffman’s ‘Robert Fludd and the End of the Renaissance’ is the standard work on Fludd, surpassing the earlier works by James Craven (1902) and Serge Hutin (1971), and Godwin’s book. In this study Fludd emerges as a bright and articulate scholar who enjoyed the respect of his contemporaries. Huffman argues convincingly that Fludd was not a member of the Rosicrucians and that, through his discourses and debates, he was a leading advocate of Renaissance Christian Neo-Platonism. Fludd’s advocacy of an intellectual philosophy in decline has done much to assure his general neglect. Huffman organized this biography into ten chapters which addressed such themes as Fludd’s Neo-Platonism in its historical context, the “Mosaicall” philosophy, Fludd’s connection with the Rosicrucians, and an examination of many of his works including De Vite, De Morte, and De Resurrectione. Four appendices supplemented the text; they included Fludd’s “Declaratio Brevis” to James I, his Will, a list of books given by Fludd to Jesus College Oxford, and a Fludd family genealogical chart. Twenty-three illustrations were provided. Huffman’s bibliography constitutes one of the most comprehensive listings of works by and about Fludd. Of particular value are the outlines of ‘Utriusque Cosmi . . .Historia’ and ‘Medicina Catholica’ which comprise the initial section of the bibliography.’
‘Robert Fludd and the End of the Renaissance’. by William H. Huffman-a review by William T. Walker in ‘The Sixteenth Century Journal’, Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring, 1992), pp. 157-158.
IV. The Causes Of False Predictions Among Most Astrologers
‘Many practitioners make mistakes; not only do they deceive themselves, but they deceive also, with their false solutions, those who consult them. This is why Astrology is considered often not like a science, even though it grounds itself on specific and truthful demonstrations, but more like a frivolous and cheating art.
I will answer shortly to the denigrators that the fault is not accountable to the science itself, but to the one that practices it, as it seen commonly, without understanding anything or very little; and with that background sets to practice it on a professional basis.
In our time, there are very few wise astrologers, or to say, there are the little minority standing out of a very large flock of charlatans, totally ignorant of the science and its secrets, that promises a lot, but deliver little or none. The reason is that astrology is born out of Kabbala. It was discovered by the ancient Hebrews and Egyptians; it gave them the mean to achieve their remarkable overseeing of the future and evocation of the past. Joseph affirms it all along his ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ and he is even pretending that it was invented originally by Adam and perfected thereafter. If it was known perfectly and completely, one could see that its principles are certain as the movements of the heavens, the aspects of the planets and the subtle calculation of their times. However, the ancient wise astrologers veiled their intimate secrets so to blind the fools and the unworthy*.
(* note: Not everyone is able to be initiated into Transcendental Astrology, one need to have a few native signs).
What the lower Astrology philosophers did is similar to the alchemists in regard of the Philosopher Stone. Hermes and the other Chymical Philosophers speak in allegories, parabolas and puns when they seem to contradict each other and when one declares that x means this, when another make his point vehemently with the opposite and declares that x means that. By this mean, they deceive the students and make most of the practitioners go wrong. Nothing is more true this reason for the deception in Astrology; It makes one doubt of its science, but only those who conceive and practice it badly, confusedly and in a reverse way.
Although, it is also true that the stars act upon this inferior world, that it is certain that God has ordered everything in this inferior world not only between the simple Elements, but also among the animated and non-animated Elements. The devil himself could not know the past or the future by another mean – the Scriptures stipulates that he does not partake of the operations of the Mens – So he had to deduce all the events from the movements of the stars or read them in golden letters in the etheric fields. Moreover, this one (the devil) may take himself for the greatest Astrologer of the Universe because he has been practicing for a long time, he has been observing the Stars from the beginning of the world, and through them he has achieved to understand the Will of God in Nature.
He did not act otherwise than a servant who, by the intonation of the voice of his Master, understands his will and intention. Nevertheless, he did neither penetrate the mysteries of God, nor his metaphysical work, alike the servant who is ignorant of the thoughts of his Master until they were spoken out to him.
Astrology is the highest from all the sciences and comes closer to the Creator himself; it stands firm in its certitude, but its practitioners rarely extract the truth from it, because it is hidden under fallacious veils and drowned in the darkness of contradictory expressions.’
V. Of those who condemn the practice of Astrology
‘There are some people who ignore totally the science of the stars, so deeply entangled in the darkness of error that they only conceive what comes to their senses; they would like that this science, which is the science of the ministers of God, would not be practiced, arguing that it is not legitimate to speculate in so high places and search scrupulously and with great attention to detail within the secrets of the Creator. Others, as it was said, pretend that Astrology is not a science, but a frivolous art and completely misleading.
We have in the preceding chapter answered to them. As for the others, who are their neighbors, we send them, so to dissipate their doubts, to the foreword of the ‘General Treatise of the Macrocosmos’; may they peruse it and examine it if it is not better fitting more an animal than a man, superior being doted with a Mens, to have such feelings, and formulate assertions so vile and making judgments so despicable. The Mens, by the way, wouldn’t have any of that because the Creator granted it to Man so that he would communicate with him and reach supreme bliss following the very same ladder to reach Heaven that the Mens used to descend from it into a human body.
Hermes Trismegistus agrees with this. In his first ‘Pimander’ discourse, he talks about human knowledge in Astrology: ‘Man possess in himself a sovereign might, but seven principles rule his deeds; all together they participate to the functioning of his Mens, and make him, each one in particular, participate to the general movement. Man acquires first the notion of time, then studies Nature in itself, then seeks to penetrate and analyze the circular movement and finally arrives to understand the essence of the one who rules and administrates fire.’ These words of Hermes Trismegistus are divine; they exalt the soul towards the superior heights; they teach that Man, by his excellence, can know the true nature of the Stars and their influx, they open him the door of the astrological science and of metaphysical speculation, with God’s permission. Further, he adds: ‘God created Man to his image and he loves him greatly because of this resemblance, hence granting him the usage (experience) of all his creations.’ Therefore, it is certain that the Mens, superior and divine, sparkle and ray of the light of God, tends naturally and by all means to elevate itself towards the supreme regions and even towards God, because in this inferior world where it is fixed against its own will, where it is driven by the Spiritus, it finds itself like in a dark dungeon, limited and restricted in the exercise of its will. It cannot get out of a region that is though its domain. Mens and Body are, indeed, two extremes. Their respective nature are even more contrary than of Heat and Cold, or Humid and Dry.
So, we will rightly conclude, that it is not beyond human capacities to encompass the natures and dispositions of the Stars and the ruling forces of their movements, that it is not contrary to the Divine will and it is legitimate to reach, with the help of the Mens, the supreme regions and to communicate with God in a divine contemplation. But the thickness and darkness of the body blinds the soul and deprive it of its means like a blind, which being put on the eyes, prevents to acquire a notion of the visible objects. It is through Revelation that Man got to know the Stars and it is by Kabbalah that they have kept this knowledge.’