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Thanks for your thoughtful response.
> >Did Kieckhefer happen to observe that the spirits
> >being called up were thought to have been connected
> >with the fixed stars? Angelic spirits, "evil"
> >spirits; even the spirits of the dead were so
> >associated, presumably each with its own star.
> AFAIK, no fixed stars in necromancy - only demonic
> names. In the
> necromantic universe, demons are not the spirits of
> the dead, but instead
> more like fallen angels, working in a curious
> hierarchy which, for
> Kieckhefer at least, mirrors the power-structure of
> the medieval Church.
> FWIW, Kieckhefer's main thesis is that most
> necromancers were within the
> Church, rather than outside it.
Here's a little about Agrippa, from a site here,
which posts his works online:
"Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) is the most
influential writer of renaissance esoterica. His de
occulta philosophia appeared in three books. Written
from 1509 to 1510 (he would have been 23 at the time),
it circulated widely in manuscript form, and was
eventually printed in 1533. It is a "systematic
exposition of ... Ficinian spiritual magic and
Trithemian demonic magic (and) ... treatised in
practical magic" (I. P. Couliano in Hidden Truths
1987, p. 114)."
Agrippa, who was initially published in Germany, is
the most widely read authority on necromancy and other
forms of magic, declares what you have just stated:
that evil spirits are most likely fallen angels. But
previous to that explanation, he states that the
spirit of each angel (that is _each_ angel, seemingly
regardless of fallen or unfallen state) is bound to a
star (either a fixed star or a wandering star; that
is, a planet).
I guess you might say that most necromancers were
within the Church, particularly if you kept in mind
that everyone was expected to be in the Church. In
England, for example, in Chaucer's day you would be
visited by the bailiff and levied a rather hefty fine
if you did not attend, or for other petty violations
of Church law. King Henry VII presiding over the
marriage of Church and State did not make it any
easier for the common man to escape ecclesiastical
obligations. The danger of trial for witchcraft
(necromancy was generally considered a more serious
form of witchcraft) was even greater on the Continent.
Necromancers may have been in more danger of an
ecclesiastical trial and execution for heresy than a
trial by the state. And then, if you were one of the
priveleged members of the royal Court who had access
to royalty, necromancy, if discovered, would probably
get you a trial for treason. Whichever court one is
subjected to, execution leaves you just as dead.
This is why there are few surviving materials on this
subject, and many of them in manuscript form; there
were few publishers willing to go out on a limb and
disseminate heretical instructions in black and white.
Agrippa's publisher was anonymous.
". . . innumerable unclean spirits do correspond,
there being so many in the inferior world, as pure
spirits in the superior, and some Divines affirm that
they have received this by revelations; under these
they place a kind of spirits, subterrany or obscure,
which the Platonists call Angels that failed,
revengers of wickedness, and ungodliness, according to
the decree of the Divine justice, and they call them
evill Angels and wicked spirits, because they oft
annoy and hurt even of their own accords; of these
also they reckon more legions, and in like manner
distinguishing them according to the names of the
Stars and Elements. . ."
> AFAICT, there's no obvious evidence to support the
> idea that any VMs owner
> circa 1600 had any idea what it said (whether
> necromancy or not), which
> rather weakens this argument - I'm perhaps the
> strongest advocate of
> necromantic content in the VMs, and I'm only
> claiming three pages (of 220+)
> are probable magic circles, which is not an
> overwhelming number. :-/
Yes, I agree it is not a large part of the document.
So what do you think of the circular motif of the four
figures with an "egg?" Do you find it consistent with
the magic circle?
I offer an alternate explanation: in my previous post
on the Four Figures with an Egg, I mentioned that
Euclid (of geometry fame) said of the creation, "the
boundless unweariedly revolved in a circle". My own
assumption is that these other circle pages fit in
with that particular illustration, and that the motif
is maintained to reveal that the content between the
two pages is somehow aligned.
Thank you as always for the interesting discussion!
"I'd rather learn from one bird how to sing, than to teach ten thousand stars how not to dance."
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