Renaissance Studies.

This is the Category VI. Renaissance Influences, from The Free List. It has been edited and updated for your benefit.

To introduce some of the topics, here is a short video to watch:   }Neoplatonism, when Magic Made Sense, 14:18. Note that the historian narrator is very prejudiced against Neoplatonism.

To introduce the music of the Renaissance, and hence its spirit and feeling, a short music video:    }2:58.

As an introduction to some of the materials, art, writings, and beliefs of Renaissance humans, this short video:   }6:08. “this video introduces us to the Enochian material as it was applied by the Golden Dawn, a 20th century group of occultists and magicians who studied John Dee’s works. We begin with a basic introduction to some concepts essential to understanding the Golden Dawn applications to Dee’s work. First we look at the model of the Pentagram of the Elements as applied to the Zodiac. Second we consider the model, reprinted by Aleister Crowley in his “Book of Thoth,” of the 7 planets and the 7 days of the week. Comparing these two we yield new insights into both, and I have colour-coded both to make them easier to visualise. The colour-coding for the 7 planets of Crowley is given as the division of light by a prism, while the colour-coding for the Elemental Pentagram and Zodiac round given by Mathers derive from the so-called “King’s” and “Queen’s” scales of colour, given by Aleister Crowley in his book “777.””

See also, the movie Shakespeare In Love, with Gwyneth Paltrow, to see what day-to-day life in the Renaissance looked like.

VI. Renaissance Influences.   }

In a time and place not too distant, an introduction to Renaissance studies consisted of the dictum that it was a glorious period resurrecting antiquity from the depths of the dark ages. In my recent travels to Florence, the anachronistic nature of classical symbols really hit home. Staring at the Birth of Venus, I saw within the beauty of Botticelli’s goddess the embodiment of Medici commercial ambition, where Pagan themes were not being reborn, but recycled into something different. 14mar14 Update: this site is going down. It is a Recommended site, so, use this URL for now: .   }James Hillman always spoke of the Greek gods as if they were present, not literal but real. Years ago I read Karl Kerenyi’s idea that religion begins in the atmosphere of a place or situation. An image for Hillman is not an intellectual abstraction but a presence, again, one that is real but not literal. The Mona Lisa, Hamlet, and Sherlock Holmes have become so real in some people’s imagination that they relate to the figures as real presences, though they know they are fictions. Seeing the astrological conditions of an ordinary day may be another way of taking certain images seriously without turning them into abstract ideas or confusing them with actual persons.   }Renaissance Neoplatonism and Archetypal Psychology. “what enabled the Renaissance was not (as is commonly supposed) the rediscovery of humanity or nature, but the rediscovery of soul and its paradoxical nature, for while it is in us, we are also in it. That is, the imaginative world of the soul has an objective existence independent of our individual egos. He identifies Petrarch’s descent from Mont Ventoux as the turning point because, as you will recall, it was there that he consulted Augustine’s Confessions at random and, from what he read, realized that the world inside is just as large and real (just as given) as the world outside. In that passage (X.8) Augustine described his imagination as “a large and boundless chamber,” both a power of his and a part of his nature, yet beyond his comprehension. “Therefore is the mind too strait to contain itself.” “   }Dee’s writings listed with brief descriptions. “John Dee was an influential Renaissance figure. He was Queen Elizabeth’s scientific advisor. In later life, he became disillusioned with pure science and started experimenting with occult techniques of the day. “ }scroll down. “This is the fourth novel–and much-anticipated conclusion–of John Crowley’s astonishing and lauded AEgypt sequence: a dense, lyrical meditation on history, alchemy, and memory. Spanning three centuries, and weaving together the stories of Renaissance magician John Dee, philosopher Giordano Bruno, and present-day itinerant historian and writer Pierce Moffett, the AEgypt sequence is as richly significant as Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet or Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. Crowley, a master prose stylist, explores transformations physical, magical, alchemical, and personal in this epic, distinctly American novel where the past, present, and future reflect each other.”   }very in-depth page on John Dee, which also discusses his mathematics, as well as his life, influences, associations. “A relatively late exemplar of a person who united astronomy/astrology with mathematics and recommended observation of nature was John Dee. “ }The negative attitude towards influence is a relatively recent phenomenon, and is a result of post-Enlightenment individualism, where there is an excessive concern for originality and “genius”. Barfield explained that the concept of independent creativity emerged well after the Renaissance. Before the Renaissance “genius” is a spirit-being other than the poet himself, and they would say “he has a genius”. After the Renaissance the inspiration is seen as part of the poet himself and we say “he is a genius”.   }”The Renaissance Imagination: The British scholar’s major Renaissance articles explore the nature of the period’s imagery and symbolism, the relation between its art and literature, and Renaissance attitudes toward ancient and contemporary history.”   }replacement link for the review of Endless Things. Smallbeer Press seems to have lost their website. “Crowley’s metaphor of The “chain of books” used as both modes of preserving past knowledge and as physical objects which link the past with the future is one of the narrative sleight-of-hands that help create the multilayered texture of this novel as a book composed of many other books. The complexity of such metaphors in combination with the enigmatic nature of Crowley’s prose style lends a mystical aspect to the story, which often unfolds only to reveal more sophisticated interpretations, like one of those Renaissance dream poems which seem to be about love, but might also be about alchemy, or metaphysics, or even political intrigue. “   }page on the AEgypt tetralogy, and a review of Crowley’s Little, Big , written by someone who “got it”. “The Aegypt Cycle — (1987-2007) Publisher: Pierce Moffett is an unorthodox historian and an expert in ancient astrology, myths, and superstition. The land that Moffett studies is not the real, geographical Egypt but Ãegypt, a country of the imagination. When Moffett discovers the historical novels of local writer Fellowes Kraft, his course is charted. Kraft’s books interweave stories of Italian heretic Giordano Bruno, young Will Shakespeare, and Elizabethan occultist John Dee — stories that begin to mingle with the narrative of Moffett’s real and dream life in 1970s America. As Moffett’s journey in and out of his comfortable reality continues, what becomes clear is revelatory: there is more than one history of the world.“   }Renaissance Platonism from the Academy founded by Marsilio Ficino and Cosimo de’Medici, had only the slimmest of institutional support in Europe as a distinct discipline. Only a few philosophers, such as Cardinal Bessarion, Nicholas Cusanus, Marsilio Ficino, and Pico della Mirandola, can be unabashedly classified as “Neoplatonists.” In the history of ideas, Renaissance Neoplatonism is more important for its diffusion into a variety of philosophies and cultural activities, such as literature, painting, and music.   }nice bio on Bruno. “When he was thirteen years old he began to go to school at the Monastery of Saint Domenico. It was a famous place. Thomas Aquinas, himself a Dominican, had lived there and taught. Within a few years Bruno had become a Dominican priest. Bruno was interested in the nature of ideas. Although the name was not yet invented it will be perfectly proper to dub Bruno as an epistemologist, or as a pioneer Semanticist. He takes fresh stock of the human mind.”   }links about Ægypt. Publishers, prices, and covers (cover art), both American and British.   }This unit explores the significance of ancient Roman artifacts for Italian painters of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. The essay begins with a brief overview of art and architecture during the Roman Empire and addresses both the destruction and the survival of antiquities in the Christian era. It investigates the symbolic and thematic uses of Roman ruins in fifteenth-century paintings of Christian subject matter.   }Thomas Moore’s booklist. That is, a list of the books Moore has written, many of which pertain to these Renaissance Studies, on the Library Thing site.   }The Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino by Thomas Moore, with recommended related books on the same page. “Marsilio Ficino, who is almost unknown today, was perhaps the most influential philosopher of his age. It was Ficino who translated from Greek into Latin those first texts that arrived in Florence from Constantinople around 1438-39. It was Ficino who established a new academy in Florence modeled on Plato’s academy. Ficino flourished under the sponsorship of the Medici family, and because of his relationship with them and their generosity in support of his academy, he effectively became tutor and intellectual mentor to the Florentine intelligentsia. Looking back with the 20/20 hindsight of the 21st century, it is apparent from what Thomas Moore tells us that Ficino functioned in some ways as a psychotherapist to his friends and students. His letters are full of helpful advice about right living and striving to make of one’s life a work of art. The Planets is Ficino’s treatise on using one’s imagination to apply astrology to that end.”   }page of The Reenchantment of Everyday Life, by Thomas Moore, with recommended related books on the same page. If you want to start to study or understand the Renaissance, this is a book you must include.   }”In this vein, Hillman writes that “Death in the soul is not lived forward in time and put off into an afterlife. It is concurrent with daily life as Hades is side by side with his brother Zeus.”[5] According to Hillman, the problem lies in our “defense against Hades,” or, put differently, our “defensive identities with life.”[6]  So often we do everything in our power to escape (our fear of) death, preferring instead feelings of excitement and invincibility, hope and possibility. We prefer spirit but forget the equally important and deepening present-minded soul.”   }”“It is against this background that we must place also such major Renaissance concerns as reputation (fama); nobility, and dignity. They take on further significance when envisioned  within a psychology that bears death in mind. To consider fama merely as fame in our romantic sense puts Renaissance psychology into the inflated ego of the very important person or pop star. But when death gives the basic perspective, then magnificence, reputation, and nobility are tributes to soul, part of what can be done for it during the ego’s short hour on the stage. Then fame refers to the lasting worth of soul and psychology can afford to treat of the grand themes: perfection of grace, dignity of man, nobility of princes.” “   }the Catholics’ view of Bruno.   }brief page on Francis Bacon.   }Bruno links page, books are often from Amazon.   }repeats Kessler’s brief bio of Bruno then 2 more interesting articles.   }synopsis and review of The Astrological Psychology by Ficino.   }   }Bruno and some of the important Renaissance ideas.   }wiki bio of John Dee.   }page that mentions both Ficino and Agrippa in context.   }In 1509 Agrippa wrote De nobilitate et praecelentia foemini sexus , (the nobility of the female sex and the superiority of women over men), which was not published until 1532. In 1509 Agrippa also began writing his magnum opus, Three Books of Occult Philosophy which was finally published in 1531. As is clear from the long delay between the writing and publishing of many of his works throughout his life Agrippa was dogged by ill luck and opposition to his ideas and works.   }illustrated bio of Marsilo Ficino. He led the Florentine Platonic Academy under the Medicis. “Ficino’s writing is truly a joy to read as its elegance and clarity reflects the harmony and beauty of the themes he explores. It is unfortunate that translations of his works so quickly go out of print. A case in point is the translation by Kaske and Clarke of Ficino’s Three Books on Life. An excellent academic translation, Three Books on Life is Ficino’s magnum opus on astrological magic and talismans. This is a key work for anyone interested in Renaissance astrological magic, but sadly, it has just gone out of print.”   }more in-depth page on Agrippa’s philosophy, mentioning his influence on Bruno. Has his works as well, with illustrations.   }another very interesting if brief bio of Bruno.   }Endless Things. DL 2011   }brief bio on Thomas Moore.   }brief review of The Reenchantment of Everyday Life, by Thomas Moore. He uses Ficino and other Renaissance influences in this book, as well.   }nice review of Crowley’s AEgypt, by someone who seems to have ”gotten it”.   }this page is a book description, but the synopsis has some useful insights about Renaissance Hermeticsm.   }probably the best of the biographies on John Dee.,Frances.htm   }sysnopsis and comment on Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, by Francis Yates.   }“Symptoms belong to the embodied soul. The metaphorical reality of the psyche is more than mere fiction but less than literal. Metaphors are more than symbolic ways of speaking. Metaphors facilitate thought by providing an experiential framework in which newly acquired, abstract concepts may be assimilated. They are ways of perceiving, feeling and existing. Through this imaginal reality we find soul, meaning, and significance in our suffering. Intractable problems create a continuous flow of psychological ideas, “ (Hillman) The Healing Power of Narrative History: “To heal the symptom, we must heal the person, and to heal the person we must first heal the story in which the person has imagined himself.” –James Hillman   } The four volumes mingle Moffett’s real and dream life in America in 1977 (and, in an extended coda, into the early 1980s) with the narrative of the manuscript he is preparing for publication. The manuscript, left unfinished by its author Fellowes Kraft, is an historical fiction that follows the briefly intersecting adventures of Italian heretic Giordano Bruno and of British occultists John Dee and Edward Kelley. Moffett is trained as a historian, and is under contract to write a popular history covering hermetical themes. Early in the process, he conceives of writing a novel which, it is clear, would be Ægypt; his ruminations on that novel describe the structure of the novel he is in. The novels generally have three main “strands” reflecting on three main characters, one occurring in the present day generally following Pierce or Rosie Mucho in their artistic works, and two occurring in the Renaissance following the historical fictional activities of John Dee, Edward Kelley and Giordano Bruno as written by Fellowes Kraft. The difference is marked stylistically by dashes indicating dialogue for events that happened in the Renaissance and events in the twentieth century marked by dialogue in ordinary English quotation marks.   }wiki bio of Agrippa. }bio,etc.