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Hermetic Gallery

The Hermetic Gallery presents images from printed books and manuscripts
that are part of or related to the library's collections. The images and their brief explanatory notes are taken from 'The #Hermetic #Museum -
#Alchemy & #Mysticism' by Alexander Roob, published by #Taschen Verlag in

Opus Magnum - Dew ‘’The #Greeks testify that from gold there fell a fertile rain as the sun lay in the passion of love with Venus. And from #Jupiter’s brain as Pallas did arise, so gold must appear like rain in your vessel.’’
#Vulcan, seeking to free Jupiter from his headaches with an axe, releases Pallas #Athena, the goddess of wisdom, from his skull. `This birth', Maier wrote, is celebrated annually on the island of Rhodes by the festival of the ‘’golden rain’’, in which golden coins are scattered'.
Johann #Glauber (1604 -1670) related another classical gold rain experiment: ‘’I placed a pointed glass retort (…) on a table, poured King Akrisio’s beautiful daughter Danaè through the narrow opening of the glass (…) Afterwards, following the advice and actions of Jupiter, I made a golden rain and let it fall through the tiles of the roof, which is to say the narrow hole of the retort, down Danaè’s lap (…)’’. (J.R. Glauber, Von den Dreyen anfangen der Metallen, 1666)
#dew #gold #hermeticgallery
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Utopia: The Search for the Ideal Society

The availability of the French translation by Raoul de #Presles of the ‘De Civitate Dei’ gave rise to the production in France of a number of large, deluxe, richly illuminated manuscripts. Perhaps the most celebrated is the one for which Robert Gaguin, a general of the #Trinitarians, a preeminent #theologian and humanist, personally planned the series of images, in collaboration with the best #Parisian illuminator of his day, known as “Maître François”. A full-page miniature depicts the celestial city above, and the earthly city below - a visual translation of natural subordination, the source of peace and #harmony. And while the Virtues lead the elect in a procession toward the celestial city, the earthly city, encircled by demons, mist still wage war against the Vices. 
Image: Saint Augustine, ‘Le Cité de Dieu’, translated by Raoul de Presles,; Paris, maître Françcois, between 1469 and 1473. BNF, Département des Manuscrits
Text based on: Ian Tod and Michael Wheeler, Utopia. London: Orbis Publishing 1978; Utopia. The search for the ideal society in the #Western world, eds R. Schaer, G. Claeys & L. Tower Sargent. New York and Oxford: The New York Public Library and OUP 2001.
#Utopia #SaintAugustine#LeCitédeDieu
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Fludd on Friday

Robert Fludd (1574-1637): #Hermetic philosopher and surveyor of two worlds. Based on Joscelyn Godwin’s study of “Robert Fludd: Hermetic #philosopher and surveyor of two worlds” (London: Thames and Hudson, 1979). Threefold Manifestation
The light triangle of the #Trinity represents #God, who remains ‘beyond all things’, entering the black hole of matter. As a result, three worlds arise: the angelic (empyrean), stellar (ethereal) and elemental. The intervals are comprehensible in the light of plate 56 (the previous plate): there is an octave between adjacent worlds, and a double octave between the #empyrean and elemental. In the centre is the #Tetragrammaton, with the ‘pre-cosmic’ numbers 1-3. These in turn are joined by arcs showing their harmonic relations.
#Fludd #Pyramids #ThreefoldManifestation 
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Hermetic Reads ‘The Golden Ass’ or ‘The #Metamorphoses of Apuleius’ by Lucius Apuleius.

It was St. #Augustine who referred to ‘The Metamorphoses of #Apuleius’ as ‘The Golden Ass’ (Asinus Aureus). It is the only novel in Latin to have survived completely. The composition date is unclear. The work consists of eleven books and its main theme is the mystery of initiation. It is said that Apuleius was inspired by a #Greek original composed by a certain Lucius of Patrae, who is also the main character of Apuleius' work.

The story deals with #Lucius, who is turned into a donkey after having applied a magical formula although he was not properly trained for it. Then follow a series of adventures representing his multiple initiations into the cult of Isis and #Osiris. Apuleius himself was also an initiate of the cult of Isis. Every book features a metamorphosis: changing from a god into a man, from a divine being into a tree or from a man into an animal, though all the while the core of their being remains unchanged. At the heart of these transformations that are transcending boundaries and identities, lies an understanding of the fabric of nature and society. At the end of the ‘Quest’, so to speak, the changeling returns to or ‘realizes' his or her own core, which defines his or her higher ‘Self’. Books 4 to 6 are concerned with the myth of ‘Amor and Psyche’, another initiation story in which the Soul wanders in the underworld until the moment of the reunion of its parts in a divine marriage or a ‘Hieros Gamos’. This sub-plot was integrated in the greater initiation story of Lucius, and is another example of the #Quest for one's higher Self. 
To read the novel online, go to:
#Apuleius #TheGoldenAss #hermeticreads
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Jacob Böhme's Weg in die Welt 
About this Book:

Jacob Böhmes Weg in die Welt is a first result of the research project of the Ritman Research Institute: Bestandesaufnahme und Geschichte des Jacob-Böhme-Handschriften-Fonds (Inventory and history of the Jacob-Böhme collection of manuscripts). The project focuses on the history of the Böhme collection of manuscripts and early printed books first brought together by the Amsterdam businessman Abraham Willemsz van Beyerland (1586/7-1648). With this book, the library makes available the first results of a research project on the history of Jacob Böhme’s manuscripts and early printed editions. The publication offers a collection of essays contributed by expert Böhme scholars from Germany and the Netherlands. The publication will be accompanied by an exhibition in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica in Amsterdam which will open on 26 October 2007 (see Jubilee year, exhibition, above). LINK IN BIO FOR FULL INFO
Art & Imagination

The Watchers by Lynn Chadwick (1960), Bronze.

Lynn #Chadwick (1914 – 2003) was one of the leading #British #sculptors of post-war Britain, known primarily for metal #abstract works inspired by the #human and natural world. His #art became internationally known when he exhibited in the British #Pavilion of the 1952 Venice Biennale. He contributed again to the 1956 Biennale and was awarded with the coveted prize for sculpture, which made him the youngest sculptor ever to win this price.

He started on his artistic career when he was 32, after having served in the Fleet Air Arm of The Royal #Navy (1941-44). When he came back from the war, he continued his work for the London #architect Rodney Thomas, who inspired him to design objects and constructions in addition to his regular work of designing fabrics and furniture. Some of his sculptures were made of welded rods filled with an industrial compound called Stolit, resulting in an interesting armature and silhouette. They were not sketched out beforehand, that happened after the work was finished. 
About the process of creation Chadwick said in an interview on the BBC Home Service (The Listener, 21st October 1954): “It seems to me that art must be the manifestation of some vital force coming from the dark, caught by the #imagination and translated by the artist’s ability and skill. Whatever the final shape, the force behind is... indivisible. When we #philosophize upon this force, we lose sight of it. The intellect alone is still too clumsy to grasp it.” His sculpture ‘The Watchers’ is reminiscent of biblical angelic figures. The term 'Watcher' occurs in both the plural and singular form in the Book of #Daniel (2nd century BC), which signifies their sacred character. ‘Watcher’ is derived from the Aramaic -iyr/iyrin root and means ‘holy one’, the Greek word is said to be derived from ἐγρήγοροι (Grigori) meaning ' those who are awake’. The apocryphal Books of Enoch (1st and 2nd centuries BC) refer to both ‘good and rebellious Watchers'. Another term related to the Watchers are ‘the Nephilim’ (fallen ones). FULL POST ON FACEBOOK 🙌
Infinite Fire Webinar VIII – The Theosophical Movement

This is the second of three webinars by dr. Marco #Pasi in our Infinite Fire #Webinar series. In his first webinar, Marco Pasi focused on the #Austrian #author and #occultist Gustav #Meyrink (1868-1932) and his #esoteric novels, such as The #Golem (1915). In his second webinar, he discusses the Theosophical movement, which arose in the late 19th century and was based on #Theosophy, that is derived from Late Greek #theosophia (ca. 500) ‘Wisdom concerning #God or things divine’. Within the theosophical doctrines as espoused by the Theosophical movement, however, the concept of #God was not so much present and the term ‘Divine Wisdom’ might be more apt.

With the Infinite Fire Webinar Series, The Ritman Library and the History of #Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (GHF) of the University of Amsterdam have joined forces and are planting the seed for a Scholarly Hermetic #Circle.

Read more and watch our webinar here: (link in bio)
Hermetic Music

Introducing music inspired by #hermetic ideas

Arnold #Schoenberg (1874-1951) was one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. Having first experimented with atonality, he developed the twelve-tone technique. In his essay of 1941, ‘Composition with Twelve Tones’, Schoenberg wrote: ‘The unity of musical space demands an absolute and unitary perception. In this space, as in Swedenborg’s heaven (described in Balzac’s ’Séraphîta’), there is no absolute down, no right or left, forward or backward.’ Schoenberg loved Honoré de Balzac’s story ’Seraphïta’. He drew inspiration from it for the first of his ‘Four Orchestral Songs’, Op. 22, also entitled ’Séraphïta’, though the text is taken from a poem with the same name by the English poet Ernest Dowson, translated by Stefan George. 
In ’Séraphîta’ the main character is an androgynous being, Séraphîta/Séraphîtus, who appears to two young lovers, to the man (Wilfred) as a woman and to the woman (Minna) as a man. In the final chapter, entitled ‘The Assumption,’ Séraphîta/Séraphîtus ascends to heaven and the young couple is treated to a glimpse into this higher realm, an experience that almost overpowers them in its strength. The story is highly influenced by the #philosophy of Emmanuel #Swedenborg, which Balzac was intrigued by.

Listen to the Four Orchestral Songs here:
Image: Book cover of Balzac, ‘Séraphîta’
Source: Joscelyn Godwin, #Music, #Mysticism and #Magic, A Sourcebook, Arkana, 1987;
#Schoenberg #Balzac #HermeticMusic
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Dutch #freemason Henk Masselink visited our library in our former premises of the Bloemstraat in Amsterdam in the spring of 2016 . In this video Masselink explains what The Ritman Library means to him, tells a little bit about the history of the masonic movement (which is celebrating its third centenary this year with the formation of the first Grand #Lodge in #London in 1717!) and his view on our task as #humans. 
Learn about all our collecting areas, including #Freemasonry, on our website:

To learn more about the move to the House with the Heads in #Amsterdam, visit:

Full English subtitles on YouTube: (LINK IN BIO)
Pearls of Wisdom "Beauty is the splendor of the #divine countenance." 'Commentary on Plato's #Symposium on #Love' (Dallas, 1985) by Marsilio Ficino.
#Ficino #beauty #pearlsofwisdom
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Utopia: The Search for the Ideal #Society

In the Year #2000

This #vignette and others in the same series from 1910, were probably meant to accompany food products. Displayed in groups of a dozen #comic sketches each, they show inventions designed to improve daily life alongside others devoted to science or exploration. Curiously, the #fashion in clothes remains that of the Belle Époque!

Image: #Villemard, En l’an 2000; BNF, Département des Estampes et de la Photographie
Text based on: Ian Tod and Michael Wheeler, Utopia. London: Orbis Publishing 1978; #Utopia. The search for the ideal society in the Western world, eds R. Schaer, G. Claeys & L. Tower Sargent. New York and Oxford: The New York Public Library and OUP 2001.
#Utopia #Villemard #Lan2000
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Hermetic Gallery 
The #Hermetic Gallery features beautiful and famous illustrations that are either part of, or related to, the Library's collections. They are accompanied by brief explanatory notes taken from 'The Hermetic Museum - #Alchemy & #Mysticism' by Alexander $Roob, published by Taschen Verlag in 1996.

Opus Magnum – #Fire ‘’Give fire to fire/#Mercurius to Mercurio/and it is enough.’’
Like attracts like. For Maier, the whole world depended on this chain of attraction. But there are ‘’many and varied species of fire and Mercurii ‘’: Just as there is an inner fire which is set in motion by the outer fire, and which then unfolds its diverse effects, there is a hidden, extremely subtle mercury, the "May dew’’ which is won through distillation from the outer mercury.
The whole work consists of the interplay between the two opposed principles: mercury-water provides matter, sulphur-fire provides the form.

M.Maier, Atalanta fugiens, Oppenheim, 1618.
#Maier #Fire #hermeticgallery
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