Immortality, Unimaginable Wealth, Infinite Knowledge and Unlimited Power
March 3, 2023
5 min read
Iam fascinated by the idea of lost knowledge. There were ways of understanding and manipulating the world that once were prized and practiced.
The Repositories and Practitioners of Occult Knowledge are fascinating.
We have much to be grateful for living in the modern world. Science and technology have brought us great benefits. Life is no longer need be nasty, brutish, and short.
We live in times where we wield unprecedented power over our surroundings, and much seems possible in the future.
In 1962 science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke formulated his famous Three Laws, of which the third law is:
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
It could be said we live in magical times.
But much knowledge and magic have been lost. This knowledge was revered and studied by the ancients through to the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
Today we have current fictional pop culture wizards like Gandalf and Dumbledore. But in the past, this type of influential person was a living, breathing reality — a Magus.
From antiquity to the Renaissance, the Magus was a figure of powerful magic. Before science became the dominant paradigm, Occult, or esoteric, knowledge was revered and pursued.
“Knowledge is Power.”
- Francis Bacon
Knowledge is power, and Occult expertise is the most powerful. It is a controllable force for transforming nature and events.
The ultimate goals of the Magus are:
Infinite Knowledge and
It is conceivable that through science, technology, and social structures, we may overcome aging, experience universal abundance, and access all knowledge.
A Magus obtains these goals through the exercise of esoteric knowledge.
Many of the most famous personages of history prized this knowledge and sought to understand and use it. It is only relatively recently in the past couple of centuries that the ancient wisdom has fallen into neglect as science has become ascendant.
Alchemy. Occult knowledge. Magic and Magi
This knowledge is accessed and revealed through concentrated study. A Magus prizes their books above other possessions. These manuscripts include texts on Astrology, the study of planetary influences on the earth.
Perhaps, like the Italian scholar and magus Pico della Mirandola, they also study the Cabbala, the secret Hebrew Law given to Moses, where encrypted deeper meanings lay within the text.
A Renaissance Magus would also have been familiar with the writings of the philosophical school Neoplatonism, predicated on the idea that the soul naturally yearns to leave the body and be free.
Alchemy is the practice of the transmutation of matter — lead to gold.
Alchemy turning dross into gold and summoning luck are doable by accomplished adepts and savants. Astrology has predictive powers accessed through esoteric knowledge.
All these studies are hermetic, closed off to all but the initiated.
A Magus also pursues scientific studies since a Magus must understand earthly phenomena through careful experimentation and observation.
These studies aim to transcend human limitations. The goal is a complete understanding of the universe. The Magus is intimate with celestial, inanimate forces and sees how, through a complex system of sympathies and correspondences, these forces are reflected on earth and in the human soul.
The accomplished Magus has the wisdom to perceive the mind of God. To attain this wisdom, they must study and pursue a pure life, untainted by sin.
Gold represented this pure life. Gold is a pure substance that doesn’t tarnish, rust, or decompose. This property made it a symbol of purity and eternal life.
Astrology is of pure quality as the stars are pure points of light.
The Magus was a controversial figure.
A Magus devotes themself to pursuing wisdom. Renaissance scholars pursued this course of study, anxious to unite the various strands of learning in a quest to seek a transcendent understanding of the universe.
Renaissance scholars Pico, Marsilio Ficino, Cornelius Agrippa, and the Englishman John Dee (a likely source for both Shakespeare’s Prospero and Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist) were of this breed.
In Renaissance culture, a Magus was someone who understood the cosmos and humanity’s place within it.
But a Magus is not merely a contemplative figure. Their knowledge is for action. Acquired wisdom gives them the power to act, and it is this power that makes them controversial.
The virtuous Magus acts in accordance with divine Providence and is a force for good. For example, they might apply his knowledge of plants’ natural powers to heal (many Magi were medical doctors); or they might use astrological predictions to calculate ideal harvest times.
John Dee used his wisdom to identify the most auspicious date for Queen Elizabeth I’s coronation. This type of practice is considered ‘Good’ magic. It doesn’t interfere with divine Providence but works with it for humankind’s greater good.
People worried that the powers of a Magus might equally lead to dark magic. The Church was particularly suspicious of the hermetic study suggesting that humans could alter nature as God has ordered it.
Hermes Trismegistus gives instructions for calling down spirits to animate statues. This type of intervening was considered dangerous. It was interfering with the cosmic order.
There were the usual kinds of manipulation: using this specialist knowledge for personal gain, scaring people, or providing flattering prophecy.
There was a concern for dabbling in the black arts. The Italian philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake in 1600, charged with trafficking in Occult practices. There is a statue of him in the Campo di Fiore, a plaza in Rome, where he burned.
Reformed Protestant England was suspicious of magic for its associations with Catholic practices and teachings, such as the idea that relics held miraculous powers. King James I was highly suspect of magical activities. Doctor Dee, Queen Elizabeth’s advisor, was forced to defend himself and prove that his practices were in harmony with the divine. Though Dee succeeded, he died poor and disgraced in 1608. Dr. Dee’s anonymity was just two years before Shakespeare wrote The Tempest with its Magus main character of Prospero. Prospero is based on John Dee.
I have written on some of the most famous secret societies and the most prominent practitioners and devotees of esoteric and occult knowledge. They were proto scientists and much more.
These Magi represent adepts of sufficiently advanced ancient powers that appear to us like magic.
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