Secret Texts, 2



Nature's Mystick Book :

Renaissance Arcanum

Hugh J. Ormsby-Lennon

24 ad 96

p. 25 linguistics & the ineffable

"if the Aristotelians use language as "a tool, an 'organon' ..." -- then the Platonists ... made man feel the inadequacy of "discursive speech" for conveying ... the "ineffable" intensity of the mystic vision." (Gombrich 1972, p. 190)

Gombrich 1972 = Sir Ernst Gombrich : "Icones Symbolicae : Philosophies of Symbolism". In :- Symbolic Images. Oxford : Phaidon.

p. 26 new stars

"the Rosicrucians perceived in [quoted from "Confession", Philalethes 1652, p. 47 :] "some new stars which do appear and are seen in the Firmament in Serpentario and Cygno ... powerful Signacula of great weighty matters.""

{Constellation Cygnus (Kuknos) is (according to Eratosthenes -- "CS") the male swan who raped goddess Nemesis. Thus, the Rosicrucian manifesto may be inciting to the raping of queens in order to abolish royalty. (Cf. infra pp. 172-3 on the threatened raping of the queen of France.)}

Philalethes 1652 = Eugenius Philalethes : The Fame and Confession of the Fraternity of ... the Rosie Cross. London : Giles Calvert.

"CS" = "Cygnus the Swan"

p. 28 Platonic Ideas/Forms

Rosicrucians [quoted from the "Translator's Supplement" of van Helmont 1650 :] "gazed upon ... the nakedness of ... Essences, and Formes devested of all corporeity."

van Helmont 1650 = J. B. van Helmont (transl. by Walter Charleton) : A Ternary of Paradoxes. London : Walter Lee.

p. 29 types of "Platonic" linguistics

""Rosicrucian linguistics" has ... "Platonic" beliefs about language ... which were, by turns, Adamic, Cratylan, hermetic, shamanic, magical".

pp. 30-1 John Wilkins

p. 30

Wilkins's "Mathematical Magick (1649) owes something ... to the esoteric traditions of John Dee and Robert Fludd, the first a putative source of Rosicrucian doctrine, the second the Brotherhood's most distinguished spokeman." (Yates 1969, p. 51)

p. 31

""The seventeenth-century universal language enthusiasts," Yates writes of Wilkins and his associates,

[quoted from Yates 1966, p. 364 :] are translating ... efforts such as those of Giordano Bruno to found universal memory systems on magic images which he thought of as directly in contact with reality."

Yates 1969 = Frances Yates : Theatre of the World. U of Chicago Pr.

Yates 1966 = Frances Yates : The Art of Memory.

pp. 31, 76 Leibni[t]z & Descartes

p. 31

"Nor is it surprising ... to find Leibniz returning to both Wilkins's Essay toward a Real Character and Philosophical Language and to Rosicrucian linguistics when he fashioned his own characteristica universalis."

p. 76, n. 35

"From Descartes's manuscript ... Leibniz unearthed a Polybii Cosmopolitani Thesaurus Mathematica dedicated to "the scholars of the entire world and especially to the Rosicrucian Brotherhood, very famous in Germany;" see Jacques Maritain, "The Dream of Descartes," The Dream of Descartes together with some other Essays, trans. Mabelle Andison (New York : Philosophical Library, 1944), p. 191n. For the general context see ... D. P. Walker, "Leibniz and Language," Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 35 (197):294-307".

p. 32 divine books of medicine [Paracelsus, as quoted in Hacking 1975, pp. 41-2]

"The first and highest book of medicine is called Sapientia ... for this book is God himself. ...

{Traditionally, [Latin] Sapientia / [Hellenic] Sophia is, not "God himself", but rather "Goddess herself". ("DBSCh")}

The second book of medicine is the firmament ... for ... the firmament is such a book containing all virtues and all propositions. ... the stars in heaven must be taken together in order that we may read the sentence in the firmament."

Hacking 1975 = Ian Hacking : The Emergence of Probability : a Philosophical Study of Early Ideas about Probability. Cambridge U Pr.

"DBSCh" = "Developing a Biblical Sophia Christology"

p. 35 divine signatures in plants

[quoted from Croll 1670, A3r, B1r, B4v :] "All Herbs, Flowers, Trees ... are Books, and Magick Signes, communicated to us ..., which Signes are are our Medicine. ... For Plants ... in occult words ... open the Treasures of hidden things ... . ... Stars, according to Paracelsus, are the Forms and Matrices of all Herbs; and every star in the Heavens, is ... a Herb prefigured in a spiritual ... manner ... . ... For the Characters ... and these Natural Signatures, which ... are imprinted in all Creatures (indeed every creature in a book ...), are the better part of true Literature, by which all occult things are read and understood."

Croll 1670 = Oswald Croll : A Treatise of Signatures. London.

p. 35 Rosicrucian books, by John Heydon

A New Method of Rosie Crucian Physick. 1658.

The Wise-Man's Crown, or, The Glory of the Rosie Cross. 1664.

Hammeguleh Hampaaneah, or the Rosie Crucian Crown. 1665.

p. 36 language of <eden

"The "first Adam," Vaughan asserted [MAAM, p. 96], attained his paradisal knowledge of "signatures and created books" from his cabalistic {qabalistic} guardian angel Raziel."

"But most agreed that nature's alphabet ... survived ... only only among cabalists {qabalists}, hermetists, and prophets. [p. 78, fn. 66 : "These ... helped constitute the Quakers' "pure language of the Spirit of Truth": see Richard Farnsworth, The Pure Language of the Spirit of Truth (London : ?Giles Calvert, 1655).]

In the Garden, added Cornelius Agrippa [1533, lib. 1, cap. 74], Adam had deciphered its letters from the heavenly bodies that were perfectly spaced above him.

This was the language, claimed John Dee [Casaubon 1659, p. 92] ..., "which Adam verily spake in innocency, and was never uttered or disclosed to man since, till now."

But it was Jacob Boehme whose works gve this "language of nature" its most rhapsodic and prolix currency ... : for ... the oneiric style of the "Teutonic Philosopher" ... proved compulsive reading." (Hutin 1960)

MAAM = Vaughan : Magia Adamica; or the Antiquitie of Magic in Magical Writings.

Agrippa 1533 = Cornelius Agrippa : De occulta philosophia libri tres. Cologne.

Casaubon 1659 = Meric Casaubon : A True and Faithful Relation of What Passed for many Years between Dr. John Dee ... and Some Spirits. London : T. Garthwait.

Hutin 1960 = Serge Hutin : Les disciples anglais de Jacob Boehme. Paris : Denoe:l.

p. 38 Foster & Tany

For "to speak in tongues ... antinomians like George Foster and Thomas Tany ... "everything is a cipher and of everything ... the theme." ...

Yet to distinguish genuine inspiration ... proved formidable as Meric Casaubon [1656] and Henry More [1656] discovered."

Casaubon 1656 = Meric Casaubon : A Treatise concerning Enthusiasme. 2nd edn. London : Roger Daniel.

More 1656 = Henry More : Enthusiasmus Trimphatus (1656), reprinted in :- A Collection of Philosophical Writings. London : William Morden, 1662.

p. 39 Rosicrucian denunciation of Aristotelian linguistics

"First among the men who babble was Aristotle.

"Let not your thoughts feed now on the ... vomits of Aristotle," Thomas Vaughan constantly admonished [CT, p. 128] the aspiring alchemist".

CT = Thomas Vaughan : Coelum Terrae.

pp. 39-40 universities [on account of their teaching of obsolete languages such as Latin and Hellenic] are Tower-of-Babel-style institutional confounders of languages

p. 39

"Like Boehme, the Rosicrucians could not respect what passed for linguistic scholarship in the universities of Europe, manned as those were by latter-day "builders of the Towre." [Boehme 1654, p. 231]

Amidst "these last days" the Fraternity declared its divine mission to purify the world of "unclean Babblers," ... who masqueraded as "Divines, Philosophers, Physicians, and Mathematicians." [Fama, p. 28; Confession, pp. 50-1] ...

"Webster's onslaught upon the Schoolmen's Babel -- "the dead paper idolls ..." [AE, p. 28] -- was more strident than either the Germans' or Vaughan's. ...

p. 40

In the university as reformed by Webster ..., the Rosicrucian linguist worked on the construction of a universal language, "a potent means (in some measure) to have repaired the ruines of Babel ... a ... cure for the confusion of tongues"" (AE, pp. 25, 32).

Boehme 1654 = Jacob Boehme (transl. from the German by John Ellistone & John Sparrow) : Mysterium Magnum; or, an Exposition of the ... Book of ... Genesis. London : H. Blunden.

AE = Webster : Academiarum Examen.

pp. 41-2 trance of <eden in order to see paradise (according to Jacob Boehme)

p. 41

"the Ursprache -- what Webster calls "the pure language of nature" -- ... can be conceptualized only during an Edenic trance like Boehme's outside Goerlitz."

p. 42

""Paradise is in the world," Boehme maintained, adding [1647, p. 149] that "if our eyes were opened, we should see it.""

Boehme 1647 = Jacob Boehme (transl. by John Sparrow) : Forty Questions concerning the Soul. London : Matthew Simons.

pp. 40-1 George Fox

p. 40

""All languages are to me no more ...," Fox [et al. 1660, "Introduction" sig. A2v] declared, "who was before languages were, and am come'd before languages into the power ..."" {and the glory, forever and ever, Amen!}.

p. 41

[quoted from Fox : Journal, p. 27 :] "Now was I come up in spirit through the flaming sword into the paradise of God. All things were new, and all creation

gave forth another smell unto me than before, beyond what words can utter. ...

{Viz., beyond that which George Fox's repertory of vocabulary contained -- evidently exotic perfumes whereof he was not apprized of the names. In esoteric (H.urufi etc.) angelology, a distinct perfume is characteristic of each of the mal>aki^m of the consonants formulating the universe.}

The creation was opened to me, and it showed how all how all things had their names given them according to their nature and virtue."

Fox et al. 1660 = George, Fox, John Stubbs, and Benjamin Furly : A Battle-Door for Teachers and Professors to Learn Singular and Plural. London : Robert Wilson.

pp. 41-2 sacred linguistics

p. 41

""The end {consummation or abrogation} of words," explained Isaac Penington, the Quaker Plotinus, "is to bring men to

a knowledge of things beyond [that] which words can utter."" ("FShA", p. 94)

{This "knowledge of things" would be a direct immaterial sensory experience of the features of divine worlds, even without being aware of terminology for describing those features.}

p. 42

"we should recall ... the shaman's avian flight ..., a paradisal flight

induced (like Fox's) by physical deprivation

{It is induced by such an aspiring for the divine as to be accompanied by an aversion ("deprivation") toward many trite physical-material concerns.}

and concluded in the glory ... and "unity with the creation." [Eliade 1964, pp. 93-9.]

The Peruvian medicine man, Eduardo Palomino, ... opens the "sacred book" of nature and converses with plants." (MFW, pp. 101-6)

"FShA" = Hugh J. Ormsby-Lennon : "From Shibboleth to Apocalypse : Quaker Speechways during the Puritan Revolution". In :- Language, Self, and Society: A Social History of Language, edd. Peter Burke and Roy Porter (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1991), 72-112.

Eliade 1964 = Mircea Eliade (transl. by Willard Trask) : Shamanism. Princeton U Pr.

MFW = Douglas Sharon : Master of the Four Winds. NY : Free Pr, 1978.

pp. 42, 82 quacks & Quakers

p. 42

"quacks and Quakers shared some terms of spiritual reference."

p. 82, n. 2:122

"The connexion between quacks and Quakers may well have been proverbial : see, for example, Casaubon on "pure Quacks, or arrand Quakers" in "On Learning," reprinted by Michael R. G. Spiller, "Concerning Natural Experimental Philosophie :" Meric Casaubon and the Royal Society (The Hague : Martinus Nijhoff, 1980), p. 205."

pp. 43, 83 Nayler's humming

p. 43

"A "buzzing melodious noise" and "musical notes" accompanied James Nayler's Christic descent upon Bristol, opposed to "Babylonish music," visionary friends preferred a glossolalic "humming"".

{With this Society-of-Friends "humming" while approaching a site in order to induce advent of a new world-order thereat, cf. the Northern Cheyenne "new earth coming over the old world. It is represented as making a humming noise as it approaches. This was the manner in which many of the Cheyenne felt that the new era would begin." ("GhDRCh")}

p. 83, n. 1

"For some sociolinguistic background to Quaker humming, see Hugh Ormsby-Lennon, "Swift and the Quakers : II," Swift Studies, 5 (1990), 86-89."

"GhDRCh" = "The Ghost Dance Religion among the Cheyenne". BUREAU OF AMER. ETHNOLOGY, 14th Annual Report.

{"humming song" is performed by Hopi priests ("Snake Ceremonies at Walpi" JAE&A 1891, p. 259. )

cf. Nootka "humming" of "old ritual tunes" (The Collected Works of Edward Sapir (Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, 1994), vol 4, p. 481. )

cf. also "throat humming" in Tanna Tuva ( )}

pp. 43, 47 communicating with beasts

p. 43

"Adam had, according to mystically inclined exegetes, conversed with ... "the fowl of the air and every beast of the field" ... ." [p. 83, n. 2:135 : "On Adam's communicating with the animals, see R. H. Charles ed., The Book of Jubilees or the Little Genesis (London : Black, 1902), p. 21.]

p. 47

"And for Ashmole ["Preface", Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, sig. B1v] "the Magicall or Prospective Stone ... enables Man to understand the language of the Creatures as the Chirping of Birds, lowing of Beasts &c.""

pp. 43-6, 83 communicating with birds : praeternatural language amongst birds

p. 43

"But it was Eve, in particular, who enjoyed the ... gift of communicating with, as opposed to naming, the birds, a talent extolled by commentators so diverse as ...

p. 44

William Blake, ... Ursula Le Guin, and ... Susan Griffin and Judy Grahn. "And then the souls of man and woman ... danced on the earth," D. H. Lawrence reveals, "in the perfect rapture ... they sang, in the manner of birds ... ."" (Holograph version of The Plumed Serpent (University of Texas Library, Austin), p. 433.)

p. 83, n. 137

"For ... Blake's Painting "Eve Listening to the Birds" see Robert N. Essick, William Blake and the Language of Adam (Oxford : Clarendon, 1989), pp. 17-21 ... . ... In Woman and Nature : The Roaring Inside Her (New York : Harper and Row, 1978), Griffin affirms ... of [<]Eden ("And [Eve] began to play with the berries and the plants and finally to whisper to the birds. And the birds ... whispered to her") ... (pp. 1, 106)."

p. 45

"Khlebnikov's mage Zangezi, learned his craft in the woods where, like Hiawatha, Siegfried and Papageno, he was initiated by the birds into the "parole oiseau."" (KT, pp. 189-235)

p. 46

"Apollonius of Tyana, a neo-Pythagorean mage ..., ... communicated effortlessly with the avian world."

KT = Velimir Khlebnikov (transl. by Paul Schmidt; ed. by Charlotte Douglas) : The King of Time. Harvard U Pr, 1985.

p. 47 words which are not lawful to utter

"According to Elias Ashmole, moreover, alchemists were also, like the Apostle, "Caught up into Paradice [Paradise], and as he heard unspeakeable Words, so they wrought unoperable Works; such as it is not lawfull to utter."" (Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, "Preface", sig. B2r)

{The words which are "not lawful to utter" would, surely, be : "May we succeed in overthrowing the impious, materialistic government!"}

p. 47 the Philosopher's Stone for understanding the speech of animals

"And for Ashmole "the Magicall or Prospective Stone ... enables Man to understand the language of the Creatures as the Chirping of Birds, lowing of Beasts &c." (Theatrum Chemicum Britannicum, "Preface", sig. B1v)

This stone is, according to Henry More ("2ndLA", p. 183), a "white stone" {the "white stone" of the new name in the Apokalupsis of Ioannes 2:17?}.

"2ndLA" = Henry More : "The Second Lash of Alazonomastix". EARLY ENGLISH BOOKS, 1641-1700. 1553:4.

pp. 47, 86 Llwyd and the Quakers

p. 47

"Llwyd's birds envision themselves as mystical reincarnations of Noah's : "For such ... fly above every barrier, and understand all natures." [BThB, pp. 209, 225] ...

For heaven, however, Llwyd envisioned "one peculiar Dialect", in which

the angels conversed "without the Noise of Tongues or Sound of Words; but silent and heavenly ... ." [Llwyd 1739, p. 1].

{Would this imply communication by gesture-signaling (which was then commonplace in European monasteries)?}

For Llwyd, as for the Quakers, this sound of silence may well represent the triumph of Rosicrucian linguistics."

p. 86, n. 180

"For relationships between the wordless Quaker meeting and Fox's perception of an apocalyptic silence of heaven, see Ormsby-Lennon [... 1991], p. 94."

{This would refer to :-"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour." (Apokalupsis of Ioannes 8:1)}

BThB = Morgan Llwyd (transl. by J. L. Parry) : The Book of the Three Birds. TRANSACTIONS OF THE NATIONAL EISTEDDFOD OF WALES, Llandudno 1896. Liverpool, 1898.

Llwyd 1739 = Morgan Llwyd (transl. by G. Rudd) : A Discourse of God the Word. John Oswald: London, 1739.

Ormsby-Lennon 1991 = Hugh Ormsby-Lennon : "From Shibboleth to Apocalypse: Quaker Speechways during the Puritan Revolution". In :- Burke, Peter (ed.); Porter, Roy (ed.);

Hymes, Dell (afterword) : Language, Self, and Society: A Social History of

Language. Cambridge, Eng.: Polity, 1991.

pp. 47-8 Sir Thomas Fairfax & Durand Hotham as patrons

p. 47

"Andrew Marvell [sojourned] ... on the Yorkshire estate of Sir Thomas Fairfax ... where his employer spent a retirement ... translating hermetic texts. [M&A] ... .

p. 48

... Marvell has become ... one of Webster's "true Natural Magicians, that walk in the center of nature's hidden secrets." (AE, p. 106)

"George Fox ... was lovingly received at a local country house belonging to Durand Hotham, the alchemystically inclined survivor of a family which had ... provided Fairfax ... during the previous decade."

p. 49

Durand Hotham "recognized rabbinical and esoteric ways of achieving "the sight of, and speech with, those Aerial Spirits" which adepts identified with [Boehme]'s paradisal birds."

M&A = Lyndy Abraham : Marvell and Alchemy. Aldershot (Hants), 1990.

pp. 50-1 the book of nature as magic and as numerology

p. 50

[quoted from :- William R. Shea : "Introduction" to RE&MSR, pp. 7-9 :] "the book of nature ... Bruno and Campanella interprested it as the work of an Arch-magician."

"Rosicrucian linguists like Thomas Vaughan who juggled cabalistically

p. 51

with "Ternaries and Quaternaries, and Decads, and Monads," [OATh&AMA, p. 62] ... discerned in nature".

RE&MSR = Bonelli & Shea (edd.) : Reason, Experiment, and Mysticism in the Scientific Revolution. NY : Science History Publ, 1975.

OATh&AMA = Henry More : "Observations upon Anthroposophia Theomagica and Anima Magica Abscondita". EARLY ENGLISH BOOKS, 1641-1700. 610:14.

pp. 54, 58 mutual support between Aristotelians/empeirikists (such as Francis Bacon and Robert Boyle) & Platonists/alchemists (such as John Webster and Isaac Newton) via intermediary writers (such as Samuel Hartlib)

p. 54

In "Webster's Academiarum Examen, ... Webster frequently enlists the aid of Bacon, alongside that of Boehme and the [Rosicrucian] Brotherhood, for his onslaught upon the "high-towring Babell" of Aristotle and tbe Schoolmen."

p. 58

"Isaac Newton's initial contacts with alchemy may have been made through the surviving elements of the Hartlib circle. [NR, pp. 286-90] And it was Hartlib who supervised Boyle's first (anonymous) publication .... but pride of place in his collection of Chymical, Medicinal, and Chyrurgical Addresses (1655) Hartlib gave to a loose commentary on alchemy and millen[n]arian linguistics, "A Short Discourse Proving Urim and Thummim to Be Perfected by Art, and to Be of Like Pure Substance with the White and Red Elixirs."

During the 1650s, then, secret societies and scientific communities did not evolve in complete isolation, as some historians of science have imagined."

{Because secret-societies are aimed at ovethrowing the governments of the countries wherein they are located; therefore, this would imply that organizations of scientists are likewise in sympathy with this goal of overthrowing their governments.}

NR = Richard Westfall : Never at Rest : a biography of Isaac Newton. 1980.

pp. 58-9 linguistics & taxonomy : divine dictionaries from Heaven

p. 58

"from Hartlib's circle -- the meeting place of esotericists and exotericists -- emerged ... the idea of that scientific linguaggio commune ... : Francis Lodwick's A Common Writing" [WFL]. While Hartlib was working on this project, Boyle assured him that the real character "will ... make amends to mankind for ... the tower of Babel."" ("JWUL")

p. 59

"Like the [<]Edenic dictionary rediscovered by the Fratres R.C., Wilkin's Essay constituted "a perfect entire map of the creation," "a Philosophical Bibliotheca"... an encyclopedia taxonomized ... into forty categories." ("LP17thCE")

"Descartes pursuit of the Fraternity in 1619-20 culminated in his famous dream of "a Dictionary" placed on his table by an unknown hand ... . ... Descartes narrates how, during his dreams, he experienced "the Spirit of truth descending to take possession of him" (his choice of phaseology is reminiscent of the Quakers')".

WFL = Vivian Salmon : The Works of Francis Lodwick. London : Longmans, 1972.

"JWUL" = Clark Emery : "John Wilkins' Universal Language". ISIS, 38 (1975):175.

"LP17thCE" = Vivian Salmon : "Language Planning in Seventeenth Century England". In:- The Study of Language in 17th-Century England. Amsterdam : Benjamins, 1979. pp. 129-56.

p. 73 Isaac Newton's Pythagorean music

"Newton believed in private that "Pythagoras's music of the spheres was intended to typify gravity."' [FNA]

"But after hearing McGuire and Rattansi deliver "Newton and the 'Pipes of Pan'" Dame Frances Yates remarked .., "Newton was one of us {viz., one of us occultist mystics}."" ("N&PP")

FNA = Dobbs : Foundations of Newton's Alchemy. Cambridge U Pr, 1991.

"N&PP" = J. E. McGuire & P. M. Rattansi : "Newton and the 'Pipes of Pan'". NOTES AND RECORDS OF THE ROYAL ASIATIC SOCIETY 21 (1966):108-43.

p. 95, n. 353 post-Renaissance hypotheses about primaeval language

"On the influence of Antoine Fabre d'Olivet's La langue hebrai:que restitue'e (1815-16) on Whorf, see John B. Carroll, Language, Thought, and Reality : Selected Writings of Benjamin Lee Whorf, ... (Cambridge, Mass. : MIT Press, 1956), pp. 8-9.

On mutations of the Ursprache after the Renaissance, see James H. Stam, Inquiries into the Origin of Language (New York : Harper and Row, 1976) and

Maurice Olender, The Languages of Paradise : Race, Religion, and Philology in the Nineteenth Century, transl. Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard Univ. Press, 1992).

On cabalistic {qabalistic} dimensions of Derrida, see Susan A. Handelman, The Slayers of Moses : The Emergence of Rabbinical Interpretation in Modern Literary Theory (Albany, N.Y. : State University of New York Press, 1982), pp. 163-178. Handelman's own ruminations on "The Book of Books and the Book of Nasture" (pp. 123-7) symptomatize the continuing presence of book mysticism in contemporary theory. ... Of course, rational visions of a scientific "language of nature" persist ... . See, for example, Heinz R. Pagels, The Cosmic Code : ... the Language of Nature (New York : Simon and Schuster, 1982) and Ludmilla Jordanova ed., Languages of Nature (New Brunswick : Rutgers Univ. Press, 1986)."


AMS STUDIES IN CULTURAL HISTORY, 1 = Marie Mulvey Roberts & Hugh Ormsby-Lennon : Secret Texts : the Literature of Secret Societies. AMS Pr, NY, 1995.