Readings In Agrippa #2

Henry Agrippa opens the second text by saying that all things are governed by numbers, by way of weight, measure, harmony, motion, and light.  He further states that all things that are done are governed by these mathematical “forces” as well.

According to the text all things seem to be formed by the proportion of numbers, and that this is the principle pattern in the mind of the Creator.  The state of all things depends on this pattern, and is continued by the uniting of numbers.  Time, motion and action and all things subject to time and motion, as well as harmony and voices, consist of numbers and their proportions.

Agrippa says that numbers are nothing but a repetition of unity, or the number one.  Unity contains all numbers joined together, it is the beginning of every multitude, and it is unchangeable.  Unity is also indivisible and void of all parts.  Agrippa says that all things proceed from unity or from the number one.  The reasoning for this given in the text is this: there is one god, one sun, one world etc.  Though he stated in the first book that the four/five elements are the beginning of all things and not one thing, he does say here that there is one element that overcomes and penetrates all, and that is fire.        

Musical Harmony is the most powerful imaginer of all things; it changes the affections, intentions, gestures, motions, and dispositions of all hearers.  Agrippa equates the imagination with the ability of judgment. So musical harmony can have an effect on all information within us and coming into us through our senses and can have the above mentioned effects.  He says that the very elements delight in music, and we are of course made up of the elements.  He further says that music is so powerful it has the ability to appease the mind, raise the spirits, stir soldiers to fight, refresh the weary and the traveler and call back those who are desperate (cause them to refrain from taking their own lives).

Henry Agrippa holds sound or music in very high regards.  He says that along the ideas of Plato and Pythagoras the heavens and all things consist by a harmonical composition.  To explain this, the editor uses a quote, “But for all of this, my most honored friends, methinks you have forgot the chiefest thing of all, and that which renders music most majestic.  For Pythagoras, Archytas, Plato, and many others of the ancient philosophers, were of the opinion, that there could be no motion of the world or rolling of the spheres without the assistance of music, since the Supreme Deity created all things harmoniously.” – Plutarch, On Music

The text states that the world and all celestial bodies have a soul.  Here Agrippa is using the word world to represent the universe though he does not always do so.  He further says that not only does the Soul of the World have a spirit soul, but it also partakes of the Divine Mind.

The world and everything in it naturally, has a soul.  The elements have a soul and are alive as we can see them nurturing and giving life to other things in the world.  In the text Agrippa talks about how no intelligent man can deny the life in the water and the earth, as these things are of the world and give life to all other things in the world.  They would have a soul simply by way of this life.  In this philosophy life and soul go hand in hand.

Agrippa says that the soul of the world is a certain one thing, filling all things, bestowing all things, and binding them together, as one framework.  The soul is as one playing instrument with many strings.  There is only one sound coming from the three voices of it, the intellectual, celestial and incorruptible, having only one breath and life.

The universal soul acts upon the particular soul, and the rational upon the sensual which then acts upon the vegetable soul.  The superior intellectual moves all that is inferior to it.  Celestial bodies move the elementary bodies from the outside in by superior, perpetual, and spiritual essences.  This happens depending on the primary intellect which is the acting intellect by the virtue infused by the word of God.  The Chaldeans of Babylon, according to Agrippa, called this word the cause of causes because from it all things are produced.  He further goes on to say that the word is the image of God, the acting intellect the image of the word, the soul the image of this intellect and our word the image of the soul.  The soul acts upon natural things naturally as this is nature.

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