Third Article In The Series

Doctor Robert Fludd (1574-1637)
By Sharon M.W.

The next book in the Macrocosmic History concerns the Pythagorean concept of the music of the spheres, or sound created by the movement of the heavenly bodies and which makes the universe one musical instrument. "Earthly music is only the faint `tradition of the angelic state, it remains in the mind of man as a dream of, and the sorrow for, the lost paradise.' The music is `produced from the impact upon the paths of the planets, which stand as chords or strings, by the cross travel of the sun from note to note, as from planet to planet.'" (Craven, 72)

Fludd illustrates his point with a diagram of a sphere covered by an instrument with only one chord. The sun is the center of the picture. The different circles represent the issuance of the different notes. To each member of each realm, is assigned a note, Low G for earth up through gg for the highest division of the angelic world.

Later in the Microcosmic History Fludd continues this concept to show that the same Divine Harmony influences the interior of the "anima humana." The Microcosmic reflection of the Threefold Division, or Holy Trinity, is made complete by the heavenly music of the Divine Essence which illuminates the opaque body and creates a harmony between body and soul and makes it complete.

The next part of the treatise concerns the creatures of the angelic and ethereal worlds. In the angelic world, there are nine "good" daemons* in the hierarchy -- Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Princes, Archangels and Angels. The creatures of the Ethereal world are light, stars, planets and spirit.

Lucifer has his own nine orders with named princes: Beelzebub, Python, Belial, Asmodaeus, Satan, Meririm, Abaddon, Astaroth and Mammon. This implies the concept of correspondences between the lower and upper worlds. In other words, we do not turn our back to an evil earthly life and rise up to purely positive higher realms by a simple act of will. Rather, according to the dominant note within our natural, intelligent and spiritual self, we correspond to the country of which we are citizen. The return to the palace of light is by the mystical process of purification.

Fludd then describes the "Anima Mundi." As man has a soul, then must the macrocosmos have a soul. "This `supreme intelligence' is of `an angelicall nature'; `God is all, and in all, and above all, and that in Him are all things, and in His spirit and word all things consist. God is in everything that existeth, seeing that from Him, by Him, and in Him are all things.'" (Craven, 74)

This concept of the "Anima Mundi", the soul of the world soul, brought Fludd a great deal of criticism and accusations of being a heretic, as we will see later. However, what is interesting about the Plate, The Ptolemaic Universe III which depicts the Anima Mundi is that it is very similar to a description in Chapter 12 of the Book of Revelations: "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars."

The third chapter deals with the origin and diversity of the Macrocosm, and Fludd uses an image that is repeated later. "The sun, Fludd considers, is the centre and fountain of all life, all heat proceeds from it, and there has God placed His tabernacle. It must have a center, and there God dwells. Divine power issues forth from the sun. Thus `the heavens declare the glory of God.' The sun is full of essential divinity, and took its origin when the light, which was expansed over all the heavens in place of the sun, was in the fourth day of creation." (Craven, 76)

Placing the tabernacle of God in a position that is more spiritual, less material than the earth, yet more material than the outer planets raised a few questions. Fludd compensated this issue by referring to the Sun as a second home, as it were, for God. Later, in defending many of his ideas, he notes in like manner that God works through secondary causes.

An illustration that is referred to as The Central Sun depicts concentric circles of the elements of Fire, Air, Water and Earth and in the center is the Sun. "Fludd derived this image from an alchemical experiment which he witnessed performed by a friend, and describes in detail the battle of elements which was reproduced in the vessel. At the end, he says, they extracted from the centre of the mass a `solar substance', a precious gem `like Lucifer fallen from heaven.'" (Godwin, 25)

Perhaps this experiment is reflected in Fludd's alchemical interpretation of Creation. "After the three stages the `darkness of the lower region was treble after ye second heavens perfection.' The resultant chaos therefore contains the three true elements (fire, humidity and earth) and from them proceed the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. This mystical alchemical account of Genesis also explains the major concentric spheres of our world." (Debus, 39)

The first part of "Historia" ends with treatments of the elemental world, mostly inanimate such as minerals, metals, plants and vegetables.

The second part of "Historia Technica" was published in 1618, a part of which concerns the universal arithmetic in eleven books. In 1619, the "Tomus Secudus" of the "Historia" was issued. It is divided in three tracts. The visual of the title shows a naked youth in the center of a circle and represents the Microcosm.

The work begins with a prayer of gratitude to God for His mercy and kindness, God the incomprehensible creator of man. Fludd calls upon man to worship and praise God, for from God man was imbued by the breath of life. "`Tu Solus, Tu Ter Maximus, O Jehova.' He is God, whose ineffable name shall be blessed forever.' The power of Jehova was one of the deepest realizations of Fludd." (Craven, 87)

Fludd then looks to the cause of discord in creation. "Although God, in the most Holy Trinity, is the original of concord, the Devil, on the other hand, is the parent of discord. Thus the strife between concord and discord produced between light and darkness. From this discord, introduced into the heavenly music and perfect progression of the spheres, has come the fear of death, the fall of Adam. Hence, bad is taken for good, hence the love of the world and vanity, hence the hatred of God, the Creator." (Craven, 92)

However, the pure soul can rise and be guided by the rays of wisdom to discern the path of rectitude. "The divine architect who formed the universe, made man equally perfect and complete, the image of His own greatness. The circle of existence was made complete. The circle of existence which formed the worlds, formed man...what perfection the world received, that also did man receive. Heaven and earth have their counterparts in the body and soul of man. As the universe is one, so body and soul are one. Thus man is properly called the image of God--the other man, regularly proportioned, can be bounded by a circle, at the centre of which are the organs of reproduction. Thus, is man the `mundus minor.'" (Craven, 93)

As a microcosm, man reflects the Threefold nature of Divinity in terms of reason in the head, feeling in the heart and the means by which they emanate, so that the reason and feeling ultimately form a single unity by virtue of the third power. Further, as the Sun is the Tabernacle of God and mid-region of the macrocosm, so the heart is the Tabernacle of man and his center. Our heart then can become to us our personal and immediate pathway, awareness and realization of God's presence within us.

The soul of man is united with the Deity and various physical attributes are related to the angelic world. For this reason, " contradistinction to the lower creatures, he lifts his head ascertaining man's position as microcosm, he is to face the east." (Craven, 95)


Craven, J.B. Doctor Robert Fludd, William Peace & Sons 1902

Debus, Allen Robert Fludd and His Philosophicall Key, Neale Watson Academic Publications, Inc. 1979

Godwin, Joscelyn Robert Fludd, Hermetic Philosopher and Surveyor of Two Worlds, Thames & Hudson Ltd. 1979

*daemons: In Greek methology, any of the secondary divinities ranking between the gods and men.

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