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The following definitions are from the Theosophical Glossary by H. P. Blavatsky, unless otherwise noted or placed in square brackets.
Brothers of Light. This is what the great authority on secret societies, Brother Kenneth R. H. Mackenzie IX., says of this Brotherhood. “A mystic order, Fratres Lucis, established in Florence in 1498. Among the members of this order were Pasqualis, Cagliostro, Swedenborg, St. Martin, Eliphaz Lévi, and many other eminent mystics. Its members were very much persecuted by the Inquisition. It is a small but compact body, the members being spread all over the world.”
[Marsilio Ficino. Italian philosopher, scholar and Catholic priest. He was the chief instigator of the new Academy in Florence. He translated the Works of Plato and the Corpus Hermeticum into Latin, wrote commentaries on Platonic dialogues and a work on Platonic theology. He was instrumental in bringing about the Renaissance.]
Picus, John, Count of Mirandola [aka Pico della Mirandola]. A celebrated Kabbalist and Alchemist, author of a treatise “on gold” and other Kabbalistic works. He defied Rome and Europe in his attempt to prove divine Christian truth in the Zohar. Born in 1463, died 1494.
John Reuchlin. Nicknamed the “Father of the Reformation”; the friend of Pico di Mirandola, the teacher and instructor of Erasmus, of Luther and Melancthon. He was a great Kabbalist and Occultist.
Paracelsus. The symbolical name adopted by the greatest Occultist of the middle ages—Philip Bombastes Aureolus Theophrastus von Hohenheim—born in the canton of Zurich in 1493. He was the cleverest physician of his age, and the most renowned for curing almost any illness by the power of talismans prepared by himself. He never had a friend, but was surrounded by enemies, the most bitter of whom were the Churchmen and their party. That he was accused of being in league with the devil stands to reason, nor is it to be wondered at that finally he was murdered by some unknown foe, at the early age of forty-eight. He died at Salzburg, leaving a number of works behind him, which are to this day greatly valued by the Kabbalists and Occultists. Many of his utterances have proved prophetic. He was a clairvoyant of great powers, one of the most learned and erudite philosophers and mystics, and a distinguished Alchemist. Physics is indebted to him for the discovery of nitrogen gas, or Azote.
Jacob Boehme. A great mystic philosopher, one of the most prominent Theosophists of the mediæval ages. He was born about 1575 at Old Seidenburg, some two miles from Görlitz (Silesia), and died in 1624, at nearly fifty years of age. In his boyhood he was a common shepherd, and, after learning to read and write in a village school, became an apprentice to a poor shoemaker at Görlitz. He was a natural clairvoyant of most wonderful powers. With no education or acquaintance with science he wrote works which are now proved to be full of scientific truths; but then, as he says himself, what he wrote upon, he “saw it as in a great Deep in the Eternal”. He had “a thorough view of the universe, as in a chaos”, which yet “opened itself in him, from time to time, as in a young plant”. He was a thorough born Mystic, and evidently of a constitution which is most rare one of those fine natures whose material envelope impedes in no way the direct, even if only occasional, intercommunion between the intellectual and the spiritual Ego. It is this Ego which Jacob Boehme, like so many other untrained mystics, mistook for God; “Man must acknowledge,” he writes, “that his knowledge is not his own, but from God, who manifests the Ideas of Wisdom to the Soul of Man, in what measure he pleases.” Had this great Theosophist mastered Eastern Occultism he might have expressed it otherwise. He would have known then that the “god” who spoke through his poor uncultured and untrained brain, was his own divine Ego, the omniscient Deity within himself, and that what that Deity gave out was not in “what measure pleased,” but in the measure of the capacities of the mortal and temporary dwelling IT informed.
Robert Fludd. Generally known as Robertus de Fluctibus, the chief of the “Philosophers by Fire.” A celebrated English Hermetist of the sixteenth century, and a voluminous writer. He wrote on the essence of gold and other mystic and occult subjects.
Giordano Bruno. An Italian Dominican friar, philosopher, mathematician, poet, and astrologer.—Theosophy.wiki
Guillaume Postel. A French adept, born in Normandy in 1510. His learning brought him to the notice of Francis I., who sent him to the Levant in search of occult MSS., where he was received into and initiated by an Eastern Fraternity. On his return to France he became famous. He was persecuted by the clergy and finally imprisoned by the Inquisition, but was released by his Eastern brothers from his dungeon. His Clavis Absconditorum, a key to things hidden and forgotten, is very celebrated.
Tomaso Campanella. A Calabrese, born in 1568, who, from his childhood exhibited strange powers, and gave himself up during his whole life to the Occult Arts. The story which shows him initiated in his boyhood into the secrets of alchemy and thoroughly instructed in the secret science by a Rabbi-Kabbalist in a fortnight by means of notavicon, is a cock and bull invention. Occult knowledge, even when a heirloom from the preceding birth, does not come back into a new personality within fifteen days. He became an opponent of the Aristotelian materialistic philosophy when at Naples and was obliged to fly for his life. Later, the Inquisition sought to try and condemn him for the practice of magic arts, but its efforts were defeated. During his lifetime he wrote an enormous quantity of magical, astrological and alchemical works, most of which are no longer extant. He is reported to have died in the convent of the Jacobins at Paris on May the 21st, 1639.
Gaffarillus [aka Jacques Gaffarel]. An Alchemist and philosopher who lived in the middle of the seventeenth century. He is the first philosopher known to maintain that every natural object (e.g., plants, living creatures, etc.), when burned, retained its form in its ashes and that it could be raised again from them. This claim was justified by the eminent chemist Du Chesne, and after him Kircher, Digby and Vallemont have assured themselves of the fact, by demonstrating that the astral forms of burned plants could be raised from their ashes. A receipt for raising such astral phantoms of flowers is given in a work of Oetinger, Thoughts onthe Birth and Generation of Things.
Joseph Francis Borri. A great Hermetic philosopher, born at Milan in the 17th century. He was an adept, an alchemist and a devoted occultist. He knew too much and was, therefore, condemned to death for heresy, in January, 1661, after the death of Pope Innocent X. He escaped and lived many years after, when finally he was recognised by a monk in a Turkish village, denounced, claimed by the Papal Nuncio, taken back to Rome and imprisoned, August 10th, 1675. But facts show that he escaped from his prison in a way no one could account for.
Busardier. A Hermetic philosopher born in Bohemia who is credited with having made a genuine powder of projection. He left the bulk of his red powder to a friend named Richthausen, an adept and alchemist of Vienna. Some years after Busardier’s death, in 1637, Richthausen introduced himself to the Emperor Ferdinand III, who is known to have been ardently devoted to alchemy, and together they are said to have converted three pounds of mercury into the finest gold with one single grain of Busardier’s powder. In 1658 the Elector of Mayence also was permitted to test the powder, and the gold produced with it was declared by the Master of the Mint to be such, that he had never seen finer. Such are the claims vouchsafed by the city records and chronicles.
Cæsar. A far-famed astrologer and “professor of magic,” i.e., an Occultist, during the reign of Henry IV of France. “He was reputed to have been strangled by the devil in 1611,” as Brother Kenneth Mackenzie tells us.
Jérome Cardan. An astrologer, alchemist, kabbalist and mystic, well known in literature. He was born at Pavia in 1501, and died at Rome in 1576.
Gabriel de Collanges. Born in 1524. The best astrologer in the XVIth century and a still better Kabbalist. He spent a fortune in the unravelling of its mysteries. It was rumoured that he died through poison administered to him by a Jewish Rabbin-Kabbalist.
Jean Aimé de Chavigny. A disciple of the world-famous Nostradamus, an astrologer and an alchemist of the sixteenth century. He died in the year 16O4. His life was a very quiet one and he was almost unknown to his contemporaries; but he left a precious manuscript on the pre-natal and post-natal influence of the stars on certain marked individuals, a secret revealed to him by Nostradamus. This treatise was last in the possession of the Emperor Alexander of Russia.
Jean Chifflet. A Canon-Kabbalist of the XVIIth century, reputed to have learned a key to the Gnostic works from Coptic Initiates; he wrote a work on Abraxas in two portions, the esoteric portion of which was burnt by the Church.
Henry Khunrath. A famous Kabalist, chemist and physician born in 1502, initiated into Theosophy (Rosicrucian) in 1544. He left some excellent Kabalistic works, the best of which is the “Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom” (1598).
Selected Articles, Commentaries, etc.
- Giordano Bruno
- Giordano Bruno: A Martyr Theosophist
- Introductory Note to “Life of Giordano Bruno”
- Jacob Boehme
- Jacob Boehme and the Secret Doctrine
- Mystics and Mysticism in Christianity
- Paracelsus: Philosopher
- Paracelsus: Physician
- The Life and the Doctrines of Jacob Boehme, the God-Taught Philosopher
- The Life and the Doctrines of Paracelsus
- The Neoplatonic Revival
- [Did Paracelsus “give way to intemperance”?]
- [Notes from The Life of Paracelsus]