Marsilio Ficino * Angela Voss (2006)

It has been quite a while since I studied Renaissance esotericism. A while ago I reread a book of Yates and decided to see what is available nowadays. I noticed this “Western esoteric masters” series of North Atlantic Books and ordered four of them. I plan to read them chronologically (by birthdate), so I started with Ficino (1433-1499). I have read some things about and of Ficino already, but the series offer anthologies of different authors. Of Ficino Angela Voss presents parts of his letters and parts of books such as On Obtaining Life From The Heavens, Three Books On Life and The Book Of The Sun. The lenghty and interesting introduction of Voss suggests more esoteric content than I read in the texts myself. Ficino seems to be mostly a philosopher (neoplatonic) with indeed some esoteric edges, but overall too philosophical to me. A lot of stress is laid on Ficino’s ambigious nature on astrology. He both seems to put a lot of faith in it, but otherwise says he does not because he might fall victim to the witchhunt. Ficino also proposes some kind of ‘natural magic’ with which with certain requirements the force of heavenly bodies can be used by man. Ficino brings this under the guide of medicine though. Astrology remains a Leitmotiv in the texts that were chosen. This 250 page book (not all in the series have that length) was a nice read, but I think I hoped for something more interesting.
2006 North Atlantic Books, isbn 9781556435607

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