Hidden Intercourse, 7-10


The Mystical Eroticisms of Marsilio Ficino and Giordano Bruno

Wouter J. Hanegraaf

175 to 207

p. 175 Renaissance tractates of love

"The literary and philosophical phenomenon of the Renaissance trattati d'amore

began with the publication in 1484 of Marsilio Ficino's highly influential De Amore ...

and found an impressive culmination in Giordano Bruno's De gli eroici furori ... in 1585."

p. 175, fn. 1 -- authors, between the time of Ficino and that of Bruno, of Italian love-tractates




Pico della Mirandola

Commentary on Benivieni's Canzone d'amore


Mario Equicola

Libro di natura d'amore


Leone Ebreo

Dialoghi d'amore

ca. 1502

Pietro Bembo



Francesco Diacceto

Tre libri d'Amore; Panegirico d'Amore


Baldassare Castiglione

Il libro del Cortegiano


Sperone Speroni

Dialogo di Amore


Giuseppe Bertussi

Il Raverta


Francesco Sansovino



Bartolomeo Gottifredi

Specchio d'amore


Tullia d'Aragona

Della Infinita` di amore


Benedetto Varchi

Le lezzioni


Pompeo della Barba

Spositione d'un sonetto platonico


Flaminio Nobili

Trattato dell'amore humano


Torquato Tasso

Conclusioni amorose


" "

Il forestiero napoletano


Francesco de' Vieri



Niccola Vito de Gozze

Dialoghi della bellezza


Annibale Romei



p. 177 [material] body is to be understood through soul (and not reversewise)

"For Renaissance platonists is is axiomatic that the intellect is at the top and the body at the bottom of the ontological hierarchy or great chain of being, and what is lower in the hierarchy can only be understood with reference to what is higher; hence it would be wholly absurd to suggest that the body and what pertains to the body could be the basis and starting point for understanding things that pertain to the soul or intellect -- in fact, the latter are guaranteed to be misunderstood from such a perspective.

{The material-body will greatly lead to misunderstanding of soul; the astral-body will lead sightly to misunderstanding of soul; the mental-body with lead to meager understanding of soul; the causal-body will lead to copious understanding of soul.}

That very "absurdity," however, is essential ... to Freudian psychoanalysis".

{Freudism is a deceitful and a delusive fraud, constructed by an agent of the ruling-class so as, by a divide-and-conquer scheme, to control the working-class by turning that social class against itself, causing even family-members to become paranoidly suspicious of each other.}

p. 180 the 2 Aphrodite-s

"Ficino's interpretation of the Platonic notion of "two Aphrodites," ... defended by Pausanias in the second speech of the Symposium" :-

the 1st Aphrodite

the 2nd Aphrodite



"in the Angelic Mind"

"in the World Soul"

"a stranger to matter"

"the power of procreation"

"understanding the Beauty"

"procreating the same beauty in bodies"

"the splendor of divinity in herself"

"transfers sparks of that splendor into the Matter of the world"

p. 180, fn. 18 "Note ... in De Amore VI,5, Ficino ... introducing a third kind of "Venereal daemon," that comes in three variants according to whether they belong to the element of fire, of the "purest air" or of "thicker and cloudy air.""

p. 181 the Platonic "scale of perfection" which Sokrates learned from Diotime

[quoted from Platon : Sumposion 210e-211b] "And now ..., there bursts upon him that wondrous vision which is the very soul of the beauty ... . It is an everlasting loveliness

which neither comes nor goes, which neither flowers nor fades,

for such beauty is ... the same then as now, here as there, this way as that way,

the same to every worshipper as it is to every other.

... his vision of the beautiful ... will be ... subsisting of itself by itself in an eternal oneness,

while ... it will be neither more nor less, but still the same inviolable whole."

{Such qualities as "everlasting ... neither more nor less, but still the same inviolable whole" would typify (in physics) conservation-principles, whereof the "oneness" would qualify universality (application to the universe as a whole).}

pp. 184-93 homosexual buggery/sodomy

(a long discussion of the strong evidence for homosexuality on the part of Marsilio Ficino)

{The author hath, however, assiduously evaded that fact that homosexual buggery/sodomy was (and is) a pervasive practice in cloistered Catholic monasteries (wherever monks be hindred fom visiting prostitutes); and that such must have been the actual model for Marsilio Ficino's behaviour.}

{Whereas, homosexual Catholic (the kind who bugger altar-boys) priests boldly praevaricate mendaciously, persistently denying their own egregiously homosexual behaviour; yet in antient Hellenic society such matters were discussed openly. Therefore, in Catholic society a male homosexual who would wish to discuss his own doings openly could be forced to refer to antient Hellenic models -- and that is very apparently how the Renaissance got underway in Italy(perhaps with <arabi encouragement, for <arabi erotic treatises often discuss and advocate male homosexuality).}

pp. 199-204 Giordano Bruno's Eroici Furori [p. 200, fn. 85 : "Bruno originally planned to call his book Canticle, in reference to the Song of Songs ... . ... For an excellent analysis of the Song of Songs ..., see Walsh, Exquisite Desire."]

p. 199

"The true lover is not foolishly tormented by a passion for a woman, but by a "heroic" passion for the divine." [fn. 83 a desire for "not women but, in the guise of women, ... nymphs, ... goddesses and of celestial substance."]

p. 200

"the Eroici Furori ... naturally fall into three parts :

chapters 1-4 contain ... commentaries on a series of sonnets,

chapters 5-7 consist of ... commentaries on emblems ..., and

chapters 8-10 are three "allegorical fictions" in the form of a dialogue between the eyes and the heart, a story ..., and finally a conversation between two women".

"Of central importance in Bruno's symbolic universe is the "cruel and beautiful" goddess Diana, for she is responsible for the "sweet pain" of ... never-satisfied love :

[quoted from Eroici Furori I:3] "... the soul ... is consumed by so much zeal, ... that it burns in so noble a fire."" [lit. : "that it is so nobly aflame" [ch sia nobilment'accesa] (fn. 87)]

p. 201

fn. 86 : "It seems reasonable to speculate ... that Bruno's convictions about heroic love may have played a significant part in his decision not to revoke his heresies, and thus suffer the consequences of death at the stake." {If so, he was a saintly martyr for the True Faith of implicit trust in Classical Hellenic goddesses (especially in Artemis).}

p. 202

[quoted from Eroici Furori II:1 (2nd emblem)] "the substantial, original, and primal beauty ... must lead ... my soul to an imitation, a conformity, and participation in that worthy and most lofty light into which I am transformed and with which I am united. ... . ... my true divinity ... I ... honor ... to offer sacrifices to it, ... my affection ... intent upon what is higher."

"Central to Bruno's text is the myth of Actaeon, the hunter who in the depths of the woods chances upon the naked goddess Diana while she is taking her bath. ... Diana ... is "... the nature which is in things, the light shining through the obscurity of matter." [Eroici Furori II:2 (13th emblem)] ...

Bruno describes how Actaeon, the prototype of the heroic lover, has moved beyond this world and yet remains in it :

p. 203

[quoted from Eroici Furori II:2 (13th emblem)] ... he becomes [silvan/silvatic ""salvatico," i.e. wild, untamed, undomesticated" (fn. 92)] as a deer ...; he lives like a god beneath the towering forest, in the ["non-artificial" (fn. 93)] rooms of the cavernous mountains, where he ... converses most freely with the divinity".

"In the final dialogue we learn how the enchantress Circe has given them a vase of water ... which she says will perhaps be opened one day ... . If and when that ever happens, the blind men will behold "the two most beautiful stars in the world," ... and meet the "beautiful and gracious nymphs of Father Thames," but ... the nymphs pass

p. 204

the vase around, and finally one of them ... effortlessly opens the vase and thus restores sight to them :

[quoted from Eroici Furori II:5] ... the nine ... saw the twin suns ... which alone could show them the image of the supreme good on earth". [fn. 96 ""twin suns" always refer to the eyes."]

Carey Ellen Walsh : Exquisite Desire. Minneapolis, Fortress Pr, 2000.


... Sexuality and Gendre in Latin Alchemy

Lawrence M. Principe

209 to 229

p. 210 sequences of emblems in books of al-chemy

"In ... Von den grossen Stein der uhralten Weisen (... the Twelve Keys) of "Basil Valentine," ... the emblems appeared for the first time only in the 1602 second edition ... .

In ... Lambspringk's De lapide philosophorum, the emblems carry ... only ... short texts in verse.

... the famous Mutus liber contains a long series of pictorial engravings and only a single line of text ... .

There are ... in ... the 1617 Atalanta fugiens of Michael Maier ... fifty beautiful ... emblems. [fn. 4 : "for an analysis of the origins of elements of the emblems, see de Jong ... ."]

But ... the Chymisches Lustga:rtlein and Johann Daniel Mylius' Philosophia reformata ... amass and co-opt a wide miscellany of emblems from quite diverse (and often easily identifiable) sources."

de Jong = H. M. E. de Jong : Michael Maier's Atalanta fugiens. Leiden : Brill, 1969.

p. 218 states of the practitioner

"Jung claimed that alchemy deals ... primarily ... with psychic states of the practitioner,

{Actually, the "states of the practitioner" which can be transmuted are (according to Chinese occultism) the subtle-bodies of the practitioner (accessible during dreaming, and in the afterdeath realm during the inverval of time between successive incarnations into material-bodies).}

and that alchemical imagery is a manifestation ... populated by "archetypal images."

{That imagery is populated by a variety of deities, who are in control of [especially] the material universe.}

p. 218 living minerals

"the historian of religions Mircea Eliade, takes the alchemical imagery quite literally, reading from it a ... world-view where inorganic substances like metals do actually live, grow, and reproduce."

{More accurately, the indwelling elemental-spirits of the minerals are animate-sentient divinities. (This is somewhat similar to the fact that it is the soul indwelling in a mortal's material-body that is sentient, and not the material-body itself.)}

p. 223 an al-chemical parable employed by George Starkley

"Bernard [of Trier] grows sleepy, and accidentally drops a golden book (the prize from his disputation) into the fountain, drains the fountain to retrieve the book, ... to find it covered in clouds. Bernard concludes by writing that "in this my parable the entire work ["of making the {Philosophers'} Stone"] is contained, in ... days, colors, regimens, methods, managements, and connections.""


Probing Women and Penetrating Witchcraft

Allison D. Coudert

231 to 280

p. 241 Feast of Fools

"the Feast of Fools" : "During this mock religious ceremony ..., a Pope of Fools was chosen -- a ... fool, cripple, or madman -- who presided over a service that parodied the Mass. ... The members of the congregation, many of whom were dressed as priests and nuns, danced and sang licentious songs ... . ... At the conclusion of the "Mass," the congregation ... formed a procession, danced, leaped about, sang, and exhibited themselves indecently. Some stripped naked." (R&HW)

R&HW = M. Bakhtin (transl. by H. Iswolsky) : Rabelais and His World. Harvard U Pr, 1968.

p. 243 witches capture [subtle-body countreparts of] men's genitalia

[quoted from MM, p. 267] "those witches ... sometimes collect male organs,as many as twenty or thirty members together, and put them in a bird's nest or shut them up in a box, where they move themselves like living members and eat oats ..., as has been seen by many as a matter of common report".

MM = Kramer & Sprenger (transl. by Montague Summers) : Malleus Maleficarum. London : Arrow Bks, 1971.

p. 253 semen virile is produced in the brain of the male

"In the Timaeus (90e-91d), Plato remarks that semen is produced in the brain and descends to the penis via the spinal cord. ...

The Zohar contains explicit descriptions of the physiological process through which he semen flows from the brain, through the body, and into the female." [fn. 64 : "see Biale ..., ch. 5."]

Biale = David Biale : Eros and the Jews. NY : Basic Bks, 1992.

p. 255 authority vested in women, according to the Bible

"Catherine Schu:tz, the wife of the Strassbourg reformer mathew Zell, had the temerity to quote Galatians 3:28 and Joel 2:28-29 to the very Bishop who told her to be silent".

fn. 71 "the Apostle Paul told women to be silent in church. I would remind ... of the word of [t]his same apostle that in Christ there is no longer male nor female and of the prophecy of Joel : 'I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh and your sons and your daughters will prophesy." Cited in Douglass, ... 307."]

Douglass = Jane D. Douglass : "Women and the Continental Reformation". In :- Rosemary R. Ruether (editrix) : Religion and Sexism. NY : Simon & Schuster, 1974.


Sensuous Relation with Sophia in Christian Theosophy

Antoine Faivre

281 to 307

{N.B. Devotion to goddess Sophia is usual and traditional in Eastern Orthodox countries, especially in Bulgaria (whose capital city is even named "Sofia").}

p. 283 Johann Georg Gichtel (1638-1710)

"After ... his city of Ratisbon ..., Gichtel came to live in Amsterdam in 1668 ... . ... he was the first editor of Boehme's "complete works" in 1682; and he wrote 838 letters which were edited in six volumes by his disciple Johann Wilhelm U:berfeld under the title Theosophia Practica (plus a seventh volume which contains his biography by U:berfeld)."

fn. 10 "Theosophia Practica (... Th.P.)" : "The pagination is continuous throughout the first six volumes ... . For good overviews of Gichtel, see ... Versluis, Wisdom's Children, 29-38 ...; Versluis, Wisdom's Book, 129-139 ...".

Arthur Versluis : Wisdom's Children. Albany ; State U of NY Pr, 1999.

Arthur Versluis : Wisdom's Book. St Paul (MN) : Paragon House, 2000.

pp. 283-7 Gichtel's relationship with goddess Sophia

p. 283

"In a letter of 1701 he explained ... Sophia ..., namely "the mirror of Eternity in which the Spirit has seen from Eternity all his works in Fire and

p. 284

Light," she has the brilliance of a burning candle and is the celestial substantiality (Wesenheit), the very corporality ... brought from Heaven and infused into Maria. ...

Her presence permeated and pervaded the created world (the skies, the plants and flowers, the metals, etc.). ...

{This ("presence") is actually a traditional description of the S^kinah -- it would needs have been borrowed from a rabbinical source.}

p. 285

When all doors are closed by the "locks of darkness,"

{the "dark night of the soul", in the jargon of St. John of the Cross}

we have an efficient weapon against the spiritual ... hardships of our life by using our "strong Imagination," and then we will experience in what a friendly way she will take "her man ...{the user of that Imagination}" in her arms and kiss him. If the Imagination is properly Love-oriented,

a flash of lightning will burst forth within our soul, which will in turn engender a light spreading over our senses. ...

[fn. 22 : "This image of a flash of lightning giving birth to light is to be found already in Boehme ... . This mytheme element was to be felicitously taken up again by Franz von Baader (... U:ber den Blitz als Vater des Lichts)."]

Then, once united with Sophia, man retrieves his prelapsarian state and enters a Paradise in which he enjoys his five senses in a most extraordinary, albeit "interior" way; he tastes, feels,

p. 286

smells, sees, and hears Sophia even better than a husband does with his cherished wife. ...

Indeed, his friend and disciple U:berfeld informs us that in 1673, on Christmas day, Gichtel, who was praying intently, found himself surrounded by a dark cloud which transformed itself into a white one within which Sophia appeared to him in person "in the form of a virgin." She embraced the fire of his soul and "married him." ... The sweetness was ineffable, but ... it is not appropriate, he writes, to discuss what happens in the marriage bed. ...

Her language was "interior," {viz., telepathic} without any "exterior" words. It had no sounds and could not be compared to any human tongue, but he was able to understand it" (ThP, vol VII -- Gichtel's biography by U:berfeld --, p. 146).

{This is fairly typical of telepathic flying-saucer contactee-communications.}

p. 287

Gichtel "assures us that her [Sophia's] feelings toward humans are stronger than those of a fiance'e toward her affianced : she is in love with "the Fire of our soul," so much so that she suffers from not being loved enough. [ThP, p. 1221]

Indeed, so strong is her desire that she "runs towards us, with fire in her eyes, in her heart, in her arms, out of breath."" (ThP, p. 2614)

p. 288 praegnancy of, & birth-giving by, the adept

"Gichtel tells his correspondents that they can feel it within themselves when Sophia has made them praegnant, followed by a period of labor which makes them suffer until the child, the "little boy," is born" (ThP, p. 2616).

{In Taoist accounts, two deities, the female White Tigress and the male Blue Dragon, while both residing within the body of the adept, engage in sexual intercourse, and when the White Tigress giveth birth (yet within the body of the adept), the resultant progeny ascendeth into Heaven.}

pp. 289-90 Engelsbru:der

p. 289

"Gichtel's followers, who went under the name of Engelsbru:der (Angelic Brethren, or Brethren of Angelic Life), were intent upon retrieving the state of ... perfection lost by Adam. ...

Enthusiastic as they were over Sophia, they would ... dance and sing ... . Each of them were {was} keen "to get a sweet kiss" from her. [ThP, vol. VII, p. 180] They ...

{cf. similar to H.asidic behaviour toward the S^kinah Matro^nit}

p. 290

even tried "to rush into the bedroom of the bride."" (ThP, vol. VII, p. 181)

p. 292, fn. 62 the incarnation of goddess Sophia, in Eva von Buttlar (1670-1721)

"Eva founded in Allendorf an der Werra the ... Philadephian Society, ... and she ... was Sophia herself, and/or the second Eve ... .

... a physical {sexual} union with "Mother Eva" (Eva von Buttlar) was ... a part of the practices of the society".

pp. 292-3 the apparition of goddess Sophia to Jane Leade

p. 292

"Jane Leade was granted an apparition of the Divine Wisdom in April 1670, and this reoccurred several times subsequently. The first time Sophia appeared almost {but without a praeceding dark cloud} as she had

p. 293

to Gichtel, "in the midst of a most bright cloud."

At first she ... promised ... :

[Leade : The Laws of Paradise, quoted from Versluis : Wisdom's Book, p. 143] Behold! I am God's Eternal Virgin Wisdom, whom thou hast been enquiring after : I am to unseal the treasures of God's deep Wisdom unto thee ...; for ... thou shalt be brought forth after the manner of a spirit, being conceived and born again."

pp. 300-1 the apparition of goddess Sophia to Gichtel, as recorded by U:berfeld

p. 300

[quoted from ThP, vol VII, pp. 142-3] "one day, at the end of 1673 (it was Christmas, in the morning ...), when he had been kneeling down and had been intently praying ..., ... After a black cloud had first been opened [to him], from [another one, which was] white, there appeared the noble

p. 301

heavenly Virgin Sophia ..., with a transfigured face. [She appeared to him] face to face, as his faithful companion and playmate ... . ... Thereupon, she married the fire of his soul, [she married him] as her man of the fire. ... And even had he written whole books thereon, they would not have expressed the inexpressible sweetness ..., and anyhow, it is not done to blather about what has happened in the marriage-bed."


ARIES BOOK SERIES, Vol. 7 = Wouter J. Hanegraaf & Jeffrey J. Kripal (edd.) : Hidden Intercourse : eros and sexuality in the history of Western esotericism. Brill, Leiden, 2008.