Page images

spirit, or the spirit in the power of fire, was mingled by its yearnings with the watery spirit, there proceeded from one and the same essence two sexes, one (the masculine) in a fiery, the other (the feminine) in a watery form" (Drei. Princ. 8, 43).


God effects this beneficent ministry especially through the sun, which, as a true image of the divine heart of love, governs the whole visible world, and restrains the fury of the dark world.

"The godhead, the divine light, is the centre of all life, and thus in the revelation of God the sun is the centre of all life" (Signat. 4, 17). "God the Father creates love from his heart; and thus the sun also indicates his heart. It is the outer world, the figure of the eternal heart of God, which gives strength to all existence and life" (Sign. 4, 39).

"God gave light to the outer world by the breath of his power, through the beams of his light, and governs with sun and moon in this world's being. All stars take their light and their splendour from the outpoured brilliancy of his light; and God adorns the earth by this light with beautiful plants and flowers, and thus gives joy with it to everything that lives and grows" (Gebot, 47).


This world has a special god of nature, namely, the sun. But he takes his existence from the fire of God, and this again from the light of God. Thus the sun gives the power to the elements, and these to the creatures and productions of the earth" (Sechs theos. Punkte, 4, 13).

"The abyss of hell is in this world; the sun is the only cause of water; and thus the space above the earth appears lovely, pleasing, soft, and delightful" (Dreif. Leben, 6, 6, 3, 61). Everything powerful of the holy world's essence lies concealed in the wrath and the curse of God, in the properties of the world of darkness; but it becomes green by the power of the sun, and by the light of outer nature, by the curse and wrath" (Myst. 21, 8).

*Besides the great dignity and importance which Böhme assigns to the sun, he also decidedly adopts the doctrine that he does not run round the world. “The sun,” he says (Aur. 25, 60), "has his own royal locus, and does not stir from the spot where he was created, although some are of opinion that he runs night and day round the globe."

As the sun governs the whole terrestrial world, he must, according to his essence and power, be present everywhere in it.

"The sun is not far from the water, for water has the sun's properties and essence; else water would not give the reflection of the sun. Although the sun is a body, it is also in the water, but not visibly. Nay, we see that the whole world would be mere sun, and locus of the sun, if God would kindle and reveal it, for all being in this world receives the rays of the sun" (Sechs theos. Punkte, 6, 10).

"If God were to kindle light by heat, the whole world would be mere sun; for the power in which the sun stands is everywhere, and before the time of the sun it was everywhere in the locus of this world as light as the sun is, not, however, as insupportable, but in a mild and gentle way" (Aur. 25, 63, 64).

* Formerly, our author maintains, "the whole world was as light as now only is the sun." Before her destruction, he means, there existed not that separation, that keeping-apart in the world, which by the penetration of the power of death must make itself visible in her. There existed already, then, all the details that we now remark in her; but the power of the full, unchecked life of every single being was participated in by all, so that all enjoyed such a fulness of life, and all lived in each other, none out of the other, only the higher included the lower, whilst the latter existed in the former. This manner of its being exists no more; but the separation could not in any way be an absolute one; and thus they are still powerfully united, and the strength of all is still contained in each individual. In this avowedly incomplete union and classification, as it exists in the lower world, we become aware of a real excitation of the one merely powerful force, through the other actual one, as, for instance, the sun in the water by the sun in the firmament. But once, at the end of time, will the splendour

of the sun, reinstated in its true essence, penetrate everything, and all the world become as light and clear as it was formerly. The separation in which the spirits of nature now stand shall be done away with, and the earth be taken up again into the ruling sun, from which, in consequence of the general destruction, she was repelled. "The earth," says our author (Myst. 10, 60, 62), "is in its place in the centre of the sun, but now no longer. Her king has fallen, and a curse now rests on her. But God has not rejected for ever the holy being, but merely the wickedness which was mixed up in it. So when once the crystal earth shall appear, what we have said will be fulfilled,-that her place is in the centre of the sun."

Even the firmaments are governed by the sun, and receive powers from him, which they then communicate to terrestrial things.

"The sun is the centre of the constellations, and the earth the centre of the elements. These two are opposite each other, like spirit and body, or like man and wife, in which it perfects its being, that is the moon, which is the wife of all the stars, but especially of the sun" (Myst. 11, 31). "As the stars, full of desire, attract the sun's power unto them, so also the sun penetrates powerfully into the stars, and thus they have their brightness from the power of the sun. But then the stars cast their kindled power, like

a fruit, into the elements" (Gnadenw. 2, 26).

* When Böhme fixes the earth as the centre of the elements, we are not of course to understand the outward earth, which is only to be looked upon as a product of the elements, but her inner essence, from which the elements, as well as the exterior earth herself, proceed, as may be found more exactly explained in "God and his Revelations," p. 186, ff.


Since the stars have their origin simultaneously in the world of light and in the world of darkness, not only good comes from them, but also that evil which is found in the terrestrial world.

"Good and evil are revealed in the constellations; for the wrathful, fiery power of eternal nature, as well as the power of the holy spiritual world, is revealed in them as an exhaled essence. Thus there are many dark stars, which we do not see, as well as many light ones which we see" (Myst. 10, 36).

"The evil like the good in all things comes entirely from the stars; as the creatures on earth are in their properties, so also are the stars" (Aur. 2, 2).

"Everything that lives and floats is awakened and brought to life by the stars; for these are not only fire and water, but they are hard and soft, sour and sweet, bitter and dark, -they possess, in fact, all powers of nature, and everything that is in the earth" (Dreif. Leben, 7, 48).

"The constellation is the cause of all wit; also of all order and government in the world; it is that which awakens to growth all plants and metals and trees. For everything lies in the earth which the constellation possesses; and the constellation kindles the earth, and all is one spirit together" (Ebend. 7, 48).

*As the spirit of this world in general acts on the earth as on mankind through the constellations, we need not be astonished at the great importance our author attaches to them, as he derives from them all outward art, all temporal order, etc.

"In comparison with the earth and the elements, the constellations stand as the higher, living, and at the same time masculine power."

"The stars are a quinta essentia, a fifth form of the elements and of their life (extending beyond the four elements") (Dreif. Leben, 7, 45).

"The starry heaven rules in all creatures, as in its own dominions; it is as the man, and the matrix or watery form is as the wife, who bears what the heaven makes" (Drei Princ. 7, 33).

"The upper desires the lower, and the lower the upper. The hunger of the upper is great to the world, and the world hungers for the upper. Thus both are towards each other as body and soul, or as man and wife" (Gnadenw. 5, 15).


It must, however, be said of the earth that she has a life. That is proved by her productions, as well as by her longing after the sun, by means of which she is constantly turned.

"If thou beholdest the earth and the stones, thou must say that there is life in them, else neither gold nor silver would grow in them, neither herb nor grass" (Aur. 19, 57).


Every being longs after the other, the upper after the lower, and the lower after the upper; for they are separated from each other. Thus the earth is full of hunger after the constellation, and after the spiritus mundi, so that she has no rest" (Clav. 110).

"The earth turns herself round, for she has in her both fires, the hot and the cold fire, and the lowest in her will always come up towards the sun, because from him alone she receives spirit and strength. On that account she turns ; the fire (i. e. the desire after light) turns her, for it wishes to be kindled and to have a life of its own. But as it must nevertheless remain in death, it has always the longing after the higher life, and attracts it, and opens its centre constantly for the sun's essence and fire" (Dreif. Leben. 11, 5).

* The spiritual contemplation of nature which prevails here forms a strong contrast to the more usual notion that the movement of the earth, of the planets, etc., is nothing more than a mechanical trick. But one might even here be too easily tempted to attribute an enthusiastic imagination to our author, to ward off which we refer to Aur. zu, § 19 and § 113. Moreover Böhme declares the constant turning of the stars and the earth to be only a consequence of the general destruction of nature through Lucifer's crime. The army of Lucifer," he says, in Aur. 15, 17, 53, "kindled the nitre of the stars and the earth, and half killed and destroyed it, so that they are forced by this conflagration of

« PreviousContinue »