The Scottish Rite Journal is published bimonthly by the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, United States of America, Washington, DC.
TRACING BOARDS ARE TRAINING DEVICES. IN THE EARLIEST days of speculative masonry
the master, using chalk, would sketch designs on the floor of the lodge before
the meeting. Then he would talk about the drawing during the meeting. (It may be
that early in the history of the speculative masonic order all meetings
were "masonic education.") It is my belief that the capacity to draw
masonic diagrams, such as those we will consider, and to speak of them in
philosophical terms was one of the qualifications of a master in the early days
of the Craft. However, that sort of preparation was a time-consuming, laborious,
and difficult task; and in time the hand-drawn diagram was replaced by a floor
cloth on which the "standard designs" were ready to be talked about.
Floor cloths (sometimes referred to as the "Master's Carpet") occupied
significant space in the lodge, however; and during the course of the 18th
century, as the ritual became increasingly better developed and more important,
the standardized drawings seem to have been transferred (at least in England) to
the "Tracing Boards:' one board for each degree, which are pictures that
encapsulate the symbols of each of the degrees.
tracing boards to which we will refer in this paper are English, and they are
shown in color in figures 1, 2 and 3. They were drawn by a mason named J. Harris
who apparently did many of these designs. They date from the 1820s and 1830s
which means they incorporate the symbolic structure of masonry as it was agreed
during the Reconciliation of the English grand lodges in 1816. Thus, these
boards (which are the ones that are in most common use today) are the product of
a good deal of evolution. On occasion we shall have to refer to an earlier form
of the symbolic structure. In those cases we will refer to the frontispiece from
Stephen Jones' Masonic Miscellanies, 1797, which is fairly typical of
masonic symbolism in the latter part of the 18th century, before the
reconciliation of the grand lodges, and is shown in figure 4.
is a great deal of material here. If we were to undertake a comprehensive study,
we might easily require a small volume on each tracing board. Why? Because
tracing boards, like the lectures in our American lodges, are not lessons in
themselves. They are references to a vast body of literature and philosophical
doctrine which is at the core of Renaissance [i]
thought. Someone who really wants to understand the tracing boards (and, I
think, masonry itself) must read into and understand those doctrines. It is from
the perspective of Renaissance thought that this paper will seek to explore the
symbolism of masonic tracing boards
must preface my remarks by stating specifically and unequivocally that the ideas
presented are my own. They do not represent the attitudes or teachings of any
grand lodge or constituent lodge. If I fail to identify an idea as my opinion,
it is to prevent clumsy repetition of "It seems to me". Furthermore,
simply because these are English tracing boards, do not assume that contemporary
English masonry spends all of its time in philosophical speculation.
is the branch of philosophy which deals with God, with first principles, with
the nature of being, and with the implications of those things which are, as the
word implies, "beyond physics". In many respects it has become a
"dirty word". In the context of the positivism which is fashionable
today, to say something is "metaphysical " is to say that it is
incapable of proof. That, from the contemporary point of view, is to say that it
is meaningless. [ii] This was not always the
case. Until the beginning of this century, almost all philosophy in the West had
a strong orientation toward the Deity, and metaphysics was an important field.
Metaphysics seeks to describe the structure of that part of the universe which
is beyond the range of physical observation. It also deals with the manner in
which the Deity is understood to operate in the process of creating and
maintaining the universe. There are many metaphysical systems in use throughout
the world; for the last 2,000 years those in the West have been dominated by a
metaphysics based on some variant of Judeo-Christian monotheism. The Renaissance
was no exception to this dominance, although it was also characterized by a
strong neo-Platonic influence and by a revival of interest in the classical
world (in particular the Greek and Roman civilizations) and its thought.
scholars had been interested in classical philosophy from the point of view of
reconciling it to Christian doctrine. Renaissance thinkers were interested in
classical philosophy for what it said about man, himself. These Renaissance
philosophers incorporated a good many Greek (particularly neo-Platonic) and
Jewish mystical ideas into their orthodox Christian thought. The first of these
influences came principally from a body of writing called the Hermetica
which originated in Alexandria sometime near the start of the Christian era. The
Hermetica seems to be a form of early Egyptian philosophy with a heavy
overlay of Hellenized Judaism and Christian thought; and it has been shown to
have had substantial influence on the formation of early Christian doctrines. [iii]
The second of these influences came from Kabbalah, the mystical tradition of
Judaism, which was dispersed throughout the Mediterranean basin by the expulsion
of the Jews from Spain in 1492. Frances Yates has called this fusion of
classical and Jewish philosophy the "Hermetic/Kabbalistic Tradition", [iv] and after it had been
interpreted in the context of orthodox Christian doctrine, it was fundamental to
the thought of the early Renaissance. [v]
Thus the metaphysics of the Renaissance represents as close to a
"general" statement of western metaphysics as we are likely to find.
Speculative masonry dates from the end of the Renaissance (the mid-to-late 17th
century), and it seems to me that masonic symbolism reflects this Renaissance
fundamental ideas seem to characterize this philosophical view. First, the Deity
was considered to be limitless. This resulted in a view of all existence as a
single, tightly integrated unity centered on the Deity. A particularly clear
statement of this comes from the Hermetica: " ...for God contains
all things, and there is nothing that is not in God, and nothing which God is
not. Nay, I would rather say, not that God contains all things, but that,
to speak the full truth, God is all things." [vi]
Spinoza wrote the same thing in 1677 (although he had arrived at his conclusion
by a very different method). [vii]
Second, earthly experiences reflected events in the heavenly realms; the
succinct statement of this is, "As above; so below." This epigram is a
consequence of the integrated view of the world. In a universe regarded as a
single, consistent, and Divine Entity, there must be a correspondence between
that which occurs in the higher (heavenly, causal) levels and that which occurs
at the lower (earthly) ones. [viii]
Third, knowledge of the "higher", or more subtle, aspects of the
Universe was available only by personal experience (i.e. by one's own
revelation); certainly not by logical argument, nor, ultimately, by faith in the
authority of another's revelation. [ix]
I will suggest that masonic symbolism, as represented on the tracing boards,
reflects these principles of the world view of the Renaissance.
THE FIRST DEGREE TRACING BOARD
the First Degree tracing board (figure 1). This drawing, which seems at first
glance to be an heterogeneous collection of masonic objects, is actually a
coherent picture. It is, in fact, a representation of God, the Universe, and
Everything. It is also a picture of a human being standing in a landscape.
Neither of these images is immediately obvious; but I hope I can argue
convincingly that they are, at least, reasonable interpretations of the data.
central idea which was fundamental to Renaissance thought was the unity of the
system and the consequent omnipresence of the Deity. For me, this idea is
represented on the First Degree board by a group of three symbols which are
called, collectively, the "Ornaments of the Lodge': The fact that the
masons who formulated our symbolism gathered these three objects into a single
group seems to require that we consider them together and in relationship to
each other. The ornaments of the lodge are the "Blazing Star or Glory, the
Chequered Pavement, and the Indented, Tessellated Border"; and I will
suggest that they are all intended to refer to the Deity. The Blazing Star or
Glory is found in the center of the picture. We can be sure that it is not a
representation of what astronomers today would call a "stellar
object." Stellar objects (stars} are to be found with the Moon in the upper
left of the picture. In fact, the Blazing Star or Glory is a straightforward
heraldic representation of the Deity. If you are in the United States while
reading this article, you will be carrying a similar representation with you at
the moment. You have only to reach into your pocket, pullout a Dollar bill, and
examine the obverse of the Great Seal of the United States. You will see the
Deity represented there in the same manner. The Blazing Star or Glory, shown on
the First Degree board in the heavens, represents the Deity as It is, in
all Its Glory, as It projects Itself into existence. The Chequered Pavement
represents the Deity as It is perceived to be at the opposite pole of
consciousness, here on Earth in ordinary life. The light and dark squares
represent paired opposites, a mixture of mercy and justice, reward and
punishment, passion and analysis, vengeance and loving kindness. They also
represent the human experience of life, light and dark, good and evil, ease and
difficulty. But that is only how it is perceived. The squares are
not the symbol; the Pavement is the symbol. The light and dark squares
fit together with exact nicety to form the Pavement, a single thing, a unity.
The whole is surrounded by the Tessellated Border which binds the drawing into a
single symbol. In this representation on the tracing board, the Border binds not
simply the squares of the Pavement, but the entire picture, into a unity. The
Tassels can be thought of as representing Divine agency which operates
throughout the whole.
in the case of the Glory, which stands alone, the idea of duality occurs
throughout the board: from the black and white squares at the bottom to the Sun
and Moon, an ancient symbol for the paired opposites of masculine and feminine,
at the top. In the central area of the board duality is represented by two of
the three columns; but here, as we rise from the fixed duality of the elemental
existence in the physical world, the third column introduces anew idea. The
striking thing about these columns is that each is of a different Order of
Architecture. In masonic symbolism they are assigned names: Wisdom to the Ionic
Column in the middle, Strength to the Doric Column on the left, and Beauty to
the Corinthian Column on the right. How shall we interpret these Columns and
their names? As we have seen, one of the principal components of Renaissance
thought was Kabbalah, and, in particular, it was the Sephardi Kabbalah which
spread throughout the Mediterranean area with the expulsion of the Jews from
Spain in 1492. During the renaissance several very significant books were
written on the subject of Kabbalah. [x]
The principal diagram which is used by Kabbalists to communicate their ideas is
the "Tree of Life" which is shown in figure 5. [xi]
The column on the right is called the "Column of Mercy" and is the
active column. That on the left is called the "Column of Severity" and
is the passive column. The central column is called the "Column of
Consciousness"; it is the column of equilibrium with the role of keeping
the other two in balance. When the tree is used to represent a model of the
universe, groups of ideas such as revelation, expansive growth, and passion are
associated with the right (active) column. Groups of ideas such principled
understanding, disciplined containment and restraint, and
classification/analysis are associated with the left (passive) column. Ideas and
agencies relating to consciousness which keeps the active and passive forces in
balance are found on the central column. The three columns all terminate in
(depend upon) Divinity at the top of the central column. Look again at the
columns on the First Degree tracing board (figure 1). The Corinthian Pillar of
Beauty is on the right, and in the classical world the Corinthian Order was
thought to be suitable for buildings dedicated to vigorous, expansive
activities. The Doric Pillar of Strength is on the left, and the Doric Order was
used for buildings housing activities in which discipline, restraint, and
stability were important. The Ionic Pillar of Wisdom is in the middle. The Ionic
Order is recognized as an intermediate between the other two and was used for
Temples to the rulers of the gods who coordinated the activities of the
pantheon. The three pillars, like the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, speak of a
universe in which expansive and constraining forces are held in balance by a
Universe as it was perceived [xii]
by the Renaissance philosophers consisted of "four worlds".
The Hermetica describes such a division with each of the four
worlds associated with one of the "elements". [xiii]
Kabbalah has the same division as figure 6 indicates . [xiv]
They are the "elemental" or physical world, the "celestial"
world of the psyche or soul, the "supercelestial" world or spirit, and
the Divine world. We can see that these same levels are represented on the First
Degree board (figure 1). The four levels are more obvious if we remember that
the symbol is taken from a time when people believed in a geocentric universe
with earth at the center and heaven beyond the stars. The Pavement represents
the "elemental", physical world, the central part of the Board
including the columns and most of the symbols, represents the
"celestial" world of the psyche or soul, the heavens represent the
"supercelestial" world of the spirit, and the Glory, as we have seen
before, represents the Divinity. Thus
far we have considered how this picture can be understood as a representation of
the structure of the universe as it was conceived by the intellectual community
in the Renaissance. That is the "landscape." Where is the man?
that one of the ideas which was fundamental to Renaissance thought was the
concept of a Macrocosm (seen as the universe as a whole) and a corresponding
Microcosm (seen as the human individual). The idea is that the universe and
human beings are structured using the same principles, both having been made
"in the image of God"; and that in the course of events there is
always a correspondence between activity in the greater and lesser worlds. This
is a necessary consequence of the principle of "Oneness." We have seen
that in the Hermetica, "As above, so below" sums up this idea;
and it was stated in great detail in England in the early 17th century by Robert
Fludd in his History of the Two Worlds. [xv]
far we have not spoken of one of the principal features of the board, the
Ladder. On Harris' First Degree board it extends from the Scripture open on the
Pedestal to the Glory which represents the Deity; and in masonic symbolism, it
is said to be Jacob's Ladder. We consider the ladder together with another
symbol, the Point-within-a-Circle-Bounded-by-Two-Parallel-Lines, seen on the
face of the Pedestal which supports the Scripture. Why should we consider these
two symbols together? Look at the frontispiece from Masonic Miscellanies
(figure 4). As in many early masonic drawings the ladder and the circle bounded
by parallel lines appear together as if they have some connection. Consider the
two parallel lines first. They, like the Doric and Corinthian columns, represent
paired opposites, active and passive qualities. Why? Because in masonic
symbolism they are associated with the Saints John, and the Baptist's Day is
Mid-Summer, and the Evangelist's Day is Mid-Winter. In the English constitution,
which has de-Christianized its symbolic structure, the lines are said to
represent Moses (the Prophet) and Solomon (the Lawgiver); substantially the same
idea. The ladder with its "three principal rounds", faith, hope, and
charity, rises to the heavens between the two parallels.
when we look at this Point-within-a-Circle-Bounded-by-Two-Parallel-Lines
together with the Ladder and its three levels, we see a pattern very similar to
the three columns. There are three verticals, two of which relate to active and
passive functions while the third, the Ladder, reaches to the heavens and
provides the means "by which we hope to arrive there." [xvi]
The ladder, which I think is a representation of individual consciousness, has
"three principal rounds" or levels, represented by faith, hope and
charity ( they are so labeled in figure 4) which correspond to the three lower
levels of the four level Universe we observed earlier. Both the Macrocosmic
"Landscape" and the Microcosmic "Man" share the same source,
the fourth level of Divinity, represented by the Blazing Star, or Glory. Taken
together the Ladder and the Point within a Circle represent the human
individual, made "in the image of God", according to the same
principles on which the Universe is based.
is one more idea we should touch on before we leave the First Degree board, A
mason is sometimes called "a traveling man" and one of the masonic
catechisms gives us a little insight into this seldom used epithet.
Did you ever Travel?
My forefathers did.
Where did they travel?
Due East and West,
What was the object of their travels?
They traveled East in search of instruction, and West to propagate the
they had gained. [xvii]
the cardinal points of the compass on the border of the First Degree tracing
board (figure I); they define the east-west direction as it is to be understood
in terms of masonic symbolism, and in doing so they make some comment about the
nature of the journey which the new mason apprentices himself to undertake. That
journey from west to east is represented, symbolically, by the progress through
the masonic degrees; and it is, in fact, the ascent up Jacob's Ladder, one of
the "Principal Rounds" for each degree.
notion of a "mystical ascent" was part and parcel of the Hermetic/Kabbalistic
Tradition. It is a devotional exercise during which the individual rises through
the worlds of the soul and the spirit and at last finds himself experiencing the
presence of the Deity. Reuchlin describes such an ascent in De Arte
another can be found in the Hermetica. [xix]
Some of these ascents are deeply Christian in their character. In De Occulta
Philosophia, Agrippa "rises through the three worlds, the elemental
world, the celestial world, the supercelestial world... where he is in contact
with angels, where the Trinity is proved" , , the Hebrew names of God are
listed, though the Name of Jesus is now the most powerful of all Names". [xx]
us look now at how these ideas are represented in the Second Degree. We will
find that the Second Degree tracing board is a detailed drawing of a part of the
first. Of what part? Of the man who was standing in the landscape.
THE SECOND DEGREE TRACING BOARD
the Second Degree tracing board (figure 2). The first thing that stands out
about the Second Degree board is that it is an illustration of an interior. This
is a marked contrast with the previous board which seems to bean exterior.
Moreover, the drawing is designed in such a way as to suggest that the mason who
embarks on the Second Degree comes from the outdoors and enters the building for
that purpose. The depiction of an "ear of corn by the fall of water"
suggests a situation of natural maturation and fruition which enables the
individual to do that.
next striking thing about the board is the fact that here (once again) we have
two columns (also, as we will see, representing opposites) with a ladder (it has
become a staircase) between them. That is why I think this is a detailed drawing
of the "person" we saw in the previous drawings. What all this
suggests is that the individual who embarks on the Second Degree, having learned
the general philosophical lessons in the first, is about to undertake some
interior journey. The idea certainly fits with the Renaissance view which, as we
have seen, considered the approach to the Deity to be an interior journey, an
ascent in consciousness, through the soul and spirit.
masonic lectures assign characteristics to these two pillars which suggest they,
also, represent paired opposites: first, they are said to be a memorial of the
Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire that guided the Children of Israel (by
day and night, respectively) during the Exodus; and second, on their tops they
have representations of the Celestial and Terrestrial Spheres. [xxi]
Like Jacob's Ladder on the First Degree board, the staircase forms the central
column of this "three pillar model". The mason is expected to
"climb" this symbolic staircase in the course of his life as he does
symbolically during the ritual; and the masonic symbolism sets out a curriculum
for him which will facilitate that ascent. This particular drawing shows fifteen
steps, as do all of the Second Degree boards drawn by Harris that I have seen.
Personally, I am inclined to think that the fifteen steps are an innovation.
Earlier tracing boards and masonic Diagrams show the staircase with only seven
steps. The seven step staircase shown in the frontispiece to Masonic
Miscellanies (figure 4) is typical. I do not suggest that these early
diagrams omit any of the material related to the fifteen steps with which
contemporary masons are familiar. Rather, the masonic lectures suggest that
there are only seven steps, with the three included in the five, and the five
included in the seven. [xxii]
we have seen, the literature of the Renaissance is replete with mystical
ascents, and it seems to me, that the staircase outlines seven stages through
which one must pass on such an interior journey. Masonic lectures relating to
the Staircase associate a good deal of information with each of the various
steps; specifically, the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences are related to the
seven steps and the Five Classical Orders of Architecture are related to the top
five. These subjects comprised the formal educational curriculum of the
Renaissance, and there is a large body of literature associated with each. The
intent of that curriculum was certainly to teach the metaphysics we have
outlined above and to give the student an orientation toward the sort of
contemplative intellectual work we are discussing. If we consider the staircase
to be a representation of levels of consciousness through which the individual
must ascend, we can see that the symbol refers the mason to information about
each step, or level of consciousness, through which he must pass along the way.
The masonic explanation of the staircase also associates the seven officers of
the lodge with the seven steps and three principal characters from masonry's
traditional history with the three highest steps. That association assists in
the understanding of progress through the positions of the officers of the lodge
and in the interpretation of some masonic legends.
staircase leads to a room called the Middle Chamber where masons were said to go
to receive their wages. Briefly, in that interior room (interior to the mason
himself) the individual is able to see a representation of the Deity. He also
has access to the Perfect Ashlar. A perfect ashlar is a building stone which has
been completed and is ready to be placed in the building. It is found in the
Middle Chamber "for the experienced Craftsmen to try and adjust their
jewels (tools) on". [xxiii]
I don't want to devote a great deal of space to the working tools, but masons
will recognize that the Fellow craft's tools are tools of measurement and
testing, that all measure against absolute criteria, that two of them measure
against criteria which are opposite one another, while the third defines the
relationship between the other two. Given an environment in which paired
opposites are held in balance by a coordinating agency, those tools of a Fellow
craft seem to me to be a functional model of morality. Tools of morality,
together with the perfect ashlar, a standard against which to calibrate them
(conscience), all found in an interior Middle Chamber (within the mason's own
being), seem to me to be a pregnant idea. All this happens in the verY1'lace
where one "receives his wages"; that is, where he gets what he
deserves. The fact that all this takes place within one's own being is
certainly worth thinking about.
notice the "sun" at the top of the picture in figure 2. It is inside
the building. Now the sun does not usually appear inside buildings, and the
image suggests that masonic "light" is an interior illumination. All
this gives an interesting insight into the attitude and intent of the people who
formulated this "beautiful system of morality".
THE THIRD DEGREE TRACING BOARD
this Third Degree tracing board (figure 3), the image probably does not refer to
physical death. During the Renaissance (as in most periods of christian
history), there was a good deal of discussion among the intelligentsia about the
nature of the biblical story of "the Fall of man" and its effect. [xxiv]
To them "the Fall" seems to have referred to some event by which human
beings, who were at one time conscious of the Divine Presence, lost that
consciousness. One of their conclusions was that ordinary human life, as lived
on a day-to-day basis ( that is, after the Fall) is "like death" [xxv]
when compared to human potential and to a life lived in the conscious awareness
of the presence of God. It seems to me that one interpretation of the grave
suggests such a "death" to be our present state. The acacia plant
growing at the head of the grave suggests first, that we are like vegetables
when compared to our potential; and second, that there is a spark of life which
can be encouraged to grow. In this sense the plant refers to the possibility of
regaining our original Divine connection.
view of the Temple shows "King Solomon's Porch" which is said to be
the entrance to the "Holy of Holies." In the picture the veil is drawn
back a little offering a glimpse into that chamber where the Deity was said to
reside. This suggests that, at the end of the journey from West to East, some
process analogous to death enables the individual to experience the presence of
the Deity. After this process has occurred, he lives once more at his full
potential. Again, I think this refers neither to a physical resurrection after
physical death nor to a life after physical death; both of which are the
concerns of religion. It seems that this refers to a psychological/spiritual
process which can occur within any devout individual who seeks it earnestly, and
which I believe it to be the business of Freemasonry to encourage. After all we
claim to be Freemasons, and this is the Truth the knowing of which ((make(s) you
OF THE COMPASS
saw earlier that masons traveled "Due East and West". "They
traveled East in search of instruction, and West to propagate the knowledge they
had gained" as the lecture in the First Degree has it. Notice that on this
board the cardinal points of the compass have been reversed, and West is now at
the top where East was on the First Degree board. This suggests that the master
mason (master in fact, not simply master in titular rank), the individual who is
represented by the symbolism depicted here, has changed his orientation and
started his westward journey. It is a journey involving the teaching and
charitable nurturing of those who follow-with all the obligations that implies.
of the ideas presented in this paper may seem to be a little bit abstract. They
may seem to be interesting, perhaps; but not of great practical value. I would
like to suggest an historical perspective. The way of thinking which I have
outlined by the use of masonic symbolism is a profoundly noble view of
humankind. It was the very core of the European thought about human beings for
more than 300 years. At the end of that period, in the late 1600s and early
1700s, a great many very interesting things occurred in Europe; two of them are
related directly to human individuals. First, in Northern Europe (initially in
England and Holland), we observe for the first time a form of government which
we can call "democracy." The Greeks conceived of the idea, but nobody
ever carried it off until this attitude toward mankind had prevailed for 300
years. Second, in the same geographical area and at the same time, we observe
that the governments of Europe consciously abandoned the use of torture as an
instrument of policy. Two very significant events.
ideas about the nature of human beings have been lost from our contemporary,
very materialistic society; perhaps, because the Craft has, in fact, stopped
teaching them. Maybe these ideas about human beings are worth thinking about,
perhaps even worth teaching again.
I am using the term "Renaissance" in a particular way; as
reference to a body of thought which defines the period, rather than as the
historical period itself. Thus Martin del Rio, a Jesuit and a
Counter-Reformation writer who lived in the late 16th and early 17th centuries
and wrote very critically of the philosophers considered here, would not
qualify as a "renaissance thinker" in the context in which I am
using the term. Del Rio's thought belongs still to the traditional thinking of
the Church and to the Counter Reformation rather than to the thought which
characterized the Renaissance.
This situation may be changing under the influence of contemporary research
into certain problems of modern physics. Some of this scientific work has a
distinctly "neo-Platonic" flavor. See David Bohm, Wholeness and the
Implicate Order (London: Ark, 1983).
Hermetica, trans. w. Scott (Boston: Shambhala, 1993), pp. 14-5.
Frances A. Yates, The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age (London:
RKP, 1979), Introduction, p. i.
It was subsequently repudiated by Counter-Reformation writers.
[vi] Hermetica, LIBELLVS IX, p.
[vii] B. Spinoza, Ethics,
Hermetica, the Emerald Tablet.
I. Reuchlin, De Arte Cabalistica (1517; reprint'Univ. Nebraska Press,
Lincoin, i993), Book Two, for example.
E.g. Reuchlin, and H.C. Agrippa, De Occulta Philosophia, ed. Donald Tyson,
(Antwerp, 1531; reprint St. Paul, Minn.: Llewellyn, 1993).
For an accessible introduction to Kabbalah see Zev ben Shimon Halevi, Adam and
the Kabbalistic Tree (Bristol, England: Gateway, 1974).
This word is chosen carefully. They conceived of the Universe as a highly
integrated unity; they perceived it (as incarnate humans do) as having this
Hermetica, Stobaeus, Excerpt XXIV, p. 495
Halevi, p. 28 Renaissance literature is not uniform in this respect. A
hierarchy is generally present, but some authors describe "three
worlds" and seem to lump Divinity and spirit together.
Robert Fludd, Utriusque Cosmi, Historia (Oppenheim, De Bry, 1617-9).
Emulation Ritual, First Lecture, Fourth Section.
[xvii] Emulation Ritual, First
Lecture, Second Section.
I. Reuchlin, Book Three p. 277 The ascent described by Reuchlin is
achieved by means of contemplation of the Divine Name and Seventy Two verses
selected from the Psalms.
Hermetica, LIBELLVS I, p. 129 is an example of a seven level ascent in an
Frances A. Yates, p.63
Emulation Ritual, Explanation of the Second Degree tracing board.
[xxii] Emulation Ritual, Second
Lecture, Fourth Section.
Emulation Ritual, First Degree tracing board.
Reuchlin, Book One, pp. 70-3.
For a good presentation of this concept, as well as an introduction to the Art
of Music as it was understood as part of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences,
see Hildamare Streich, Music, Alchemy and Psychology in Atalanta Fugiens of
Michael Maier. This essay can be found in Michael Maier, Atalanta Fugiens,
trans. & ed. I. Godwin (Grand Rapids, Mich: Phanes, 1992), p. 80.