The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 5

The Fifth Chapter

Of the Five Senses
Love-fire (Venus)

1. The fifth form or Property is the Love-desire, viz. the holy Life, or the displayed Light-fire; which is awakened or raised up in the wrathful consuming Fire; that is, it receives its Lustre and Shine from the Fire; a Similitude whereof we have in all outward Fires: Where we see that the Light arises in the Fire, but yet has far another Source than the Fire. For the Fire is painful, but the Light is meek, pleasant, lovely, and yields Essence.

2. The Fire causes Light, and Air; and out of the Air comes the Water by Reason of the Meekness of the Light; for the Lubet to the Fire is mortified in the Fire-blaze; and so that which is mortified in the Fire is a meek Essence, yet it is only a Spirit: But when it proceeds from the Fire in the Light, it coagulates, and is the Death of the Fire; whereby the Fire goes out; But if it be of a spiritual Nature, it is the Food and Refreshment of the Fire: And we see plainly that every burning Fire puts forth an Air, and out of the Air a Water; which Air and watery Spirit the Fire draws again into itself, for its own Life and Lustre. Else, if it cannot have it, it is soon extinct, and goes out; that is, it smothers; for the Air is its Life, and yet it begets the Air.

3. Thus likewise we are to consider of the divine Being; how the eternal Understanding Of the Abyss introduces itself into the Byss and Essence; viz. into an eternal Generation and Devouring, wherein the Manifestation of the Abyss consists, and is an eternal Love-play; that the Abyss so wrestles, sports, and plays with itself in its own conceived [or amassed] Byss; it gives itself into the Something, and again takes the Something into itself, and thence brings or gives forth another Thing. It introduces itself into a Lubet and Desire; moreover into Power, Strength, and Virtue, and mutually produces one Degree from the other, and through the other, that so it might be an eternal Play and Melody in itself.

4. And this we are to consider of in the fifth Form of Nature : When the Powers of the eternal Word or Understanding are made manifest through the eternal Spiritual Fire, in the eternal Light of the Majesty (that each Power or Property is manifest in itself, and enters into a Feeling, Tasting, Smelling, Hearing, Seeing Essence; which is effected through the Fire, where all Things become spiritful, quick and full of Life) even then one Property enters mutually into another, for they are all proceeded out of one, viz. out of the Free Lubet. Therefore also this Free Lubet is yet in all, and they all jointly desire to enter again into this Free Lubet, viz. into the One; and there, when one tastes, smells, feels, hears, and sees the other in the Essence, they embrace each other in their holy Conjunction; wherein then the real Divine Kingdom of Joy consists; so likewise the growing and flourishing Life of this World, as may be understood by way of Similitude in the Seven Properties, and the Light and Power of the Sun.

5. The divine Kingdom of Joy in the Heaven of God (viz. in God manifested in his expressed or Spirated Essence, as I might speak it to the Understanding) consists in the Love-desire, viz. in the Power which has manifested itself through the Fire in the Light: for the Fire gives to the Meek Free Lubet, Essence and Source, that it is severized, and moved, and becomes a Kingdom of Joy.

6. And thus we are to consider of the Darkness; whatsoever is a desiring Love in the Light, wherein all Things rejoice and melodize in Love, that in the Darkness is an Enmity; for the Fire is cold, and burning hot in the Darkness; moreover, bitter, astringent, compunctive; the Properties are wholly rigorous and full of Enmity and Opposition. They seek not the One, but only the Advancement of their own Might; and the greater their Elevation and Inflammation, the greater is the Joy in the Light [Kingdom of Joy].

7. That which is good and holy in the powerful Light [Light of Power], that in the Darkness is anxious and adverse; the Darkness is the greatest Enmity of the Light, and yet it is the Cause that the Light is manifest : for if there was no Black, then White could not be manifest to itself; and if there was no Sorrow, then Joy also would not be manifest to itself.

8. Thus the Joy triumphs in itself, that it is not as the Sorrow; and the Sorrow triumphs in itself, that it is a Might and Strength of the Fire, and Light. Hence arise Pride, and Self-will; because the Dark Fire's Might gives the Essence and motive Source to the Light; which did so affect and move King Lucifer, that he exalted himself in the Root of the Fire to rule and domineer over the Fire and Light, and therefore was cast out of the Light into Darkness, and the Light withdrew from him.

9. Therefore understand us well here what Hell and the dark World, or the Anger of God is; of which the holy Scripture speaks plainly, that there is an Hell; that is, a Gulf of Desperation, or Pit void of the Hope of God and all Good. Now we are not to understand it to be any local Place apart, but it is the first Ground to the Eternal Nature; the Place is between the Kingdom of God and this World, and makes a peculiar Principle, dwelling in itself, and has neither Place, nor local Abode; and it is every where, but inhabiting itself only, and yet it gives Essence to the Light and Outward-world; that is, it is the Cause to the Source, viz. the Fire, and is the whole Being of all God's Beings.

10. In the Darkness he is an angry zealous God; and in the Fire Spirit a consuming Fire; and in the Light he is a merciful Loving God; and in the Power of the Light he is especially, above all other Properties, called God. And yet it is all but God manifested; who manifests himself through the Eternal Nature in ingredient Properties. Else, if I would say what God is in his Depth, then I must say that he is wholly without Nature and Properties; being an Understanding, and Original, of all Beings; the Beings are his Manifestation; and thereof we have only Ability to write, and not of the unmanifested God, who also were not known to himself without his Manifestation.

The Original of Life
Jupiter

11. The sixth Property of Nature, and of all Beings, arises also out of all the Rest, and is manifest in the Fire through the Light in the Love-desire; it is Nature's Understanding, Voice, Sound, Speech, and all whatsoever sounds, both in Things with Life and without Life; its true Original is from the astringent Desire or Impression of the first, second, and third Form, whence the Motion and Hardness arise: The Essence of the Coagulation is consumed in the Fire, and from the Devouring proceeds such a Spirit, both according to the Property of the Light, in the Love, and according to the annoying hateful Source, and anxious Property, in the Darkness; and this we are thus to understand.

12. Each Spirit desires Essence after its Likeness. Now there proceeds forth no more but one Spirit from the Fire (which is a spiritual Understanding, that is, the Manifestation of the Understanding of the Abyss or God) which does re-conceive itself in the Love-desire, and forms itself in the Properties of the Powers. And this mutual Intercourse, Consent, and intimate intire Assimulation one with another, is the pleasant Taste of Love.

13. But that which is conceived in the Love-desire, where the Desire does again coagulate the Powers, and introduce them into Forms, viz. into a substantial Spirit, where the Powers are able manifestly to move and act, that (I say) is now the natural and creatural Understanding which was in the Word, as it is said, 'In him was the Life, and that Life was the Light of Men' [John 1].

14. This Harmony of Hearing, Seeing, Feeling, Tasting, and Smelling, is the true intellective Life; for when one Power enters into another, then they embrace each other in the Sound, and when they penetrate each other, they mutually awaken and know each other; and in this Knowledge consists the true understanding, which is innumerable, immense, and abyssal, according to the Nature of the Eternal Wisdom, viz. of the ONE, which is ALL.

15. Therefore one only Will, if it has divine Light in it, may draw out of this fountain, and behold the Infinity, from which Contemplation this Pen has wrote.

16. Now there belong to the manifest Life or Sound of the Powers, Hardness and Softness, Thickness and Thinness, and a Motion; for without Motion all is still. And yet there can be no clear Sound without the Fire's Essence, for the Fire first makes the Sound in the Hardness and Softness.

17. Also there could be no Sound without a Conception, and therefore all Forms belong to the Sound : 1. The Desire makes Hardness. 2. The Compunction moves. 3. The Anguish does amass it into an Essence, for Distinction. 4. The Fire changes in its devouring the Grossness of the first amassed Essence into a Spirit or Sound. 5. Which the Desire does again receive in its Softness and Meekness, and forms it to a Voice, Tone, or Expression, according to the Powers. 6. And what is conceived or formed is the vital Sound, or distinct Understanding [or the articulate Knowledge of all Sounds, Voices, Powers, Colours, and Virtues in Nature and Creature.]

18. This is now the manifested Word, which in itself is only One Power, wherein all Powers are contained. But thus it manifests itself through the Eternal and Temporal Nature, and puts forth itself in Forms, for its Expression; for the formed Word has the like Might in it as to reproduce its Likeness, viz. such Being as the Birth of the Spirit is.

19. In the Light of God, which is called the Kingdom of Heaven, the Sound is wholly soft, pleasant, lovely, pure, and thin; yea as a Stillness in reference to our outward gross Shrillness in our pronouncing, speaking, sounding, singing, and chanting; as if the Mind did play and melodize in a Kingdom of Joy within itself, and did hear in a most intire inward Manner such a sweet, pleasing Melody and Tune, and yet outwardly did neither hear or understand it: for in the Essence of the Light all is subtile, in Manner as the Thoughts play and make mutual Melody in one another. And yet there is a real, intelligible, distinct Sound and Speech used and heard by the Angels in the Kingdom of Glory; but according to their World's Property. For where the Sound is gross, harsh, and shrill, there it is strong in the dark Impression; and there the Fire is vehement and burning; as we Men after the Fall of Adam have so awakened and enkindled the Fire of the dark World in our Vital Essence, that our vital Sound is gross, and Beast-like, resembling the Abyss. And the like is to be understood of the Sound in the Darkness; for as the Generation of the Word is, in its Manifestation in the Light, in the holy Power, so also in the Darkness, but altogether rigorous, harsh, hard, and gross. That which gives a pleasing Sound, and lovely Tune in the Light, that makes in the Darkness a dull, harsh, hideous Noise, void of any true Sound: And this proceeds from the Essence of the astringent, hard, compunctive, anxious Generation, viz. from the Original of the Coldness, or cold Fire's Source.

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