The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme

(1575-1624)

Jacob Boehme

Chapter 6

The Sixth Chapter

Of the Essence of Corporality
The Seventh form of Nature.
Luna (Moon) and Saturnus.
Beginning --- End.

1. We acknowledge that God in his own Essence, is no Essence, but only the alone Power or the Understanding [or Original] to the Essence, viz. an unsearchable Eternal Will, wherein all Things are couched; and the same is ALL, and yet is only ONE, but yet desires to manifest itself, and introduce itself into a spiritual Essence, which is effected in the Power of the Light, through the Fire in the Love-desire.

2. But yet the true divine Essence (understand Essence, and not the Spirit of God) is nothing else but the Understanding manifested, or the Formation of the Powers; and it consists in the Desire, that is, in the Love-desire, where one Power does experimentally and knowingly taste, smell, feel, see, and hear another, in the Essence and Source of the Property; whence the great ardent longing Desire arises. In these Properties the manifested God is understood, as in a fiery Flame of Love-desire, wherein there is a mere pleasing taste, sweet-breathing Smell, ravishing Melody, lovely and delightful Seeing, smiling and friendly Aspect, a gracious Delight, Pleasure, or Feeling: And yet it is only a spiritual Essence, where the Powers only (which have introduced themselves through the Impression into Property, and manifested themselves through the Fire in the Light) do mutually, as in a Love-play, wrestle with, and in one another, like a pleasant Song, or pregnant Harmony, or Kingdom of Joy. This is now the Spiritual Essence of God manifested; [and] how the powerful All-essential Word does manifest itself in its own peculiar Generation, wherein the melodious Play of the divine Wisdom is understood.

3. But if we would speak of the heavenly or divine Essentiality, wherein the divine Powers introduce themselves again into formations more externally, then we must say, that the Powers of the formed and manifested Word do again, in their Love-desire, introduce themselves into an external Essence, according to the Property of all the Powers; wherein they, as in a Mansion, may act their Love-play, and so have somewhat wherewith and wherein mutually to play and melodize one with another, in their wrestling Sport of Love; and this is thus to be understood.

4. As a Mineral Power lies in the Earth, and is enkindled by the Sun, whereby it begins to stir and spring, and becomes desirous of the Powers of the Sun, and attracts them into it; but in this longing Desire it amasses itself and forms itself to a Body, viz. a Root, or the like; from which Root, there grows forth in this hungry Desire such a Body, or Herb, as the first Power was; thus likewise the manifested Powers of God form themselves into an external Degree; viz. into an Essence, or Corporality; to speak in reference to the Spirit; whereas we must only understand a Spiritual Essence, but yet Corporeal or Essential, in reference to the Spirit of the Powers; as the Water is a thicker Substance than the Air; for the Air penetrates the Water. The like is to be understood concerning the divine Powers and Essence.

5. The Powers stand manifest: in an oily Property; but the oily is manifest in a watery Property; therefore the Essence of the divine Powers consists in a Spiritual Water, viz. in the holy Element, whence this World with the four Elements (as a Degree more external) was brought forth and created into a Substantial form.

6. And in this holy Element, or Spiritual Water, we understand holy Paradise, in which the manifested Powers of God work; which holy Element in the Beginning of this outward World did penetrate, and pullulate through the four Elements; in which Power there grew such Fruit, wherein the Vanity of the Wrath was not manifest; which Man negligently lost; so that the lively Buddings of the holy Element through the four Elements and the Earth ceased : for the Curse of Vanity was manifest, and did effectually work and spring forth out of the Earth.

7. Thus by the seventh form of the Eternal Nature we understand the Eternal Kingdom of Heaven, wherein the Power of God is Essential; which Essence is tinctured by the Lustre and Power of the Fire and Light; for the Lustre of the Spiritual Fire and Light, is the Working-Life in the Spiritual Water, viz. in the holy Element; for this Water (being the amassed or congealed Essence of the divine Powers) is moving. But yet it is as an Essence void of Understanding in reference to the divine Powers; for it is a Degree more external, as every Substance or Body is inferior to the Spirit. The oily Essence is the Spirit of the Water, viz. of the watery Spirit, and the manifested Powers of God are the Spirit of the Oil or oily Spirit; and the Eternal Understanding of the Word is the Beginning of the manifested Powers; and one Degree goes forth mutually from another; and all Essence [Or Beings] is nothing else but the manifested [revealed or expressed] God.

8. When we consider what Kind of Life, Motion, and Dominion was before the Times of this outward World, in the Place of this World, and what Eternity is, then we find that it was and is to Eternity, such a Life, Motion and Dominion, as is above-mentioned.

9. The outward World with the four Elements and Stars is a Figure of the internal Powers of the Spiritual World, and was expressed or breathed forth by the Motion of God (when he moved the internal Spiritual World) and amassed by the divine Desire of the inward Powers, and introduced into a creatural Being, both out of the internal spiritual dark World, and also out of the holy Light World.

10. This outward World is as a Smoak, or vaporous Steam of the Fire Spirit and Water Spirit, breathed forth, both out of the holy, and then also out of the dark World; and therefore it is evil and good, and consists in Love and Anger, and is only as a Smoke or misty Exhalation, in reference and respect to the spiritual World; and has again introduced itself, with its Properties, into forms of the Powers, to be a Pregnatress; as is to be seen in the Stars, Elements and Creatures, and likewise in the growing Trees and Herbs. It makes in itself, with its Birth, another Principle or Beginning; for the Pregnatress of Time is a Model or Plat-form of the Eternal Pregnatress; and Time couches in Eternity; and it is nothing else, but that the Eternity, in its wonderful Birth and Manifestation in its Powers and Strength, does thus behold itself in a form or Time.

11. And now as we acknowledge that in the spiritual holy World there is an Essence, viz. a comprehensive Essence, which consists in the Spiritual Sulphur, Mercurius, and Sal in an oily and watery Byss, wherein the divine Powers play, and work; so likewise in the dark World there is such a Property, but altogether adverse, odious, opposite, spiteful, envious, bitter, and compunctive : It has also Essence according to [or of] its Desire, but altogether of a fell, raw, indigested, watery Nature, wholly sharp and harsh, like to the Property of the rough hard Stones or wild Earth; of a cold and scorching, dark and fiery Property; all which is a Contrariety to Love; that so it might be known what Love or Sorrow is.

12. That the Fullness of Joy might know itself in itself, the keen Tartness of the Source must be a Cause of the Joy, and the Darkness a Manifestation of the Light; that so the Light might be manifestly known, which could not be in the ONE.

13. But to answer the Reader's Desire briefly and fully concerning the seven Properties of the Eternal Nature, which make three Principles, or Worlds, I will (out of Love for the Sake of the Simple) once more set down the Forms in brief, as an A, B, C, for his further Consideration and Meditation.

I. Form. Astringent; Desire.

14. Lo! the Desire of the Eternal Word, which is good, is the Beginning of the Eternal Nature, and is the Congealing of the Eternal Nothing into Something; it is the Cause of Essences; also of Cold and Heat; so likewise of the Water and Air; and the Formation of the Powers; and a Cause of the Taste, a Mother of all Salts.

II. Form. Bitter; Compunctive.

15. The Motion of the Desire, viz. the Attraction, is the other form of Nature, a Cause of all Life and Stirring; so also of the Senses, and Distinction.

III. Form. Anguish; Perception.

16. The Anguish, viz. the Sensibility, is the third form, a Cause of the Mind, wherein the Senses are moved and acted.

IV. Fire; Spirit; Reason; Desire.

17. The Fire is a Cause of the true Spiritual Life, wherein the holy Powers of the Free Lubet are delivered from the astringent, undigested Roughness; for the Fire in its Essence devours the dark Substance of the Impression, and works it forth out of itself, out of the Light, into Spiritual Powers.

V. Form. Light; Love.

18. The Holy Spiritual Love-desire, where the holy Will of God has exacuated itself in the harsh Impression, and manifested itself through the Fire with the Power of the Omnipotence, that now brings itself forth through the Fire in the Light; and so in the Powers it is introduced into Life and Motion, in the Desire; and herein the Holy Generation, and the Triumphant Kingdom of the great Love of God consist, and are manifest.

VI. Form. Sound; Voice; Word.

19. The Sixth is the Sound of the divine Word proceeding from the divine Powers, which is formed in the Love-desire, and introduced into a manifest Word of all Powers; wherein the Manifestation of the divine Kingdom of Joy, in the Free Lubet of God's Wisdom, consists.

VII. Form. Essence; Being; Action.

20. The Seventh is the formed Essence of the Powers, viz. a Manifestation of the Powers: What the first fix are in the Spirit, that the Seventh is in a comprehensible Essence, as a Mansion and House of all the Rest, or as a Body of the Spirit, wherein the Spirit works, and plays with itself; also it is a Food of the Fire, whence the Fire draws Essence for its Sustenance, wherein it burns; and the Seventh is the Kingdom of the divine Glory; and the Seven are thus named or expressed.

21. The Out-Birth or Manifestation is this:

The Seven Spirits of God, or Powers of Nature as they show and manifest themselves in Love and Anger, both in the Heavenly and Hellish Kingdom, and also in the Kingdom of this World.

Anger Hellish World
1. Astringent, Desire. 1. Hardness, Cold, Covetousness. 1. Cold, Hardness, Bone, Salt.
2. Attraction or Compunction of Sense. 2. Compunction, Envy. 2. Poison, Life, Growth, Senses.
3. Anguish or Mind. 3. Enmity. 3. Sulphur, Perception, Pain.
4. Fire or Spirit. 4. Pride, Anger. Love Fire. 4. Spirit, Reason, Desire.
 
Love Heavenly Earthly Kingdom
5. Light or Love-Desire. 5. Meekness. 5. Venus-Sport, Life's-Light.
6. Sound or Understanding. 6. Divine Joy. 6. Speaking, Crying, Distinguishing.
7. Body or Essence. 7. Heaven. 7. Body, Wood, Stone, Earth, Metal, Herb

This was received from the Author [Boeme] in such a form by Abraham von Somerveldt.

22. Courteous Reader, understand the Sense right and well; the Meaning is not to be understood so, as if the seven Properties were divided, and one were near by another, or sooner manifest than another; all seven are but as one; and none is the first, second, or last; for the last is again the first; as the first introduces itself into a Spiritual Essence, so the last into a Corporeal Essence; the last is the Body of the first: We must speak thus apart, to write it down and describe it to the Consideration of the Reader: They are altogether only the Manifestation of God, according to Love and Anger, Eternity and Time.

23. But this we are to observe, that each Property is also essential; and this Essence is jointly as one Essence in the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is a Mysterium, whence heavenly Plants spring forth out of each Power's Property; as the Earth is a Mysterium of all Trees and Herbs, so also of the Grass and Worms; and the four Elements are a Mysterium of all Animals; and the Astrum a Mysterium of all Operations in Animals and Vegetables.

24. Each Property is to itself essential, and has also in its Essence the Essence of all the other six forms, and makes the Essence of the other six forms also Essential in its Essence; as we see in the Earth and Stones, especially in Metals, where oftentimes in one Compaction all seven Metals are couched together, and only one Property is principal, which coagulates and captivates all the Rest in itself; and always one is more manifest than the rest, according as each Property has its powerful Predominance in a Thing: The like is also to be understood in Vegetables; where often in an Herb or Piece of Wood there is an astringent, sour, harsh, bitter, anxious or sulphureous Property; also a fiery, sweet or luscious, flashy or watery Quality.

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