The Mysterium Magnum by Jacob Boehme


Jacob Boehme

Chapter 11

The Eleventh Chapter

Of the Mystery of the Creation

1. The reason of the outward man says: How is it that God has not revealed the creation of the world unto man, that Moses and the children of God have written so little thereof, seeing it is the greatest and most principal work whereon the main depends?

2. Yes, dear reason, smell into your bosom, of what does it savour? Contemplate your mind, after what does it long? Likely, after the cunning delusions of the devil: Had the devil not known this ground, very like he had been yet an angel; had he not seen the magical birth in his high light, then he had not desired to be a selfish lord and maker in the essence.

3. Wherefore does God hide his children, which now receive the spirit of knowledge with the cross, and cast them into tribulation and mire of vanity? For certain, therefore, that they might play the tune of The Miserere, and continue in humility; and not sport in this life [1] with the light of nature; else, if they should espy and apprehend what the divine magic is, then they might also desire to imitate the devil, [and do] as Lucifer did: for which cause it is hidden from them. And neither Moses nor any other dare write clearer thereof; until the beginning of the creation beholds the end of the world in itself: And then it must stand open.

[1. Text,Time.]

4. And therefore let none blame us; for the time is come about that Moses puts away his veil from his eyes, which he hung before his face when he spoke with Israel. After the Lord had spoken with him, Moses desired to see it, in that he said, Lord, if I have found grace in your sight, let me see your face. But the Lord would not, and said, You shall see my back part, for none can see my face.

5. Now the eye of God was in Moses, and in the Saints; they have seen and spoken in the spirit of God, and yet had not the intuition of the spiritual birth in them; save at times only, when God would work wonders; as by Moses, when he did the wonders in Egypt: then the divine magic was open unto him, in manner and wise as in the creation.

6. And this was even the fall of Lucifer: that he would be a god of nature, and live in the transmutation. And this was even the idolatry of the heathen: in that they understood the magical birth they fell from the only God unto the magical birth of nature, and chose unto themselves idols out of the powers of nature.

7. For which cause the creation has remained so obscure; and God has with tribulation covered his children in whom the true light shone, that they have not been manifest unto themselves. Seeing Adam also, according to the same lust, did imagine to know and prove the magic, and would be as God; so that God permitted him, that he defiled his heavenly image with the vanity of nature, and made it wholly dark and earthly; as Lucifer also did, with the centre of nature, when he of an angel became a devil.

8. Therefore I will seriously warn the Reader that he use the magic aright, viz. in true faith and humility towards God; and not meddle with turba magna in a magical manner: unless it conduces to the honour of God, and to the salvation of mankind.

9. For we can say with truth, that the Verbum Fiat is yet a creating. Albeit it does not create stones and earth; yet it coagulates, forms and works still in the same property. All things are possible to nature as it was possible for it in the beginning to generate stones and earth, also the stars and four elements, and did produce them, or work them forth out of one only ground; so it is, still unto this day. By the strong desire (which is the magical ground) all things may be effected, if man use nature aright, in its order to the work.

10. All essences consist in the seven properties. Now he that knows the essence, he is able, by the same spirit of that essence, whence it is come to be an essence, to change it into another form, and likewise to introduce it into another essence; and so make of a good thing an evil, and of an evil thing a good.

11. The transmutation of all things must be effected by simility, [1] viz. by its own native propriety: for the alienate is its enemy. Like as man must be regenerated again by the divine essentiality in the simility; by the simility in his holiness of the divine essentiality which he lost.

[1. Assimulation or likeness.]

12. And as the false Magus wounds man through enchantment with the assimulate, and through the desire introduces evil into his evil, viz. into the assimulate; and as the upright holy faith or divine desire also enters into the assimulate, and forfends man so that the false desire takes no place.

13. Thus all things consist in the assimulate; every thing may be introduced into its assimulate. And if it comes into its assimulate it rejoices in its property, be it good or evil, and begins effectually to work: as is to be seen both in good and in evil.

14. As for example: let a man take down a little poison: it will presently receive with great desire the poison in the body, which before rested; and therein strengthen itself and begin to work powerfully; and corrupt and destroy the contrary, viz. the good. And that now which the evil is able to do in its property, that likewise the good can do in its property; when it is freed from the wrath it may also introduce its assimulate into the real true joy.

15. The essence of this world consists in evil and good; and the one cannot be without the other. But this is the greatest iniquity of this world; that the evil overpowers the good; that the anger is stronger therein than the love. And this by reason of the sin of the devil, and men; who have disturbed nature by the false desire, that it mightily and effectually works in the wrath, as a poison in the body.

16. Otherwise, if nature in its forms did stand in the property in equal weight, and in equal concord and harmony, then one property were not manifest above the other: heat and cold would be equally poised in the operation and qualification. And then Paradise would be still upon the earth; and though it were not outside man, yet it would be in man; if his properties were in equal weight [number and measure, if they did yet stand in the temperature], then he were incorruptible and immortal.

17. This is the death and misery of man and all creatures: that the properties are divided, and each aspiring in itself; and powerfully working and acting in its own will; whence sickness and pain arises. And all this is hence arisen: when the one element did manifest and put forth itself into four properties, then each property desired the assimulate, viz. an essence out of and according to itself; which the astringent Fiat did impress and coagulate; so that earth and stones were produced in the properties.

18. But now we are to consider of the greatest Mystery of the outward world between the elements and the astrum. The elemental spirit is severised from the astral spirit, and yet not parted asunder; they dwell in each other as body and soul; but the one is not the other. The astral spirit makes its bodies as well as the elemental, and that in all creatures, in animals and vegetables.

19. All things of this world have a twofold body, viz. an elemental, from the fire, air, water and earth; and a spiritual body from the astrum. And likewise a twofold spirit, viz. one astral, the other elemental.

20. Man only (among all the earthly creatures) has a threefold body and spirit. For he has also the internal spiritual world in him; which is likewise twofold, viz. light and darkness; and [this] also corporally and spiritually. This spirit is the soul; but this body is from the water of the holy element, which died in Adam, that is, disappeared as to his life, when the divine power departed from him, and would not dwell in the awakened vanity.

21. Which holy body must be regenerated, if his spirit will see God; otherwise he cannot see him, except he be again born anew of the water of the holy element in the spirit of God (who has manifested himself in Christ with this same water-source); that man's disappeared body may be made alive in the holy water and spirit; else he has no sense nor sight in the holy life of God.

22. This twofold outward body is now punctually to be pondered and considered of if we would understand nature; and without this understanding let none call himself a master [or learned]. For in these (bodies) the dominion of all external creatures and essences is couched; they oftentimes are contrary one unto another, whence sickness, corruption and death arises in the body, that one severs from the other.

23. The sidereal body is the highest excepting the divine in man; the elemental body is only its servant or dwellinghouse, as the four elements are only a body or habitation of the dominion of the stars.

24. The elemental spirit and body is inanimate and void of understanding, it has only lust and desire in it, vegetation is its right life; for the air has no understanding without the astrum. The astrum gives the distinct understanding of the knowledge of all essences in the elements.

25. But the inward light, and power of the light, gives in man the right divine understanding; but there is no right divine apprehension in the sidereal spirit; for the astrum has another Principle. The Sidereal body dwells in the elemental, as the light-world in the darkness: it is the true rational life of all creatures.

For the explanation of some of these terms see Hartmann's book on Paracelsus on this site:

26. The whole astrum is nothing else but the external expressed Word in the sound; it is the instrument whereby the holy eternal speaking Word speaks and forms externally; it is as a great harmony of unsearchable manifold voices and tunes, of all manner of instruments, which play and melodise before the holy God.

27. For they are mere powers, which enter into and mutually embrace each other, whence arises the sound in the essence; and the desire, viz. the Fiat, receives this sound and makes it substantial. This substance is a spirit of the stars, which the elements receive into themselves, and coagulate it in themselves, and hatch it, as a hen her eggs: therefrom is the true rational life in the elements. And thus also the Sidereal spirit is hatched and coagulated in all creatures.

28. For the male and female do mutually cast a seed into each other; which is only a sulphur of the astrum and four elements; afterwards it is hatched in the matrix, and coagulated to a living spirit.

29. For when the fire is enkindled in the seed which is sown in the matrix, the spirit severs itself again from the body, as a propriate; just as the light from the fire, according to the right of the eternal nature; and two become manifest in one, viz. a spiritual body from the astrum, and a fleshy body from the four elements.

30. And this sidereal spirit is the soul of the great world, which depends on Punctum Solis, and receives its light and life from it; as all the stars do take light and power from the sun, so likewise [they take] their spirit.

31. The sun is the centre of the astrum, and the earth the centre of the elements: they are to each other as spirit and body, or as man and wife; albeit the astrum has another wife, where it hatches its essence, viz. the moon, which is the wife of all the stars (but especially of the sun). I mean it in the essence of the operation.

32. Not that we mean that the astrum is wholly arisen from the punctum of Sol, in that I call it the centre of the stars. It is the centre of the powers, the cause that the powers of the stars do act in the essence; it opens their powers, and gives its power into them, as a heart of the powers, and they mutually rejoice in its essence, that they are moved to act or desire in its essence.

33. And even here lies the great Mystery of the creation, viz. that the internal, viz. God, has thus manifested himself with his eternal speaking Word, which he himself is: the external is a type of the internal. God is not alienate: in him all things live and move, each in its Principle and degree.

34. The outward properties dwell in themselves in the external, viz. in the expressed Word, and are wholly external; they cannot in their own strength reach the powers of the holy world; the holy world alone penetrates them: it dwells also in itself: But in the punctum of Sol the eighth number is open, viz. the eternal nature, the eternal magical fire; and in the fire the eternal tincture, which is the ninth number; and in the tincture the cross, where the Deity manifests itself, which is the tenth number: and beyond this manifestation is the eternal understanding, viz. the ONE, that is, God, JEHOVAH, viz. the ABYSS.

35. Not that God is divided: we speak of his manifestation alone, from what ability and power the sun has its shining lustre, that the same is immutable, so long as time endures; namely, from the lustre of the fiery tincture of the eternal, spiritual, magical fire.

36. For its lustre or shining light has a degree of a more deep original than the external world has manifest in itself. This the wise heathen have observed, and adored it for God, seeing the true God, who dwells outside all nature in himself, was not known unto them.

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