Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Cosmological Review

The cosmology I use is based on the system used by the Hermetic magicians of the first through third centuries AD as recorded in the Corpus Hermeticum, specifically the Divine Pymander. In this system, the Earth is the manifest physical realm and is at the center of a series of concentric spheres. Within the physical sphere are the four spheres of the elements. Closest to the Earth is the sphere of Earth, followed by Water, Air, and then Fire. These four elemental spheres combine to form the Sphere of Sensation, the physical realm.

Surrounding the Sphere of Sensation are the Celestial Spheres. They consist of the Seven Planetary Spheres, also referred to as Heavens, the Sphere of the Fixed Stars, and the Sphere of the Prime Mover. Agrippa and the Hermetic authors of the Corpus Hermeticum began numbering the spheres at the Sphere of the Moon:
  • 1st Sphere - The Moon
  • 2nd Sphere - Mercury
  • 3rd Sphere - Venus
  • 4th Sphere - The Sun
  • 5th Sphere - Mars
  • 6th Sphere - Jupiter
  • 7th Sphere - Saturn
  • 8th Sphere - Zodiac, Fixed Stars (includes the Mansions of the Moon)
  • 9th Sphere - Sphere of the Prime Mover
Note that this system counts "up" from the Earth rather than "Down" from the Prime Mover. Students of Modern Magick are familiar with the Golden Dawn's kabbalistic Tree of Life, and tend to count "Down" from Keter, which corresponds to the 9th Sphere of Hermetic cosmology.

I think the difference is that in Hermetics, you start from where you're at consciously, the physical realm that gets most of our attention, along with all the drama and thrills we go through on a regular basis. As you progress through the spheres, performing the Great Work, you "de-energize" the things in your sensate sphere that keep you from reclaiming your full potential, your rightful heritage as a member of a divine family sourced in the Prime Mover.