The Eight Theses of Giordano Bruno: Point 6, Theurgy

The Eight Theses of Giordano Bruno: Point 6, Theurgy

The sixth point in the summary of heresy brought against Giordano Bruno by Cardinal Bellarmine and the Inquisition reads:

6) The designation of stars as “messengers and interpreters of the ways of God”.

Bruno, like Ficino, believed that one could draw down forces from the stars and planets. Since the heavenly bodies are living beings, and exert powerful influences on humans, one could, using the correct magical methodologies, attract the powers of the various planets and thereby change one’s circumstances. The classic example in this discussion is Mercury.

The planet Mercury, named for the Roman god, was called Hermes by the ancient Greeks. The Romans called it Mercury because it moved across the sky faster than any planet. Hence, Mercury was seen as a messenger of the gods. Bruno saw Mercury as possessing the following traits:

Mercury the herald’s staff bearer, wearing leather cap, wing-footed, youthful, most beautiful, virtuous, fast, energetic, agile, capable of flight, thrifty, changeable, wise, scribe, painter, singer, seer, discoverer, disputer, numberer, geometer, astronomer, divine; advancer into recondite matters, elucidator of hidden ones, clarifier of enigmas, interpreter of the gods, most eloquent messenger, reckoner of superb skill, the sun’s amanuensis, reconciler of gods above and below, fecund in either sex, appearing masculine to the male sex and feminine to the female, arbiter of divine powers, inventor of the cithara, fully endowed in all skills and arts: be present, Arcas, Tegaeus, Memphisian, Egyptian, Athenian, Palladian, Olympian (Translation of Giordano Bruno’s Cantus Circaeus, Tomas Zahora, 2004).

By paying homage to Mercury through various means, one could, according to Bruno, draw down these powers into the human sphere.

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