The Power of Soul

The Power of Soul

Homage to the Ocean, by Arthur Bowen Davies (1862–1928) 

The shaman, Jimi Hendrix, once channeled these enlightening lyrics through his human form:

With the power of soul,
anything is possible,
With the power of you,
Anything you wanna do.

When I was fifteen, listening to this song, Power To Love, I had no idea that, someday, I would connect these lyrics to the philosophy of a sixteenth century lover of freedom named Giordano Bruno. Hendrix and Bruno have undoubtedly met on a higher plane of consciousness and exchanged ideas concerning the power of Soul. 

In Bruno’s estimation, the power of Soul is the Universal Intellect. The Universal Intellect is fused with the World Soul. They are related by the fact that the Universal Intellect is the creative potential inherent in the World Soul. In Aristotelian terms, the Universal Intellect is the efficient cause of all things. It is the innate creative power that brings about all possible forms. Bruno called it the artefice interno, the Internal Artificer:

…from inside the trunk drives out the branches, from inside the branches the formed twigs, from inside these unfolds the buds; from the inside it forms, shapes, weaves, like nerves,  the foliage, the flowers, the fruits, and it is from the inside that, at certain times, it calls back its sap from the leaves and the fruits to the twigs, from the twigs to the branches, from the branch to the trunk, from the trunk to the root.  (De la Causa)…

The fusion of the Anima Mundi and the Universal Intellect is what is meant by the Cosmic Mind. The emerging forms we have discussed earlier, which originate in the womb of matter, the Mater-Materia, are brought into manifestation by the Universal Intellect. In my view, the World Soul provides the vast storehouse of images; the Universal Intellect is the powerhouse that corporealizes them. It is the principle of individuation within the Cosmic Mind.

The Universe we experience is the corporealization of the Cosmic Mind. We need not posit a transcendent power that brought our Universe into being, since the Cosmic Mind is inherent in all things. There need be no separate realm where God and angels dwell, or where Satan and demons inflict suffering upon unruly sinners. Our amazing Universe is the manifestation of The All, the Cosmic Mind, The Universal Soul.

The unfolding and emerging of all things from the fecund abundance of the Cosmic Mind requires an infinite universe in which to proliferate. Infinite space-time and infinite mass/energy are the resources used by the Cosmic Mind to generate infinite forms. It is not in any way extrinsic to these forms, but totally innate to each.

The universal intellect is the innermost, most real and most proper faculty or potential part of the world soul. It is that one and the same thing that fills everything, illuminates the universe and directs nature to produce her various species suitably. It is to the production of natural things what our intellect is to the production of the representations of things. The Pythagoreans call it the ‘mover’ and ‘agitator of the universe’. As the poet [Virgil] has expressed:

totamque infusa per artus,
mens agitat molem, et toto se corpore miscet (ibid.)


[pervading its members, mind stirs the whole mass and
mingles with the whole body]

The Cosmic Mind is the most exquisite example of Nicholas of Cusa’s idea of the coincidentia oppisitorum, the coincidence of opposites, since it is totally paradoxical. It is unchanging, yet all is in constant flux; it is not visible to the naked eye, yet it is constantly seeking to become visible; it is perfect, but it always strives to reveal itself in an infinity of forms, as if it suffered from vanity.

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3 thoughts on “The Power of Soul

  1. To find the right words to explain the fusion of the Anima Mundi and the World Intellect is no small feat. Thank you for doing this most important work. I enjoyed your post.

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