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Jacob Böhme: The Teutonic Philosopher

This was presented at 24th Convocation of Ontario College Monday April 5 2004

All truly dogmatic religions have issued from the Kabalah and return to it: everything scientific and Grand in all the religious dreams of all the illuminati, Jacob Böhme, Swedenborg, Saint-Martin, and others, is borrowed from the Kabalah; all the Masonic associations owe to it their Secrets and their Symbols
Albert Pike’s Morals and Dogma P 744 Knight of the Sun 1871 Who Lifted it from Eliphas Lévi's The Doctrine of Transcendental Magic P 12 of the introduction 1855

Why do a paper on Jacob Böhme? He appeals to the Practi because he used Alchemy to describe the nature of Man and God, as were the Rosicrucians speculative Alchemists. He appeals to the Phosphi because he was the Genius for the Christian Mystics. He appeals to Masons that want the craft degrees to transcend human experience. Many Masonic writers refer to Böhme because he achieved one of the goals of the high degrees. Böhme was one of the adepts at a time when Rosicrucianism was just getting started. (Fama Fraternitatis Kassel 1614 Confessio Fraternitatis Kassel 1615 Chemical Wedding Strasburg 1616) Biography Jacob Böhme (pronounced Yah Cob Bur May) was a just a simple shoemaker that only had a remedial education, he wrote twenty-nine books and tracts that where on average 500 pages. He has influenced great minds and thinkers, for instance the Pietists and mystics, George Fox's Quakerism, Jane Leade, Louis Claude de Saint Martin, and Carl Gustav Jung. Paul Tillich makes many references. He was born April 24, 1575 at Altseidenberg, near Görlitz, Germany. His Mystic life started when a stranger entered the shop asking to buy some shoes; Jacob explains that he is not permitted to sell shoes in the absence of his Master. The stranger decides to leave. When he is outside he calls him. "Jacob, come hither" "Jacob, thou art yet but little, but the time will come when thou shalt be great and become another man and the world shall marvel at thee, therefore be pious fear god and reverence his word, especially read diligently the Holy Scriptures, where thou wilt find comfort and instruction, for thou must endure much misery and poverty and suffer persecution, but be courageous and preserver, for God loves and is gracious unto thee" It is believed that the stranger was his first vision.

A little bit later he sees sunshine reflected in a burnished pewter vessel and is compelled to resolve the root of evil and disharmony. • • • • In 1594 he married Catharina Kuntzchmann at the age of 19 and had 3 (4) sons. 1600 Second vision (25 years old) the encounter with the Man in the shop being considered the first. 1610 Third illumination (35 years old) 1612 he started writing the Aurora and continued to add to it for the rest of his life

A writing ban was imposed on Böhme. This is typical of such times of religious persecutions. His greatest antagonist was Richter, a Lutheran Priest. After a trial the City Council orders him to either leave the town or write no more books. Böhme agrees to this for 7 years. After the 7 years Böhme continues with 3-fold life of man. He had a following while he was living. One noted fan was Carl von Endern who made copies of his books. It is said that he could tell you of your past lives Last words where “ Now I go to paradise” Died in Görlitz, November 17 1624. The mysterious name YHShVH was over his grave, which is a name for Jesus made by inserting the letter shin within the Tetragrammaton. Three heirs survived him. Tobias was one of the son’s names. Members of the Beam family on state that one of the 3 was named Jacob and they are his descendants. They migrated with the rest of the Undesirables to Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania was a penal colony for the religious criminals of Europe. Pennsylvania or “the forest of Penn” was named after William Penn who offered asylum for the religiously persecuted.

Theological background and influences There is a trend in religions of the world where an event will change the nature of the religion. The theology will evolve and doctrines will be adopted. This is a trace or lineage of how Jacob Böhme was inspired and what influence he had. Adamic Religion ! the most intimate relationship with God Enochian Religion ! Walks with God and is spared from death Noachide Religion + Asia + Native ! The Righteous family chosen among all people Abrahamic Judaism + Islam ! Doctrine of Sacrifice and trust in God Mosaic Judaism ! 10 commandments and a promise of deliverance Temple Judaism ! God resident: Shichinah Essene Judaism + Sadducees+ Pharisees ! Life after death Pre-Nicene Christianity + Gnostics ! Trinity, the divinity of Christ Roman Catholic + Eastern Orthodox Lutheran + Anglicans ! Reformation, Scripture Alone, the bible in all languages Jacob Böhme (Böhmites) The Society of Friends (The Quakers) + St. Martin + all Christian mystics Jacob Böhme was educated as a Lutheran and continued to consider himself as such. He was influenced by the reformers of the time. The Swiss Alchemist Paracelsus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (1493 - 1541): Böhme used his ideas on Alchemy as a way of describing God and man in terms of the elements. Kaspar Schwenkfeld (1490 - 1561) reformist Concerning the “middle way” on the relationship between rejecting the Doctrine of Transubstantiation (The eating of Christ’s body) and rejecting the practice entirely. Also Valentin Weigel (1533 - 1588) influenced Böhme regarding his philosophy on the senses and perception. Weigel had a method of checking perception using the opposite case for validity to form an objective interpretation. This is the Key to separating self-will and the Will of God. Philosophy and concepts If it is true on one plane then it is the same on others, namely the Material, Spiritual and the Astral. This conforms to the charge "As above so below and as below so above" on the Emerald Tablet of the thrice great Hermes. The Alchemist used terms, which were not to be taken literally. They were used to cover heretical ideas in an oppressive time and for the description of the soul or the psyche. Because of Jacob Böhme’s lack of education he often invented words to describe concepts he had no words/terms for. An example is when he uses the term “Byss” The Abyss and the Byss The Abyss contains everything and yet is nothing, Void is a Vacuum. Matter is extracted from the Abyss therefore it is called the Byss Byss is the first act of the Divine Will

God is the Abyss or the nothingness and Void. immeasurable and unity.

This is because he is immutable,

Ground From the abyss comes the Man, which is the "ground", or Byss being the Infinite Father. The ground is a spiritual understanding that comes from the light of God and is the foundation of truth. This is a non physical ground, a term that Böhme used. The term Mysterium Magnum or Great Mystery is also used to describe the Ground. The First Great Cause further divides the Byss between light and darkness, day and night. Upper and lower firmament, upper and lower waters, Living and the Non Living, Woman from Man as described in Genesis. All is within the polarities. Adam Adam was both male and female and is referred as an Adam-eve Creation begot the angelic worlds by dividing the firmaments. Angels are unhampered by the senses. The senses are distractions to the true nature of man. We see things without understanding their true nature. This would later develop as a method for prayer. Silence helps us to stop listening with our mundane ears and open our spiritual ears. The Quakers would carry on the ritual of the Opening. The Will The Reformers differed in their resolution of the Pauline Doctrine of Justification. Jacob Böhme addresses this in the difference of the Divine will and self will. Self-will, which only serves the selfish desires, can only lead to error. The Little child in his meekness is the true aim of enlightenment not a superman in his self-importance. (Jah <- soul -> Nine), Conscious and the sub conscious The Fall Dark principle - Fall of Lucifer After the Fall of Man comes the Mirror which reflects all things manifest The mirror is equivalent to the Eternal Wisdom or the Virgin Sophia The Mirror is selfrealization as Adam discovers his own nakedness and becomes mortal. Through the mirror he contemplates his own mortality.

Consciousness is the perception of relations. Only after the Fall do we change from the Animal to Human Consciousness. We live with uncertainty and Sin. However this is the strength of man as he can now do many marvelous things using his Intellect and his free will. God was fully aware that Adam would fail the test so that he could acquire the separation required. This separation creates in us a desire to return to God. The love of God from a freethinking being is more meaningful than an unthinking Angel that was created for that purpose and has no choice but to love. The flipside is now we a separated from God and unless we take an active part we will be trapped in material darkness of confusion. Böhme referred this as the "Turba”. The Earth Sphere that is under Lucifer’s control is within the Turba. Before the Fall the body, soul and sprit where in harmony Sprit -> light Soul -> fire or dark Body -> "in temperature" the body has an ideal temperature for comfort and health The Turba between the Harmony and the disharmony creates the endless circles. The separation of love and wrath created the disharmony. Because of the Fall the body is "out of temperature". This imbalance is the root of all sickness. Man becomes subject to death: ”out of temperature” and out of the elements and the animals Man now needs to transmit Love into law, Wrath into mercy The good has swallowed the evil or the repugnant into itself ... Every being has good and evil within itself; and in its development, having to decide between them, it becomes an opposition of qualities, since one of them seeks to overcome the other. The Active and Passive Principles Passive is the manifestation of God in nature with earth being the center. A person who is passive dwells in egoism or self-love. Active is the manifestation of God in Sprit. The Active Will fulfills the Good, Light or Love. Because the Good is Active it will always win over the passive. The so-called active acts of evil like killing, lying, stealing, etc. are really passive in their root. They are actions of stopping, withholding and destruction for the purpose of feeding the self-will and preventing progress. They are not active because they add nothing. A passive desire wants to prevent change, keep every thing the same and is focused on their own self. Active is more outward seeking to preserve life so that life can make an active contribution. Seeking the truth so that all can share it. Preserving property so that work in rewarded and people can enjoy the fruits of their labor. The passive principle's net result stays stagnate. However the Active is ever building upon itself. The passive principle is the center of the eternal nature. From this point the seven qualities of eternal nature spring forth. These are explained in his works Answers to Forty Questions Concerning the Soul (1620) and The Clavis (1624)

Three principles of divine essence Salt 1. Sulfur 2. Father Son Will Desire Body Soul Material Body Astral Body Earth of the Body Fire of the Soul Root of Crystals Stabilizer of Solids

Mercury 3. Holy Ghost The Proceeding Sprit Ethereal Body Water of the Sprit Root of Metals Fire Will Blood Fire

The 4 elements contain aspects of the three divine essences. Air Earth Water Mercury Life Desire Thought Sulfur Breath Body Brain Salt Air Earth Water

The Salt aspect corresponds to the mundane materialistic understanding of the element. The Sulfur aspect corresponds to the human aspect of the element. The Mercury aspect corresponds to the symbolic meaning. That is why it was possible that Adam was created from the dust of the four winds. The four corresponds to the four elements and because the elements contain a spiritual essence it is possible that life can be created and animated by the completion of the four with the breath The three fold life of man: 1. Supreme unity 2. The conflict between the opposites. Fire and light, Wrath and mercy, Law and love 3. The third is between the two opposing forces. The All is between the yes and the no. Seven qualities of eternal nature Dark Trinary = Circle or Ellipse 1. Attraction = Contraction = Astringent 2. Repulsion = Friction = Differentiation Bitterness = Motion 3. Circulation = Sensibility = Anguish = Sensation 4. Lightening flash = Fire = Netszura = Life = Consciousness

Bright Trinary 5. Love = Light = Kether 6. Intelligence = Sound = Chochma 7. Wisdom = Supreme Blyss = Binah

Ens Ens is the substance that nature is pulled toward. Ens acts like a magnet to nature and directs its course of its development. All creatures have an Ens, as this is its perfection: it grows and progresses towards its redemption. This is how minerals and animals are redeemed. (Clavis page 4 or paragraph 24) Christ Christ achieved this balance of the forces. He is the means of our Atonement and Redemption. Regeneration or to be born again through Christ in a Spiritual life is required to exit the turba sphere. Christ was born through the Virgin Mary who was tinctured by the virgin Sophia. The Son (Christ) reveals the eternal nature of man because he is the first manifestation (Adam). Christ is the 2nd Adam to reestablish man into redemption, restoring everything to the original order. The Prima Material is found in the union of extremes, fire become water or air becomes earth. It is composed of a union of opposites. It was suggested by the alchemists that with the Prima Material you can transmute Lead into Gold. However this is really referring to the soul of man where the base metal refers to the base desires and the gold refers to the divine Will. The union of opposites involves a man who is born in sin and death with the goal of becoming righteousness and having eternal life. This is achieved using the Philosopher's stone i.e. Jesus Christ made with the Prima Material i.e. being born again using the formula of Regeneration. The formula for regeneration 1. Repent Have a hunger or desire to repent Imagine the love of God in Christ Jesus Imagine that God willeth not the death of a sinner. Open yourself to receive grace? This is comparable to the dialectic method in psychotherapy, or the prayer in the catholic faith Invoke the Name JESUS Invoke the Great Name JEHOVAH

Imagine you are before the Face of the Holy Trinity, This is detailed in his work Of True Repentance (1622) 2. Resign Confession before the Face of God Make a confession of your sins Comparative to the Cathartic method in Psychotherapy, or the Confession in the Catholic Faith A ritual death of the SELF Awake from Death Finding the new self or the New Man having a True Christian Intent Become a soldier of Christ Using the weapon of the WILL This is Comparable to Transference in Psychotherapy. This is detailed in his work Of True Resignation (1622), 3. Regenerate The WAY to the new Birth or Regeneration, intending to become a New Man Comparative to the Transformation in Psychotherapy Wedding of the Lamb where the Noble Pearl is sown with very great Triumph In the introduction of the Aurora and through out his writings he uses the metaphor of the Pearl-Tree, or Tree of Faith the Pearl represents the individual as the fruit of the tree. The branches wind through time being the religion to God having its root past Adam. The WAY seems foolish to the outsider This Grace IS MAINTAINED THROUGH Prayer in Temptation Jesus IS THE Breaker-Through the Anger of God Followed by a series of prayers with specific aims Prayer or Dialogue between the poor Soul and the Noble Virgin Sophia A MORNING PRAYER, AN EVENING PRAYER This is detailed in his work Of Regeneration (1622), Effect of his influence Many modern movements trace their legitimacy to the teachings of Jacob Böhme; Mysticism communicating directly with God, Theurgy: using the science of the Will to express God's Will, Theosophy: Studying the study of the nature of God, First Experience: taking the theory into practice, Communion: Using the Transubstantiation formula as a model for the legitimization of alchemical formulae, The 28° of the AASR teaches that "Prayer is no less important than great works".

Some examples of his Admirers are: Behmenites John Pordage (1608-1681) an English Böhmist. Translated Böhme into English from 1644 to 1662. In 1663 Pordage met Jane Leade. Thomas Bromley (????–1691) was Oxford educated, a mystic, a contemplative, and a preacher. Rector of the church at Winwick in Northamptonshire. Writings The Way to the Sabbath of Rest (1678?) Jane Leade (1623-1704) who started the Philadelphian Society the full name of the society being The Philadelphian Society for the Advancement of Piety and Divine Philosophy. The Society took its name from the righteous Church of Philadelphia mentioned in Revelation 3:7. She had her own visions. For instance she wrote a Revelation on Revelations. Johann Georg Gichtel (1638 - 1710), mystic and spiritualist did mission work in South America. Created the "Angel Brothers" after the works of Jacob Böhme. The "Angel Brother" does not marry and lives a life separate from carnal desires. Gichtel's works include Theosophia practica. The Gichtelians later became the Separatists. William Law (1686 - 1761) fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The Spirit of Prayer (1750) and The Spirit of Love (1754) show the influence of Jakob Böhme. Martinez de Pasqually (1727 – 1774) Spanish Cabalist theurgist that started or continued the Rite of the Elect Priest. Élu Coën in France survives today through the Rit Écossaise
Rectified and the G. P. du G. in France.

Louis Claude de St Martin (1743 – 1803) added to the concepts in his own work and Translated Böhme’s works into French. He was introduced to the philosophies of Böhme through a member of the Philadelphian society Amos Bronson Alcott, (1799-1888) New England Transcendentalist Alphonse Charles Constant (Eliphas Lévi) (1810 – 1875) Roman Catholic Seminarian and Writer of the "History of Magic" Jailed for Writing "The Bible of Freedom developing the ideas of the Liberal Catholic Lammenais" Dr. Gerard Anaclet Vincent Encausse (Papus) (1865 – 1916) Harmonists Fabricius and Philip Jakob Spener, Moravians and Church of the Brethren, Zimmerman's Chapter of Perfection, Pietists with Rosicrucian leanings

Johann Kelpius (1673-1708). Arrived in Pennsylvania June 24, 1694 on the Sarah Maria. Known as "the Hermit of the Wissahickon," he established a semi-monastic religious community on the Wissahickon Creek near Philadelphia. His followers later established the larger religious community at Ephrata, PA. He was a well-educated mystic and a student of the writings of Jacob Böhme. There is evidence that Seekers and Shakers have connections to Jane Leade The Quakers use the opening for their meetings where they sit in silence for half an hour intervals. Their focus is on personal experience before the scriptures can be understood. From a ship’s manifest arriving in Pennsylvania: “Here are of all denominations and sects: Lutherans, Reformed, Episcopals, Presbyterians, Catholics, Quakers, Dunkers, Mennonites, Sabbatarians, Seventhday Baptists, Separatists, Bohemists, Schwenckfeldians, Tuchfeldtians, Eucthelists, Jews and Pagans, etc." C. G. Jung used Böhme’s concepts in his development of the conscious, subconscious and super-conscious and in his study of Alchemy as a metaphor for the psyche. You can see the formula of regeneration in his lecture Psychology of Transference in Book 16 of the collected works Practice of Psychotherapy Conclusion What does Jacob Böhme communicate to us today? Here is a man that needs no qualifications and yet with only his pure intentions he reveals more than academia. One man can change the world despite great opposition. We must look at our own prejudices and free our minds to new ways of looking at things. We too can have first hand experiences and a direct experience with God. Jacob Böhme helps us with the Meaning of Life: From his exegesis of Genesis and the forming of the world in seven day and the seven qualities of eternal nature we can conclude that the Physical world is the manifestation of ideas. It is a by-product of the Will. The purpose of life is to form a period at the end of the sentence.

Books by Jacob Böhme The Aurora (1612), The Three Principles of the Divine Essence (1612), The Threefold Life of Man (1620), Answers to Forty Questions Concerning the Soul (1620), The Treatise of the Incarnations (1620), The Great Six Points (1620), Of the Earthly and of the Heavenly Mystery (1620), Of the Last Times (1620), De Signatura Rerum (1621), The Signature of all things The Four Complexions (1621), Two Apologies to Balthazar Tylcken (1621), Considerations re Esaiah Stiefel"s Threefold State of Man and of His New Birth (1621), An Apology re Perfection. Reply to Stiefel"s Expositions of Four Texts of Scripture (1622), Of True Repentance (1622), Of True Resignation (1622), Of Regeneration (1622), Of Predestination (1623), A Short Compendium of Repentance (1623), The Mysterium Magnum (1623), A Table of the Divine Manifestation, or an Exposition of the Threefold World (1623), The Supersensual Life (1624), Of Divine Contemplation or Vision (1624), Of Christ"s Testaments (1624), Of Illumination (1624), An Apology for the Books of True Repentance and of True Resignation (1624), 177 Theosophic Questions, with Answers to Thirteen of Them (1624), An Epitome of the Mysterium Magnum (1624), The Holy Week or a Prayer Book (1624), A Table of the Three Principles (1624), Of the Last Judgement (1624), The Clavis (1624), Sixty-two Theosophic Epistles (1618-1624). His most popular work was a collection of some of his devotional tracts, called The Way to Christ.

Sources of information Web: Books: Alchemical Studies CG Jung Book 12 of Collected Works – Princeton Psychology and Alchemy CG Jung Book 13 of Collected Works – Princeton The Practice of Psychotherapy CG Jung 15 of Collected Works – Princeton Key thinkers in Christianity Various Oxford Three famous Mystics AE Waite, WP Swainson - Kessinger Publishing The Unknown Philosopher: Louis Claude de Saint Martin A E Waite