Demons in the World Today (Unger)

Image result for unger demons in the world today

Unger, Merrill. Demons in the World Today. Tyndale.

Merrill Unger writes with much force and energy and in a clear style.  While he gets many details wrong, the general thrust of his argument is correct.  This book is an update (but by no means a replacement) to his classic Biblical Demonology.  In this work Unger (correctly) recognizes that “possession” is a misleading term (and one the Bible never actually uses).  This allows him to bring pastoral insight to Christians who are struggling with the occult.

My main problem with this work is that Unger lumps all “bad” spirits as “demons” and all good spirits as “angels.”  While he equates demons with fallen angels, he realizes that his position isn’t self-evident and a number of plausible theories are advanced.  He rejects the idea that demons are the disembodied souls of fallen Nephilim (Unger 12-13). He says it is pure speculation. Modern scholarship has shown it is anything but that.  I’m not 100% sold on the idea, but one can make a case for it. Nephilim are not fully human or divine, so it makes some sense that their souls are earth-bound.

Unger says, alluding to Revelation 12, that demons are connected with the primordial fall of the dragon and his angels (13).  But when we look at Revelation 12, the “fall” is happening at Christ’s birth, not in some eon past. On another note, following the plain reading of the Bible and numerous scholars today, Unger agrees that the “sons of God” are semi-divine beings who copulated with human women (12).  And then he argues that demons are incorporeal beings (22), and that the two are the same; how, then, can an incorporeal demon fornicate with a woman?

There is a way out of this.  It is something along the lines of when angelic beings enter the realm of time, space, and matter, they can take on the properties of matter (this is obvious from Abraham’s encounter with the angels).  Nonetheless, I agree with Unger that demons are invisible spirits. I simply reject the equation with fallen beney ha-elohim. Strangely enough, Unger seems to entertain the idea elsewhere (28).

Unger has some sage comments on the supernatural and the demonic.  He writes, “When men ignore God’s warnings and enter a forbidden realm, they may witness materializations, levitations, and luminous apparitions, as well as experience spirit rappings, trances, automatic writing…” (27).  His chapter on magic, while good, reads sort of like a series of horror clippings from a magazine. The pastor can probably use these as sermon introductions.

What is “demon possession” and can Christians be demon-possessed?  Unger defines possession as “a condition in which one or more evil spirits inhabit a body and take complete possession” (140).  A key indicator is when a possessed individual “blacks out” and doesn’t remember anything. This seems to indicate that Christians cannot be possessed, as defined above.  

However, the occultic attacks on disobedient Christians are far more insidious than merely chanting “oppressed, not possessed.” Unger then documents probably close to 100 cases.

Unger’s dispensationalism mars his treatment at points.  While there are strong cases for the cessation of spiritual gifts, Unger’s arguments are just bad  He argues throughout the book that the super gifts ceased because the perfect has come (1 Cor. 13), which of course means the New Testament canon.  There are several huge problems with this (huge enough that modern cessationists no longer advance this argument). According to 1 Corinthians 13, whenever the perfect comes, other conditions will also obtain.  Do you know in full? Has faith passed away? Do you still see in a glass darkly? The most obvious problem is that 1 Cor. 13 doesn’t identify the perfect with the New Testament canon.

Ephrem the Syrian, Select Works


From the Schaff NPNF volume.

This review will cover the hymns found in the Schaff Edition, NPNF II vol. 13, pp. 117-341. Ephrem’s life is quite interesting, as he found himself in several military sieges in Syria and in relocating with different Christian populations.

St Ephraim is particularly difficult to navigate. He is thinking in Semitic idiom, not in Greek. Further, in line with his symbolic ontology, Ephraim rarely tells you what the Symbol means. Or rather, he doesn’t reduce symbol to object. Instead, he leads us from the symbol around the object and back to our understanding. The conversation is never finished. But this makes for good contemplation.

Other difficulties are more straightforward. In the Nisibene hymns it is not always clear to whom Ephraim is writing or who is even speaking.

Spirit and Freedom

*Freedom and godly joy are interchangeable (Ephraim 234). Discipline becomes spontaneous joy. Conversely, money is a master over our freedom (191). Indeed, usury has a deadening effect on spiritual life (225).

The Occult

Ephraim knows the occultic world is real. The Nephilim are angelic giants (194; though Ephrem seems to say the opposite in his commentary on Genesis; see Louth, ACCS volume 1). Likewise, “magic” is real (213), if not in the crude “hocus-pocus” sense. He probably–as did most of the church for much of her history–meant it in the sense that demonic entities can sometimes causally act on the material world.

The Church

Baptism is a seal that molds us (279). Grace is the freeborn sister to justice (179)

Fifteen Hymns on the Nativity

These are more focused than the Nisibene hymns, and Ephrem’s lyricism is occasionally exquisite. These are easier to read.


Ephrem’s role as a personality is likely more lasting than his actual teachings. He stabilized several fractured liturgical communities. His hymns probably are good, but they need those skilled in both English idiom and Syriac.

Edmund Spenser Reviews, Faerie Queene

Edmund Spenser structured his allegory around the Aristotelian virtues.

Fierce Wars and Faithful Loves

This is a modernized version of Book 1 of the Faerie Queene.

Roy Maynard ought to be commended for aiding us in reading Spenser. Personally, I think Spenser tells a better yarn than Shakespeare, with all due respect to the Bard. This book was written by a Christian, with powerful Christian overtones, and Christians will benefit the most from it.


No, the hero is not perfect. Yes, he fails over and over again. But the battles he fights! The nature of forgiveness, pain, guilt, ecstatic joy–Spenser pulld no punches. And to point out another irony of historical revisionism prevalent in the public schools: Spenser has sexual allusions (fear not, for they are used to show, in the words of CS Lewis, “the fierceness of Chastity” and the bloody fight that its worth); even more shocking is that Spenser is a proto-Puritan, thus debunking the whole Puritan “prude” myth. By the way, the true hero in the book is King Arthur, not Redcrosse; you will see why later in the book.

The Elfin Knight

This is Book 2 of the Faerie Queene.


Virtue: Temperance

Here is the allegory of Temperance. It follows the standard medieval warrior pilgrimage. Sumpter has done a fine job of modernizing the spelling while retaining the exalted style. However, there are a few flaws with Sumpter’s approach (I am not criticizing his work. It is literally one of a kind and preciously needed). Sumpter ignores (or doesn’t notice) Spenser’s Neo-Platonism. Without understanding Spenser’s commitment to Neo-Platonism, parts of the story are incoherent. Here are some themes that will guide the reader.:

Neo-Platonic Themes

Reason masters passions: “Yet with strong reason mastered passions frail” (VI.40). But this isn’t standard Neo-Platonism of the monkish sort. Passions aren’t bad. They just need to be guided by reason.

*Mediating Spirits. Neo-Platonism of its various forms sees a chain of being connecting all of reality. The material is suspended by the spiritual. Transcendence, therefore, can be found in the lowest link of the chain. Along this chain are mediating spirits (powers, angels, fairies).

*Because of his Neo-Platonism, Spenser sees a greater role for angels than we do today (VIII:1-2). Angels actively engage and empower man and thwart the enemy.

*It seems that Spenser identifies “Temperance” as a “god” (IX.1). Granted, he isn’t using god in the crude polytheistic sense. Rather, temperance seems to be a “power” or even “Archetype.” True, this could be merely poetic license, but given Spenser’s Neo-Platonism, it fits neatly.

*In the Bower of Bliss the heroes (Guyon and Palmer) come across a “false Genius.” If we accept that these characters (Genius et al) are Archetypes, we can then add the standard (neo)Platonic insight that the Archetypes and Forms have causal power. But we have a problem. The “Genius” here is a false Genius, as Spenser clearly argues (XII.47). So clearly this Genius isn’t the real genius, but a shadow one.


Alma’s Castle in Book X illustrates how thoroughly committed to Neo-Platonism (and how familiar with the occult) Spenser was. Sumpter isn’t aware of these connections.

Sumpter misses the implication that Memory has hermetic overtones (Yates 2014). Memory mediates a society’s passing down of Absolute Spirit (Magee 87).
Speculative Philosophy holds up a mirror (speculum) to the Idea itself: it allows the Idea to comprehend itself (88). In fact, following the Kabbalist tradition, the “mirror” allows one to behold the deeper essence of Spirit (120).

This brings us back to the Hermetic Art of Memory. “Imagination” is to evoke from memory the Perennial Philosophy. In other words, to echo Jung, it draws out from within the unconscious.

This is rather speculative. Is this what Spenser really had in mind? I think so. Dame Frances Yates argues that Spenser “inherited much more than Neo-Platonism” (Yates 2001, 112). Spenser describes the man (representing memory) as “of infinite remembrance” (IX.52). Man is finite, not infinite–unless man himself was drawing upon a universal subsconcious. I suggest this is what Spenser had in mind. (Interestingly, Yates comments specifically on this very Canto; 114).

Yates further argues that the structure Spenser gives suggests that Man is a Microcosm of the universe. In Canto 22 we read of a “circle” and a “triangle” with a “quadrate” (cube) in between. The four-sided cube represents the four elements of the world, which is proportioned equally by “seven and nine.” Seven is the number of the planets and nine is the angelic hierarchy. If the cube is between seven and nine, then it is an eight, or an octave. This could also represent the Temple of Solomon.


Spenser’s work is literally the standard by which all other poetry is compared. Even though (or perhaps because of!) he is a Neo-Platonist, Spenser floods the senses (and the soul) with beauty and creates in the reader a desire not only for the good, but for the Beautiful, for the Heroic–indeed, for the Temperate.

This isn’t accidental. If what we have said about Forms/Archetypes’ having causal power, then then we can expect “pullings” upon our soul when reading Spenser.

Spenser’s most memorable creation is the Bower of Bliss (as Lewis said, no prude can read Spenser). Guyon’s actions represent a neat twist in Neo-Platonism. The most temperate action is to go into a frenzy and destroy the Bower. This isn’t what we expect from a Neo-Platonist. Spenser doesn’t negate the passions–he calls them into Reasons’s service, but all the while they remain very, very passional. Spenser may have just squared the circle: he may have just redeemed Neo-Platonism. Guyon isn’t an Anchorite who tries to transcend the realm of passions.

What about Sumpter’s annotations? They are a mixed bag. When Sumpter is explaining ethics, theology, or literary symbolism, his annotations are amazing. When he tries to be funny they are worse than awful. Remember the Ron Swanson style of humor? If you have to try hard to be funny, you aren’t. Hilarity should flow from your very being. You shouldn’t have to strain to be funny. I say that because some of the wannabe funny footnotes seriously distract from the story.

Review: Orthodoxy and Esotericism (Kelley)

My friend James Kelley gave me a complimentary copy.kelley

It is common parlance to say, “We should apply our faith to culture.”  In such slogans the words “faith” and “culture” are never defined and always used in the most abstract categories.   Kelley does us a service by bringing an advanced level of Patristic theology to such wide-ranging topics as history and esoterism.  One can go a step further: Kelley’s insights regarding (Joseph Farrell’s usage) of Sts Maximus the Confessor and Athanasius can provide us a useful compass in witnessing to those trapped in the occult.  I don’t know if Kelley himself holds that view, but it is something that came to my mind.

Ordo Theologiae

The first part deals with rather esoteric thinkers like Paul Virilio, Joseph P. Farrell, and Phillip Sherrard.  Special interest goes to Farrell.  

Here is the problem: In order for the Plotinian one to account for creation, it must already contain within himself all plurality.  Therefore, epistemology and ontology had to proceed by dialectics.  We know something by defining it by its opposite.

How was the Church to respond to this?  The best way was by simply breaking its back.  Kelley shows this by examining Athanasius’s response to Arius and Maximus’s response to monotheletism.  

For Athanasius there are three primary categories that should not be confused: nature, will, and person (Kelley 35).  The person of the Father generates the Son according to essence (since the hypostasis of the Father is the font of essence).  Creation, by contrast, is according to the will.  This leads later fathers (such as Basil) to identify three categories:

(1) Who is doing it?

(2) What is it they are doing? (energies)

(3) What are they? (essence)

The key point, however, is that Person, Nature, and Energy are not to be identified, or we have something like Plotinianism or Arianism.  

Maximus is even more interesting:  the human will cannot be passive nor defined by its contrary, the divine will.  That would mean because the divine nature/will is good, then the human nature must be evil (41). If we define something by its opposite, then we are also saying that said something (God) needs its opposite.  

I must stop the analysis at this point.  But know that the section on Joseph Farrell is a crash course in advanced theology.

Esoteric Studies

Kelley places the Nation of Islam’s cosmogony within the earlier Gnostic myths (89).  He has a fascinating section on Jim Jones.  It almost reads like a novel or a news article.  His larger point is that in these cults (NOI, Scientology, etc) there is a dialectic of a “life-force creating (or self-creating) within a primordial darkness.”

His chapter on Anaximander’s apeiron is worth the price of the book.  But what makes it interesting is Kelley’s tying Anaximander’s apeiron with Tillich’s Ungrund and Barth’s unknowable God.  The problem:  How can this “god” have any contact with creation?  Anaximander gives us a dialectically unstable answer:  this apeiron already contains within it the coincidence of opposites.

Conclusions and Analysis

Like all of Kelley’s works, this cannot help but be interesting.  How often do you read a theology book and you ask yourself, “I can’t wait to turn the page to see what happens next”?  But normally that level of excitement is for fluff.  This it most certainly is not.  Some chapters are very advanced theology, while others, like the one on Paul Virilio, are probably out of my league.

My only quibble is he set up a great dismantling of Karl Barth’s theology and then didn’t do it.  I understand that could be for space reasons.  Is Barth’s Unknowable God the same as Anaximander’s apeiron?  Maybe.  If they are, then one has at his fingertips a very destructive critique.

Aside from that, this book is most highly recommended.

Note: I received this as a complimentary copy and was under no obligation to post a positive review.

Review: Meet the Puritans

Beeke, Joel. Reformation Heritage Publishing.

Most people never realized encyclopedias could be fun to read. In many ways, if the reader knows how to approach it, this book has the danger and thrill associated with the English Civil War.

I think it is safe to say that Beeke leaves no Puritan behind–even the ones you’ve never heard of and whose writings will never be published. But some chapters are truly good, and there are some Puritans who get center stage: Thomas Goodwin, Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, Solomon Stoddard, the Mather Clan, and more.

Each entry is usually between 4 to 8 pages long. The first 60% of each entry is a short biography with a one to two paragraph analysis of the teachings. Then–and this is the good part–a list of the major works, when they were published and sometimes which ones to start first.

*Thomas Goodwin was deep in with Cromwell, as was John Owen.
*Cotton Mather broke with his father’s eschatological method to something approaching millennarianism (430). While Mather’s suggestions on dealing with witches today might bother modern readers, those who’ve been on the mission field (or some urban areas in America) can probably attest to what he is saying. But more importantly, Mather denied the legitimacy of spectral evidence in court, pace the idiocy of Arthur Miller.

The sections on Scottish Puritans and the Dutch Nadere repeats most of Beeke’s works found elsewhere, namely *Puritan Reformed Spirituality.*

Ride the Tiger notes, part 1

Part 1: Orientations

tradition: ruled by principles which transcend what is merely human.  Ordered from above.

Image result for ride the tiger evola

Evola’s approach is a negation of the bourgeois world (Evola 4).  The modern world itself is a negation of a negation.  What will be the result?  Chaos?  Nothingness?  Or perhaps a new space for flourishing?

The end of a cycle: Ride the Tiger

Doctrine of the four ages:

Golden Age –> Iron Age –> Kali Yuga.

Kali Yuga is a dark age where the forces lead to dissolution.  Kali herself symbolizes “cthonic” forces.  This is why Evola says we must “Ride the tiger.”

When a cycle οί civilization is reaching its end, it is difficult to achieve anything by resisting it and by directly opposing the forces ίη motion. The current is too strong; one would be overwhelmed. The essential thing is not to let oneself be impressed by the omnipotence and apparent triumph οί the forces οί the epoch…. Thus the principle to follow could be that οί letting the forces and processes οί this epoch take their own course, while keeping oneself firm and ready to intervene when “the tiger, which cannot leap οη the person riding it, is tired οί running” (10)


They shall expel demons (Prince)

Prince, Derek. They Shall Expel Demons.  Chosen Publishers.

Derek Prince gives an overview of demonology roughly in the same vein as John Wimber and Charles Kraft. This book is level-headed, practical, and filled with sane advice.  Only in a few places does Prince advance strange ideas and even then he is hesitant.  Very accessible and thorough.

Sin and Demons

Prince notes that sometimes our problems are due to our sinful nature and not to demons.  In which case we just need to apply the cross and crucify the flesh.  In other areas it is demonic oppression.

What is a Demon?

This part is tough.  Prince backs up everything he says with Scripture and a lot of it seems to “jive” with observation, yet some of his conclusions run against conventional wisdom.  He notes that the scriptures use several different terms for supernatural entities.  Paul notes that those entities that live in the heavenly places, principalities and powers (Eph. 6:12) are more august, if evil.  I could be mistaken but Paul never (or Daniel for that matter) calls these entities “demons.”  

On the other hand, when Jesus deals with demonic activity it seems to be with earth-bound entities.  Why would angelic beings who rule territories in the heavenly places reduce and limit themselves, for example, to pigs and graveyards?  

Prince notes we “wrestle” with principalities and powers; we “command” demons (95).  If Prince simply wants to make the claim that what we call “demons” is not in the same category as “principalities/powers/dark angels,” then he is probably correct.

Being demonized

A constant variable in demonization is the occult.  Parents who are into the occult, while not necessarily passing a demon on to their kids, bring their kids into a demonic environment.  Another “trigger” is sexual assault, social shock, etc.

Interestingly enough, he warns against the facile laying on of hands. No, we can’t “get a demon” that way, but we can receive negative effects from the one who had the demon (albeit these effects are easily dealt with).

Chemical activities in the brain aren’t demonic manifestations (e.g., smoking, alcoholism) but they can function as a gateway.

The Occult

Two main branches:

(a) Divinization (fortune telling, psychics, ESP; Acts 16:16-22).

(b) Sorcery.  (Drugs, potions, charms, magic, spells, incantations, various forms of music).


“Witchcraft is the universal, primeval religion of fallen humanity” (129).  Prince shows four levels of modern witchcraft:

(1) Open, public, “respectable.”  This is the Church of Satan and the CIA-handler Anton La Vey.

(2) Underground –Covens. This is the classic idea of “witchery.”

(3) Fifth Column, Disguised.  Rock music.  The danger is anything that breaks down one’s moral reasoning faculties (drugs, certain beats, etc).  Another 5th column is New Age.

(4) Work of the Flesh.  Desire for domination.

Do Christians Need Deliverance?

He notes that the new birth is real and shouldn’t be doubted.  But he also points out that when Christians receive the new birth, they might not have had all forces exorcised from them (especially true in more occult cases). Philip’s ministry in Samaria is instructive:  if demons automatically leave a person upon conversion, then why did Philip even bother to cast them out?

Key Points

(1) Demons operate in gangs (180).

(2) If we have opened the door to a demon by saying the wrong thing, we need to cancel it by saying the right thing (183).

(3) The authority to bind or loose. If there is a gang of demons, then bind the strongman first.


(1) Exposes Freemasonry (105, 134).

(2) Breaks new ground in our understanding of demonic activity.

People of the Black Circle

Probably one of Howard’s better short stories.  Admittedly, he has his own stock plot but he makes new developments.  He goes into greater detail in “how” the bad guy magic works.  Here is where it gets unnerving. The story is set in the “Humelians” just north of “Vendhya.”  In other words, the Himalayas just north of India. This is where Tibetan Buddhism is.  Tibetan Buddhism is more occultic than other variants of Buddhism.


Howard is writing in 1920s West Texas.  How did he describe the magical arts of Tibetan Buddhism so accurately?

But on to the story.  It is more of a novella than a short story. While Howard never writes openly about sex, much is implied.  But not so much in this story.

The bad guys are on different levels and some still have human qualities.

The Hermetic Tradition: Review and Principles

Evola, Julius. The Hermetic Tradition.

Short of it: the first half was quite good, but the second half was either incoherent or just plain wrong. Julius Evola correctly notes that the ancient teaching of alchemy wasn’t simply about transmuting metals. It was about developing the soul (or ascending to higher realms). Using alchemical language, he offers a manual for purifying the soul.

In the first half of the book he decodes numerous symbols. These discussions are often exhilarating and always exciting. They reveal a robust metaphysics which has strong affinities with Christianity and Torah/Prophets. For example, “chaos” simply means the realm of undifferentiated potentiality–prime matter. Saturn is heaviness, inertia. “The Tomb,” infamous in Plato, notes the body By itself and apart from the animating spirit, it is dead matter, the flux of chaos. The hermeticist does not want to escape the body because it is bad, but to temporarily separate to reestablish a dominating and causal solar principle.

All well and good. And then comes the second half. To be honest, I am not sure what he was getting at. And it’s probably best I didn’t.

Theses of Hermeticism (and many of these are quite insightful to a classical metaphysic)

En kai pan and Orobouros

  1. Unity: it is not a doctrine but an actual state.  It is represented by a circle 🌕, a line that encloses upon itself.  It is the realm of transcendence.  
  2. Chaos:  the realm of undifferentiated potentiality; prime matter.  
  3. Solar principle:  when the One takes on a center we get the solar principle, ⊙. This is the realm of form and the power of individuation. It is the power of differentiation, of coagula as opposed to solve (37).
  4. The lunar principle:  that upon which the Solar operates.  This is the world of changing and becoming, opposed to the uranian realm of being (35).  
  5. Arsenikon: an alchemical element similar to sun.  Its ideogram is 🕕, A cutting through of prime matter.  
  6. Water principle:  ∇, represents desire, pointing downward to the earth.
  7. Flame: △, oriented to the sun, to the world of forms.
  8. Earth: , the flat line represents the stoppage downward. It stops the fall of the waters.
  9. “Like is known by like.”  To know the four elements man must have in himself the four elements.
  10. Air: breaks the ascending direction of fire.  
  11. Saturn: principle of “heaviness” preceding man. Primordial individuation; Demiourgos.  It is inverted gold, or lead. The Golden Age of yore symbolizes the eternal kingdom of being.
    1. Saturn carries the sickle, which is dissolution and the compass is the power to measure and set limits.
  12. Tomb of Osiris.  This might explain what Plato meant by calling the body a tomb.  By itself and apart from the animating spirit, it is dead matter, the flux of chaos. The hermeticist does not want to escape the body because it is bad, but to temporarily separate to reestablish a dominating and causal solar principle.
  13. Wheels:  Chakras, in Hindu thought.  Resembles a lotus, a key of life and regeneration.

Primordial Man: The original Form being reflected.  The myth of Narcissus; cf. also Plotinus, Enneads, 6.4.14.

The Art of Memory

Yates, Frances. The Art of Memory.

Dame France Yates’ treatise starts off innocently enough: “Orderly arrangement is essential for good memory” (Yates 17). So the ancients thought. The ars memoria by itself is neutral. Yates advances the thesis that Renaissance thinkers used it as a vehicle for the Hermetic tradition. While the medieval tradition did little to develop the art of memory, it did set the stage for Renaissance Neoplatonism, which transformed the art of memory into a hermetic and occultic doctrine (134).

The memory system is a system of memory places and those images “are those of the planetary gods” (148). Renaissance thinkers were quick to say that “memory is organically geared to the universe” (149). As the old hermetic dictum said, “As above, so below.” Renaissance man saw man as quasi-divine and “having the powers of the star rulers” (151). Indeed, he is part “demon,” in fact a “star-demon” (Camillo, Asclepius). In short, thinkers like Camillo and Ficino turned classical memory “into an occult art” (155).

How does Renaissance man “tap into this power?” We have already noted a connection between man and the stars, but what is the “middle man,” so to speak? Yates suggests a “talisman” of sorts. A talisman is any imprinted with perceived powers. Yates suggests that the talismans in this case were planetary images, perhaps the new instantiation of the imagines agentes (159).

The goal of the Hermetic art of memory was the formation of the Magus (161).

Raymond Lull is pivotal because he represents a medium in which Renaissance Neo-Platonists chose a medieval figure for their occultic research. Lull based his structure off of Augustinie’s trinitarian analogies. Lull also introduces the movement of ascending and descending in the Memory Art (181).

Lull is a Christian form of Cabbalism, in which letters stand for divine names which (per some doctrines of simplicity), were the same thing as God (189).

Giordano Bruno and the Shadows

At this point in the narrative the earlier Art of Memory has become a definitive occultic art (200). For some reason Bruno was obsessed with the number 30. In many ways Bruno fine-tunes earlier mnemonic images along a more Neo-Platonic and ontological framework. The stars are now intermediaries (or rather, the spirits behind the stars). The magus will manipulate these images to unlock higher realities. As Yates notes, “the star-images are the ‘shadows of ideas,’ shadows of reality which are nearer in reality than the physical shadows of the lower world” (Yates 213).

Several Hermetic Assumptions in Bruno:
(1) Man’s mind is in some sense divine and connected to the “star governors” of the world (221).
(2) A golden chain connects higher and lower things.

Sub-conclusion: the classical art of memory has been transformed to a “vehicle for the formation of the psyche of a Hermetic mystic and magus” (225). He moves back to a “darker magic,” seeking not a Trinity but a One.


Yates’ work is both exciting and scholarly. She does assume some familiarity, if not with her earlier works, then at least with Renaissance occultism (in the academic sense). Some of the sections towards the end of the work do not always tie in neatly with her thesis, but they are informative nonetheless.