This brief collection is dedicated to the work and thought of the English mathematician, astronomer and alchemist John Dee (1525 - 1609). He served as astronomer and political advisor to Elizabeth I of England and his works on Hermetic Philosophy marked a before and after in the intellectual and religious world of the time. Monas Hieroglyphica (1564) is his most important work, which quickly became the magical-occultist manual of reference for anyone who wanted to enter the world of the esoteric. Let's see what the Dictionary of Gnosis & Western Esotericism edited by Wouter J. Hanegraaff says about this work.

“[...] Dee himself defined the genre of this work as ‘a magical parabole’. It consists of a lengthy introduction dedicated to Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor, followed by 24 very concise aphorisms or theorems. All these serve the interpretation of “the hieroglyphic monad”, a mystical-magical sign, entirely the product of Dee’s visual imagination. The monad incorporates the simplest geometrical elements: a circle with a point in its centre on top, two straight lines crossing each other in right angle under it, two touching semi circles at the bottom and all enclosed by an oval. Dee constructed it with the intention of condensing all the natural and supernatural → correspondences of the Cosmos into one single sign which would provide the beholder with a complete understanding of the created universe. In the Preface he emphasized that the monad was to be ‘mathematically, magically, cabbalistically, and anagogically explained’ (Josten ed. 1964, 155).

The theorems elucidate the cosmic image on two levels. On one level, they explain how its elements and proportions express in a mystical but at the same time strictly “scientific” manner the ultimate cause of the World, the Oneness. The theorems make clear how all principal numbers can be derived from the geometrical elements in the core of the diagram. Dee also elucidates how these elementary figures can be used to generate all the signs of the planets as well as the metals, thus referring to the major spheres of the universe (macro- and microcosms). On the second level the monad refers to the Magus, regarded as an experimenting scientist, emphasizing his potential to recreate the lost unity of existence. This layer of meaning stands in close relation to the alchemical significance which is alluded to by Dee when he identifies the two semicircles with the Zodiacal sign of Aries, a fire sign bringing about the alchemical transmutation. This process naturally includes the spiritual transformation of the operating Magus as well. The oval frame of the image stands for the Egg of the Philosophers, the alembic in which the alchemical process is taking place. In the sign’s basic pattern one can recognize the sign of Mercury, the key element of alchemy which at the same time has astrological importance. In Theorem XVIII, Dee calls attention to the interrelatedness of astrology and alchemy; he calls alchemy ‘astronomia inferior’. [...]”

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