Frances A. Yates Quotes

Through the light which shines in natural things one mounts up to the life which presides over them.
Frances A. Yates (Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964)
Pico's natural magic is therefore, it would seem, probably the same as Ficino's magic, using natural sympathies but also magical images and signs, though on the understanding that this is to attract natural power, not demonic power.
Frances A. Yates (Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964)
Giordano Bruno was to take the bolder course of maintaining that the magical Egyptian religion of the world was not only the most ancient but also the only true religion, which both Judaism and Christianity had obscured and corrupted.
Frances A. Yates (Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964)
The soul never thinks without a mental picture... the thinking faculty thinks of its forms in mental pictures... no one could ever learn or understand anything, if he had not the faculty of perception; even when he thinks speculatively, he must have some mental picture with which to think.
Frances A. Yates (The Art Of Memory)
Now nature herself teaches us what we should do. When we see in every day life things that are petty, ordinary, and banal, we generally fail to remember them, because the mind is not being stirred by anything novel or marvellous. But if we see or hear something exceptionally base, dishonourable, unusual, great, unbelievable, or ridiculous, that we are likely to remember for a long time.
Frances A. Yates (The Art Of Memory)
In the world of Ramon Lull, the brilliant civilisation of the Spanish Moslems, with its mysticism, philosophy, art, and science, was close at hand; the Spanish Jews had intensively developed their philosophy, their science and medicine, and their mysticism, or Cabala. To Lull, the Catholic Christian, occurred the generous idea that an Art, based on principles which all three religious traditions held in common, would serve to bind all three together on a common philosophical, scientific, and mystical basis.
Frances A. Yates (The Occult Philosophy in the Elizabethan Age)
It therefore seems that the Natural Magus, as envisaged by Pico, would use the same kind of methods as the Ficinian natural magic, natural sympathies, natural Orphic incantations, magic signs and images naturally interpreted. Amongst these procedures would almost certainly be the use of the talisman as Ficino interpreted it. Pico moved in the same world of imagery as Ficino, as his commentary on Benivieni's Canzona de Amore shows, and the Three Graces on his medal should perhaps be understood, at bottom, as in the nature of a Neoplatonised talismanic image against Saturn.
Frances A. Yates (Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964)
The main reason why serious historical studies of the Rosicrucian manifestos and their influence have hitherto been on the whole lacking is no doubt because the whole subject has been bedevilled by enthusiasts for secret societies. There is a vast literature on Rosicrucianism which assumes the existence of a secret society, founded by Christian Rosencreutz, and having a continuous existence up to modern times. In the vague and inaccurate world of so-called 'occultist' writing this assumption has produced a kind of literature which deservedly sinks below the notice of the serious historian. And when, as if often the case, the misty discussion of 'Rosicrucians' and their history becomes involved with the masonic myths, the enquirer feels that he is sinking helplessly into a bottomless bog.
Frances A. Yates (The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 1972)
Hermetism and Cabalism also corroborated one another on a theme which was fundamental for them both, namely the creation by the Word. The mysteries of the Hermetica are mysteries of the Word, or the Logos, and in the Pimander, it was by the luminous Word, the Son of God issuing from the Nous that the creative act was made. In Genesis, "'God spoke" to form the created world, and, since He spoke in Hebrew, this is why for the Cabalist the words and letters of the Hebrew tongue are subjects for endless mystical meditations, and why, for the practical Cabalist, they contain magical power.
Frances A. Yates (Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964)
THE great forward movements of the Renaissance all derive their vigour, their emotional impulse, from looking backwards. The cyclic view of time as a perpetual movement from pristine golden ages of purity and truth through successive brazen and iron ages still held sway and the search for truth was thus of necessity a search for the early, the ancient, the original gold from which the baser metals of the present and the immediate past were corrupt degenerations. Man's history was not an evolution from primitive animal origins through ever growing complexity and progress; the past was always better than the present, and progress was revival, rebirth, renaissance of antiquity. The classical humanist recovered the literature and the monuments of classical antiquity with a sense of return to the pure gold of a civilisation better and higher than his own. The religious reformer returned to the study of the Scriptures and the early Fathers with a sense of recovery of the pure gold of the Gospel, buried under later degenerations.
Frances A. Yates (Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, 1964)
To return to the general analysis of the Rosicrucian outlook. Magic was a dominating factor, working as a mathematics-mechanics in the lower world, as celestial mathematics in the celestial world, and as angelic conjuration in the supercelestial world. One cannot leave out the angels in this world view, however much it may have been advancing towards the scientific revolution. The religious outlook is bound up with the idea that penetration has been made into higher angelic spheres in which all religions were seen as one; and it is the angels who are believed to illuminate man's intellectual activities.
    In the earlier Renaissance, the magi had been careful to use only the forms of magic operating in the elemental or celestial spheres, using talismans and various rituals to draw down favourable influences from the stars. The magic of a bold operator like Dee, aims beyond the stars, aims at doing the supercelestial mathematical magic, the angel-conjuring magic. Dee firmly believed that he had gained contact with good angels from whom he learned advancement in knowledge. This sense of close contact with angels or spiritual beings is the hallmark of the Rosicrucian. It is this which infuses his technology, however practical and successful and entirely rational in its new understanding of mathematical techniques, with an unearthly air, and makes him suspect as possibly in contact, not with angels, but with devils.
Frances A. Yates (The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, 1972)
We are concerned with how it was that Marsilio Ficino, who took such extreme care to present the revival of Plato and Neoplatonism as a movement which could be accorded with Christianity, allowed a fringe of magic to penetrate into this movement, thus inaugurating those philosophies of the Renaissance in which magical undercurrents are never far absent. The theory of the prisca theologia, of the piety and anitquity of Hermes Trismegistus, priscus theologus and Magus, offered an excuse for Ficino's modern philosophical magic. The attraction of the Asclepius had probably already been exerting its pull in the earlier Renaissance, and when Ficino--dropping Plato in order to translate the Corpus Hermeticum first--found here a new revelation of the sanctity of Hermes and a confirmation of Lactantius' high opinion of him as the prophet of the "Son of God", he felt authorised to adopt the Lactantian view and tried to evade the Augustinian warning. The presence of Hermes Trismegistus inside the Duomo of Siena in the character of a Gentile prophet which Lactantius had given him, is symptomatic of the success of this rehabilitation.
    We must not forget that the other prisci theologi, such as Orpheus or Zoroaster, were also Magi, and also authorised by their antiquity revivals of forms of magic. Yet Hermes Trismegistus is the most important of the prisci magi from the point of view of the incorporation of magic with philosophy, for in his case there was a body of supposedly more ancient philosophical writings to be studied, and these writings, in addition to their echoes of Moses and their prophetic understandings of Christianity before Christ, also prophetically shadowed the teachings of the divine Plato.
Frances A. Yates

Relevant Pages

Western Esotericism

Frances A. Yates Biography

Frances A. Yates portrait

Born: 1899
Died: 1981

Frances A. Yates was a English historian and writer. She is best known for her Renaissance studies, which included figures such as Giordano Bruno . She is also known for her studies on various schools of Mysticism.

Notable Works

Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (1964)
The Art of Memory (1966)
The Rosicrucian Enlightenment (1966)

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