Robert Fludd on “Spiritus”


I discovered an interesting quote from Robert Fludd that the members of this group may appreciate. In contradistinction to Ficino’s discussion of “spiritus” as mediating between body and soul, Fludd says that the soul of man is the same “spirit” in the blood and in the intellect. From his Mosaicall philosophy… (1659), pp. 231-232:

By both which places we may observe, first, that the Soul in generall, and therefore in particular, is full of Divinity, and consequently that it is this Divine Essence, that worketh in this soul all in all, in the world, and every member thereof, as the Apostle saith, and therfore the said Philosopher in the place before: Anima mente Deoque plena, &c. Secondly, that this Divinity in the catholick created spirit filleth all things, in an Angelicall existence; that is, indueth the mantle of the vast world spirit. And this agreeth with Scripture, which saith, that Spiritus Dei implet omnia, The Spirit of the Lord filleth all things. Spiritus incorruptibilis inest omni rei: The incorruptibe Spirit is in all things. Deus vivificat omnia: God vivifieth all things, and consequently, is the essentiall act and life of the world, as I have proved fully in the first Book of this Treatise: wherefore Hermes in another place saith thus: Animae universae per omnem mundum ab una mundi totius anima profluunt, tanquam destributae circumferentes: The universal souls throughout the whole world, do proceed as it were distributed concurrent from one soul of the whole world; which is all one with that which we have said before, namely that all Souls in this world, are certain beamy streams, proceeding from that catholick Emanation, which issued from the eternall Fountain of the illuminating act, to some more copiously, and to some more sparingly; and therefore Man is said to be in dignity little less then the Angells, by reason of the large portion of Light bestowed upon him: Spiritus Dei fecit me (saith Job): sed inspiratio Omnipotentis fecit me intelligere. Thirdly, That in the very twinck|ling of an eye, it is able to penetrate quite through all things, and that at what distance it pleaseth, and consequently will not be limitted by any imaginary Sphere of activity. But Mr. Foster and his complices will reply, that the spirit which should operate in the blood, and from the blood, to the Ointment, is a naturall spirit, and not this Divine Spirit. This Objection maketh me to smile: As who should say, that this act of vivifying, yea, and of every other faculty belonging unto man’s spirit, doth not move from one and the same Divine Fountain when the Apostle saith, In him we move, we live, and have our being. Again, it is said, that in the blood is the soul or spirit of life. And St. John saith, In Verbo erat vita, in the Word was life. I will tell you therefore what a true Philosopher saith, touching this point, Anima (saith he) ad similitudinem totius sapientiae facta, omnem in se gerit similitudinem, est que spiritus intellectualis, semper vivens, semper in motu, & secundum sui operis officium, variis nuncupatur nominibus. Dicitur vita dum vegetat; spiritus dum contemplatur; sensus dum sentit; animus dum sapit; mens dum intelligit; ratio dum discernit; memoria dum recordatur; dum vult voluntas: & ista omnia non sunt nisi una anima proprietate diversa sed essentia unica: The soul of Man framed after the similitude of all wisdom, doth beare in it self the likness of all things; and it is an intellectuall spirit, ever living, and ever in motion, and it is termed by divers names and appellations, according unto the office of the work which it effecteth: For when it vegetateth or causeth to grow and multiply, it is called life; when it contemplateth, it is termed a spirit; it is called sense, when it is conversant about the function, which belongeth unto the externall sense; it is termed the mind, when it is versed about wisdom; it is called Mens or the mentall beam, when it understandeth; it is termed reason, when it discerneth between good or bad; it is called memory, when it remembreth; it is styled Volunty when it willeth; and yet all these are but onely one soul, divers properties, I say, but one onely essence. So that it is the same essentiall act, which causeth life, and contemplation; which maketh sense and intellect; which effecteth memory and reason; and, to conclude, that willeth or nilleth. Which being thus, Is it not a sinfull thing in ignorant persons, to make the occult actions of this abstruce spirit, by which they live, move, understand, discern between good and evill, remember, see, feel, hear, touch, and tast, the effects of the devill; and consequently to rob their bright soul of her honour, instead of giving her thanks for her assistance, by ascribing her arcane operations most irreligiously and falsly, unto the devill? And why I pray? Why, because they cannot dive into the depth of her activity, by whom they themselves do live, move, and have their being. Yea, and to limit her activity with bounds, according unto their pleasure, who (though they know not so much) have their life and volunty from her, which limiteth them according as she pleaseth, who is infinite in her being; for so much as she is a portion, not divided from that Divine Emanation which is infinite in his extention. It is evident therefore, that this vivifying Spirit can send forth its action unto any mark in the world, from any specifick nature, but especially from the Microcosmicall creature; and the rather if the mark be of the same specifick condition, and the vehicle of the spirit, namely the effused blood, measuring first the distance between the wound and the Ointment. Moreover, we shall find this confirmed by other of her operations, effected in the same Microcosmicall Mine, from whence it emitteth its beams, at an unlimited distance.