Coelum Terrae

“Now, for my part, I have always honoured the magicians, their philosophy being both rational and majestic, dwelling not upon notions but effects. When I was a mere errant in their books and understood them not, I did believe them. Time rewarded my faith and paid my credulity with knowledge. That these Philosophers may be the better understood, I will now speak something of generation:

You must know that Nature hath two extremes and between them a middle substance, which elsewhere we have called the middle nature.  The first extreme was that cloud or darkness, and it is the same with that Orphic night:

O Night, thou black nurse of the golden stars. 

Out of this darkness all things that are in this world came, hence that position of famous poets and philosophers that “all things were brought forth out of night.”  The middle substance is the Water into which that night or darkness was condensed, and the creatures framed out of the water made up the other extreme.

Now, the magicians, reasoning with themselves why the mean creation should be subject to corruption, concluded the cause and original of this disease to be in the chaos itself,  and they found that Nature in her generations did only concoct this chaos. She did not separate the parts and purify each of them by itself ; but the purities and impurities remained together in all her productions, and this domestic enemy prevailing at last occasioned the death of the compound. Hence they wisely gathered that to minister vegetables, animals or minerals for physic was a mere madness, for even these also had their own impurities and diseases, and required some medicine to cleanse them.

Upon this adviso they resolved (God without all question being their guide) to practise on the chaos itself. They opened it, purified it, united what they had formerly separated and fed it with a twofold fire, thick and thin, till they brought it to the immortal extreme and made it a spiritual, heavenly body. This was their physic, this was their magic. In a word, they saw with their eyes that Nature was male and female. This is enough and too much, for the secret in itself is not great but the consequences of it are so which made the philosophers hide it. It is in truth a very simple mystery and if I should tell it openly, ridiculous. Howsoever, by this secret and not without it did the magicians unlock the chaos, as an iron key opens a treasury of gold.’

“This concept of the probability wave was something entirely new in theoretical physics since Newton. Probability in mathematics or in statistical mechanics means a statement about our degree of knowledge of the actual situation. In throwing dice we do not know the fine details of the motion of our hands which determine the fall of the dice and therefore we say that the probability for throwing a special number is just one in six. The probability wave of Bohr, Kramers, Slater, however, meant more than that; it meant a tendency for something. It was a quantitative version of the old concept of ‘potentia’ in Aristotelian philosophy. It introduced something standing in the middle between the idea of an event and the actual event, a strange kind of physical reality just in the middle between possibility and reality.”


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