July 21

Albertus Magnus’s Influence On The Occult


Albertus Magnus, a prominent medieval scholar, theologian, and philosopher, had a significant influence on the occult during and after his lifetime. However, it's essential to note that "occult" refers to hidden or esoteric knowledge and practices, and during the Middle Ages, it did not necessarily have the negative connotations it carries in modern times. Here are some ways in which Albertus Magnus's influence impacted the occult:

  1. Alchemy: Albertus Magnus was deeply involved in alchemical studies, which aimed to transform base metals into gold and discover the elixir of life. His alchemical writings and experiments influenced later alchemists, who considered him an authority in the field. Alchemy, with its mystical and symbolic nature, is often associated with occult practices.
  2. Natural Magic: Albertus Magnus was fascinated by the natural world and believed that the study of nature could reveal divine secrets. He wrote extensively on natural magic, which was a precursor to modern natural sciences but often incorporated elements of mystical and occult thinking.
  3. Cabala and Mysticism: Although not a Jewish scholar himself, Albertus Magnus had some influence on the Christian interpretation of Jewish Kabbalistic texts. He integrated certain Kabbalistic ideas into his own writings, and his work contributed to the growing interest in mystical and esoteric traditions during the Middle Ages.
  4. Astrology: Albertus Magnus's interest in celestial phenomena, such as the positions of planets and stars, influenced his astrological beliefs. Astrology, with its attempts to discern patterns and predictions in the heavens, was often linked to occult practices during this period.
  5. Occult Text Transmission: Albertus Magnus's vast collection of writings was widely circulated during and after his time, which allowed his ideas to spread across Europe. His works often contained discussions of obscure or mystical topics, contributing to the growing body of occult literature.
  6. Influence on Later Occultists: Albertus Magnus's reputation as a great scholar and alchemist earned him respect among later occultists, including some Renaissance figures. His ideas and writings influenced renowned occultists like Paracelsus, who expanded upon and integrated his teachings into their own work.
  7. Legends and Myths: Over time, various legends and myths arose around Albertus Magnus, attributing him with supernatural powers and extraordinary feats. These stories contributed to the mystique surrounding his name and linked him further to the occult in popular imagination.

It's important to recognize that Albertus Magnus's involvement in the occult was primarily within the context of the intellectual pursuits of his time. The boundaries between what we consider scientific, philosophical, and occult knowledge were less distinct during the medieval period. As such, his influence on the occult should be understood in the historical and cultural context of the Middle Ages rather than through the lens of contemporary occult practices.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy Albert the Great


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