compiled by Dee Finney
|10-12-08 – DREAM I was taking care of a young blonde infant, whom they called Bomi. His mother was a blonde with fly-away hair.I found out then, when his other female relatives came to visit that their name was really Boehme and they all had the fly-away blonde hair – even through several generations of women.Boehme’s Heart
Symbol by early 17th-century Christian mystic Jakob Boehme
|Diagram by Boehme, incorporating the Kabbalistic Tree of Life, the traditional Four Elements,
a Christian mandala, and other themes
Graphic from Bruce B. Janz’s Jacob Boehme Resources page
From an early age he saw visions, and throughout his life he claimed to be divinely inspired. In his manuscript The Morning Redness Arising, written in 1612, he recorded his visions and expounded the attributes of God. The work was condemned as heretical by local ecclesiastical and civil authorities, and Boehme was forced to flee to Dresden, Saxony. There he was cleared of charges of heresy and allowed to return to Görlitz. His best-known treatises include Of the Three Principles of the Nature of God, (1619) and The Way to Christ, (1624), The Signature of all Things, and Mysterium Magnum.
As well as alchemical themes his writings contain Kabbalistic concepts. Boehme describes the absolute nature of God as the abyss, the nothing and the all, the primordial depths from which the creative will struggles forth to find manifestation and self-consciousness. The Father, who is groundless Will (c.f. Kabbalah – Keter the first principle is identified with Will), issues forth the Son, who is Love.
Boehme held that everything exists and is intelligible only through its opposite. Thus, he believed, evil is a necessary element in goodness, for without evil the will would become inert and progress would be impossible. Evil is a result of the striving of single elements of Deity to become the whole; conflict ensues as man and nature strive to achieve God. God himself, according to Boehme, contains conflicting elements and antithetical principles within His nature. (c.f. Sri Aurobindo – the Supermind(Godhead Truth-Consciousness) which contains and reconciles all opposites within Itself)
Although Boehme’s style is very turgid and heavy, his works were widely read and popular in Germany, the Netherlands, and Great Britain. His English followers called themselves Behmenists. Many of them later were absorbed into the Quaker movement. Boehme’s writings have influenced modern Western thought in both philosophy and theology. He exerted a profound influence on the philosophies of Baader, Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer. His ideas have also had a formative influence on Theosophy.
Boehme’s Mysterium Magnum
Drawing on the left by Jacob Boehme from his Theosophische Wercke, Amsterdam, 1682.
Note the Phoenix (soul) of rebirth rising through the Alpha-Omega ‘gap’ in the cycle as symbolised by the Ouroborus
(serpent-snake) and where it is swallowing its own tail.
The side angles of the triangle are 52 degrees – the same as the Great Pyramid of Giza.
Note also the cross intersecting the center of the triangle.other images of the mysterium magnum
“Aurora” and writings
Boehme had mystical experiences throughout his youth, culminating in a vision in 1600 that he received through observing the exquisite beauty of a beam of sunlight reflected in a pewter dish. He believed this vision revealed to him the spiritual structure of the world, as well as the relationship between God and man, and good and evil. At the time he chose not to speak of this experience openly, preferring instead to continue his work and raise a family.Jacob Boehme’s persecutions and suffering began with the publication of his first book, “Aurora,” at the age of thirty-five. then not withstanding five years of enforced silence, banishment from his home town, and an ecclesiastical trial for heresy, his “interior wisdom” began to be recognized by the nobility of Germany; but at this time, at the age of forty-nine, Boehme died, “happy,” as he said, “in the midst of the heavenly music of the paradise of God.”
Then after another vision in 1610, he began writing his first treatise, Aurora, or Die Morgenroete im Aufgang. Aurora was circulated in manuscript form until a copy fell into the hands of Gregorius Richter, the chief pastor of Görlitz, who considered it heretical and threatened Boehme with exile if he did not stop writing. After years of silence, Boehme’s friends and patrons persuaded him to start again, and circulated his writings in handwritten copies. His first printed book, Weg zu Christo (The Way to Christ, 1623), caused another scandal; he spent the last year of his life in exile in Dresden, returning to Görlitz only to die. In this short period, Boehme produced an enormous amount of writing, including his major works De Signatura Rerumand Mysterium Magnum. He also developed a following throughout Europe, where his followers were known as Behmenists.
The son of Boehme’s chief antagonist, the pastor primarius of Görlitz Gregorius Richter, edited a collection of extracts from his writings, which were afterwards published complete at Amsterdam with the help of Coenraad van Beuningen in the year 1682. Boehme’s full works were first printed in 1730.
The chief concern of Boehme’s writing was the nature of sin, evil, and redemption. Consistent with Lutheran theology, Boehme preached that humanity had fallen from a state of divine grace to a state of sin and suffering, that the forces of evil included fallen angels who had rebelled against God, and that God’s goal was to restore the world to a state of grace. Where Boehme appeared to depart from accepted theology (though this was open to question due to his somewhat obscure, oracular style) was in his description of the Fall as a necessary stage in the evolution of the Universe.
A difficulty with his theology is the fact that he had a mystical vision, which he reinterpreted and reformulated. To Boehme, in order to reach God, man has to go through hell first. God exists without time or space, he regenerates himself througheternity, so Boehme, who restates the trinity as truly existing but with a novel interpretation. God, the Father is fire, who gives birth to his son, whom Boehme calls light. The Holy Spirit is the living principle, or the divine life.
In Boehme’s cosmology, it was necessary for humanity to depart from God, and for all original unities to undergo differentiation, desire, and conflict — as in the rebellion of Satan, the separation of Eve from Adam, and their acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil — in order for creation to evolve to a new state of redeemed harmony that would be more perfect than the original state of innocence, allowing God to achieve a new self-awareness by interacting with a creation that was both part of, and distinct from, Himself. Free will becomes the most important gift God gives to humanity, allowing us to seek divine grace as a deliberate choice while still allowing us to remain individuals.
Boehme saw the incarnation of Christ not as a sacrificial offering to cancel out human sins, but as an offering of love for humanity, showing God’s willingness to bear the suffering that had been a necessary aspect of creation. He also believed the incarnation of Christ conveyed the message that a new state of harmony is possible. This was somewhat at odds with Lutherandogma, and his suggestion that God would have been somehow incomplete without the Creation was even more controversial, as was his emphasis on faith and self-awareness rather than strict adherence to dogma or scripture.
Boehme believed that the Son of God became human through the Virgin Mary. Before the birth of Christ, God recognized himself as a virgin. This virgin is therefore a mirror of God’s wisdom and knowledge. Boehme follows Luther, in that he views Mary within the context of Christ. Unlike Luther, he does not address himself to dogmatic issues very much, but to the human side of Mary. Like all other women, she was human and therefore subject to sin. Only after God elected her with his grace to become the mother of his son, did she inherit the status of sinlessness. Mary did not move the Word, the Word moved Mary, so Boehme, explaining that all her grace came from Christ. Mary is “blessed among women” but not because of her qualifications, but because of her humility. Mary is an instrument of God, an example, what God can do: It shall not be forgotten in all eternity, that God became human in her.
Boehme, unlike Luther does not believe that Mary was the Ever Virgin. Her virginity after the birth of Jesus is unrealistic to Boehme. The true salvation is Christ not Mary. The importance of Mary, a human like every one of us, is that she gave birth to Jesus Christ as a human being. If Mary would not have been human, to Boehme, Christ would be a stranger and not our brother. Christ must grow in us as he did in Mary. She became blessed by accepting Christ. In a reborn Christian, like in Mary, all that is temporal disappears and only the heavenly part remains for all eternity. Boehme’s peculiar theological language, involving fire, light and spirit, which permeates his theology and Marian views, does not distract much from the fact that his basic positions are Lutheran, with the one exception of the virginity of Mary, where he holds a more temporal view.
Boehme’s writing shows the influence of Neoplatonist and alchemical writers such as Paracelsus, while remaining firmly within a Christian tradition. He has in turn greatly influenced many anti-authoritarian and mystical movements, such as the Religious Society of Friends, the Philadelphians, the Gichtelians, the Society of the Woman in the Wilderness, the Ephrata Cloister, theHarmony Society, the Zoarite Separatists, Martinism, and Christian theosophy. Boehme was also an important source of German Romantic philosophy, influencing Schelling in particular.  In Richard Bucke‘s 1901 treatise Cosmic Consciousness, special attention was given to the profundity of Böhme’s spiritual enlightenment, which seemed to reveal to Boehme an ultimate nondifference, or nonduality, between human beings and God. Boehme is also an important influence on the ideas of the English Romantic poet, artist and mystic William Blake.
In later works—The Way to Christ (1622), The Mysterium Magnum (1623), and De Signatura Rerum (1623)—he praised the spiritual life, criticized the growing formalism of the Lutheran church, expressed traditional German mystic teachings, discussed Paracelsan speculative alchemy, and considered questions of freedom, good, and evil. Alcott, who purchased the English translation (by John Sparrow and John Elliston) in William Law’s four-volume edition in 1842, extolled Boehme as “the master mind of these last centuries.”
“When thou art gone forth wholly from the creature [human], and art become nothing to all that is nature and creature, then thou art in that eternal one, which is God himself, and then thou shalt perceive and feel the highest virtue of love. Also, that I said whosoever findeth it findeth nothing and all things; that is also true, for he findeth a supernatural, supersensual Abyss, having no ground, where there is no place to dwell in; and he findeth also nothing that is like it, and therefore it may be compared to nothing, for it is deeper than anything, and is as nothing to all things, for it is not comprehensible; and because it is nothing, it is free from all things, and it is that only Good, which a man cannot express or utter what it is. But that I lastly said, he that findeth it, findeth all things, is also true; it hath been the beginning of all things, and it ruleth all things. If thou findest it, thou comest into that ground from whence all things proceed, and wherein they subsist, and thou art in it a king over all the works of God.” [The Way to Christ, 1623]