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Inhaling SpiritHarmonialism, Orientalism, and the Western Roots of Modern Yoga$
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Anya P. Foxen

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190082734

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190082734.001.0001

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Harmonic Spirits and the Music of the Spheres

Harmonic Spirits and the Music of the Spheres

(p.69) 2 Harmonic Spirits and the Music of the Spheres
Inhaling Spirit

Anya P. Foxen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 traces harmonial ideas from the end of antiquity through the metaphysically based religious and mind cure movements of the nineteenth century. It begins by briefly surveying developments in the early Islamic world and medieval Europe before proceeding to explore astrological medicine and theurgy in the European Renaissance, focusing primarily on the spiritus theory of Marsilio Ficino. It further argues that the legacy of astrological medicine on the one hand and theurgy on the other can be found in the eighteenth-century movements founded by Franz Anton Mesmer and Emanuel Swedenborg, respectively. It concludes by examining the reconvergence of these two strains of thought in the New Thought movement of the late nineteenth century, focusing chiefly on the work of Warren Felt Evans, which synthesizes Swedenborgian ideas with contemporary medical thought, including the importance of breath and physical culture.

Keywords:   Renaissance magic, harmonialism, spirit, spiritus, Mesmerism, Swedenborgianism, Western esotericism, microcosm-macrocosm, astrological medicine, theurgy

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