Magic, Astrology and Music; the astrological music therapy of Marsilio Ficino and his role as Renaissance Magus – Angela Voss
This thesis is structured in four substantial chapters with sub-sections. The first two cover the background of Ficino’s thought, the second two present his own attitudes towards magic, astrology and music.
Chapter one is concerned with aspects of his musica mundi as reprsented by Ficnio’s three main authorities, Plato, Hermes Trimegistus and Plotinus.
Chapter two moves on to musica humana, and the magical means by which the Pythagorean and Platonic traditions aspired to bring the human soul into harmony with the cosmos.
The second half of the thesis is directly concerned with Ficino’s own synthesis of this material. Chapter three firstly presents his formulation of ways of knowing as found in the Tabnlichus Commentary, then considers the implications of this for his attitude to astrology. The ‘scientific’ astrology of Ptolemy and the syncratic tradition of the Arabs leads to a presentation of the dilema between the scientific and divinatory approaches. I then discuss Ficino’s reaction to astrological determinism and his own views in relation to his Disputation contra ludicium astrologorus and Commentary on Plotinus.
Finally, chapter four brings both astrology and music into focus as the ingredients of Ficino’s practices of natural magic.