Posts Tagged ‘bensalem’

The Book M, John Heydon, and the Book of Solomon

June 20, 2009

The Rosicrucian Fama Fraternitatis makes reference to several important works. The “Book M” is one of these. From

“In Damcar, the Fama recounts the learned men ‘to whom Nature was discovered’ received the precocious boy ‘not as a stranger but as one whom the had long expected; they called him by his name, and showed him many other secrets’ – among them mathematics, physics, alchemy, and a document the Fama refers to as the Book M. This last treasure, whose full name is thought by some to be Book Mundi, or Book of the World, is said to have held the secrets of the universe. Young Rosenkreutz decided that he would translate this prodigious work into Latin, so that he might share it with others upon his return to Europe.”

And what language was Rosenkreutz translating this book “out of”, if “into” Latin? From the Fama:

“After this manner began the Fraternity of the Rosie Cross–first, by four persons only, and by them was made the magical language and writing, with a large dictionary, which we yet dayly use to God’s praise and glory, and do find great wisdom therein.”

So the answer is, that the Book M was written in a, “magical language and writing”. Now from New Atlantis, about the Book of Solomon:

“Some think it beareth the founder’s name a little corrupted, as if it should be Solomon’s House. But the records write it as it is spoken. So as I take it to be denominate of the King of the Hebrews, which is famous with you, and no strangers to us; for we have some parts of his works which with you are lost; namely, that natural history which he wrote of all plants, from the cedar of Libanus to the moss that groweth out of the wall; and of all things that have life and motion.”

So in New Atlantis, in Bensalem, we have the lost works of Solomon, which included “…all plants…”, and “…all things that have life and motion.” Now I come to a man, John Heydon, described by Elias Ashmole as “an ignoramus and a cheat”, and Francis Yates as a, “strange character…an astrologer, geomancer, alchemist, of a most extreme type.”

See wiki:

John Heydon wrote “The Holy Guide” (pub. 1662), in which he shamelessly rips off Bacon’s New Atlantis, and re-writes many portions of it as a straightforward Rosicrucian text. Of course the New Atlantis is undeniably Rosicrucian in it’s premise, and contains not only RC tenets and philosophy, but also RC symbolism. But Heydon took it a step further, and stripped away Bacon’s reluctance, in a sense, in his version. On the lost works of Solomon reference in NA, Heydon reworks this into,

“…we have some parts of works which with you are lost, namely the Rosie Crucian M, which he wrote of all things past, present, and to come”.

We might ask “of what importance?” is Heydon’s later interpretation of The New Atlantis? Yates and others saw his view of the work as the intent of the work, and also how the work was perceived in his time, i.e., as a Rosicrucian document. It is considered that Bacon, or his friend and posthumous publisher, in being cautious, stripped The New Atlantis of the most obvious and direct Rosicrucian references. James I would not have been open to such RC references and connections. The later John Heydon can be seen as having returned, or added, originally references which reflect the intent of the work.

Now imagine if a faux book were created, meant to look either like the Book M, or the Book of Solomon, from New Atlantis, between about 1610 to 1620. Would it not have a look of mystery, and yet contain many plants, and scientific devices, both familiar and yet somehow mysterious? And contain both borrowed and invented bits of astrology, astronomy… all perhaps Hermetic-inspired, but enigmatic illustrations of these themes, nonetheless? And in addition we know that if such a book were created, it would need to be written in a “magical language and writing”, in order to accurately reflect the fictional original. And it would, to complete the effect, have to be made to much older look than it really was. But unavoidably, it would possibly give us a sense, today, of a “newness”, because it would be difficult to mimic exactly the look of a book one to two hundred years older. We can only imagine it, because so far as we know, no such book has been found. And if the Voynich is such a book, it would be the first, with nothing exactly like it to compare it to.

The Book M was not alone in the crypt with the well preserved remains of our mysterious figure:

In the tomb of Rosenkreutz, “In another chest were looking-glasses of divers virtues, as also in another place were little bells, burning lamps, and chiefly wonderful artificial songs–“

Of course I am struck by the inclusion of “looking-glasses of divers virtues”, as they are clearly not referring to glasses simply as corrective vision, but either telescopes of microscopes, or both. Optics both as devices and a concept ran through the philosophies of the time, and were a tool of the new movement toward inductive reasoning. The tomb of Rosenkreutz and the New Atlantis contained optics for much the same reasons: for what they meant to the new concepts promulgated by the Rosicrucian movement. And, as I personally would argue, why I believe optics may have been included in the Voynich.

Looking at these fantasy cipher tomes: Book M, The Book of Solomon from Bensalem… and remember, Prospero’s books: I’m not so certain, if all three of these faux books were created in 1610/20, that we would be able to tell them apart today… or, for that matter, apart from the Voynich Manuscript. And if the Voynich is one of these books, everyone has been looking for answers in the wrong places, which would then make it unsurprising that no answers have been found.

-post adapted and updated from a May 2008 VMS-net entry