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From: Noel Kettering
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997

This item seems a bit off topic but I have decided to post it onto the Texts e-mail group, but I don't really want to broaden the Texts group to include all sorts of magical texts. This e-mail list is for alchemy texts. As there may be some small connection between the Ars Notoria manuscripts and alchemy I will allow this question to be put. [Part of one of the Ars Notoria manuscripts is entitled 'Mercure Trismegiste et Apolonius nomment cet Art des Fleurs d'Or'.] However, this is not setting a precedent for the discussion of general magical texts on the alchemy texts e-mail group. The e-mail group 'Arcana' is probably the best place for such discussions. - Best Wishes, Adam McLean

In the introduction to 'Trancendental Magic,' Eliphas Levi
quotes a 16th century manuscript and enumerates the powers
of an Adept.

One of these powers is called ARS NOTARIA.

As I understand it, it is defined as: Universal Science -
the Art of Knowing the signs and characters which "God hath
inscribed upon the mechanism of the World, and which he
repeats through the mutations of empires" - these signs
may be discerned in every kingdom of nature.

Does anyone know any more about it? Or have a better
definition than this?


Date: Mon, 28 Apr 97


According to Qabalistic and Hassidic tradition, the material aspect of the
world (=universe) rests on the structure of the Hebrew aleph-beth (cf., e. g.,
the 'Sepher Yetsirah', where, having stated that"... the world was created
through 32 paths or ways, the 10 primordial numbers and 22 fundamental
letters...", the text goes on to expond in detail the relationship between the
letters and the body, the letters and the directions arisen from the
primordial point-instant, etc. Also anything by - or about - Abulafia).
Similar traditions abound in Sufism (cf., e.g., 'Sufi: Expressions of the
Mystic Quest' by Laleh Bakhtiar, pp.112-115), Shiva Tantra (cf. the works of
Sir John 'Arthur Avalon' Wodroffe, Ajit Mookerjee and Madhu Khana for the most
easily accessible), and this is, of course, the basis of the so called
'kyerim' (Skt. utpattikrama), or 'generation stage' of Tibetan 'Mantrayana'...
If you read French, an interesting book on the subject of word (Latin 'nota
-ae', = a word, mark, sign; shorthand, secret writing, token, stigma... and
also disgrace...) is Marc-Alain Ouaknin's 'Tsimtsoum: introduction a la
meditation hebraique' (without its accents), Albin-Michel, 1992.


From: Eric C. Friedman
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997


To further expand on what Mike Dickman wrote, the best
(traditional) translation of Sefer Yetzirah currently in distribution is
that of R. Aryeh Kaplan, published by Samuel Weiser Inc. It can be
ordered through any book srore. Also in translation is Shaarei Orah -
Gates of Light, by R. Joseph Gikatilla, translated by Avi Weisman, and
published by HarperCollins in 1994. Gikatilla was one of the most
influential students of Avraham Abulafia. This translation is a little
weird, though; I found myself having to refer to the original Hebrew to
figure it out, rather than the other way around!

In many places in Transcendental Magic, "Eliphas Levi"
specifically sites Sefer Yetzirah as a/the fundamental source for the
concept underlying the statement you quoted.

Eric Friedman

Date: Mon, 28 Apr 1997
From: Thomas S Willard

For a note on the medieval Ars Notaria, see Frances Yates' Giordano Bruno
and the Hermetic tradition, p. 265, n. 2; see cites Lynn Thorndike's
History of Magic and Experimental Science, vol. 2, pp. 279-89.

I think (but this is a topic for the Rosicrucian conference) that the term
Ars Notaria gets used in a positive way in some writings as a general
reference to the memory systems of Lull and the steganography of
Trithemius as these passed into the traditions of the Book M.

Tom Willard