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May 10th - Celestial Intelligences: The Syncretic Angelology & Spiritual Ascent of Renaissance Philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola
This presentation will explore the syncretic ideas of Italian Renaissance philosopher Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (“Pico”) (1463-1494) and his angelology in order to interpret the process of spiritual ascension that he prescribed in his Oration (1486). This process drew from philosophic and western wisdom traditions but primarily involved the emulation of angels. Central to Pico’s spiritual system was a philosophical analysis of specific characteristics of angelic orders and their hierarchy. Pico developed his own unique arrangement of traditional Jewish and Christian angelic orders to support his anthropology. He argued that humans have the potential to not only walk among the angels, but, in fact, fully to unite with the divine without human mediation even before death. Inextricably intertwined with Pico’s angelology was the biblical story of Jacob’s ladder and its symbolism, as well as the Jewish Kabbalistic Tree of Life, and the ancient tradition from which it originated. Pico’s conception of the Cherubim as the angelic order that could, by example, guide humanity to an individual gnosis, or even theosis (union with, or metamorphosis from human to divine), demonstrated his syncretic thinking, combining elements of both tradition and originality.
About Greg Kaminsky:
Brother Greg Kaminsky is a scholar of Western esotericism, recently completing a graduate degree in Medieval Studies. Greg has been a lifelong student of history, religion, and esotericism since his upbringing. In addition to pursuing these interests academically, Greg is the creator, producer, and co-host of a long-running podcast (Occult of Personality) that explores the esoteric with authors and experts in the field. His desire to create the podcast in 2006 began with a life-long compulsion to learn more about ancient civilizations, world religions, symbolism, and the underlying hidden wisdom which they contain, but only convey to the initiated. With well over 180 episodes completed and thousands of listeners every month, the podcast continues to grow in popularity and prestige. As part of the journey to learn about the esoteric while doing the podcast, he was initiated into several traditions including Freemasonry.