The Infinite Fire Webinar SeriesSeptember 3, 2012
As from today the Hermetically Open project is live and connected to the project is the Infinite Fire Webinar Series. With the Infinite Fire Webinar Series, the Ritman Library and the Center for the History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents (GHF) of the University of Amsterdam have joined forces and are planting the seed for a Scholarly Hermetic Circle. The series represents an initiative to transform the ideal into the real: opening up the living tradition by relating that which is being preserved in the academy to that which is being preserved in the library. Written sources meet living voices, wisdom meets knowledge, ancient tradition meets contemporary thinking: together they create a new story to share, accessible online for anyone interested.
From this month and running through May next year, a series of 9 webinars will be broadcasted online, featuring three experts connected to the GHF, who will be elaborating on their academic passions in relation to the library’s treasures. The format is 3 x 3; the first 3 are hosted by Dr. Peter J. Forshaw, the second 3 by Prof. Dr. Wouter. J. Hanegraaff, and the final 3 by Dr. Marco Pasi. For a first look behind the scenes, see the introductory video of Peter Forshaw explaining his selection of three topics which always make his heart beat faster.
From September to November, Peter will take us first to the ‘Amphitheatrum Sapientiae Aeternae’ – the Amphitheatre of Eternal Wisdom – the renowned work of physician and Hermetic alchemist Heinrich Khunrath, which has traditionally been considered to be a strange mix of Christianity and magic. In the second webinar, Peter will discuss the alchemical emblem book ‘Atalanta Fugiens’ (1617) by the Renaissance alchemist Michael Maier. This book with 50 separate sections, may well be regarded as the first multimedia production ever. Each section contains an engraved emblem, a verse and an epigram connected to the emblem as well as a short prose piece discussing the alchemical meaning of each emblem. Another rarity are the short musical canons connected to the sections, each composed by Maier himself.
Peter’s third great interest relates to the ‘Enochian language’ of John Dee. Together with the spirit medium Edward Kelly (Edward Talbot), Dee, an English occultist, ‘mathemagician’ and astrologer, tried contacting the angelic realm by means of ’scrying’, working with a crystal ball. He devoted much of his energy to soliciting information from the higher planes, resulting in a series of works ‘dictated’ – according to Dee himself – from ‘above’. More on these three fascinating alchemists in Peter’s in-depth Infinite Fire webinars. The first webinar will go live this month, stay connected to our Facebook page for the announcement!
The title of the webinar series is inspired by the Infinite Fire exhibition which was the first new exhibition in the Ritman Library when it re-opened in December 2011. Still on show until October, it shows highlights from the collection, beautifully illustrated manuscripts and rare printed books. The Infinite Fire theme signifies; ‘life’s energy running through all that exists, like a “transpiration stream” passing through everything, whether it’s a plant, an animal, or a human being’ as the founder of the library’ Joost R. Ritman, explained at the opening of the exhibition. As ‘hosts’ of learning environments, encouraging people to develop themselves, the GHF and the Ritman Library have chosen the Infinite Fire theme to remind us that everyone possesses a ‘divine’ spark, which can manifest itself in a sudden revelation in which the life force flows and a sense of fulfillment is achieved: a fiery experience. And it is exactly this passionate feeling, this Infinite fire, that invites study and stimulates discovery and development.
In the Infinite Fire Webinar Series, stories will be shared and sources will come to life which have inspired and continue to inspire the three academic hosts connected to the GHF. The series aims to let the academic spirit flow outside the halls of the academy and hermetically open up the library’s sources to people all over the world. You are invited to join us on this learning journey and become inspired by the Infinite Fire webinars. The first webinar, on Khunrath, is to be expected from the second half of this month!