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Greg Marcus

Johann Georg Hagelgans

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Firstly, bear with me, especially if you're interested in the content I've posted here on this blog or in the forums. There's lots of neat stuff here. (follow the links!)...

I'm pretty sure I came across Hagelgans on Pinterest while looking at other geometrical diagrams.. these were in the other "suggested" images:

..and those lo-res versions were all I could find. Each search eventually landed on these same exact diagrams. The source was no mystery as it was often cited with the images: Sphaera Coelestis Mystica, Ex Arithmologia Ac Metrologia. Finding a good copy of the source was more difficult.. All the google searches bring up inferior copies (forced to black and white) of only different parts of the book, and never any of the images.

Where there's smoke there's fire, so I gave Hagelgans the typical treatment, developed a list of his other works, and hunted for more images. Here's the list I came up with (the ones with "x" aren't interesting to me in terms of imagery):

Architectura Cosmica Eclectica et enucleata
Sphaera Coelestis Mystica, Ex Arithmologia Ac Metrologia
Sphaera Infernalis Mystica
Machina Mvndi Sphaerica cum Planisphaerio
Atlas Historicus,Quo Res per Orbem Gestas Neuiuerse et Sigillatim
x - Nassauische Geschlechtstafel des Walramischen Stammes
x - Orbis Literatvs Academicvs Germanico-Evropaevs

It turns out Hagelgans is mostly known for his Atlas Historicus. You can click Here to view a hi-res version (originally 48meg, I don't know if imgur has downsized it)

(I also have Google Albums of his (clickable links): Architectura Cosmica Eclectica et Enucleata Complementum, Sphaera Infernalis Mystica, and Machina Mvndi Sphaerica cum Planisphaerio)

But back to Sphaera Coelestis Mystica.. Eventually I found a quality copy up on Bayerische StaatsBiliothek. For some reason, they have it in 3 different parts, with 3 different catalog entries. I gathered each and combined them into one PDF, and extracted the images. As it turns out, the original images I had seen are the last two of a series of 8 plates. Unfortunately, when I browsed to these Plate pages, they hadn't been folded out, so this is what I had:

These different parts were obviously the source of the inferior copies I had been finding through google, and I was stuck. On a whim, I tried emailing (in English) the people at the BSB, describing the issue, and asking if I could get the plates rescanned for a fee. To my surprise, the people from Münchener Digitalisierungszentrum at the BSB promptly replied and told me "Of course, we will check the digital copy right away and improve it wherever possible. Please understand that the technical processing is expected to take several weeks. We will let you know as soon as an improved/complete version of the digital copy is available online.", but that if I needed it quicker, I could place and order and pay a fee. I decided to wait. I originally emailed them in March (2017) and true to their word, in October of the same year they let me know it was ready. (the plates are displayed below)

At some point I attempted a terrible translation of the full german title:

Sphaera Coelestis Mystica, Ex Arithmologia Ac Metrologia Sacra Et Repraesentata Et Demonstrata Una Cum Apologia Sua : Das ist: Die Geheimniß-volle Himmels-Kugel, Darinnen Das unendliche Wesen Gottes, die Drey-Einigkeit, das Werck der Schöpffung, die Menschwerdung und Leiden Christi ... gezeiget, Aus der geheimen Zähl- und Meß-Kunst aufgelöset ... Durch dazu gehörige deutliche, nette und mit gehörigen Farben erhobene Abrisse und Figuren erläutert und dargethan wird. Nebst einer Schutz-Rede oder Vertheidigung dieser Vorstellung
..and came up with something like:

In addition to a protection speech or defense of this idea, the use of the Secret Numbers is, to the extent of Divine Construction Art, represented by the most beautiful consistency

In addition to a defense speech or defense of this conception, the mystery of the Creutzes of Christ, in bound speech; II A protection speech of this concept, against which contain unworthy censers
So I knew I was onto something here (in relation to my interests)

Before I get to them, between the plates from Sphaera Coelestis Mystica, an the images in Hagelgan's Architectura Cosmica Eclectica et enucleata, there are obvious comparisons to be made with another of my favorites, Georg Von Welling's Opus Mago-Cabalisticum Et Theosophicum. I know I originally came across that work from searching differnet spellings of "kabbalah, cabala" etc in different library catalogs. At least one image in Hagelgan's Architectura is a direct copy of an image in Mago-Cabbalisticum. It (von Welling's book) has been discussed in forum threads Here and Here[/URL], and several others I am not involved in.

Also, if you care to compare, I have an album of the images (both colored, and the original black and white) from Opus Mago-Cabalisticum Et Theosophicum posted HERE.

And so finally, here are the 8 plates from Sphaera Coelestis Mystica. Each of these are clickable to bring up a hi-res version:

Plate 1

Plate 2

Plate 3

Plate 4

Plate 5

Plate 6

Plate 7

Plate 8

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  1. Greg Marcus's Avatar
    Greg Marcus -
    I was out of allowed images in the original post, so I'll have to add this here. There are definitely similarities between Plate 4 and this work of the Jesuit, Ferdinand Verbiest (click for hi-res version):

    Verbiest is a story on his own, but here are the basics:

    "[Ferdinand] Verbiest (1623 – 1688) labored in a strange mode not quite Euclidean and not quite Chinese, as he pondered questions of the Chinese "I-ching" and geometric form. Aside from being a fortune book, the "I-ching" was the mainstay of an ancient philosophy of number and symmetry. It deals much with the numbers three and six, as seen in Verbiest's hexagons and triangles. He has larded his pages with sayings from that classic, apparently in his own hand. This pull-out page is one of many working notes that were bound together with Verbiest's printed eclipse predictions and his apologia of western astronomy for the Manchu court."
    "Father Ferdinand Verbiest (9 October 1623 – 28 January 1688) was a Flemish Jesuit missionary in China during the Qing dynasty. He was born in Pittem near Tielt in the County of Flanders (now part of Belgium).[2] He is known as Nan Huairen (???) in Chinese. He was an accomplished mathematician and astronomer and proved to the court of the Kangxi Emperor that European astronomy was more accurate than Chinese astronomy. He then corrected the Chinese calendar and was later asked to rebuild and re-equip the Beijing Ancient Observatory, being given the role of Head of the Mathematical Board and Director of the Observatory.

    He became close friends with the Kangxi Emperor, who frequently requested his teaching, in geometry, philosophy and music.

    And finally.. when searching for info on Hagelgans, I came across this now defunct page ( in Romanian.. The translation is so bad as to pretty much useless, but the one paragraph combines three of my favorites.. Nostradamus, von Welling, and Hagelgans:

    But what are the Goethe heroes reading in the alchemical lab, decorated according to the direction of Act II, Scene 1, "in the style of the Middle Ages, with all sorts of facilities for fantastic purposes"? First of all, the "mysterious book of Nostradamus (dies geheimnisvolle Buch, Von Nostradamus)," perhaps the prophecies of what contemporaries called "the new ancient oracle". It is then mentioned a book in which Faust "sees the sign of the macrocosm", possibly referring to the 53nd engraving of Georg von Welling, Opus mago-cabbalisticum et theosophicum ..., Frankfurt, 1719. It is the book at which Goethe read about 1770-1773, even when he began to be concerned with the failing myth. And when Faust speaks of the organization of heaven in spheres, the spirit of the Passover, and the chorus of angels, the author may send to Johann Georg Hagelgans, Sphaera coelestis mystica (1739). Finally, when Wagner and Faust polemise about the "Geist der Zeiten", the lyrics send to the Hegelian concept Zeitgeist / genius seculi, so debated in the epoch and ironized by Herder: "Is he a genius, a demon? or a nerd, a resurrected old grave ?, or is it a wind blowing with the sound of a wind harp?
  2. Greg Marcus's Avatar
    Greg Marcus -
    Johann Georg Hagelgans, who embraced both the negative and the positive use of holy numbers: the devotional and inspirational use of biblical numbers in Sphaera Coelestis Mystica (1739), prefaced by 1 Corinthians 13:12: ‘Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face’, and in Sphaera Infernalis Mystica (1740) an exposition on the number of the beast, 666 prefaced by the reassuring verse from John 1:5 ‘The Light shines in the Darkness and the Darkness has not overcome it.’ Hagelgans’ systematic survey of significant biblical numbers is divided into three parts, with eleven chapters sandwiched between an introduction, explaining the aim and use of divine arithmetic, and a defence of his opinions. In the chapter on the mysteries of the number 7 in the context of worship, he writes that once one has noticed the seven penitential, the seven prayerful and the seven praise psalms introduced into David’s Book of Psalms by the God-fearing Ancients, one’s respect and honour for this mysterious and holy number grows. The seven planets, seven metals and seven primary colours belong to the natural world and are a source of wonder in the visible world. The seven wise men of Greece, the seven wonders of the world and the seventy interpreters from Egypt, on the other hand, are all coincidental or formed by humans, and therefore according to Hagelgans cannot be classified as divine numbers.

    Hagelgans classifies numbers 1, 2, 3 and 7 as holy, numbers 4, 8, 12 and 24 as blessed, number 5 as half or imperfect, number 6 as human, numbers 7, 8 and 9 as end or balancing numbers, and number 10 as the most complete number. As he justifies his choice of 10 as the most complete he reveals more interpretations:

    "[Ten] is the most complete number, above all other, and in which all others are contained. It is the end and at the same time the beginning; a double number which is the most special and unique as it can be formed by all the other numbers in several different ways: through multiplication . . . 5  2=10, and through addition with the first four 1+2+3+4=10, with the two imperfect numbers 5 +5=10, with the angelic and human numbers 4+6=10, with the two most holy numbers 3+7=10, with the numbers of the bridegroom and bride 2 + 8=10, and with the first and last numbers 1+9=10."

    "The blind heathen also used this number for their two-faced God Janus, although we teach something better, seeing the origin or source from which its measure, number and density are constructed, finding in the Revelation to St John how God embraced all other possible numbers in this perfect circle."

    - "Bach's Numbers" by Ruth Tatlow
  3. tAlchemist's Avatar
    tAlchemist -
    I don't know much about Sacred Geometry, but on the top of my head, I assume that the shapes have to do with the proportions of matter and the shape it forms in order to take form... a form within a form embedded deep within matter so that the inside of Matter can ''balance'' and level without falling apart much akin to blowing bubbles... the oval is a natural form it takes, likewise, Sacred Geometry.

    Am I close? :S
  4. Greg Marcus's Avatar
    Greg Marcus -
    Interesting thing about bubbles...