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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. vigilance's Avatar
    vigilance -
    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. vigilance's Avatar
    vigilance -
    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. vigilance's Avatar
    vigilance -
    Interesting thing about bubbles...
  5. pistachio's Avatar
    pistachio -
    I'm a bit late on this post, but if you have a copy of the original Romanian text from the page, I'd be happy to translate it for everyone here. I'm ever surprised of the scale of Romanian occultism, which I didn't even know existed back when I lived in the country.
  6. pistachio's Avatar
    pistachio -
    Just realized that the Wayback machine is a thing a couple hours ago, been translating this ever since. It's pretty hard to translate complex literary concepts, and there's quite a few terms I have literally never seen in my life. Areas might sound weird in English, as I tried to keep the structure mostly the same, but at least it should make much, much more sense than Google Translate. I've translated up to your quoted paragraph, to provide a bit of context, but if you think there's any worth in translating the rest of it, I'll do so tomorrow. Excuse any mistypes in the text, mind the horrible, constricted formatting, which the original page had, and if you want clarification, ask and you shall receive.
    --Here goes--

    Faust's name is associated to not only an entire Luciferian library, but even the invention of the printing press, or, under his own name, the art of magic reaching into the period of the Counterreform to equivalate cuars imprimendi //not romanian//. The mistifycation began with Thritemius, writing with utmost |obedience/innocence| around 1506, in the chronicles of the Spanheim monastery of the Metz diocese, that the invention of the printing press was realized in the year 1450, in the city of Metz, where "a citizen, of the name Iohannes Gutenburg, meeting too great difficulties in the finalization of the new device, asked for the counsel and help of nobles (bonorum virorum) Ioannes Fust and others, towards the ending of the labor underway" (ed. 1601, p.366). From here, though, "Ioannes Fust" becomes one "Ioannes Faustus", to the Lutheran Matthäus Judex, in his De typographiae inventione (1566), from where the character is taken by John Foxe in the second edition of his famous martirologic protestant Actes and Monmentes (1570). Here, the author presents to us the "german Ioannes Faustus" as the "ironmonger" who, "foremost, engraved the letters of the alphabet in metal and who, setting black ink onto the metal afterwards, set the form of the letters upon paper" (ed. 1570, p.837). Moreover, "seeing he all things well underway, gave counsel to others, a certain Iohan Guttemberg and Peter Schafferd, swearing them to silence for the span of a year" (ibid.)
    It can be said, as such, that the association of the art of the printing press and the art of magic carries the signs of Protestant environments. It was never intended to demonize the new invention, rather to set it in the realms of fantasy and miracles, in an age when the covert copying of the Calvinian Bible, known as the Geneva Bible (1560), required a good marketing plan. Likewise, protestants have always made use of the imagery of magic as an emotional tool to capture attention, convinced of the propagandist utility of a theme, which- as Calvin put it in his Argument 109 at Deuterenom- existed since the dawn of time throughout all peoples. Calvin still, when asked whether wonders and witchcrafts are possible, answered: "Why not? We have for example the Pharao's witches, in Exodus 7-8, who brought forth toads, much like Moses had. This does not mean the Devil has any actual power, and we cannot conceive that he could battle against God. we know well that he's placed under God's power, and cannot do anything without prior permission from God" (ed. 1583, col. 669 a-b).
    Conversely, the legend of Faust the socerer suffered in itself a strange process of Lutheran naturalization, the famous necromancer becoming considered nowadays, in an age when the protestant typographist Ioannes Manlius was publishing the Locorum commvnicvm collectanea (1568) at Frankfurt, being a former student in the Wittembergensi Academia and a disciple of Melanchton!
    Up until the "reformation" of Faust the necromancer, an entire library was compiled regarding this fictional inventor of the printing press.
    Full of wonders and magical recipes, this entire library would illustrate fully not only the magic of the printing press, but also the fact that magical arts themselves had survived, named, by the papists, "the israelites' magic", and which the Bible expulsed outside the law. Afterwads we have the sixth and seven apocryphas of the Bible's magical arcana, attributed to Moses, and considered one of the first books of the Faustian library. These are books which will inspire the dreams of the entire Occident, speaking to the Rennaisance reader of an "art which promised- as Faust's dark angel said to Marlowe- all the hidden ceremonies of nature" (I, 103-104). An art which had not yet knelt at the feet of science. But was it an art, or a science itself? Asked more and more, the question split into two dedicated works, regarding the two paths towards knowledge- complementary, in nature- which started from the same magical vision towards the universe, except that one raised man towards the heavens, while the other raised demons towards man.
    In order to illustrate them as opposites, Goethe resized an important character from Marlowe's Faust, transforming "Wagner the servant", "phlegmatic, slow of thinking, and inclined towards debauchery", as he appears in Marlowe's, into a bonafide practician of the white path, of the occult sciences. Laborious, modest, and virtuous, the new Wagner keeps only the title of "famulus" (latin for 'servant'), from the old. As an illustration of the fulfilled magus, he succeeds in realizing Paracelsus' dream and the ideal of any practitioner of the occult sciences: the creation of an artificial man, a "Homunculus", illustrating here the fulfillment of luciferian vanity to approach divinity.
    Opposed to Faust, the representative of magical arts, the new Wagner is not attracted to "vulgar stays", nor romantic trips, and instead of the "way of the senses", as Faust describes his own destiny, he prefers a laboratorium filled with a microcosm of books promising the gold of total knowledge: "I know, to be fair, so much already, yet I wish to know all still". Moreover, and always as opposed to Faust, of Urfaust, who declares himself lost in the smoke of consciousess (Wissensqualm), the new Wagner is obsessed by archetypical knowledge (Weisheit), the way "which leads to springs (zu den Quellen steigt)".
    But what are Goethe's heroes reading within the decorated alchemical laboratory, according to the casting instructions of act II, scene 1, "in the fashion of the Middle Ages, with all sorts of installations towards fantastical purposes"? First, we need to remember "Nostradamus' book of secrets (dies geheimnisvolle Buch, Von Nostradamus)", probably the Prophecies which contemporaries have called "the new ancient oracle". Afterwards is mentioned a book in which Faut "sees the sign of the macrocosmos", a possible reference to the 53rd engraving (Schema de Mundo Archetypo) in Georg von Welling's Opus mago-cabbalisticym et theosophicum..., Frankfurt, 1719. This is the book which Goethe was reading around 1770-1773, exactly around the time he began to take an interest towards the Faustian myth. And when Faust talks about the division of the sky into spheres, about the spirit of Easter and about the choir of angels, it's likely the author was referencing Johann Georg Hagelgans, Sphaera coelestis mystica(1739). Finally, when Wagner and Faust are polemyzing about "the spirit of ages" (Geist der Zeiten), the verses reference the concept of the hagelian Zeitgeist/genius seculi, so much debated around that time, and ironized by Herder: "Is he a genius, or a demon? Or a ghoul, risen from forgotten graveyards?, or maybe a gust of wind blowing with the seductive sounds of a wind harp?".
  7. vigilance's Avatar
    vigilance -
    Wow that is excellent. thanks so much. I wouldn't have guessed the serious and academic tone from the machine translation. It sounded like some occult gibberish.
  8. pistachio's Avatar
    pistachio -
    Yes, it's surprisingly just a literary analysis of Faust's tale, with some very insightful historical tangents. It's clear the author is at least familiar with the subjects of sacred geometry, and occultism in general, from the materials cited and compared to the literary works'. While the occult information is approached from a purely academic angle, it's definitely heartening to see academics so well informed and passionate about their studies nowadays.