The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Hermetic Astronomy

In Fortean Times there is a new, excellent article on the hermetic context of Renaissance astronomy and Galileo’s famous trial.

The rediscovery of ancient hermetic philosophy during the Renaissance was the most important influence on intellectuals of the period–from Copernicus to Shakespeare–yet few people nowadays are aware of it. As the authors Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince write, “the fact is that the Renaissance is impossible to comprehend without the Hermetic tradition. It’s like trying to write a history of the 20th century while ignoring Communism, on the logic that because it failed as an ideology, it could never have been really important.”

Among other things, the article provides a good background on my personal hero Giordano Bruno, a master of the Art of Memory and one of the first to claim that the universe was infinite and full of inhabited worlds.



I am a science writer and armchair Fortean based in Washington, DC. Write to me at eric.wargo [at]

2 Responses to “Hermetic Astronomy”

  • I agree that Renaissance is a great period on intellectuals from Copernicus to Shakespeare. But I didn’t know that the Hermetic tradition is important and it is related to Renaissance period. It is also interesting that the article discussed the hermetic context of Renaissance astronomy and Galileo’s famous trial. Thanks for sharing the article.

  • I have been researching on the famous Galileo trial, this article is very helpful. Thanks for sharing!