Thursday, April 9, 2009

Joseph Smith: Talismans and Esotericism


I have recently added new Joseph Smith Jupiter Talismans to the Renaissance Astrology website. Joseph Smith is, of course, the founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons.

The so called Joseph Smith Jupiter talisman is actually a talisman design from early 19th century esoteric author or rather compiler, Francis Barrett. Barrett's The Magus was published in London in 1801 and is made up of selections from Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, the Fourth Book of Occult Philosophy attributed to Agrippa and the Robert Turner's 1655 translation of the Heptameron of Peter of Abano. Barrett made a few modifications and modernized the spelling and syntax of these selections.

Smith was reported to be carrying a "Masonic medal" when he was killed. This was generally accepted until it was discovered that the medal was in fact a Jupiter talisman! Then its very existence became controversial.

Certainly the interest of Smith in the esoteric cannot be controverted. For example, the influence of Freemasonry on Mormon temple ritual is clear. Here are some additional resources on Smith and esotericism by Lance Owen,
Joseph Smith: America's Hermetic Prophet
Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection-Part 1
Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection-Part 2
Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection-Part 3

2 comments:

Caicher said...

Joseph Smith also had a copy of _The Book of Breathings_ it's a Ptolmeic-era 'coming forth by day' work once reserved for inner circle mormons. I didn't see it mentioned in the three Occult Connection links provided, and bring it to your attention here.

A thelimite brother who began life as a Mormon had a copy and from what I recall, it's definitely worth a look.

Suecae Sounds said...

This I did _not_ know. Fascinating detail you provided here. I wonder what implications it have on Mormonic teachings.