Anima Mundi The Soul of the World. The Anima Mundi is the feminine creative power of God who turns the sphere of the stars and disperses planetary influences to nourish the material world. She is comparable to the Shakti creative force in Hinduism.
The Anima Mundi appears in The History of the Macrocosm and the Microcosm of Robert Fludd, who described her as a “supreme intelligence” of “an angelic nature.” As man has a soul, so must the macrocosm have a soul, Fludd said. The engraving of the Anima Mundi shows a virgin joined to God by a chain that descends through the levels of the hierarchy of existence.
On her breast is the true Sun; on her belly the Moon. Her heart gives light to the stars and planets, whose influence, infused in her womb by the mercurial spirit (called by the philosophers the Spirit of the Moon), is sent down to the very center of the Earth. Her right foot stands on earth, her left in water, signifying the conjunction of sulphur and mercury without which nothing can be created.
The description bears a strong resemblance to the passage in chapter 12 of the Book of Revelation of the “woman clothed in the sun”:
And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.
Fludd’s depiction of the Anima Mundi received a great deal of criticism in his day, and was among the reasons why his opponents called him a heretic. Critics were especially angered by his statement that Christ and Demons were of the same soul. Marin Marsenne, French physician, complained:
Compounded from God and this ethereal Spirit is the Anima Mundi. The purest part of this Soul is the Angelic nature and the Empyrean heaven, which is understood to be mixed in all things. The Demons are part of the same essence, but joined to evil material. All souls, whether of men or of brutes, are none other than particle of this same Soul. This Soul is also the Angel Michael or Misattron [Metatron]. What is more, the same Soul is the true Messiah, Savior, Christ, cornerstone and universal rock, on which the Church and all salvation is founded.
Fludd defended himself, stating that the principles are not on the same level of being, as Marsenne seemed to think, but are different manifestations of the same principle in different worlds.
- Godwin, Joscelyn. Robert Fludd: Hermetic Philosopher and Surveyor of Two Worlds. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Phanes Press, 1979.