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The cosmos according to Phillipus Aureolis Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus)  (1490-1541)

1.  Plotinian tripartate scheme of being:  One, Intellect, Soul.  Specifics:  How Soul interacts with the physical world:

2. Astra:  (semina, Archei)  An astrum is the virtue or activity essential to any object (compare with Plotinus' seminal reasons).  Astra precipitate from God and enter one of 4 wombs.  There they combine with the Tria Prima (mercury, sulpher, salt).  Out of the wombs, physical bodies are generated.

3. The four wombs ("matrices" or "mothers"):  fire, air, water, earth.

Key points:
(i) The wombs correspond to the 4 elements of Greek thought (see for instance Aristotle's Cosmos).  But the wombs do not have essential properties.  Fire can be cold and moist.  They are no longer building blocks.  An object is not a composite of the 4 elements; rather, it is associated with just a single element; namely, the one in which it was generated.

(ii)  The wombs are dynamic; they are spiritual/functional principles and not material substances.  To answer the question, What is an object made out of? is to answer the question, What is its function?

4.  The Tria Prima.  Paracelsus' "elements".  They are principles and not substances.

Example:  When a piece of wood is burnt, the products reflect its constitution: 5.    Macrocosm/Microcosm.  Paracelsus’ cosmos is reflected in the human microcosm.  The tripartate scheme of being reflects the Trinity.  God has a single essence consisting of three "persons".  Similarly, a human being consists of a single person consisting of three essences:  spiritual, astral (soul), physical (body).  The Trinity, and hence the human being, is reflected again in the Tria Prima:

Trinity Human Being
sulphur Father soul
salt Son body
mercury Holy Spirit spirit