The Power of the Cross

8 05 2008

The cross, therefore, said the ancients, is a figure which is made by the strength of the stars and serves as a receptacle of their strength; it therefore possesses the greatest power among images and receives the forces and spirits of the planets.

This opinion was either introduced or principally confirmed by the Egyptians, among whose characters a prominent one was the cross, which signified in their usage the future life; and they would engrave this figure on the breast of Serapis.  But I think as follows: the cross was not so much a testimony of the gifts of the stars as a prophecy of the power that it was going to receive from Christ.  Astrologers who came right after Christ, seeing that wonderful things were done by Christians through the cross, but not knowing or not wanting to ascribe such great things to Jesus, ascribed them to the heavens; though they ought to have considered that through the cross itself without the name of Jesus no miracles at all were performed.  That a cruciform figure is appropriate to images because it resembles the strength of the planets and all stars, is perhaps probable; but this is not a sufficient reason for it to have such tremendous power.  But in concert with the other things which are necessary it is perhaps able to do something towards bodily health. 

-Marsilio Ficino, De Vita Coelitus Comparanda