Don Marsilio el Curandero

19 05 2008

Or… The Fifteenth Century Translator of Plato Confronts Modernity with Christianized Shamanism

From Leonard George:

Dawn light spills into a large room decorated lavishly in early Italian Renaissance style. Through a window we glimpse the silhouette of Brunelleschi’s famous dome. We are in Florence, in 1464. In the room, a sumptuous four-poster bed frames a dying old man – Cosimo de Medici, Prince of Florence. Huddled nearby, worried courtiers and relatives. When will the Doctor come? Is it already too late? A page enters, followed by a striking gentleman, early thirties, in a white gown. He carries a lyre. “Hail, Doctor Ficino. The Prince is waning fast.” “We haven’t much time. I will need some instruments of medical practice.” “Sir, what do you require? We will fetch it immediately!” Ficino peers intently at Cosimo’s grey face. “Bring me – a statue of Apollo. A gold mirror. Sunflowers in a vase. And a live cockerel. Quickly!” Off scurry the courtiers as the Doctor intones, “Hear me, great Prince! You suffer from a deficiency of solar spirits. A transfusion is needed to save your life. Visualize the sun. I have ordered symbols of solar power with which to surround you; imagine golden spirits flowing into your body with each breath.” Strumming his lyre, Ficino begins to sing the ancient Orphic Hymn to the Sun God. This was holistic healing, Renaissance style

Hear golden Titan, whose eternal eye
With broad survey, illumines all the sky.
Self-born, unwearied in diffusing light,
And to all eyes the mirrour of delight:
Lord of the seasons, with thy fiery car
And leaping coursers, beaming light from far…

-from the Orphic Hymn to the Sun as translated by Thomas Taylor
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